How Perfectionism can lead to Anxiety

Success and striving for perfection are closely linked. Often times, people who are driven to achieve more are the ones who put in a lot of energy and effort in what they do. They can be categorized as workaholics. They are the leaders, the achievers, the successful persons and they are the perfectionists. It is not a wonder why many successful people are also perfectionists because they give their best in achieving success by making sure that they had everything done properly. They have trodden with utmost caution in making their decisions and actions work. These tense situations of avoiding mistakes and disappointments often lead to exhaustion and in excess, anxiety.

The Problem with Perfectionism

Perfectionists are most often fixated with standards that any threats of compromise are unwelcome and can cause tension. They are obsessed with not just getting their job done; they need to be the best in what they do and being the best means virtually having no errors and mistakes. This brings pressure, stress and anxiety but they welcome this with open arms as they are too busy to pay any attention to these things. Although stress and anxiety are helpful with just enough doses, having too much can lead to maladaptive anxiety. Instead of pushing a person to do more, the anxiety becomes crippling. When maladaptive anxiety finally creeps into the picture, these people experience excessive worry, insomnia, physical exhaustion, illness, and neglect for self and others. This further causes dissatisfaction, anxiety and worse depression. Like how a fast moving vehicle is difficult to stop by stepping on the break, a person who keeps striving for perfection also finds it hard to identify when there is a need to rest or to stop. To them, time is of the essence and every second spent on inaction or procrastination is another second leading to failure. Their own internal reminder becomes paralyzed. What they need are external reminders or else they will end up depleting their energy. This may stop them forcefully but this would already have damaged their ability to take pleasure in their own achievements at the cost of the relationships they have. This is the most crucial time when treatment is needed.

Mental Health

Once the anxiety, that a perfectionist experiences, gets out of hand, it can lead to serious mental health problems. Common diagnoses given to people deemed as perfectionists are Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD and Social Anxiety Disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder can come as a result of the fear of committing mistakes of failure. The person tends to question even the good things happening in his or her life due to the fear of failing in an instant. Social Anxiety Disorder is brought about by the unforgiving nature of a perfectionist to deem others are judgemental or threats to his or her success.


To avoid the usual jitters from being a perfectionist, be sure to set a time for rest. You can create a schedule that you can follow and indicate there the time you will allot for finishing your work and your rest intervals. You will have to discipline yourself in strictly following your schedule. Sooner or later and with constant practice, you’ll be able to live a more balanced life to success.  If you are one of those perfectionists, who are suffering from the more serious form of anxiety, don’t hesitate to visit a therapist right away. Having an early treatment is always advisable.

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