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The Characteristics of High Functioning Anxiety | Affinity Health

Affinity Health is a leading provider of affordable medical insurance. Here are their views on managing High Functioning Anxiety and ensuring good health.

April is Stress Awareness Month. In this light, Affinity Health is highlighting high functioning anxiety.


What is High Functioning Anxiety?

High functioning anxiety has emerged as a catch-all word over the last few decades. It is intrinsic to human beings who experience anxiety to do their best. But what is surprising is that people with high functioning anxiety do very well overall.


If you have high functioning anxiety, you may be any of the following:


Others may not realise that you are churning beneath the seemingly immaculate veneer.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of High Functioning Anxiety?

Among the characteristics of high functioning anxiety are the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Persistent feelings of being on edge
  • A need for perfectionism
  • Overachieving
  • Muscle tension
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • Headaches from jaw clenching
  • Hunched shoulders
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Being prone to weariness
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Issues with sleep
  • Digestive issues

Some of these symptoms may stand out more than others. Did you know that 60% of high functioning anxiety patients may have depression? Additionally, people who do not seek therapy for chronic stress may develop depression.

What Contributes to High-Functioning Anxiety?

Anxiety is mainly caused by hereditary and environmental factors. Several possible causes of high-functioning anxiety include the following:

  • High-functioning anxiety disorders run in the family
  • Exposure to traumatic or upsetting life events
  • Specific physical health problems, such as thyroid problems
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Characteristics of shyness or anxiousness dating back to childhood


High functioning anxiety is a double-edged sword. You may be fearful of letting go of something that feels ingrained in your psyche. But you may also remember that you do not have to be secretly anxious to achieve and succeed.

People with high functioning anxiety can be courageous in the presence of fear.

A trusted medical professional can offer support and refer you to a mental health expert for assessment.

“You may be living with anxiety. Perhaps you live with generalised anxiety or social anxiety disorder. Rest assured that there are treatment options for you,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of affordable medical insurance. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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