NIHSeniorHealth.gov offers info on anxiety disorders in older adults

Dec 08, 2010

 Anxiety caused by stressful events like moving or losing a job is a normal part of life. Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, are characterized by persistent, excessive and disabling fear and worry and get progressively worse if left untreated. It is estimated that anxiety disorders affect between 3 and 14 percent of older adults in a given year. To provide an older audience with additional information, NIHSeniorHealth, the health and wellness website for older adults from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has added a topic about anxiety disorders.

Visitors to the website can learn about the risk factors, symptoms and treatments for generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and specific phobias such as fear of flying or fear of public speaking. Anxiety disorders can severely affect a person’s life, and they are often overlooked in older adults.

"Conditions that commonly occur with age, such as depression, heart disease and diabetes, may have symptoms that mimic or mask anxiety symptoms, making diagnosis in older adults difficult," says Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which developed the anxiety disorders topic for NIHSeniorHealth. "Often, these health conditions will need to be addressed before a person will respond to treatment for an anxiety disorder."

It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between common anxiety caused by adapting to difficult life changes — such as fear of falling after a hip replacement—and an actual anxiety disorder. The new topic on NIHSeniorHealth is a good way for older adults to learn more about the way these disorders can affect them.

Information about is the latest addition to the roster of health topics offered on NIHSeniorHealth. A joint effort of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the website features research-based, easily accessible information on a range of health issues of interest to older people. To improve access for , NIHSeniorHealth includes short, easy-to-read segments of information in a number of formats, including various large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos and an audio version.

Current NIHSeniorHealth topics include ways to exercise properly; safe use of medicines; and management of diseases such as stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Future topics will focus on hip replacement, long-term care and non-medical drug use.

Explore further: Coping skills training in rheumaotoid arthritis research recognized by BSBS of MI

More information: nihseniorhealth.gov/anxietydisorders/toc.html

Related Stories

Mood and anxiety disorders affect many older adults

May 03, 2010

Rates of mood and anxiety disorders appear to decline with age but the conditions remain common in older adults, especially women, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

Genetic predisposition may play a role in anxiety disorders

Aug 27, 2008

Finnish scientists have identified genes that may predispose to anxiety disorders. Research conducted under the supervision of Academy Research Fellow Iiris Hovatta have focused on genes that influence human behaviour, and ...

Anxiety disorders surprisingly common yet often untreated

Mar 12, 2007

A new study by researchers led by Kurt Kroenke, M.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute, Inc. reports that nearly 20 percent of patients seen by primary care physicians have at least ...

Recommended for you

Homely men who misbehave can't win for losing

7 hours ago

Women tolerate an unattractive man up to a point, but beware if he misbehaves. Then they'll easily shun him. So says Jeremy Gibson and Jonathan Gore of the Eastern Kentucky University in the U.S., after finding ...

Challenging students benefit from limit setting

8 hours ago

The teacher's interaction style can either foster or slow down the development of math skills among children with challenging temperaments. This was shown in the results of the study "Parents, teachers and children's learning" ...

Are antidepressants more effective than usually assumed?

8 hours ago

Many have recently questioned the efficacy of the most common antidepressant medications, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The conclusion that these drugs are ineffective is however partly ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.