High Functioning Anxiety And Substance Use Disorders
We all feel a bit anxious at times. As humans, when we worry or anticipate the outcomes of important situations, its only natural to feel somewhat anxious. But when someone experiences prolonged feelings of anxiety that rarely subside, an anxiety disorder like high functioning anxiety may be present.
Substance use disorders can come from prolonged anxiety. Some people may look to relieve anxiety by taking drugs or drinking alcohol. On the other hand, certain drugs can cause anxiety or increase anxiety in a person.
When an individual has both an anxiety disorder and a substance abuse disorder, its called a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder.
Below Is A List Of Some Signs/symptoms Of High Functioning Anxiety:
Experiencing this alone can be overwhelming, especially since others may not know you are suffering. This is where therapy comes in. If you need help creating a more manageable life, one where you are living, progressing, and not just surviving, please call 201-488-6678 or our website to book an appointment today.
Days Off Feel Like More Work Than Work
A day off for someone with high-functioning anxiety is when you can finally get to all the other things you have on your to-do list, as opposed to using the day to recharge.
Facing chores, and a longer to-do list than there is time to finish it, with a depleted energy level can make these days feel even more taxing than a work day, Clark said. And odds are, you round out your days off focused more on what you didnt accomplish than what you did.
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Feeling Pushed By Fear
High achievers tend to be pulled toward their goals and by a desire to achieve them. They are happy with any steps made in the right direction. Perfectionists, on the other hand, tend to be pushed toward their goals by a fear of not reaching them and see anything less than a perfectly met goal as a failure.
Do Some Physical Exercise
We often forget to take care of our physical health where our anxiety is concerned. People with high anxiety are often lost in their minds and to break that cycle, you need to focus on understanding your body. Deep breathing, desk yoga, walking out in nature, and yoga are exercises that can help you break the cycle of ruminating thoughts.
When you feel overwhelmed, take five to ten minutes to relax and clear your mind.
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Symptoms Of High Functioning Anxiety
Symptoms like worry, restlessness, and trouble sleeping are common in anxiety disorders, but those with high functioning anxiety may not exhibit symptoms with the same frequency or intensity as others. Some people with high functioning anxiety will have an actual mental health diagnosis, while others will not have symptoms that meet the criteria for a disorder.
Some of the most common physical symptoms of high functioning anxiety include:4
- Being overly fatigued and easily tired
- Physical tension with tight muscles
- Problems with falling asleep or staying asleep
- Changes in heart rate with palpitations, pounding heartbeat, and quicker pulse
- Increased sweating
- Feeling shaky
- An inability to sit still or appearing fidgety
In addition to the physical signs and symptoms of high functioning anxiety, there are several potential emotional symptoms that may arise:4
- Excessive anxiety or worry
- Intense fear connected to certain people, places, or things
Causes And Risk Factors For Anxiety
People with high-functioning anxiety have difficulties because of the ways their inner feelings deal with outside people, things, and situations. The roots of anxiety can often be traced back to past adolescent experiences and even personality traits the person has always had.
Some of the most common risk factors for high-functioning anxiety include:
- Highly critical or demanding parents
- Childhood shyness
- Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in childhood
- Exposure to trauma or traumatic events, either as a witness or through experience
- Family history of anxiety disorders, especially in parents
- Personal history of depression
- Long-term legal or financial problems
High-functioning anxiety can be a result of one or all of these factors.
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A Mindfulness Meditation Script
The heart and soul of mindfulness meditation comes with choosing a meditation script to follow. You can find everything from very basic scripts to those developed specifically for targeted problems.
Most meditation scripts will follow the same essential pattern. You will learn how to focus on your breath, separate yourself from analytical thoughts, and develop an open awareness of your mind and body.
Anxiety: The Daily Struggle Is Real
For those of us who experience anxiety, we understand the nerves, worries, constant concern, and daily stress that affects our whole beings. It affects more than just our mood and personality, but our day-to-day lives our relationships, our jobs, and our mental and physical health. It can be hard to hide, especially when the anxiety is particularly intense. For those struggling with anxiety, it can be a constant battle of learning how to manage it and gain the ability to succeed in the daily grind of our personal and professional lives.
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Your Routine Getting Disrupted Makes You Feel Upset
When your go-to move for coping with your anxiety is planning ahead , an outside force derailing your plans can be upsetting.
Responding with upset feelings may be a secondary emotion to fear in this situation, Claney said. Because getting disrupted also means being unprepared, the fear of losing control can lead to more anxiety.
