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What Is High-Functioning Anxiety?

Living with anxiety can be incredibly challenging, and individuals cope quite differently. For some, it’s a debilitating condition that severely impairs function in major areas such as employment or relationships. For others, anxiety wreaks havoc on their internal landscape while outside observers have no idea that they are struggling. In these latter cases, high-functioning anxiety may be present. 

To learn more about what high-functioning anxiety is or get help at a qualified anxiety treatment center, call 1.844.675.1628 or reach out online. The caring team at The Right Step Hill Country would be happy to help you find effective resources and support. 

What Are the Signs of High-Functioning Anxiety? 

All forms of anxiety can vary in the ways in which they present to observers and the severity of impact on the person affected. Moreover, the same person may experience very different symptoms or levels of anxiety over the course of their life. Factors like stress, finances, employment, nutrition, relationships, and substance use can all affect how a person experiences and manages anxiety.

So, “What is high-functioning anxiety?” High-functioning anxiety is, in some ways, particularly insidious, mainly because it’s hard to spot. Those struggling may perform very well at work, for example. They may also give little indication that anything is wrong on a personal level. A doctor’s evaluation is the most effective way to gain insight into diagnosis and treatment. 

In the meantime, here are some signs that you or a loved one might be living with high-functioning anxiety: 

  • Perfectionism and high-achieving behavior due to deep fear of failure 
  • Compulsive desire to be busy and feel in control 
  • Mental exhaustion or sleep disturbance, such as insomnia and fatigue 
  • Procrastination alternating with periods of intense productivity 
  • Restlessness of difficulty focussing 
  • Overthinking, overanalyzing, or fixating on worst-case scenarios 
  • Dwelling on past mistakes or ruminating about perceived inadequacies 
  • People-pleasing behaviors may make it hard to set healthy boundaries 
  • Excessive worry, fear, and irritability 
  • Physical habits like fidgeting, nail-biting, and hair-pulling
  • Frequently comparing oneself to others and engaging in negative self-talk 
  • Difficulty relaxing or being present at the moment 
  • Using substances to try to dull unpleasant emotions or thoughts 

If you are still wondering what high-functioning anxiety is, reach out to The Right Step Hill Country, and our team can help you or a loved one better understand this condition. 

How Can High-Functioning Anxiety Relate to Substance Use? 

It’s quite common for mental health concerns like anxiety to contribute to substance use. For instance, a person may develop problematic drinking as a way to manage social anxiety. Substance use can also trigger the onset or worsening of mental health issues like anxiety. For instance, prolonged cocaine use can trigger anxiety that persists even if the person stops using. 

Because the interplay between substance use and mental health issues is complex and mutually impactful, it’s important to address both simultaneously. Otherwise, even an effective treatment for one may not last long. The untreated parallel concern will likely recur and cause both conditions to worsen. At a qualified treatment center like Hill Country, we practice dual diagnosis. This means our care staff is on the lookout for this nuanced interplay of mental health and behavior. 

Effective treatments for anxiety often include cognitive-behavioral therapy. Here, clients learn to reframe negative or intrusive thoughts and thus ease their emotional states. Mindfulness practice, whether introduced in therapeutic styles like dialectical-behavioral therapy or holistic offerings like yoga or tai chi, can likewise work wonders in helping clients cope.

Consciously practicing present-moment awareness and disidentifying with one’s troubling mental contents can significantly increase well-being in all realms of experience. Indeed, because anxiety of all kinds often has a strong physiological component, body practices are frequently recommended. They help clients regulate their nervous systems and cultivate healthy physical outlets. 

Learn More About Effective Anxiety and Dual Diagnosis Treatment at The Right Step Hill Country 

If you or someone you care about is living with anxiety, know that you’re not alone. In a society that often condones stress and fundamental valuation based on material achievement, it’s understandable that many struggle with mental health concerns. For substance use and mental health treatment in Wimberley, TX, call Hill Country at 1.844.675.1628 or reach out to us online today. 

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