There is an empirically proven link between anxiety and the tendency to use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. For some, what begins as socially acceptable, recreational use can quickly spiral out of control, a problem that can easily go undetected if the individual is successfully masking their true level of distress. If you or a loved one suffers from high-functioning anxiety, holistic anxiety treatment is available at Gulf Breeze Recovery. Contact our team today at 833.551.2304 to learn the next steps in resuming true control over your life.
What Is High-Functioning Anxiety?
Individuals with high-functioning anxiety tend to be experts in masking their fear of socializing. Often, these are high-achieving people who seem perfectly pleasant and confident in their interactions with others. However, below the surface, they are often plagued with self-doubt and become physically exhausted after “performing” at work or parties.
Many of the indicators of high-functioning anxiety are quite positive and productive in another context. Often, these individuals have learned to capitalize on their anxiety as a superpower, using their feeling of insecurity to propel themselves forward through life. For example, they may:
- Demonstrate high levels of motivation and a strong desire to succeed
- Be reliable, punctual, and appear to never miss a deadline or an appointment
- Always appear organized, with a well-ordered plan ready to go
- Appear gregarious and extroverted, often surrounded by friends and colleagues
- Be loving, devoted partners and family members, attending to everyone else’s needs first
- Present with an immaculate appearance
However, when alone, these individuals often wrestle with:
- Mental and physical exhaustion
- A tendency towards perfectionism
- Always making choices with others’ best interest in mind, or a “people pleaser”
- The constant need for positive reinforcement from others and a feeling they must earn acceptance
- Perpetual fear of failure
- An inability to give themselves a break, call in sick from work, or even relax when on vacation
- Racing thoughts, constantly replaying past or future scenarios in their mind
- Imposter syndrome
- General unhappiness with their life and work
- High degrees of sensitivity
How Is High-Functioning Anxiety Connected to Substance Use Disorders?
Individuals with high-functioning anxiety feel such constant, unrelenting pressure to overcome their innate introversion that they may begin using alcohol or drugs as a self-preservation measure. Some may even feel that their anxiety to be the secret of their success and incorrectly fear that addressing the problem will compromise their ability to maintain their current level of productivity.
However, they will soon succumb to even higher levels of anxiety as they form a physical dependency that must also remain hidden from friends, family, and colleagues. In addition, the inevitable downsides of substance abuse, which include worsened health, cognitive decline, and increased difficulty regulating emotions, will only make their lives harder and harder.
How Is High-Functioning Anxiety Treated?
Fortunately, high-functioning anxiety is a known co-occurring disorder and can be addressed with a multifaceted treatment plan while in recovery, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Group therapy
- Mindfulness training, including yoga and meditation
In addition, residential recovery programs may offer those with high-functioning anxiety the rare opportunity to unplug from the demands of work, family, and social obligations, permitting them the chance to temporarily experience life freed from the constant need to perform at their best.
Discover Anxiety Treatment at Gulf Breeze Recovery
If you believe that you might self-medicate your high-functioning anxiety with drugs or alcohol, immediate help is available. At Gulf Breeze Recovery, we offer comprehensive mental health supports, allowing you to address the true underlying causes of your battle with substance abuse. Call 833.551.2304 today to learn how our holistic approach to treating anxiety can allow you to find an easier way.