“High-Functioning Anxiety”: These are the 5 most common signs of the anxiety disorder – and this is what you can do if you are affected
On the outside, everything seems to be quite ordinary: you go to work, do laundry, cook dinner, meet friends. However, those who constantly feel stress or even fear may suffer from “high-functioning anxiety”.
What is High Functioning Anxiety?
High-functioning anxiety disorder is only slowly gaining more attention and describes a condition in which sufferers appear organized and successful on the outside, present themselves perfectly, are punctual, and in a good mood, while at the same time fighting a strong internal struggle. Those affected are often plagued by anxious thoughts and spiraling worries and find it difficult to deal with these worries. Precisely because those affected by this anxiety disorder negotiate most of it with themselves, it often goes undetected.
“High-Functioning Anxiety”: What Does Science Say About High-Functioning Anxiety Disorder?
Research does not officially recognize “high-functioning anxiety” as a separate mental illness, but rather as an unofficial subtype of anxiety disorder. But what exactly makes this sub-form so special that numerous TikTokers and even those working in the medical field have given it its own name? And above all: How do you recognize them in yourself?
No gasping, no shaking: “High-Functioning Anxiety” mostly happens in silence
As indicated above, the specific form of anxiety disorder is an invisible form of mental anxiety, in contrast to panic attacks, which are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as gasping or tremors. “High-functioning” stands for “highly functional” and refers to the fact that those affected are mostly able to perform all their daily tasks or even exceed the demands of their social or work environment. Affected people can shine at work, appear as a particularly attentive friend or run a Pinterest-worthy household.
The show must go on: Those affected by “high-functioning anxiety” often have difficulty admitting their exhaustion
Inside, however, a completely different picture is playing out: Those affected often suffer from the fear of making mistakes, have unrealistic expectations of themselves and often have difficulty saying no, even when everything is getting too much for them. Instead of getting to the bottom of the fear or the feeling of failure, those affected often just keep going and suppress their worries and the resulting feeling of exhaustion. “People try to avoid allowing their feelings and find ways to repress them,” so their feelings don’t get in the way of their day-to-day tasks, board-certified psychotherapist Dee Johnson tells GLAMOR.
The suppression of worries can have serious physical consequences for those affected by the high-functioning anxiety disorder:
“When a person presents themselves as capable, functioning, and even excelling (eg, in professional, social, family, or school settings), but in reality hiding the fact that they are experiencing all of the chronic and debilitating symptoms of anxiety disorders, there are consequences. Including a sense of impending doom, excessive worry, monitoring, and most importantly, the bodily responses such as high heart rate and blood pressure, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues (including diarrhea, nausea, and changes in appetite),” explains Johnson.
How does “high-functioning anxiety” show up in everyday life – and when should you seek help?
Since “high-functioning anxiety” is so difficult to recognize, for outsiders as well as for those affected, one must be particularly attentive to these possible signs.
- never feeling enough