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What is the best way to treat anxiety disorders in older adults?

A common treatment for anxiety disorders in older adults is reassuring the patient and addressing their fears.

Recognizing and treating anxiety disorders in older adults can be challenging. Older adults are more likely to have other medical issues that complicate diagnosis and treatment. For example, symptoms such as chest pain or heart palpitations can be confused for heart disease instead of a panic attack. Additionally, older adults may be disinclined to seek medical help because of old stereotypes surrounding mental illness.

Talking to a primary care physician that an older adult trusts is a good first step. When treating any anxiety disorder, the most effective treatment method combines medication and cognitive-behavior therapy. Since older adults may be on other medications, it is important to discuss these with a health care provider. Older adults are often recommended lower dosages because changes in the body affect absorption. Relaxation techniques are also often effective.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.