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Behind the mask: Managing high-functioning anxiety

1 1 year ago

It’s normal to feel anxious at times, especially in a stressful situation. But for some people, excessive and ongoing anxiety can be challenging to control and often interferes with daily activities. This can be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are common, affecting millions of people worldwide. About 6.8 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, but the number of people experiencing anxiety likely is significantly higher.

High-functioning anxiety is a subset of generalized anxiety disorder that often goes unnoticed or undiagnosed. It occurs when a person has anxiety symptoms, but rather than retreating from situations or interactions, they work hard to face their fears and are skilled at covering up symptoms.

Do I Have High-Functioning Anxiety? | Henry Ford Health - Detroit, MIDefining high-functioning anxiety

High-functioning anxiety is not recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Instead, it usually is diagnosed as generalized anxiety disorder.

The term “high-functioning anxiety” represents people who exhibit anxiety symptoms while maintaining a high level of functionality in various aspects of their lives. They often are successful in careers or other roles, yet internally struggle with persistent feelings of stress, self-doubt and the fear of not measuring up. They feel extremely uncomfortable inside and struggle with significant self-criticism.

To an outside observer, people with high-functioning anxiety may appear to excel and be in control. They don’t appear to avoid or retreat from life. They may have successful careers, participate in many volunteer or community activities and have strong personal relationships. Yet behind this facade, these people have persistent thoughts of worry, fear and high-stress levels or feel on edge.

High-functioning anxiety symptoms

There are emotional and physical symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorder. The symptoms of high-functioning anxiety mirror many of these, but some may be more prominent.

In addition to general nervousness, worry and feeling tense, people with high-functioning anxiety may internally struggle with:

-Fears of criticism or significant self-criticism

-Fears of looking inadequate or foolish to others

-Feeling on the edge or on the verge of losing control

-Feeling a sense of impending doom

-Significant stress

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1 comments

  1. jboero2022

    Well done! It is onpoint, Congrats

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