Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses that affect people who are 60 and older. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most overlooked and untreated conditions among this population. If you think that you might have anxiety, then keep reading to learn more about the symptoms, how it impacts older adults differently than other age groups, and what you can do about it.
Anxiety can take several different shapes, each of which can diminish an older adult’s quality of life. There are serious anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, for many older adults, generalized anxiety is the best medical term for what they’re experiencing.
Generalized anxiety is characterized by chronic and exaggerated worry about routine life events. This could mean always anticipating the worst, even if the worst is very unlikely to occur. It’s often accompanied by several physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue.
Unfortunately, a generalized anxiety disorder can have a significant deleterious effect on an older adult. It’s been proven to increase the risk of physical disability, memory problems, and even death. That’s why it’s so important that you treat your generalized anxiety disorder before it’s able to take control of your life.
Studies have shown that generalized anxiety disorder in older adults shouldn’t be treated in the same way that it is in younger adults. This is true for a few reasons. First, it’s important to note that anxiety in older adults typically is accompanied by more physical symptoms and less intense emotional disruption than it is in younger patients. Due to this, doctors need to focus a bit more on the physical manifestations of anxiety when dealing with older patients.
Often, doctors prescribe medication to limit the effects of anxiety. However, experts claim that this isn’t a good first-line treatment for older adults. That’s true because these medications have side effects, which older adults are more prone to experiencing than younger ones.
Instead, physicians recommend that older adults begin treating their anxiety disorder with cognitive-behavioral therapy. This treatment can help older adults reclaim control over their lives without exposing them to the risks of the side effects associated with medication. If you think that you have generalized anxiety, then signing up for cognitive-behavioral therapy is your best option for treatment.
Thankfully, older adults can use their Medicare health insurance to reduce the costs of seeking treatment for anxiety. For example, Medicare Part B includes coverage for both individual and group psychotherapy. It also covers the costs of diagnostic tests, which can prove definitively whether you have an anxiety disorder or not.
That being said, there are some differences in Medicare coverage for anxiety treatment from plan to plan. If you’d like to learn a little more about your coverage, then consider reaching out to a partnered licensed agent with Time for 65.