Seek Treatment To Avoid The Emergency Room
Its important to seek treatment for a dual diagnosis to avoid mental and physical harm or complications. A research report found that, in 2007, about 1 in 8 hospital emergency room visits made by adult Americans were due to a mental health and/or substance abuse problem.6 The most common reasons were:6
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When To Seek Treatment For High
Someone dealing with any level of anxiety can benefit from talk therapy and possibly medication for anxiety to help ease their struggles. Even if you do not have a formal diagnosis, therapy can help anyone to process their life and foster good mental health. Especially if you are struggling with anxiety alone internally, reach out for mental health professional help and support.
All levels of anxiety are impactful and you deserve help if its harming your mental health in any way. Early intervention also prevents your anxiety and mental health from getting worse. Anxiety is highly treatable and many effective treatment options are available.
Coping Strategies For High
There are many strategies that offer relief from dealing with anxiety. In the moment, anxiety feels overwhelming. By learning healthy coping skills and striving for balance, anxiety becomes more manageable. According to Anwar, some great strategies for coping with high-functioning anxiety include:
- Foster a healthy lifestyle and work-life balance
- Prioritize getting enough, good quality sleep
- Make sure to eat a balanced diet regularly throughout the day
- Engage in mindfulness and meditation to relax
- Practice self-care to ensure youre taking care of yourself and your basic needs
- Regularly engage in activities that bring you joy to help avoid burnout and ease stress
The list goes on as there are many tried-and-true practices available for dissipating anxiety. Different strategies work for everyone, just as everyones anxiety takes varying forms. Consulting a mental health professional can help you find what works best for you.
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How To Get Help For A Loved One
If your loved one is not convinced of the need for treatment, getting them help can be complicated. You may want to kindly offer some reasons why anxiety therapy and/or medication could be helpful for them. Providing them with local treatment providers, being by their side while making the appointment, and heading to the appointment with them are all great ways to show your concern and support.
Throughout the process, make sure to let them know you are always on their side. Discuss the appointments and treatments with them as much as they are comfortable. Always continue the conversation about mental health and make yourself available.
The Consequences Of High Functioning Anxiety
Simply put: Burnout.
Eventually, those struggling with high functioning anxiety will crash and burnout.
They might be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome or present with severe anxiety that now debilitates them.
High functioning anxiety is often misdiagnosed as burnout and the remedy is to do less. They might be referred to retreats and advised to take more time for self-care. And while all of these are helpful, they do not address the root cause.
The root cause is anxiety.
When the root cause is overlooked, the problem simply returns.
So, how do you know you if you have high functioning anxiety?
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What Is Mold Toxicity
Mold toxicity is a collection of symptoms resulting from exposure to mycotoxins due to mold growth in indoor environments.
Airborne mold spores themselves are largely harmless, as they float around naturally both indoors and outdoors. But it’s when they find a moist, stagnant place to grow that they become a problem.
As they multiply, mold spores then produce mycotoxins, which cause an inflammatory reaction by your immune system. Mold spores commonly live under ceiling tiles, flooring, and carpet where there’s moisture and little ventilation.
Different mold species grow indoors, as well as the species commonly referred to as ‘toxic black mold’. Black mold exposure is dangerous and should be treated for removal by a professional mold remediator.
When Youre With Others Your Mind Is Often Elsewhere
With high-functioning anxiety comes mental preoccupation, which can leave you stewing about work when kicking back with friends or obsessing over the spat you had with your partner during a meeting.
Because youre used to processing things quickly, and often in your head, being fully present with others can be a challenge, Clark said. When youre used to the rush of being on all the time, this can make downtime feel unsettling, no matter how much you care about the people youre spending time with. As a result, this can cause you guessed it more anxiety.
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Type A Type B And Type D Personalities
Type A personality traits, including competitiveness, time urgency, and a tendency toward workaholism, can be seen as beneficial for career success. In contrast, Type B personalities tend to be less focused on competitiveness and more on enjoying the journey.
This doesn’t mean that Type Bs don’t like to achieve. They may work hard and take real pride in their accomplishments, but they don’t attach the same stress to their outcomes if they don’t come in first or achieve the most, something that tends to create significant stress in Type As. Type Bs also tend to be more creative and low-stress by nature. Fortunately, some of this relaxed perspective can be learned and developed.
A somewhat newer personality type known as Type D is distinct from Type A and Type B. Type D is characterized by negative emotions like worry and an attempt to inhibit these emotions, while avoiding social interaction.
These factors can also cause significant stress and negative health outcomes. Fortunately, as with Type A traits, there are effective ways to combat Type D traits like negativity, excessive worry, and inhibition.
Traits Of Type A Behavior
While the term Type A is thrown around often, its not always fully known what specific characteristics make up Type A personality, even among experts. For some people, the term applies to rude and impatient people. Others see workaholics as Type A. Many see competitiveness as the main characteristic. According to research, the following characteristics are the hallmark characteristics of Type A Behavior Pattern :
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You Get Upset Over Things Most People Dont Think Are A Big Deal
People with anxiety tend to be sensitive to their environment. You feel things more deeply, are more aware of subtle differences and are almost always using internal resources to tolerate irritants in the background, even if you arent consciously aware of it, Clark said.
