How High Functioning Is Determined
There is little research on the topic of high functioning anxiety, but we do know that there is an optimal level of anxiety that fuels performance .
Based on this concept, your ability to function at a higher level might be increased if you had a mild to moderate level of anxiety .
IQ may also play a role in how well people with anxiety function in work and life. A 2005 study found that financial managers with high levels of anxiety made the best money managersas long as they also had a high IQ.
Panic Attacks & Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is a debilitating anxiety disorder that is very different from GAD. Panic disorder is not about “panicking.” It’s not about getting very worried because you might lose your job or a lion is about to attack you in the jungle. That type of panic is normal.
Panic disorder is when you experience severe feelings of doom that cause both mental and physical symptoms that can be so intense that some people call an ambulance, worried that something is dangerously wrong with their health.
Panic disorder is characterized by two things:
- Panic attacks.
- Fear of getting panic attacks.
Panic attacks are intense physical and mental sensations that can be triggered by stress, anxiety, or by nothing at all. They often involve mental distress, but are most well-known for their physical symptoms, including:
- Rapid heartbeat .
- Excessive sweating or hot/cold flashes.
- Tingling sensations, numbness, or weakness in the body.
- Depersonalization .
- Trouble breathing or feeling as though you’ve had a deep breath.
- Lightheadedness or dizziness.
- Chest pain or stomach pain.
- Digestive problems and/or discomfort.
Panic attacks may have some or all of the above physical symptoms, and may also involve unusual symptoms as well, like headaches, ear pressure, and more. All of these symptoms feel very real, which is why those that experience panic attacks often seek medical attention for their health.
Who Can Diagnose Anxiety Disorders
If your provider finds no signs of physical illness, they may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. These mental health professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They may use specially designed interview and assessment tools to figure out if you have an anxiety disorder. Typically, the provider bases a diagnosis on:
- Your reported symptoms, including how intense they are and how long they last.
- Discussion of how the symptoms interfere with your daily life.
- The providers observation of your attitude and behavior.
Providers also consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . The American Psychiatric Association publishes the DSM-5. Its the standard reference manual for diagnosing mental illnesses.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety
You may have an anxiety disorder if you often feel scared, worried or nervous, or if you always worry that something bad is going to happen.
Anxiety can affect someones ability to concentrate, sleep and carry out ordinary tasks at work, home or school. People with anxiety disorders often feel they have to avoid stressful situations and, in extreme cases, avoid going out altogether.
Physical symptoms are common and include shortness of breath, a pounding heart and trembling hands.
You can find more information about anxiety symptoms here.
How Can I Best Cope With An Anxiety Disorder
There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:
- Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as through meditation.
- Join support groups: These groups are available in-person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences and coping strategies.
- Get educated: Learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so you feel more in control. Help friends and loved ones understand the disorder as well so they can support you.
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorder find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your provider is your partner in your care. If you feel like treatment isnt working or have questions about your medication, contact your provider. Together, you can figure out how to best move forward.
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Scoring The Anxiety Disorder Test
The more times you answered yes on the anxiety disorder quiz, the more likely it is you may suffer from an anxiety disorder.
Sections one and two of the anxiety disorder test are designed to indicate an anxiety disorder, while sections three and four screen for conditions that may complicate anxiety disorders – such asdepression or substance use.
If you answered mostly yes in any one section, or in the anxiety disorder quiz overall, you should print this page with your answers and discuss them with a mental health or healthcare professional.
Remember, only a trained, mental health professional like your family doctor, a psychiatrist or psychologist can diagnose a mental illness.
Causes Of Anxiety Disorder
Some causes of anxiety disorders are:
- Genetics. Anxiety disorders can run in families.
- Brain chemistry. Some research suggests anxiety disorders may be linked to faulty circuits in the brain that control fear and emotions.
- Environmental stress. This refers to stressful events you have seen or lived through. Life events often linked to anxiety disorders include childhood abuse and neglect, a death of a loved one, or being attacked or seeing violence.
- Drug withdrawal or misuse. Certain drugs may be used to hide or decrease certain anxiety symptoms. Anxiety disorder often goes hand in hand with alcohol and substance use.
- Medical conditions. Some heart, lung, and thyroid conditions can cause symptoms similar to anxiety disorders or make anxiety symptoms worse. Itâs important to get a full physical exam to rule out other medical conditions when talking to your doctor about anxiety.
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Treatments For Social Anxiety Disorders
Social anxiety disorder is often treated with cognitive behavioral therapy . CBT guides patients away from distorted thinking patterns like assuming that everyone is judging them or dislikes them and works to help patients stop avoiding situations that cause social anxiety. Medication can also be used to calm the physical symptoms of anxiety, but it is most effective in conjunction with CBT.
Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
There are many types of anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder , agoraphobia, and panic disorder. The common trait among these conditions is persistent, excessive anxiety or fearful thoughts in one or more situations.
In other words, people with an anxiety disorder experience fear or anxiety that is disproportionate to the situation . Many people with an anxiety disorder recognize this, but that alone doesnt help to lessen the symptoms.
Depending on the type of anxiety disorder you have, you might experience anxiety when faced with a specific situation or object, or you might find that many things trigger your anxiety throughout the day.
