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What Is High-Functioning Anxiety?

Here we share the causes, signs, treatment options and prevention tips and life changes you can make for high-functioning anxiety.

What Is High-Functioning Anxiety?

Overthinking and excessive worry about future events or past decisions may be a sign of this condition

High-functioning anxiety refers to a form of anxiety where individuals experience the symptoms of anxiety but are able to maintain daily functions, often appearing successful and composed on the outside. Despite this outward appearance, they may be struggling internally with anxiety-related challenges. Understanding the signs and causes, along with implementing prevention strategies and seeking appropriate treatments, can help manage the condition effectively. Read on as we share the causes, signs, treatment options and prevention tips and life changes you can make for high-functioning anxiety.


  • Overthinking and excessive worry about future events or past decisions.
  • Perfectionism or setting unrealistically high standards for oneself and fear of failure.
  • Procrastination, overachievement and alternating between delaying tasks due to fear of failure and overworking to compensate.
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge, difficulty relaxing, or constant mental and physical agitation.
  • Fatigue and chronic tiredness due to overworking or inability to relax.
  • Insomnia and difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep due to racing thoughts.
  • Strong reliance on routines and rituals to maintain a sense of control.
  • Preferring solitude or smaller groups to avoid social anxiety.
  • Excessive desire to please others and fear of disapproval or criticism.
  • Physical symptoms such as Headaches, muscle tension, gastrointestinal issues, or other stress-related physical symptoms.


  1. Genetics: Family history of anxiety disorders.
  2. Personality Traits: Traits such as perfectionism, high sensitivity, and conscientiousness.
  3. Environmental Factors: Stressful life events, high-pressure environments, and traumatic experiences.
  4. Chemical Imbalances: Imbalances in neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
  5. Cognitive Factors: Negative thinking patterns and maladaptive coping strategies.

Prevention tips

  • Practice stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga.
  • Maintain a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.
  • Try time management, prioritise tasks, set realistic goals, and avoid overcommitting.
  • Build a supportive network of friends, family, or support groups.
  • Incorporate mindfulness practices and relaxation exercises into daily routines.
  • Seek guidance from mental health professionals when needed.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), trying prescribed medications might help manage symptoms, especially when combined with therapy. Various other treatments may be suggested by your doctor.

Lifestyle changes

  • Regular physical activity can reduce anxiety and improve mood.
  • A balanced diet supports overall mental health.
  • Establishing a regular sleep routine can improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety.
  • Partaking in support groups are they provide a sense of community and shared experiences.
  • Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery reduces physical symptoms of anxiety and promotes relaxation.
  • Journaling and writing down thoughts and feelings to process and understand anxiety triggers as it helps in identifying patterns and developing coping strategies.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol as these substances can exacerbate anxiety symptoms.

High-functioning anxiety can be challenging because it often goes unnoticed due to the outward appearance of success and composure. If you or someone you know is experiencing high-functioning anxiety, consider reaching out to a healthcare provider for a comprehensive evaluation and personalised treatment plan.

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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