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Anxiety Disorder Treatment for Seniors

August 28, 2013

Anxiety disorder treatment is becoming an important aspect of care for seniors. These disorders are not always recognized or diagnosed because they are often overlooked in the presence of other physical or mental health problems. However, anxiety disorders are twice as prevalent as dementia in older adults and more likely to occur than depression. Anxiety disorder treatment in seniors presents some challenges, just as it can with younger adults, but can still be effective.

Anxiety Disorder Treatment for Seniors: What to Expect

Warning signs

2013_04_10_MHP_FBPMJust because an older adult expresses some anxiety doesn’t necessarily mean that they are dealing with an anxiety disorder. If their anxiety is persistent and starts to get in the way of living a normal life, it may be a cause for concern. Many seniors do not report the symptoms of an anxiety disorder, making it difficult to diagnose in this age group. Too often the concerns and fears of older adults are dismissed when they should be taken seriously.  You may see an older adult experience an anxiety disorder rooted in feelings about moving, aging or even retiring.

Diagnosis

Adults who develop anxiety disorders late in life are most likely to be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or a phobia. Less common but still present are obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder. Anxiety disorder treatment is developed based on the type of disorder and each individual’s situation.

Special considerations

Seniors may develop late-life anxiety disorders due to a number of factors. Declining physical health may trigger worry or fear about growing older and death. Some older adults will not have a strong support system, which can worsen the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Physicians should also consider other existing mental conditions when administering anxiety disorder treatment, as that can alter the treatment and medication plan.

Anxiety disorder treatment

Treatment is usually made up of talk therapy and prescription medication, even in seniors. Any medication should always be prescribed by a doctor and taken as per instructions. Seniors in particular should be careful when using prescription medication. Don’t hesitate to see your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Talk therapy can be done in groups or one-on-one. A trained counselor can help work through a client’s concerns and develop new strategies for dealing with feelings of anxiety or dread.

How you can help

If your loved one is living with a late-life anxiety disorder, get involved and show your support. This doesn’t mean micro-managing their anxiety disorder treatment, but educating yourself on the options and details of the disorder. Show that you care and don’t disregard an older adult’s anxiety disorder symptoms; talk it through with them. Ask your loved one’s medical professionals what else you can do to help.

If you or a loved one in your life is suffering from a mental illness or exhibits symptoms that prevent them from living a healthy, productive life, it may be time to seek anxiety disorder treatment from a professional mental health facility. We offer personalized treatment plans to help with mental health disorders.  Please call us at 1-888-205-2775. The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center is a full service mental health facility dedicated to helping individuals who suffer from mental illness find a path to living better.

Call Our 24-Hour Helpline and Speak to a Counselor Today.  888-205-2775
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