Causes & Triggers Of High Functioning Anxiety
The causes and triggers of high functioning anxiety include numerous biological and environmental elements, from family genetics to traumatic events. Some people will have a strong biological predisposition to high functioning anxiety from birth, while others will be significantly influenced by the characteristics of their life experiences.
Some of the most common causes and triggers of high functioning anxiety include:4
- Certain personality traits like being shy and quiet
- Being exposed to highly stressful events during childhood like abuse, trauma, living in dangerous areas, and family chaos
- Relatives who have anxiety disorders or other mental health conditions
- Substance use disorders, especially when the substance used is a stimulant like cocaine, caffeine, or medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as these can create higher levels of anxiety
- Thyroid or heart problems, since these may create or worsen symptoms of anxiety
In some situations, a person could have just one cause of high functioning anxiety and that will be enough to produce symptoms. Other times, the individual could have multiple causes without fully experiencing the effects of high functioning anxiety. In either case, the expression of symptoms comes down to the balance between risk factors and protective factors.
Anxiety And Substance Use Disorders
Research shows a high correlation between anxiety and substance use. Although the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder is higher with a serious mental illness , high-functioning anxiety leads to its own set of risks.
For example, people in this group are more likely to habitually use tobacco products, marijuana and kratom. Anxiety and fear of failure has also led to a rise in nootropics like Adderall and Ritalin, particularly on college campuses. Notably, all of these drugs only provide temporary relief and can make long-term anxiety worse.
People with high-functioning anxiety are also at risk of abusing prescription anti-anxiety medications, which are increasingly available on the street. Alarmingly, many anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, are highly addictive and meant only for short-term, monitored use. Its important never to take anxiety medication unless under a doctors care.
Its also important to recognize the impact of drinking with anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines, even if you have a prescription and even if youre not abusing alcohol. Since benzodiazepines and alcohol are both depressants, mixing the substances can dangerously lower heart rate and depress the central nervous system. Notably, mixing alcohol with any medication can change the intended effect of that medication in a dangerous way.
Treatment For High Functioning Anxiety At Incontact
The treatment for high functioning anxiety involves mostly eclectic psychotherapy approaches. This could include cognitive behavioural therapy, systemic therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, an overall eclectic based approach. The treatment for high functioning anxiety generally tends to pinpoint the roots of this anxiety which typically stems from self deprecating perception of oneself. Through therapy we assist you to develop more awareness of yourself and overall encourage behavioural changes that could be contributing to high functioning anxiety
Medication can also be prescribed for the purpose of reducing anxiety related symptoms. This can include intake of antidepressants i.e selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and/or benzodiazepines which is an anti anxiety medication.
At Incontact, we work based on a philosophy that everyone is unique and requires a distinct therapeutic touch to their treatment. This helps us create a plan well suited to your needs.
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Negative Traits Of High Functioning Anxiety
With the case of someone with high functioning anxiety, there may be a struggle that often lives below the successful image.
People dont know that these actions are caused by anxiety and pressures because its apart of them its who they are.
Though it says high functioning, day by day it might vary. Youll have great days, bad days, and day days.
- The people pleaser fear of being a bad friend/person/partner, letting others down, or afraid of pushing people away
- Nervous talk not fully comfortable in silence
- Nervous traits playing with your hair, biting your lip, constant leg shaking, cracking your knuckles
- Overthinking, racing mind and rumination
- Need for reassurance
- Avoiding eye contact
You See The World In A Fundamentally Different Way
Although you may question your anxiety and second guess yourself, your feelings arent just in your head. Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that people who are anxious actually see the world differently than people who arent anxious. In the study, anxious people were less able to distinguish between a safe stimulus and one that was previously associated with a threat. The researchers believe this shows that anxious people overgeneralize their emotional experiences even if they arent actually dangerous.
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How Generalised Anxiety Disorder Is Treated
GAD can have a significant effect on your daily life, but several different treatments are available that can ease your symptoms.
- medicine such as a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
With treatment, many people are able to control their anxiety levels. But some treatments may need to be continued for a long time and there may be periods when your symptoms worsen.
