Older Adults

More than two million of the 34 million Americans age 65 and older suffer from some form of depression.
Source: Mental Health America


 

While the prevalence of most mental disorders increase from young adulthood to middle adulthood, it usually declines with age. But many older adults are at risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and/or depression, neurological disorders or substance use problems as well as other health conditions such as diabetes, hearing loss, and osteoarthritis.

 

Anxiety

Until recently, doctors believed that anxiety disorders declined with age. That’s because older patients are less likely to report psychiatric symptoms and more likely to emphasize their physical complaints.

But experts now recognize that aging and anxiety are not mutually exclusive: Anxiety is as common among the old as among the young. In fact, many older adults with an anxiety disorder had one when they were younger.

Experts recognize that aging and anxiety are not mutually exclusive: Anxiety is as common among the old as among the young. In fact, many older adults with an anxiety disorder had one when they were younger.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder among older adults, though anxiety disorders in this population are frequently associated with traumatic events such as a fall or acute illness.

Read about the fear of falling among older adults.

Learn how to recognize anxiety disorder symptoms in older adults.

Read the best way to treat anxiety disorders in older adults.

 

Depression  

While major depression and mood disorders mostly affect younger adults, older adults with depressive symptoms often arise as result of health problems, bereavement, and loss of social contact. According to the National Institute of Health, almost 5% of seniors have experienced a major depressive disorder episode in the last year. Additionally, as illness associated with aging increases, so does the rate of depression—which, at 11.5% to 13.5%, is double that of the rest of the adult population.

Have an aging parent or relative? Get tips on talking to your mother or father about their anxiety.

 

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