While there are several factors that can cause anxiety in older adults, it can be difficult to identify because they express anxiety in unique ways, according to an expert at Baylor College of Medicine.
According to Dr. Melinda Stanley, professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor, common types of anxiety disorders in adults include:
- Generalized anxiety
- Specific fears and phobias
- Social phobias
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Know the symptoms
Anxiety symptoms that older adults and their family members should watch for include:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle aches and pains
Anxiety is not a normal part of aging and can be treated. The first important step is to have a physical exam.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment option that teaches learning skills to manage anxiety. Skills that can help reduce anxiety include relaxation, changing thoughts, facing fears, learning how to solve problems and learning behaviors to improve sleep.