Clinical Outreach Specialist Europe Division
Dr. Sanchez works closely with Truvida Recovery patients regarding substance abuse and related mental illnesses and creates a supportive, cooperative and informed therapeutic environment. Her areas of expertise include Substance Dependence, Dual Diagnosis, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic Disorder, Bereavement, Acute stress disorder, and more. Ms Sanchez has extensive training with experts in the field of Substance Abuse, and mood and thought disorders underlying the substance use. She received a Bachelors degree from University of California, Los Angeles and Medical Degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She continues training at the UC Irvine Psychiatry Residency Program and has been recognized with the Outstanding Resident of the Year Award.
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Coping With Drugs Or Alcohol
People with high-functioning anxiety may use drugs to work longer. Drugs can provide a rush that gives them more energy. They may become dependent on drugs or alcohol for feelings of happiness or pleasure.
Some people may recognize that their behavior isnt healthy. But they dont seek professional help. They turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with their problems.
How Does It Link To Depression
However, there may be a potential link between high functioning anxiety and depression. The National Alliance for Mental Illness indicates that 60% of people with anxiety will also have symptoms of depression.
People with high functioning anxiety may be less likely than others to seek treatment. Research indicates that people often only seek help when they struggle to cope with their symptoms. Those with high functioning anxiety often manage very well in some areas of their lives.
Also, individuals may only seek help when they their symptoms as being a problem. Individuals with high functioning anxiety may view some anxiety symptoms, such as perfectionism, as positive traits that help them progress and achieve.
However, chronic anxiety may adversely impact their self-esteem and mental health in other ways, contributing to depression.
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How To Get Help
You can take steps to help manage your anxietyjust make sure you do indeed take care of yourself. People often think they are fine because they get praise and approval from others about their leadership or accomplishments, explains Carrie Krawiec, a marriage and family therapist at Birmingham Maple Clinic in Troy, MI. But ignoring it can cause burn out and increase your risk of physical health issues, sleep problems, relationship problems, anger, irritability, depression. Individual or group therapy, along with medication, can help treat anxiety. Youll learn to replace worrisome thoughts and behaviours with more beneficial coping strategies. Therefore, youll start to feel comfortable about things that previously left you anxious, she explains.
Do I Have High Functioning Anxiety
People suffering from high functioning anxiety tend to keep it hidden from others, all the while becoming adept at managing its symptoms. They may not even realize that anything is wrong. Many have simply lived with HFA for so long that their responses are just what they consider normal for them.
Additionally, those suffering from HFA arent necessarily responding to external forces that present in their everyday lives. Instead, they react internally to the conditions holistic nature. The stresses and tensions that send them internally into turmoil are not always observable by others. On the outside, a person living with high functioning anxiety may appear to others as though there is nothing wrong. They often appear overachieving, meeting every work, family and personal obligation. Underneath that façade however, anxietys burdens are taking their toll physically, psychologically and emotionally. Over a period of years, HFA can manifest itself into mental health issues noted in the DSM-5.
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Getting Help For High
Many treatment options exist for anxiety, ranging from therapy to self-directed mindfulness techniques. Self-care is also important. Getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and taking time to get outside can all help to lower anxiety levels.
If anxiety is part of your daily life, dont be afraid to get professional help, even if you dont think you have a diagnosable anxiety disorder. Treatment isnt just about coping to manage basic life responsibilities its about managing anxiety in a way that promotes your happiness and long-term mental health.
Professional treatment can also help you identify any co-occurring mental health disorders or conditions for which you may need medication. By working with a team, you can develop a plan for your anxiety that considers all important factors, including your medical history, goals, and time available for treatment.
Have questions about anxiety disorders? We can help. Call the number below or ask a question in the chat box to learn about options for treating anxiety.
Research On Mindfulness Meditation For Anxiety
A 2014 study showed that state anxiety of participants was reduced when they meditated. This reduction was linked to the activation of three brain structures, the anterior cingulate cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and anterior insula. Activation of these brain regions was strongly related to anxiety relief, and confirmed that mindfulness meditation reduces anxiety by helping individuals to regulate their thinking patterns.
