Anxiety affects more than 40 million Americans and its various forms are the single most common type of mental illness.


However, anxiety affects people differently. Some are what have come to be referred to in popular psychology as “high-functioning”.

But while this term refers to those with anxiety disorder who can still function at a high level, professionals are quick to make clear that any type of anxiety disorder is likely to cause harm whether you notice it or not, as is so often the case for those who consider themselves to have high-functioning anxiety.

If you think you might have high-functioning anxiety, it’s important to notice the habits so you can tell the difference between regular old stress and clinical anxiety and know if you need professional help.

I suffer from anxiety, moments of depression. I’m in my head so much, and I’m thinking so much, I’m playing a tug-of-war within my mind.

– Khalid

If you don’t take anxiety seriously it can cause real damage not only to your career but your personal life as well, including your loved ones.

If you have these four habits, you might have high-functioning anxiety.

1. You seek control

When we seek control, it’s typically because we feel some aspect of our life is out of control.

But anxiety makes us feel out of control at all times, any time our anxiety is triggered.

And those with high-functioning anxiety may be intensifying their anxiety further by prodding it through long work schedules and a constant grasping for more.

Or you could be using a particular activity to gain a sense of control, whether it’s your diet and fitness, profession, or family life.

2. You never stop to relax

Those with high-functioning anxiety often can’t bring themselves to stop.

They never allow themselves the time to relax or recharge and are often running on fumes as a result, an incredibly unhealthy habit to say the least.

Some with high-functioning anxiety may be able to bring themselves to stop at times, however, it will often be through distractionary means such as social, T.V., or games.

3. You’re highly detail-oriented

Anxiety can manifest in different ways. One very common way is which is closely related to the desire for control is being obsessively detail-oriented.

It’s a kind of micro version of the desire for control but it’s more than that, it’s about the desire for perfection in everything. And, when you don’t realize that perfection (as is inevitable), you become frustrated, more anxious, and even more obsessive.

4. You’re an insomniac

work martyr - workaholic sleeping at work

If you consistently have a difficult time sleeping (i.e. potentially an insomniac), you might have high-functioning anxiety and not know it.

There are several possible reasons for your insomnia, so it’s important to identify other potential points on this list in combination. However, consistent trouble sleeping at night is often the result of a restless, worrisome mind of some kind and that’s a common symptom of those who have clinical anxiety.

No matter what symptoms you identify, if you think you might have high-functioning anxiety, it’s important to get in contact with a professional to find out for sure.

Convincing yourself that you’re fine and pushing on without at least taking steps to find out if some of your habits are actually symptoms can lead to pain for you and your loved ones later.