A minor irritant to most can be a major irritant for someone with high-functioning anxiety. The more you need things to be a certain way to manage your anxiety, the more upset youll become when things, well, arent, Rego added.
What Is It Like To Have High
People living with high-functioning anxiety and depression usually do not fit the stereotype of either disorder. In fact, many appear to be overachievers. The anxiety can serve as an energizer, driving the person towards achieving his or her goals. Its later, when in private, that the symptoms of depression tend to emerge. Feelings of self-doubt and self-criticism, fatigue, helplessness or guilt, moodiness, and a desire to avoid interaction with others become intensified. Because the stereotypical image of depression or anxiety doesnt match up with what people living with high-functioning anxiety and depression look like, it is hard to spot, even for sufferers to recognize in themselves. However, the symptoms of high-functioning anxiety and depression are the same as for non-high functioning anxiety and depression. The main difference is the ability to suppress or diminish the appearance of disruptions in life activities.
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Famous People With High Functioning Anxiety
When trying to raise awareness of a social issue like mental illness, it can be helpful to identify well-known or famous people as examples.
Stars such as Barbra Streisand and Donny Osmond, and athletes like Zack Greinke and Ricky Williams, have all been forthcoming about their experiences with high functioning anxiety.
Scott Stossel, the national editor of The Atlantic,has written extensively about his experiences with anxiety in the context of his achievements.
What Do Our Readers Think
For this article we ran a series of polls on our social media platforms, to gauge what our readers think about this contentious issue.
The question was: Do you think high-functioning anxiety and depression is a helpful alternative way to understand some peoples lived experience?
On the results were close, with 37 votes in total, 51.4% voted yes, while 48.6% voted no.
On , the votes were far more conclusive. Out of 631 votes in total, 75% voted yes and only 25% no.
On our , 97% of respondents voted yes to high-functioning anxiety and 94% of respondents voted yes for high-functioning depression.
On our Instagram we encouraged those with any insights into the phenomenon of high-functioning anxiety and depression to message us with their thoughts. One respondent, named Alice, had some very interesting thoughts in response to our question:
Yes, but noI think its actually referring to people that have gone undiagnosed and have consequently developed their own coping mechanisms which are more like a temporary fix.
She continued, To elaborate, I mean people who have lived with anxiety/any condition for an extended period of time, i.e childhood and havent been diagnosed or self-identified until adulthood by which time theyve developed ways of coping. Also, very relevant in the case of ADHD. I think it makes it harder to seek help and to create more appropriate ways of dealing with said condition.
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Giving Hope To The World
Benita’s story has since gone viral and touched the heart of many people of all ages. Benita treats Don like he’s her own grandfather. In fact, she considers her gesture to be a way to honor her grandparents Angelina and Blas who have passed. On her social networks, the new family shares that they love Don like he’s their new grandfather.
Since sharing their story, the family has received a lot of support and strangers have even made offers to help Don. They continue to live together and have shared pictures of their family bonding time. Don looks happy and full of gratitude.
Common Behaviors Of High
Because anxiety floods you in an intense physical and mental way, symptoms lead to challenging thoughts, behaviors, and habits. High-functioning anxiety comes with thought patterns of insecurity and perfectionism, also contributing to difficulty sleeping and burnout.
Main behaviors of high-functioning anxiety include:
- Intrusive thoughts that worsen anxiety
- Lack of sleep or poor sleep
- Fear of failure
- A constant need to stay busy
- Perfectionism and overachievement
- Overthinking and rumination
Most of these are internalized experiences that others around an individual experiencing high-functioning anxiety dont recognize. This is why increasing awareness of the forms high-functioning anxiety takes is important in helping you or a loved one.
Another sign to watch out for is frequently using unhealthy coping mechanisms to ease anxiety such as substance abuse, the misuse of food and exercise, or other harmful habits. These can be ways someone with high-functioning gets through the day, but if these behaviors go on unchecked, it could lead to a more serious mental health crisis.
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The Power Of One Person
Benita Dearz / Facebook
Benita may have been just one person but she completely changed this man’s life and restored hope in humanity by sharing their story. Rather than send Don back out on the street, she gave him a second chance at life and at a family. She welcomed him into her family like he was one of their own.
Benita ended up adopting Don and giving him shelter withiin her own home. She didn’t do it out of pity or because she was forced to. She genuinely just felt a calling for it out of the kindness of her heart, ad seeing the way it changed Don and brought happiness back into his life was enough of a thank you. Benita wrote: This is how Don Felipe looks, a little bath, a new change, and the best thing is a family dinner.