What is high functioning anxiety?
Although high functioning anxiety is not a formal diagnosis in the DSM-5, it does convey certain characteristics that many high achievers struggle with.
Thought of as people who live with anxiety but identify as functioning well in various aspects of life.
Approximately 19% of the US population struggles with anxiety. Out of that 19%, many report that they experience high functioning anxiety.
High functioning anxiety means that you do not freeze when you feel anxious.
You use your anxiety and stress to propel yourself forward.
You do a pretty good job at it… on the outside.
What does high functioning anxiety look like?
Many people with high-functioning anxiety are high-functioning personalities. They are typically successful in their careers or business.
They look like they have it all and many times, they and the people around them will believe this to be true.
But under it all they are anxious most of the time.
People with high-functioning anxiety do a great job at putting on a mask and pretending to be happy when they really aren’t. This makes it challenging for their friends and loved ones because they won’t know that there’s something wrong inside.
Do I have high functioning anxiety?
There are two different sides to this type of anxiety. Positive and negative aspects, both contributing to the other.
Positive characteristics of high functioning anxiety:
- Many times people with high functioning anxiety are very detail-oriented, tend to be helpful and punctual.
- They are proactive and plan ahead for all different types of possibilities.
- They outwardly appear to be calm and organized.
- They will portray an outgoing personality.
- They will project they are happy, for example, by telling a lot of jokes.
Some negative characteristics of high functioning anxiety are:
- Avoiding eye contact
- Losing track of time
- Feeling a lot of need for reassurance
- Struggling to say no
- Racing mind
- Mental and physical fatigue.
- Some additional signs are being loyal to a fault in relationships and a potential for alcohol or substance abuse.
So how to deal with high functioning anxiety?
Online or in-person therapy
Reach out to a therapist. If you live in Pennsylvania, Makin Wellness offers private, online therapy. A trained professional who specializes in treating anxiety disorders can help you create a treatment plan that suits your individual needs.
Implement more mindfulness into your life.
The idea of mindfulness is to think of the immediate moment. Don’t think about the past or future.
This can feel unnatural, especially for people who struggle with anxiety, but the more you implement mindfulness into your life, the more you may notice symptoms decrease.
Spend time journaling.
When we write things down, it helps us to challenge illogical thoughts.
Get your thoughts out, but remember not every thought that you have in your head is true. Challenge this concept understanding your feelings are valid
How can I cope with high functioning social anxiety?
- Therapy. Get matched with an online therapist. Follow the treatment plan and goals that you create to move forward.
- Socialize to the best of your ability. If you don’t feel comfortable going to events in person, attend events virtually! Social networks like Clubhouse are a good place to start.
- Invest in the personal relationships you’ve already established. Talk with them about your social anxiety. Be open and honest. There’s something very freeing that comes from being open and transparent.
What’s a high-functioning anxiety quiz to take online?
Our team highly recommends against this. You don’t want to self-diagnose yourself. Not to mention, there is too much misinformation on the internet to trust with your mental health. It is better to leave it to a certified professional to diagnose and guide you.
If you resonated with this video, then I highly recommend calling Makin Wellness at 833-274-HEAL.
We can match you with an online therapist who can do a mental health evaluation and continue treatment if necessary.
We also do confidential anxiety evaluations online.
What are high functioning anxiety treatment options?
Our clinical team at Makin Wellness recommends three things.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Mindfulness training
Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT consists of learning about thinking errors, identifying your thinking patterns, and working on addressing them.
Benefits of CBT include:
- You will work together with a therapist to reduce the frequency and intensity of thoughts that make you feel anxious.
- CBT is backed by research.
- CBT is known to substantially reduce symptoms of anxiety for those who embrace their therapy.
If your therapist thinks that you’d benefit from medication, more than likely you’d be prescribed a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI.
You can contact your psychiatrist or PCP to get anti-anxiety medication. Medications can be helpful in conjunction with therapy.
This can be done in or out of session and will help to gain gratitude and a fresh “in the moment” feeling.
You ideally want to move to a place where you are more focused on the immediate moment and surroundings.
Don’t think about the past or future. Only the now and what it alone has to offer.
For more information on high functioning anxiety
We hope this information was helpful for you! If you would like more info on this and other types of anxiety please connect with us! We are always here for you and you are never alone.
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Let us know below what helps you cope with your high-functioning anxiety? We would love to read and respond to all of your comments!
Until next time, be well!