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Recognizing and Treating Anxiety in the Elderly

Gary W. Small, M.D.

Published: June 1, 1997

Article Abstract

Anxiety in the elderly is often unrecognized and inadequately treated. Several factors complicaterecognition and treatment, including concomitant medical illness, overlap with cognitive disorders,cohort effects, ageism, and cormorbid depression. Although available data from controlled clinical trialsare limited for anxiety patients in the geriatric age group, data from young adult studies and clinicalexperience indicate that pharmacologic treatments are safe and effective for anxious elderly patients.Age-related physiologic changes warrant modifications in dosing, including initial low dosesincreased in gradual increments. Education and psychotherapy are often recommended whether or notpharmacologic treatment is indicated.

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Volume: 58

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