What is an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders emerge from an overwhelming feeling of what is otherwise characterized as “normal” life stressors. While anxiety is a common emotion, persistent and untreated anxiety can become a disorder.

There are several types of anxiety disorders that can affect people of all ages, including social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and several common phobias. These disorders can manifest at any age.

As one of the most common types of psychological disorders affecting Americans today, anxiety in older adults has become one of the most frequently diagnosed and treated mental conditions in the U.S.

Any anxiety disorder in seniors can greatly affect their quality of life to the point where treatment is necessary. Gagne Behavioral Health Care offers a comprehensive care service that examines seniors with a likely anxiety disorder. We then determine the best course of action to maintain the desired quality of life in spite of the condition.

Gagne Behavioral Health Care offers a broad range of anxiety treatments. Treating anxiety with CBD, medical marijuana, or other natural therapies can be discussed with our healthcare professionals. Finding the right therapy for you or your loved ones is our priority.

Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety symptoms can be very different from person to person. Those who experience General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) will experience stimuli differently from PTSD patients, or patients with social anxiety.

The most common behavioral symptoms of anxiety in older adults include the following:

  •  Withdrawal
  •  Restlessness
  •  Irritability
  •  Consistent self-medication
  •  Panic
  •  Exaggerated startle reflex
  •  Unwillingness to fulfill personal or work duties
  •  Agoraphobia

While anxiety disorders are mental illnesses, they often manifest in regular occurrences with physical symptoms, especially during times of particular duress caused by the anxiety, called “episodes”. These symptoms include:

  •  Cold sweats
  •  Upset stomach
  •  Insomnia
  •  Dry mouth
  •  Excessive sweating
  •  Shortness of breath
  •  Excessively high pulse
  •  Night terrors
  •  Frequent muscle aches or headaches

An anxiety disorder in seniors often brings out one or more of these symptoms as well:

  •  Obsessive overthinking
  •  Concentration problems
  •  Irrational fears
  •  Doubting sanity
  •  Mood swings
  •  Feeling helpless or worthless
  •  Paranoia
  •  Dissociative feelings

Despite the umbrella term “anxiety disorder”, each patient may exhibit and experience anxiety in different ways. Anxiety in older adults can be especially challenging to pinpoint. It’s important that symptoms be discussed with a mental health care professional to ensure the correct diagnosis and treatment.

How We Treat Anxiety

One of the most common forms of treatment is management of the condition through medications, although the best use of these is in combination with psychotherapy or talk therapy sessions. Learning to use cognitive behavioral interventions to address anxiety can assist both the patient and family members gain healthy coping skills to manage anxiety. In addition to psychotherapy, we can discuss therapies such as treating anxiety with CBD or medical marijuana.


How are anxiety orders diagnosed?

Anxiety disorders are diagnosed through a comprehensive assessment of symptoms by a healthcare professional.

What are the common risk factors for an anxiety disorder?

Risk factors for anxiety are:

  •  Sedentary lifestyle
  •  Females are at higher risk
  •  Past trauma, abuse, neglect
  •  Certain personality types are at higher risk
  •  Drug/alcohol abuse
  •  Military duty or history
  •  Chronic stress or illness

Learning healthy coping skills to manage stress can be the best way to prevent an anxiety disorder from developing.

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