How to Spot High-Functioning Anxiety

While driving fears and driving anxiety may sometimes be extreme enough to stop you from driving, there’s another type of anxiety that can actually prompt you to get things done. This type of anxiety is what has become known as high-functioning anxiety.

This anxiety type is not an official medical diagnosis, but the phrase is becoming more common to describe someone with a state of mind that includes many symptoms of an anxiety disorder but is able to get through life anyway. In fact, the constant worrying can actually propel people into action that makes them a productive and apparently successful individual.

Yet the underlying anxiety can still eat away at their overall quality of life. It can be extremely uncomfortable, detrimental and result in a way of life that includes trudging through the day while figuratively gritting their teeth.

Since many conditions are recognized only when they impair a person’s ability to function and complete daily tasks, high-functioning anxiety may be able to fly below the radar of identification – yet still have a negative impact on the body and mind.

Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety

Several of the more common signs of high-functioning anxiety are outlined below. While many of these habits may crop up in everyone occasionally, those with high-functioning anxiety tend to suffer from them on an ongoing basis.

Constant worry about every little thing, which can range from wondering if you left the curling iron plugged in to fretting about a friend who didn’t call you the minute he or she got home.

Negative self-talk, such as telling yourself you’re worthless, unable to successfully complete a project, or any other messages that can go on and on in your head. Being unable to quiet the ongoing litany of self-doubt can eventually result in low self-esteem.

Taking things personally, especially when it comes to interpreting other people’s expressions and body language in a negative way. Those with high-functioning anxiety may wrongly believe every frown, scowl, bout of silence or other reaction has something to do with them.

Jumping to negative conclusions, with the worst case scenarios coming to mind when something doesn’t unfold as expected. If a friend doesn’t answer the phone, for example, someone with high-functioning anxiety could automatically deduce the pal must be mad at them – or dead.

Feeling like you’re in a giant spotlight, with everyone focused on and staring at you. Walking into a room or through a crowd can become an arduous task when you think all eyes are always upon you, although the thought is most likely false. People are actually too wrapped up in their own lives to pay much attention to anyone else.

Harboring high levels of guilt, particularly from believing that everything that goes wrong is somehow your fault. This feeling of guilt from “making” things go wrong can apply to everything and anything, even things that are beyond your control or clearly went wrong for other reasons.

Recognizing the signs of high-functioning anxiety is a terrific start for taking action to eliminate them. Some may be conquered by consciously ingraining new habits to change your thought patterns, along with help from therapy and other self-improvement methods.