High-Functioning Anxiety is not a mental health diagnosis but is a severe condition that should be addressed. It is a term that refers to people who live with anxiety but manage to function reasonably well in life. In other words, their anxiety seems to drive them forward rather than disable them.
At face value, people with High-Functioning Anxiety are successful, together, and calm. They would typically be the type A personalities, excelling at work and life. They are often described as organised, detail-orientated, and perfectionistic. However, the way they feel on the inside may be very different. As a result of their hidden anxiety, they may experience the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive sweating
- Frequent urination or diarrhoea
- Muscle weakness
- Muscular tension
- Rapid heart rate
- Flustered thoughts
- Irregular body temperature
- Intense feelings of losing control or threatening doom
Why is High-Functioning Anxiety a Concern?
Untreated, long-term anxiety can have adverse effects on mental and physical health. Some of the more common results are:
- Depression, which is the most common co-occurring disorder;
- Substance use disorders;
- Eating disorders;
- Worsened chronic medical conditions, like heart disease, lung disease, gastrointestinal issues, stroke, asthma and irritable bowel syndrome;
- A decrease in quality of life and a possible shortened lifespan.
High-Functioning Anxiety often goes undiagnosed until seeing a health professional for other health conditions. It goes undetected for various reasons:
- It doesn’t look exactly like other anxiety disorders;
- Negative symptoms very often look like depression;
- Attitudes about the condition cause people not to seek help because they assume that it is normal. Furthermore, because the anxiety drives achievement, they believe they do not need or deserve support.
Getting Help for High-Functioning Anxiety
You can still achieve and succeed without the turmoil of hidden anxiety. Mental Health Professionals can help people with high-functioning anxiety understand themselves and change their relationship with the condition.