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Telltale Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety & How to Deal with It

Telltale Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety & How to Deal with It

Everyone can feel anxious from time to time, but for some people, these feelings can be overwhelming and constant. Anxiety disorders fall on a wide spectrum of severity and are the most common mental illness in the United States impacting 40 million adults.1 In fact, many of the people who come to our mental health center struggle with anxiety to some degree. Although some people may not qualify as having an actual anxiety disorder, they may still struggle with anxiety regularly and need help.  

What is High-Functioning Anxiety?

High-functioning anxiety is a milder form of anxiety that is not a clinical disorder but can still be detrimental. A person with high-functioning anxiety is able to function relatively normally and appears fine on the outside but still experiences regular symptoms of anxiety and is struggling internally. Signs and symptoms of high-functioning anxiety are often associated with desired characteristics by onlookers, so someone with high-functioning anxiety may even be successful and seem like a high-achiever. In reality, their anxiety is one of the driving factors for their success.  

Do I Have High-Functioning Anxiety?

While it may be easy to notice severe anxiety disorders, recognizing the symptoms of high-functioning anxiety is a lot harder. Many people with high-functioning anxiety may even try to hide their symptoms so diagnosis is even harder. Some common signs of high-functioning anxiety may include:

  • Constantly overthinking and overanalyzing
  • Excessive worrying
  • Striving for perfection
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble relaxing
  • Fear of failure
  • Trouble expressing emotions
  • Fatigue
  • Need to please others
  • Problems saying no
  • Tendency to dwell on past mistakes
  • Racing heart in anticipation of anxiety-inducing events
  • Nervous habits (shaking leg, playing with hair, biting nails)


How to Deal with High-Functioning Anxiety

Although you may still be able to get by if you are experiencing high functioning anxiety symptoms, it doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do. While not a clinical disorder, symptoms of high-functioning anxiety can start to take their toll on a person’s overall mental and physical health. It could also get worse over time or lead to other behavioral health conditions like substance use or depression. Instead of sitting by idly, some potential ways to cope with high-functioning anxiety may include:

  • Exercising regular
  • Developing a regular sleep routine
  • Eating healthy
  • Meditating
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Limiting caffeine and substance use
  • Analyzing your negative thoughts
  • Getting professional anxiety treatment

While some of these at-home treatments for anxiety may help, sometimes professional care is necessary in order to see results. If you or someone you love is showing signs of high-functioning anxiety, there is hope. Our mental health professionals provide treatment for people struggling with anxiety and other mental health conditions. Get started and take back control of your life.