Late-Life Anxiety: The Silent Geriatric Giant

Management of Geriatric Trauma in Vijayawada

Late-life anxiety can usually be ‘silent’ – easily missed or difficult to diagnose – as anxiety tends to occur very differently in older people as compared to what younger individuals experience. Late-life anxiety issues have been found to be a ‘geriatric giant’ and are twice as prevalent as dementia among geriatric people and as much as eight times more prevalent than depressive disorders as per research. Moreover, these issues severely affect the quality of life of older people and can even lead to dementia and other major mental disorders. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anxiety issues affect around 3.8% of the geriatric population across the globe. The high prevalence of these disorders is attributed to the life stressors that are highly common in later life, such as cognitive decline and the loss of friends and family. Additionally, geriatric people may experience reduced mobility or other health disorders for which they may need some long-term care. 

Evaluation & management of geriatric trauma in Vijayawada are available at Manipal Hospital, the hospital is equipped with world-class technologies and has an experienced neurologist in Vijayawada who is an expert in treating and managing neurological disorders.

Furthermore, geriatric people are more likely to experience major life events, such as bereavement, or a considerable drop in socioeconomic status because of retirement. All these stressors can lead to loneliness, isolation and psychological distress including anxiety issues in senior citizens. Out of the five major anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or a specific phobia accounts for around 90% of the cases of late-life anxiety in geriatric people. Post-traumatic stress, panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive issues account for the remaining 10% of anxiety disorders. 

GADs are usually characterized by less than 6 months of worry about several life domains, such as health, finances and relationships, difficulty in controlling worry, and various associated physical symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia, muscle tension and restlessness that affect social functioning. On the other hand, the other three anxiety disorders – obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorders and post-traumatic stress disorders – are highly likely to develop in geriatric people who have dementia or a comorbid medical illness. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is considered the gold standard treatment for anxiety disorders in young adults and children, and recent research has also found it to be highly effective for treating anxiety disorders in geriatric people. This therapy is based on behavioural exposure to various anxiety-provoking situations, cognitively restructuring beliefs and appraisals that augment fear, and mitigating avoidance and escape behaviours. This therapy also reduces the consumption of benzodiazepine, which, in turn, mitigates the risk of falls and fall-related deaths among older people. In some cases, a combination of antidepressants and CBT is adopted for ensuring optimal management and treatment of late-life anxiety in older individuals. 

Manipal Hospital is the best neurology hospital in Vijayawada having neurologists who are constantly pushing the limits and seeking novel methods to improve diagnosis and therapies for patients with neurological disorders through their research and collaboration with researchers worldwide.

 

 

Dr. Murali Chekuri

Consultant - Department of Neurosciences

Manipal Hospital Vijayawada

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