According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 19% of adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder. With a rate this high, it is important to understand how anxiety presents in different ways in different people.
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety can actually be useful in some ways and is experienced to a certain degree by everyone at times. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, commonly referred to as GAD, is a diagnosable generalized form of anxiety.
There are four main features of anxiety to be aware of when recognizing whether or not what’s going on may be a diagnosable disorder.
- Autonomy: when the anxiety begins to happen on its own without a trigger or a minimal environmental trigger
- Intensity: When the anxiety exceeds an individual’s capacity to bear discomfort and is disproportionate to the situation
- Duration: when the anxiety becomes persistent rather than transient
- Behavior: when the anxiety impairs an individual’s coping and results in avoidance and or withdrawal
What is “High Functioning Anxiety”?
To start, high-functioning anxiety is not an actual diagnosis. There is no set-in-stone overview of what high-functioning anxiety entails. However, the symptoms can be just as detrimental as those of diagnosable forms of anxiety.
The main distinction between high-functioning anxiety and GAD is the lack of physical symptoms causing an influence on behavior. This is seen as a blessing and a curse for those experiencing high-functioning anxiety because the physical symptoms they may have are not noticeable to those around them or limit their ability to engage in an activity.
Signs to Watch Out For
The name can be misleading, with the inherent positive spin on anxiety. High-functioning anxiety is not an easy condition to deal with. According to Very Well Mind, these are some of the biggest signs to watch out for:
- Fear of driving others away, letting them down
- Constant talking, or nervous “chatter”
- Lost time
- Need for constant reassurance
- Tendency to dwell on the negative (cognitive distortions) or past mistakes
- Inability to say “no”
- Racing mind
- Limited social life
- Inability to relax or enjoy a pleasant activity
- Intimidation of the future
- Mental and physical fatigue
Pros and Cons?
Though the list above may make you think differently, there are actually both negative and positive effects that can come from experiencing high-functioning anxiety. Some highly functioning anxiety people will describe themselves as driven, active, successful, organized, and passionate. However, inevitably there can also be major repercussions. Those dealing with high-functioning anxiety will often be so caught up with doing everything “right” or pleasing everyone that their own well-being is an afterthought.
High-functioning anxiety comes with many different feelings, leading to failure and worry. Like the symptoms listed under GAD in the DSM, people with high-functioning anxiety will often fear anxiety past their point of bearable comfort yet continue to achieve. This is a dangerous combination.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
National Suicide Prevention Life