Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the United States, as it impacts more than 40 million people. There are different forms of anxiety disorders that can develop, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and in this case, high-functioning anxiety. Many people suffer from high-functioning anxiety, but are unaware of the treatment options that are available.
Each type of anxiety presents with its own set of symptoms and affects people differently. Despite popular belief, a person can remain high-functioning no matter what type of anxiety disorder they have. The most important factor for people with this kind of anxiety can benefit from is how to deal with high-functioning anxiety in a healthy way.
What is High-Functioning Anxiety?
High-functioning anxiety doesn’t appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, that does not mean that it is not a legitimate health concern.
High-functioning anxiety occurs when a person with an anxiety disorder is able to continue to function at a normal (if not higher-than-normal) level despite their anxiety. This does not mean that they are not impacted by their anxiety, rather it means that their anxiety does not get in the way of their daily accomplishments.
At first thought, high-functioning anxiety might not seem so bad, especially if people who have it are able to go through life with minimal or no related consequences. But the truth is that those who have high-functioning anxiety can operate on a normal level but still experience effects that can make their lives more difficult overall.
Signs and Symptoms of High-Functioning Anxiety
Traditional symptoms of anxiety disorders often include excessive worry, gastrointestinal problems due to worry, irrational thinking, and fear. Some people find themselves crippled by their symptoms, however those with high-functioning anxiety do not share the same experience. This is partly due to the fact that the symptoms they experience are slightly different than those of someone with traditional anxiety.
Here are a few examples of what high-functioning anxiety may look and feel like when you’re working and in the context of your personal life:
Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety at Work
- Feeling that everything you do needs to be perfect
- Fearing that minor mistakes will cause you to be reprimanded or fired
- Being unable to say no when asked to do more work or take on additional responsibilities
- Falling behind due to procrastination and indecisiveness, then working even longer to catch up
- Tying your self-esteem to your professional accomplishments
Symptoms of High-Functioning Anxiety at Home
- Neglecting your own needs in the effort to make other people happy
- Believing that you continually need to earn love and approval through your actions
- Occasionally becoming overwhelmed and needing to isolate yourself from friends and family
- Becoming overly sensitive, restless, and irritable
- Finding it difficult or impossible to fully relax
To others, the outward signs of high-functioning anxiety may look like positive traits. You always get your work done on time, you consistently volunteer to do more, and you appear to be extremely motivated.
Many of these symptoms go unnoticed by others simply because they are easily excused away by other assumptions or even considered normal in some situations. Plus, those with high-functioning anxiety tend to keep their anxiety under wraps easily. But despite being able to do this, affected individuals can benefit from learning how to deal with high-functioning anxiety so that they can find more peace in their lives.
Negative Effects of High-Functioning Anxiety
Discussions of high-functioning anxiety can often appear to be studies in contrast. People who struggle with this condition may win awards, receive promotions, and be lauded for the example they set. But these accomplishments can come at a steep price.
The following are some of the many potential negative effects of high-functioning anxiety:
- Strained relationships with family, friends, and colleagues
- Development or worsening of mental health disorders
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Diminished confidence and self-esteem
- Inability to experience joy or pleasure
Thankfully, several treatment options have proved to be beneficial for people who have been living with high-functioning anxiety. When you get the help you need, you can begin to live a much happier and more satisfying life.
Benefits of Treatment for High-Functioning Anxiety
When you get professional treatment for high-functioning anxiety at Arbor Wellness in Nashville, Tennessee, your life can improve considerably.
Here are four of the many benefits of getting help at our center:
- Personalized service: Our team will take the time to get to know you as an individual. We want to fully understand how you’ve been affected by high-functioning anxiety, so that we can develop the customized plan that will empower you to experience true and lasting healing.
- Compassionate staff: At Arbor Wellness, you will have the opportunity to work in active collaboration with a team of dedicated healthcare experts. Here, you will never be defined by your struggles. Instead, you will be celebrated for the courage you demonstrated when you chose to get help, and we’ll help you learn to value yourself, exactly as you are.
- Comprehensive programming: We offer a wide array of therapies and related activities at multiple levels of care. Our variety of treatment options means that we can select the services that align most closely with your needs and goals. If your high-functioning anxiety is accompanied by addiction or a co-occurring mental health disorder, we can address those concerns as well.
- Detailed aftercare planning: Before you transition out of our care, we’ll make sure that you’re connected with the resources that will support you in the weeks and months to come.
Choosing to enter a mental health treatment center is rarely an easy decision. But getting professional help for high-functioning anxiety can truly be one of the best choices you will ever make.
Coping Skills Learned During Treatment for High-Functioning Anxiety
There are risks associated with allowing high-functioning anxiety to continue. For example, individuals who are experiencing this are more likely to turn to the use of drugs and alcohol to cope with the effects that they do experience. They are also more likely to burn themselves out from ruminating on certain thoughts, always trying to please others, and having difficulty saying “no”. This burnout can lead to problems at work, home, school, and in relationships. Thankfully, however, there are things that individuals can do to help manage their high-functioning anxiety.
Without knowing what the symptoms are, people with high-functioning anxiety might not even be aware that they have it. When educated on what these symptoms are, these individuals can identify and address them in ways that help to reduce their presence.
Don’t Engage in Anxious Thoughts
It can be hard to imagine how to deal with high-functioning anxiety when anxious thoughts keep developing. Those who deal with this type of anxiety can benefit from working on not engaging in anxious thoughts or thinking patterns. This can be done by enabling skills designed to distract away from anxieties in a healthy way, such as going for a walk when feeling anxious about something.
Make Lifestyle Changes
One of the best ways to deal with high-functioning anxiety is to make healthy lifestyle changes and maintain them. This includes eating a well-balanced diet, exercising as regularly as possible, and getting enough rest. When the mind and body are being taken care of in this manner, anxiety can lessen.
Talk to Loved Ones
When trying to figure out how to deal with high-functioning anxiety, one of the best things a person can do is to reach out and talk to one or more loved ones about what they are going through. Simply speaking aloud the challenges that one experiences can be therapeutic in itself, plus it allows others to be a source of support when high-functioning anxiety becomes too much.
It does not matter if a person’s high-functioning anxiety isn’t creating severe problems in their lives. Getting professional help can make learning how to deal with high-functioning anxiety easier, as a mental health specialist can provide effective skills and resources so the individual can be in control of their anxiety, rather than the other way around.
High-Functioning Anxiety Treatment in Nashville, TN
If you are experiencing anxiety of any kind, including high-functioning anxiety, reach out to our treatment team at Arbor Wellness right now. We can help you identify, address, and learn how to cope with this particular concern so that you can start living life to its fullest.
Call us at (866) 771-1649 to speak to one of our administrative professionals right now. We are here to help and support you along the way as you work to recover from your high-functioning anxiety. Call today.