anxiety 300 x 200While up to a quarter of people experience anxiety in unhealthy amounts, the elderly can be particularly at risk.

As people age, they’re confronted with more stressful situations: deaths of friends, spouses and family; more physical pain from health issues and chronic conditions; decreased mobility or independence; increased reliance on medications that may intensify anxiety; and suffer from ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Although senior citizens may be even more prone to anxiety than younger groups, they may not be diagnosed with it as often because the older population is less likely to report psychiatric symptoms.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a steady, excessive level of worry about a variety of topics such as health, family, work or money. The condition is usually diagnosed when a person experiences trouble controlling anxiety more days than not over a period of at least six months and has at least three symptoms including:

  • Feelings of impending doom or danger
  • Increased heart rate
  • Problems sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Feeling irritable or nervous
  • Difficulty with concentration

Other anxiety issues that may appear in older people include:

  • Acute stress disorder: Feelings of anxiety or behavioral disturbances that appear within a month of a traumatic experience. 
  • Panic attacks: Feeling of dread that comes on suddenly, without reason or logic.
  • Phobias: Having an irrational fear of objects or situations.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety that continue until a specific course of action is followed, such as ritualistic cleaning or eating behaviors.

Many of these conditions are successfully treated with a mix of medication and therapy. Studies have show that elderly patients have better results when combined with regular visits to a therapist or counselor.

For more information about Embassy Healthcare’s services, call 888-975-1379 or contact us online.