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How Do I Deal With Anxiety
There are many ways to deal with anxiety and combining a variety of approaches may help. For those with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, a combination of psychotherapy alongside a medication plan can be very effective. For those who experience anxiety from time to time, there are a variety of relaxation techniques to try that may qualm feelings of worry or fear: breathing techniques, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are just some examples of techniques to try. Finding a distraction, taking part in physical activity, and talking to someone you trust are also all great options for relieving everyday anxiety.
How Is Anxiety Diagnosed
A mental health expert or medical doctor can diagnose anxiety. Theyll use different criteria based on the guidance of the DSM-5 to determine a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan.
In addition to a lengthy physical examination and family history interview, your doctor will likely recommend a diagnostic test to assess your level of anxiety.
Some of the more common diagnostic tests include:
- Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale
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Risk Factors For Anxiety Disorder
Some things also make you more likely to develop an anxiety disorder. These are called risk factors. Some risk factors you canât change, but others you can.
Risk factors for anxiety disorders include:
- History of mental health disorder. Having another mental health disorder, like depression, raises your risk for anxiety disorder.
- Childhood sexual abuse. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect during childhood is linked to anxiety disorders later in life.
- Trauma. Living through a traumatic event increases the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder , which can cause panic attacks.
- Negative life events. Stressful or negative life events, like losing a parent in early childhood, increase your risk for anxiety disorder.
- Severe illness or chronic health condition. Constant worry about your health or the health of a loved one, or caring for someone who is sick, can cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious.
- Substance abuse. The use of alcohol and illegal drugs makes you more likely to get an anxiety disorder. Some people also use these substances to hide or ease anxiety symptoms.
- Being shy as a child. Shyness and withdrawal from unfamiliar people and places during childhood is linked to social anxiety in teens and adults.
- Low self-esteem. Negative perceptions about yourself may lead to social anxiety disorder.
How Is Anxiety Treated
Treatment for anxiety typically consists of a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective form of psychotherapy for generalized anxiety disorder. CBT teaches specific skills to manage your worries and help you gradually return to the activities you have avoided because of anxiety.
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How Can I Tell If I Have Ocd Or An Anxiety Disorder
You can differentiate OCD from anxiety disorders by the presence of obsessions and compulsive behaviors. Both can cause a significant amount of distress and get in the way of important daily activities, such as working and going to school.
For example, if you have OCD, you may have a fear of contamination, so you wash your hands every time you touch something new. Or you may fear that someone might get harmed because you werent careful, so you count to a safe number when doing tasks.
These types of behaviors and thought patterns arent typically present in anxiety disorders.
A trained therapist can diagnose your condition correctly and prescribe the best treatment plan for you.
If you want to read more, you can check out this article in which mental health advocate Sam Dylan Finch talks about the differences between OCD and GAD.
How To Tell If You Have Anxiety: 10 Signs And Symptoms
Anxiety can manifest itself in numerous ways and for many reasons. Important exams, having to make a speech, or going on a first date with someone can all be sources of nervousness or other feelings commonly associated with anxiety. However, these feelings can also be chronic and not based on specific scenarios and it could indicate an anxiety disorder. If you are unsure whether you are experiencing an anxiety disorder, this article will discuss the mental and physical symptoms so that you can learn how to tell if you have anxiety, and start managing it today.
The Signs Of Anxiety
People experience anxiety differently. And there are different types of anxiety disorders some people have generalized anxiety disorder. Others may live with panic disorder. Some people may have difficulty with specific phobias. Despite there being differences between the types, here are some of the most common hallmarks of an anxiety disorder:
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, individuals with anxiety disorders often worry excessively or have a sense of dread, usually lasting six months or longer. These anxious feelings can stem from school, the workplace, social interactions, personal relationships, health, or finances, to name a few causes. For those with anxiety, keeping these feelings under control can be challenging, even if they realize that their worries or fears are irrational.
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The Link Between Anxiety Symptoms And Depression
Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression makes anxiety worse , its important to seek treatment for both conditions.
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Can Anxiety Disorders Be Prevented
You cant prevent anxiety disorders. But you can take steps to control or reduce your symptoms:
- Check out medications: Talk to a healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies. Some of these contain chemicals that may make anxiety symptoms worse.
- Limit caffeine: Stop or limit how much caffeine you consume, including coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Seek help: Get counseling and support if you experienced a traumatic or disturbing event. Doing so can help prevent anxiety and other unpleasant feelings from disrupting your life.
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What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have an anxiety disorder, ask your provider:
- Whats the best treatment for me?
- Do I need medication? What type?
- How long should I take medication?
- What type of psychotherapy will work best?
- What else can I do to manage my symptoms?
- What other conditions am I at risk for?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An anxiety disorder can make it difficult to get through your day. Anxiety disorder symptoms include feelings of nervousness, panic and fear. You may also have physical symptoms such as sweating and a rapid heartbeat. But you dont need to live like this. Several effective anxiety disorder treatments are available. Talk to your healthcare provider to figure out your diagnosis and the best treatment plan. Often, treatment combines medications and therapy. Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, together with CBT, can help you feel your best.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
How Does Psychotherapy Treat Anxiety Disorders
Psychotherapy, or counseling, helps you deal with your emotional response to the illness. A mental health provider talks through strategies to help you better understand and manage the disorder. Approaches include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common type of psychotherapy used with anxiety disorders. CBT for anxiety teaches you to recognize thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings. You then work on changing them.
- Exposure therapy focuses on dealing with the fears behind the anxiety disorder. It helps you engage with activities or situations you may have been avoiding. Your provider may also use relaxation exercises and imagery with exposure therapy.
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