Chapter 11 - Anxiety and its Disorders in Old Age

Elsevier, Handbook of Mental Health and Aging (Third Edition), 2020, Pages 121-134
Sherry A. Beaudreau, Christine E. Gould, Susan Sharp Kolderup, Nehjla Mashal

More older adults suffer from anxiety disorders than any other class of mental health disorders. In general, older adults present with many of the same types of anxiety disorders seen in younger persons, but with some caveats given medical, cognitive, and other contextual issues specific to aging. Subthreshold anxiety symptoms, which do not meet diagnostic criteria but may undermine functioning, are quite common in older adults and may benefit from treatment. The understanding of anxiety disorders in older adults lags behind the rich and extensive empirical work in younger populations with anxiety. However, scientific strides in the assessment and treatment of late-life anxiety over the past two decades have been narrowing this gap. This work has also demonstrated the challenges and limitations of current evidence-based therapies. This chapter summarizes what is known about late-life anxiety disorders and their treatment and offers recommendations for both clinicians and researchers in geriatrics