Anxiety Disorders and Seniors
It’s normal to feel pangs of anxiety from time to time, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, this may understandably happen more frequently. However, when this anxiety starts to affect well-being and quality of life, it’s serious health issue —– and one that affects many seniors. The assisted living team in Camden County, NJ shares some insight.
Why Does Anxiety Affect More Seniors?
Anxiety disorders (that is, medically diagnosed psychiatric disorders) appear to be similar for all age groups, but studies show these disorders may likely be underdiagnosed among seniors. While there is credible evidence of strong effects among seniors, these issues may not be quite severe enough to qualify as a psychiatric disorder. Unfortunately, they still have a significant toll on wellbeing.
This is understandable —– older adults suffer more pain through injuries and disease, are more socially isolated, experience more losses, and are more likely to be on medications that make anxiety worse.
Types of Anxiety Disorders in Seniors :
- Panic attacks – A sudden and unpredictable episode of fear, sometimes with physical manifestations.
- Phobias – Irrational fears of heights, snakes or animals, falling, or other situations.
- Acute Stress Disorder – Anxiety and behavioral issues that develops in the first month or so after a traumatic event.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Long-term anxiety and behavioral issues that last beyond a month after a traumatic event.
- Social Anxiety – Fear of being around others, what others think of them, and not wanting to go out or meet others.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – Excessive worrying about everyday events and situations that are not usually of concern.
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders in Seniors
If you notice that your loved one is exhibiting signs of stress and anxiety, which often manifests in excessive worry, the first step is to make an appointment with their physician. Depending on the diagnosis, medication (often temporary) and therapy are usually recommended and are often very effective.
On occasion, anxiety can also be corrected by changing a medication that is causing this issue as a side effect. Symptoms of worry and fear can also be the result of a health decline in your loved one. For example, they may be developing mobility issues, so they become afraid to walk or visit friends, so it’s important to get to the root cause of the issue.