Anxiety is a common emotion for people of all ages. However, long periods of anxiety or frequent intense bouts of it are not. Anxiety disorders are common among older adults. The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation reports that as many as 20% of U.S. adults are affected by them. Below are some common anxiety disorders.
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): People with GAD have constant worries. These worries may have little or nothing to cause them. They may be overly concerned about health issues, family problems, or other life issues. Older adults with GAD have trouble sleeping, relaxing, and concentrating.
• Social Phobia: This is a phobia of human interaction. People with this are overanxious and self-conscious about everyday social interactions. This can be brought on as a result of issues related to getting older such as memory issues or illness.
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD results from traumatic events. The disorder can appear months or even years after the event in question. In older adults, it’s often that something similar to the event has happened that now brings these buried feelings to the surface. Loss of a loved one or spouse can also be a common cause.
When it comes to anxiety in older adults, do not immediately write it off as nothing. There are cases where there is just cause for the anxiety. Investigate first to see if that is the case. If you or someone you know is dealing with long-term anxiety, reach out to your primary care doctor. He or she can help you get the resources you need to help combat this.