The science-backed reason your perfectionism is making you anxious

Is being a perfectionist leading to imperfection?

A new study found that people with perfectionist cognitive behavior patterns contributed to post traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

New research published in the journal Cognitive Behaviour Therapy wanted to see if perfectionist thought patterns was prevalent in patients diagnosed with anxiety or anxiety-related disorders.

Perfectionism isn’t always the best thing

Perfectionism can sometimes be interpreted as a good trait to have. On the surface, people that consider themselves perfectionists live their lives by a checklist; things need to be in order. Whether it’s based on work or appearance, perfectionism can be both healthy and toxic depending on one’s outlook.

In a healthy way, being a perfectionist at work means you can deliver what’s asked and deliver what’s expected. However, when mishaps happen, failure can be a sure fire way to a life of unhappiness.

In the study, 356 adults participants were part of the research; 52% of participants had more than one mental heath disorder diagnosis, with the most common ones being OCD, SAD, and GAD, according to PsyPost.

Researchers had participants fill out surveys that quizzed them on perfectionism thinking. They were asked to rate how they related to each experience in the prior week, while they were also measured to take tests about mental health disorders.

Per PsyPost, researchers said there was a positive link between perfectionist thinking and anxiety disorder symptoms across multiple diagnoses.

“These findings imply that treatment-seeking individuals experiencing more frequent thoughts about striving towards perfection were more likely to endorse more severe symptoms of GAD and PTSD beyond the contribution of anxiety sensitivity, deficits in emotion regulation, or depressive symptoms,” one of the study’s authors said.

One of the reasons why perfectionist thinking can lead to increased anxiety is because thought patterns themselves can hone too closely on perfection and not account enough for failure, which in itself can create anxiety and other negative thinkings, researcher said.