What is high-functioning anxiety?
While “high-functioning anxiety” isn’t an actual clinical diagnosis, it’s a phrase that’s become increasingly popular in the past few years (alongside its relative, high-functioning depression). When we talk about people with high-functioning anxiety, we are talking about people who, at least on the surface, seem successful at school, at work, or at home, explains clinical psychologist Inna Khazan, PhD. On the inside, however, they are experiencing a near-constant state of anxiety. “People with high-functioning anxiety push themselves to get things done, with anxiety constantly holding a ‘stick’ over their heads,” adds Khazan. “Fear of what might happen if they don’t move forward keeps them moving forward. And because these people are often high achieving, no one thinks that there is anything ‘wrong’ with them.”
Here are some common high-functioning anxiety symptoms.