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You Cant Just Stop It
Just stopping it isnt an option for people with anxiety.
In fact, the above-mentioned researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science found that people who are anxious have somewhat different brains than people who arent anxious, so they cant control their anxious reactions.
However, you can learn to cope with your anxiety I am. Want do start dealing with your anxiety? Below are some articles that will help.
Anxiety And Substance Abuse Disorders
Anxiety and substance use disorders are among the most prevalent psychiatric problems in the US. 6 Research shows that having an anxiety or substance use disorder is also a risk factor for the development of the other disorder.
Research also has found that when anxiety and substance use disorders co-occur, they are interwoven in both the advancement and preservation of both illnesses. It is important to seek treatment for high functioning anxiety to help prevent the development or worsening of other medical, mental health, or substance abuse issues.
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Look For Times When You Dont Have To Be Perfect
People with high-functioning anxiety often strive for perfection in all areas of their lives, even when they dont need to. If you have to do everything perfectly, thats surely taking a lot of time. What are you giving up because of that? Bufka said. I try to help people figure out whats good enough and how you decide when something has to be just right. For example, surgery has to be just right. But my kitchen doesnt have to be spotless.
Its hard to get outside your thoughts and figure out where good enough is acceptable. It can help to change your point of view. What would you say to a good friend in your situation? Or, how would you judge a good friend? If youre anxious because your house or children arent perfect, ask yourself what you would think if you walked into a friends house would you judge it as messy or think the children werent well behaved?
What To Know If You Love Someone With High
When someone you love has high-functioning anxiety, it isnt always obvious. And success in life whether recognition at work or, say, being particularly sparkly at a party doesnt mean he or she isnt dealing with something internally.
While those living with the condition are dealing with debilitating side effects, they hide it well even from their loved ones or significant others. People who struggle with the disorder often experience excessive worry and panic, headaches and more.
As with any mental health condition, the more people know about it, the better. Education is critical when it comes to erasing stigma and less stigma could mean more people with disorders will reach out for help. Research shows negative stereotypes often prevent people with mental health issues from seeking treatment.
We asked our Facebook communities to share what they want their partners and families to know about high-functioning anxiety as a way to shine a light on the condition. Below are some things to keep in mind if you love someone who is dealing with it:
1. Routine tasks can feel impossible.
Some daily activities that may seem easy for them are not for me. Shopping, going to the post office, school, etc. Its not easy and sometimes there are days that I cant fake it and pretend that my anxiety isnt out of control. Sabrina Campbell
2. There are physical symptoms on top of the emotional ones.
Youve Been Stressed For A Long Time
Everyone feels worried, anxious, and stressed sometimes. Its normal to feel anxious during midterms or if your dad is dealing with some scary health issues. But if youre going on months or even years of feeling stressed and anxious, then thats something else.
Signs And Symptoms Of High
In contrast to those with a formal, clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder, a person with high-functioning anxiety typically wont have the intense physical symptoms that can stand in the way of everyday life. While they may have physical reactions such as sweaty palms, increased heart rate, and/or butterflies in the stomach, these symptoms arent typically intense enough to affect daily activities or to be noticed by others.
Many people have compared the symptoms of high-functioning anxiety to the formal diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder . Both conditions involve a vague, ever-present feeling of anxiety, but the high-functioning version of anxiety doesnt involve the specific triggers, avoidant behaviors, or intense physical reactions that are symptoms of GAD.
People who suffer from high-functioning anxiety are able to push through their anxious feelings and fulfill obligations with their families, friends, and careers. They conquer these feelings despite often having discomfort involving interactions with people, environments, or situations that cause them stress.
There are many physical and behavioral symptoms that are a part of high-functioning anxiety. Some of these symptoms include:
The goals people with high-functioning anxiety set for themselves are often unrealistic or impossible. Failure to meet their goals can further reinforce their self-doubts and constant feelings of tension and not being good enough.
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