10 Symptoms of High Functioning Anxiety

How to know if you’re just temporarily stressed or need help with your anxiety
Medically Reviewed by
Dr Hamilton
A woman chews on her pen, lost in anxious thoughts. Behind her, her desk is cluttered with work.
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It can be difficult to separate out symptoms of ordinary stress from symptoms of high functioning anxiety, especially if you’re a high achiever who works especially hard. Does that constant buzz in your brain mean you’re anxious, or are you just always thinking of new ways to succeed? Is the tiredness in your bones down to some form of anxiety, or did you just pull one too many all-nighters this week?

Burn-out and anxiety disorders can have very similar signs and symptoms, and while both call for self-care, it’s important to know when you’ve crossed a threshold into needing expert help from a mental health professional. As with many types of anxiety, though, telling the difference is often easier said than done.

People with high functioning anxiety often don’t realize that the way they feel in their daily life is neither ‘normal’ (in this case, meaning to be expected or something everyone experiences) nor necessary. It might feel like your success actually depends on how worked up you get over deadlines, or your perfectionism is what keeps you churning out such a high standard of work — but the truth is that you can be a high achiever without suffering from symptoms of anxiety.

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A man looks down at his phone in the darkness, worrying about the next day.
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Ten signs you might have high functioning anxiety

If you’re wondering whether you might have crossed the line from ‘hard worker’ to ‘person with high functioning anxiety,’ don’t worry — we’re here to help you figure it out. 

Some of the more common signs of high functioning anxiety include:

One overarching symptom is a noticeable difference between your exterior presentation (for example, confident, successful, at ease) and your internal feelings (for example panicked, worried, wound up). If you feel like you’re always having to fake being calm, that’s something to talk to your medical provider or a therapist about. 

You can still be a high achiever if you treat your anxiety

So you think you do have high functioning anxiety, but you’re worried that getting effective treatment for your anxiety will also ‘treat’ your tendency to succeed — what if feeling better means hustling less, achieving less, relaxing too much?

Good news: getting help for your anxiety doesn’t have to mean becoming a laid-back person. Therapists created Youper to make mental healthcare accessible to everyone. Youper is a mental health chatbot that guides you through interactive CBT Therapy exercises to help you calm anxiety, improve your relationships, be more productive, and improve your mood. Youper is available on your own time and schedule wherever and whenever needed.

Get started feeling better today, with Youper

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