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High Functioning Anxiety

"A person with high-functioning anxiety is fully functional and usually successful,” says Sasha Hamdani, M.D. a psychiatrist at the Psychiatry Associates of Kansas City, Kansas. “They’ll perform well at their job, handle all of their finances, balance their home life, maintain relationships, but they’re still struggling with anxious feelings and thoughts.”

High-functioning anxiety is not a diagnosis; therefore, you may not find a lot of information or research on it. Instead, it typically refers to someone who may experience anxiety while managing daily life. Can one recover from high-functioning anxiety and if so, how?

First, one must acknowledge their symptoms. Some common symptoms of high-functioning anxiety include:

▪ Constantly overthinking and overanalyzing.

▪ Fear of failure and striving for perfection.

▪ Insomnia and fatigue.

▪ The need to please others and difficulty saying no.

▪ Tendency to dwell on past mistakes.

▪ Nervous habits such as nail-biting, hair twirling, or leg shaking.

In addition to symptoms, one may want to look at the causes. There are many causes of anxiety, including a family history of anxiety disorders, exposure to negative or stressful life events, or substance or alcohol abuse. Those who have achieved success in short periods of time may also feel these causes, as they continuously strive for more than what they currently have.

How can one avoid anxiety or recover from unforeseen circumstances that may lead them to anxiety? If possible, try to avoid stressful or strenuous situations. Also, set goals and allow yourself to celebrate when each goal is achieved. Therapy and loved ones can help set goals if one with anxiety feels too anxious to do so alone. Anxiety can be avoided or recovered from if symptoms are recognized. Most importantly, know that you can receive help and that you’re not alone.

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Donald Moye
Donald Moye

Thank you Ms. Nicole for your article on high functioning anxiety. As you stated high functioning anxiety is not a diagnosis so I appreciate you pointing out the symptoms to acknowledge. Without admitting that a problem exits it's highly improbable that it can be resolved. Hopefully your article will help many.

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