Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety may affect twice as many older adults as depression, according to new research.

Researchers say generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may be the most common mental disorder among the elderly, although little is known about how to treat the disorder among older adults.

Diagnosing Anxiety in the Aging

Often the elderly are reluctant to report psychiatric problems. To help identify anxiety it may be useful to phrase questions in the following way:

To identify anxiety:

  • Have you been concerned about or fretted over a number of things?
  • Is there anything going on in your life that is causing you concern?
  • Do you find that you have a hard time putting things out of your mind?

To identify how and when physical symptoms began:

  • What were you doing when you noticed the chest pain?
  • What were you thinking about when you felt your heart start to race?
  • When you can’t sleep, what is usually going through your head?