People termed as ‘overachievers’ are looked up to by everyone. Overachievers are those who seem to be at the peak of success in whatever they do. They present flawless or perfect work, come what may, and end up receiving all the good wishes and compliments from everybody around them. 

But isn’t there pressure in perfection?

High functioning anxiety is common in such people. Most people who hold an important and successful position in their respective fields suffer from high functioning anxiety. 

This stems from their constant need to excel at everything that they do. This also arises from a sense of insecurity. In this article, we’ll be talking about the same and give you an overview of the basics of high-functioning anxiety. 

Also, read: Is Psychoanalysis Therapy A Therapeutic Remedy To Anxiety And Depression?

What is High Functioning Anxiety? 

This condition refers to symptoms that are opposite to those of conventional anxiety. Anxiety usually involves secluding oneself from others and staying aloof. Anxiety makes you want to stay away from people and gatherings and parties. 

On the other hand, high functioning anxiety means to outwardly maintain a happy and calm demeanor which is way different from the actual, inherent insecurities. While suffering from this disorder, one may pretend to socialize and fit in but secretly wants to discard all kinds of social events and meetups. They try to maintain a false image. 

People become overachievers due to their constant questioning of their self-worth. However well they do, they’re never good enough for themselves. This is because they feel that they’re not entitled to make mistakes or do anything less than what can be called perfect. 

They feel that they would be judged, humiliated, and disregarded by others, otherwise. Thus, they become more and more conscious of themselves and what they do. 

People with high functioning anxiety are usually subjected to overworking, overthinking, and overanalyzing by themselves. The advent of overthinking gives rise to a vicious cycle, that cannot be let go of, easily. 

Revealing one’s true self and deepest insecurities is hard. Therapy tries to encourage people to be able to do the same, more freely. 

Related: DIY Tips To Calm Your Anxiety At Night And Get A Sound Sleep

High Functioning Anxiety

3 Main Symptoms of High Functioning Anxiety

The indications of high functioning anxiety are often confused as usual behavioral patterns since they’re so accurately projected, externally. Thus, they’re not easy to notice and their diagnosis needs time. 

Some of the commonly found symptoms are:

Inability to Say No – 

People having high functioning anxiety feel the constant need to please people and work according to their expectations, even if that means, taxing their health. They go out of their way to be there for them and make them feel comfortable. 

This is also a kind of defense mechanism because they don’t want other people to go through what they feel. They don’t want to face their thoughts. 

Overworking – 

This refers to draining oneself in work to stay occupied. This results from the need to meet self-assumed expectations and deadlines. Patients feel that they don’t deserve a break or even a tad bit of relaxation before they complete the work that they’re doing. 

They focus solely on one thing at a time. Before the completion of something that’s near to perfection, they have breakdowns and panic attacks, caused due to stress and anxiety. 

After prolonged hours of work, pangs of unproductivity hit hard and this is the worst time for high functioning anxiety patients who find it difficult to cope, during these times. 

Overthinking – 

The question of “what if” is the most commonly asked question when it comes to high functioning anxiety. People think about all how things could go wrong and turn away from their favor.  

They are unable to consider themselves good enough for anything and thus, the obsession with work and exemplarity. It might not show in their faces but when something happens that they had not anticipated, it bothers them. 

They have a hard time accepting changes and coming to terms with those. 


Like most other mental health disorders, high functioning anxiety can be treated by psychotherapy and basic lifestyle modifications. 

One of the most used methods to treat anxiety and depression, it helps in curing high functioning anxiety as well. It involves the analysis and study of the patient’s behavioral patterns and thoughts. 


The therapist tries to induce a new channel of thoughts or perspective into the patient’s emotional milieu. 

  • Meditation

Other than CBT, practicing meditation regularly is an effective way of controlling high functioning anxiety. Meditating daily can calm the mind and soothe the nerves of the body, reducing hyperactivity and anxiety. 

Such patients might not find it easy to compose themselves and meditate, due to racing, repetitive thoughts. However, there has to be a beginning. Mental health issues need time to get cured, depending on their nature and intensity. 

  • Adequate Sleep

Abiding by a proper sleep schedule is one of the most vital and scientifically proven ways of reducing stress and high functioning anxiety. Nerve-calming medicines by experts also induce sleep. 

Since insomnia leads to overthinking and self-doubt, the best way to escape these evils is to sleep them away. 

Basic Guidelines For Therapy 

  • Regularity – Try being regular to your therapy sessions unless you have something extremely important to attend. High-functioning therapy needs proper step-by-step treatment.
  • Note Down – Remember that your participation plays an important role in psychotherapy for high functioning anxiety. Take notes and follow the instructions laid out by the expert to ease the process.
  • Be Patient – High functioning anxiety doesn’t happen in a day and doesn’t cure in a day either. The curing procedure has to be slow and consistent to achieve the desired results.
  • Be Positive – High functioning anxiety isn’t something that cannot be got rid of, with proper care and remedy. Believe in the process and keep reminding yourself that you can do better.

Also, read: Behaviour Therapy And Psychoanalysis: What’s The Difference Between The Two?