Anxiety is a part of our life. During a lifetime, we all experience anxiety in different situations connected to exams, relationships, job, and other things. So you should not worry because of anxiety, sure, only if it is temporary and situational, and does not last long, otherwise it can mean that with what you struggle, is an anxiety disorder. There are different types of anxiety disorder; however, high functioning anxiety is hard to recognize – a person may suffer from it, and you do not see any sign, as he/she usually seems okay, even though the inner world is not. In this article, we will discuss high functioning anxiety, its features, and treatment.
Is High Functioning Anxiety an Official Diagnosis?
High functioning anxiety is not an official diagnosis and is not mentioned in DSM-5.
“Typically, when I hear people talk about high-functioning anxiety, it means they may have many features of an anxiety disorder without the actual diagnosis,” says Jonathon Sikorski, Ph.D., director of wellness education and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
High Functioning Anxiety Features
High functioning anxiety has positive and negative features.
Positive features assume:
- Being organized,
- Being friendly and socially confident,
- Being active,
- Being an overachiever,
- Being pedantic,
- Looking calm from outside,
Negative features assume:
- Inability to say no,
- Nervous habits, such as playing with hair, or biting lips,
- Pacing back and forth,
- Racing and messy mind,
- Overly business,
- Frightened by the future,
- Comparing oneself to others,
- Getting upset over things that many people do not consider a big deal.
Dangers of High Functioning Anxiety
Some people with high functioning anxiety, do not consider the anxiety a big deal, and sometimes they can take it positively. It is usually connected to the success they may have due to anxiety, which helps them to overachieve and be organized. However, leaving high functioning anxiety untreated, is not a good idea; it can cause other health problems and may lead to death.
Below you can find some dangers of high functioning anxiety:
According to research, the risk of heart disease is two times higher in people with an anxiety history, than in those who did not have anxiety. There was also a study showing that approximately 60 percent of women with high levels of anxiety were more likely to have a heart attack, and about 30 percent were more likely to die from a heart attack.
Breathing problems are common for anxiety. In case of high functioning anxiety, it can be a bigger problem, as because of the inability to breathe, the body does not get enough oxygen. It can have a bad influence on body functions. The anxiety accompanied by chronic respiratory issues reduces life quality.
Gastrointestinal problems are general symptoms of anxiety (nausea or upset stomach). If it is left untreated, gastrointestinal issues can worsen. More studies are needed about the link between the development of gastrointestinal problems and anxiety.
High Functioning Anxiety Treatment
The treatment of high functioning anxiety is the same as for other anxiety disorders: psychotherapy and medications.
CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) helps to replace negative thoughts that cause anxiety, with positive and healthy ones. It can be helpful in high functioning anxiety.
Some medications are used to treat anxiety, reducing their symptoms. They include tricyclics, benzodiazepines, or antidepressants.
Exercises and techniques to cope with anxiety
You can also learn some exercises and techniques that may help you to cope with anxiety, such as relaxation techniques, physical exercises, exercises to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and others. You should also avoid using caffeine and alcohol, as well as quit cigarettes.
Recommended books and sources
- Uninvited Guest: The Art Of Living With Anxiety, Stress and Overwhelm
- The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It
- HFNE “Crystals for Anxiety”
- HFNE “Death Anxiety”
- Video – What It is Like to Have ‘High-Functioning’ Anxiety
FAQs about the topic “High Functioning Anxiety.”
Do you have high functioning anxiety?
To know if you have high functioning anxiety, you should pay attention to its signs, which are: people with high-functioning anxiety are often pedantic, socially confident, and friendly, as well as organized, however, internally, they have the symptoms of anxiety.
What are the symptoms of high anxiety?
The symptoms of high functioning anxiety are:
- Increased heart rate,
- Rapid breathing,
- Trouble sleeping,
- Muscle tension,
- Concentration problems,
- Panic attacks,
How do you describe anxiety?
To describe anxiety at first, you should know what it is and what symptoms it has. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress, a feeling of unease, such as worry and fear of what is ahead. If your anxiety lasts more than six months, it can mean that you have an anxiety disorder. The symptoms of anxiety are Increased heart rate, rapid breathing, trouble sleeping, headache, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, sweating, muscle tension, concentration problems, restlessness, irritability, worries, panic attacks, edginess, fear, uneasiness, nervousness, and apprehension.
How do you calm high anxiety?
To calm high anxiety, you should:
- Practice breathing techniques,
- Go for a walk,
- Practice yoga or regular physical exercises,
- Visualize yourself calm,
- Listen to music,
- Distract yourself from the thoughts that make you anxious,
- Practice other relaxation techniques,
- Write down your thoughts; it can help you get the negative thoughts out of your head.
What are the six types of anxiety disorders?
The six types of anxiety disorders are:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder,
- Panic Disorder,
- Social Phobia,
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Are bananas good for anxiety?
Bananas are good for anxiety, as they are rich with potassium. They can reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Pumpkin seeds are also potassium-rich food, and can help with anxiety, as well as are a source of the mineral zinc.
High functioning anxiety is not a diagnosis, but it assumes features of anxiety disorder. It has positive features as well, such as overachieving, punctuality, being organized, and others, which makes people not to seek treatment. However, you should know that untreated high functioning anxiety is dangerous and can worsen your state and cause more significant problems like heart disease, respiratory disease, or gastrointestinal problems. The ways to treat it are the same that are used for anxiety disorders: medications and psychotherapy, the combination of which shows positive results.