Depression and Anxiety

High-Functioning Anxiety: How Appearances Can Deceive

High-functioning anxiety is a form of anxiety that's still being studied. If you're feeling anxious despite your successes, it might be familiar.

High-Functioning Anxiety: The Symptoms & More

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

March 16, 2024

The Forge Recovery Center

Feeling anxious in tough or unpredictable situations is normal. But if anxiety becomes a constant companion, it might be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

Conditions like generalized anxiety, panic attacks, social fears, and more show how varied anxiety can be. Some of you might even experience "high-functioning anxiety," a term not officially recognized but still felt by many.

In this article, we dive into what anxiety and high-functioning anxiety are, exploring causes, symptoms, and how to manage them. If you're looking for understanding and support, remember we at The Forge Recovery Center are here to offer the care you need.

What is High-Functioning Anxiety?

If you look fine on the outside, showing confidence and success at work or in life, but inside you're constantly battling fear and anxiety, you might be dealing with high-functioning anxiety. You could be nailing everything, driven by a deep fear of failing and stressing over the little stuff.

Even though it's not listed in big manuals like the DSM-5, it doesn't make your struggle any less real. Imagine this: you're among those facing this, where you shine on the outside—always on time, detail-oriented, and super dedicated—but inside, you're dealing with a whirlwind of worries, sleepless nights, and a daunting fear of falling short.

What Causes High-Functioning Anxiety?

High-functioning anxiety has many triggers, and what causes it can be pretty personal. Let's break it down:

Family Ties

If anxiety is common in your family, you might be more likely to feel it too.

Your Surroundings

Facing ongoing stress, neglect, or bullying? These situations can spark high-functioning anxiety.

Health Matters

Dealing with health issues, like depression or thyroid problems, can also lead to anxiety.

Being You

If you're naturally shy or tend to keep to yourself, high-functioning anxiety might hit closer to home.

Substance Use

If you've had battles with alcohol or drugs, that can up your anxiety levels.

Life's Ups and Downs

Big life changes or losses, whether it's a breakup, money woes, or losing someone close, can trigger high-functioning anxiety.

Understanding these triggers can help you tackle anxiety more effectively. Remember, you're not alone in feeling this way.

What are the Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety?

Anxiety doesn't just mean feeling trapped. Sometimes, it drives you to push harder, aim higher, and accomplish great things. If you recognize yourself in this description of high-functioning anxiety, know you're not alone. It can affect both your work and personal life in significant ways.

In Your Work Life, You Might:

  • Aim for perfection in everything you do

  • Worry about failing

  • Never miss a deadline

  • Keep your workspace super tidy

  • Feel scared to take a day off

  • Seem fine on the outside, even when you're not

  • Fear disappointing your colleagues or boss

In Your Personal Life, You May:

  • Always be there for others

  • Have a packed social schedule

  • Worry about driving people away

  • Be scared of letting your friends and family down

  • Show unwavering loyalty in relationships

Recognizing these traits in yourself is a step toward understanding your high-functioning anxiety. Acknowledging the hard work and strain behind your achievements is okay. Remember, it's okay to ask for support.

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Would you like more information about high-functioning anxiety? Reach out today.

How to Deal with High-Functioning Anxiety?

Dealing with high-functioning anxiety is tough, and it's often hidden behind the scenes of your achievements. You might constantly worry about the "what-ifs" and doubt your accomplishments, no matter how well you've done. It's hard to open up about these feelings, making it feel like you're going through this alone. But, there are ways to manage:

Spot Your Triggers

Notice what kicks your anxiety into high gear. Is it overthinking or scrutinizing every choice? These signs point to your anxiety triggers.

Face Your Fear

Understand that fear is a constant companion with anxiety. Reflect on where it stems from. Could it be linked to past events or something from your childhood?

Body Connection

Feeling stuck in your mind is a common struggle. Break free by engaging in mindful activities. Even a quick yoga session or deep breathing can help reconnect you with your body.

Time Management

A well-organized schedule can lessen anxiety. Establishing a routine with clear tasks and breaks can prevent you from feeling swamped.

Creative Escapes

Give your brain a rest from constant worry by diving into hobbies like music, reading, or gardening.

Cut Down on Social Media

Surprisingly, social media can ramp up your anxiety. Try reducing your screen time in favor of healthier activities.

Realistic Goals

Set goals that are within reach. Challenging yourself too much can amplify anxiety, so pace your expectations.

Remember, you're never alone in managing anxiety. Small changes in your routine can make a big difference. If you need personalized support, The Forge Recovery Center is here to help with tailored care plans. Let's work together to find your path to anxiety management.

How to Treat High-Functioning Anxiety

Turning 65? It's a good time to check in on your mental health, especially for signs of anxiety. If you've been feeling anxious but haven't talked to a professional yet, it's really okay to seek help. Managing high-functioning anxiety is possible, with treatments that include medications, therapies, and small changes in your daily life that can make a big difference.

Medications, like antidepressants, are there to help ease those tough moments, tailored just for you. But remember, it's not all about the meds. Therapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is super helpful. It's about understanding those tricky thoughts and behaviors that make you anxious and learning new, positive ways to handle them.

And if getting out is a hassle, online therapy has been a lifeline for many, especially after the pandemic. It's flexible, and private, and brings support right to your doorstep, making it easier to tackle anxiety from the comfort of your home. Seeking help is a sign of strength, and it's the first step toward feeling more like yourself again.

Your Path to Recovery and Mental Wellness

If you're grappling with chronic anxiety and turning to substances for relief, you're not alone. This can worsen over time. The Forge Recovery Center provides compassionate support for substance use and mental health challenges. Guided by a trauma-informed approach, our programs are designed to meet the needs of people dealing with the aftereffects of trauma and anxiety disorders.

Reach out to The Forge Recovery Center for personalized care plans to start your journey toward healing today.

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