Anxiety disorders are the number one mental health issue for women and second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men. Approximately 40 million people in the U.S. suffer from panic attacks, phobias or other anxiety disorders, and older adults are certainly not immune.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an outcome of cumulative stress acting over a period of time. It affects people of all ages, including older adults who often have to adjust to major life changes such as change of residence, loss of a spouse or loved one, retirement or loss of physical or mental abilities. Social, environmental and technological change have added to the higher incidence of anxiety disorders experienced in our modern Western society.
What to look for:
If your older adult friend or loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, he or she might be dealing with stress or an anxiety disorder:
- Accelerated heart rate
- Chest pain
- Sweating, shaking
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling dizzy or unsteady
- Numbness or tingling
There are a few things an older adult can do to help temporarily lessen stress or anxiety symptoms, such as:
- A relaxing activity
- Physical exercise
- Calming self-talk
- Visualization of something calming
However, if someone you know is experiencing a high level of stress or several of the symptoms listed above, please contact a doctor or mental health professional or call LifeWorks NW at 503-641-1475.