What Is High-Functioning Anxiety?

There exists a form of anxiety called high-functioning anxiety where someone may appear fine but actually is not. It is not quite yet considered or formally recognized as a mental health disorder but the condition is very real. What people with the disorder usually report is that they experience the usual tell-tale signs of anxiety but rather than get paralyzed, they would be propelled to do something. This is probably the reason why this is not recognized because it is not your usual disorder that hinders you from functioning. Even if it is so, this condition still remains a health concern if left unchecked. 

The Statistics Of High-functioning Anxiety 

The prevalence of anxiety in the US is quite high. Anxiety ranks as one of the most common mental health illnesses in the United States. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) estimates that it affects about 40 million adults in America or roughly around 18% of the adult population. But there is a higher incidence of anxiety in children, affecting around 25% of the 13 to 18 age range. 

Of the 6.8 million adults affected by General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), only 43.2% seek or receive treatment. There are more people with social anxiety disorder (SAD), which affects 15 million adults in the US. 

With high-functioning anxiety not being formally recognized as an anxiety disorder, there is little to no formal statistics on its prevalence in the population. When anxiety affects one’s ability to function on a daily basis, it can easily be recognized and diagnosed. In the case of high-functioning anxiety people who suffer from it tend to act out their anxiety on tasks at hand that actually cause them to be anxious in the first place.  

On The Surface 

You might just see a person with high-functioning anxiety as someone who is super driven and successful. They are the people who get things done despite having multiple tasks with deadlines so close together. They are the go-to people of the organizations they belong in because they are known to get things done and they get along with everyone else. Looks like a model employee, right? 

True enough, there are positive characteristics that can be seen in people who have this condition. These people seem fine and always very productive. They are very outgoing, proactive, and punctual. They make it sure that everything is in order and in their proper place. They are also very loyal to friends and gung-ho about the task at hand. 

If someone struggles to keep a façade of the above-mentioned traits, they are more likely to be suffering from high-functioning anxiety. It is their constant fear that they let others down or they don’t want anyone to say something bad about them. What largely matters to them is that they keep whatever that good perception people around them think about them. 

It may be borderline annoying for some that the person with that disorder is so over-the-top. They want to please everyone that they overload themselves with work that probably could be done over a certain period of time. They are afraid to say no to bosses and peers. During the times when they are alone, they have nervous habits or do repetitive tasks in order to calm themselves down.   

Hesitation In Getting Help 

Despite the fact that they deal with high-functioning anxiety, there are still people who resist getting help for their condition. These are the people who think that they are going to let others down if they admit that they are suffering from such. They think that they should look strong so it would be out of character for them to ask help. When they feel that they are successful and constantly achieving their goals, they do not think that they are suffering from a disorder because they believe that everyone else must struggle to get to where they are right now. They believe it is just part of the “hard work” to get to the top.  

Most people around those who suffer from the disorder do not have a clue that they are struggling. They seem to be getting along just fine and haven’t even exhibited any hint of asking for help. Part of the reason that people with high-functioning anxiety point out why they don’t get help is the perception of people who have mental health issues.  

What You Can Do

If you are experiencing any symptoms of general anxiety for any given period of time, you can always assess yourself first to check if you do have anxiety. And if you get to see that you do have that kind of crippling anxiety, you need to come to terms with it because trying to deal with it alone will be very difficult. The first step will always be the acknowledgment that you have the disorder and that you can get better with the help of others.

Unfortunately, the stigma of having a mental health disorder hinders many people from seeking help. They very much concerned that people would see a weakness in them that others might exploit. Once you feel that your anxiety is beyond the normal that someone would feel, it would be better to have yourself checked and assessed so you would know.  

Help Is Available 

Although still not formally recognized as a mental health disorder, there exist many treatment options for those who suffer from high-functioning anxiety. You may choose from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindful meditation, and when your doctor warrants it, they might prescribe medications. 

You can, of course, start helping yourself first if you are still wary of getting help. That way, you would be able to get the courage to tell your doctor about what is bothering you. First on the list is to have enough, regular quality sleep. Having good quality sleep helps relax your body and when you wake up, you have the feeling of positivity that everything is going to turn out okay. You need to stick to a sleeping schedule so you can regulate your sleeping pattern.

To help you get to sleep, you need to have a change in lifestyle as well. Doctors cannot emphasize enough that a healthy lifestyle has a profound effect on your mental health. You need to limit caffeine intake because it makes your mind so alert that it might cause you to overthink, therefore get more anxious. Too much caffeine also doesn’t help your cause in getting your sleeping habits into shape. Healthy, balanced meals are also in order. 

High-functioning anxiety is something that you might both hate and love. It helps drive you to accomplish things but at the same time, it affects your quality of life negatively. But if you have to weigh things, you do not need to be always feeling overly-anxious just for you to be successful. You can make use of the positive things that anxiety brings you but you need to let go of the things that make you struggle or suffer. Your life will be easier once you get to recognize there is a better way of accomplishing things.