According to the American Geriatrics Association Foundation (AGAF), all of us worry from time to time, whether it’s about illness, financial problems, or family members. Anxiety is a normal reaction to an unpredictable situation —not a clinical anxiety disorder.
Those with clinical anxiety disorders have unrealistic fears about multiple areas of life. According to an article in seniorjournal.com, anxiety disorders become more common as people age because medical, psychological, and social problems tend to build up. Some community surveys suggest that perhaps one in five older adults suffer anxiety symptoms severe enough to warrant treatment.
The article continues: “Persistent or extreme anxiety can seriously decrease quality of life and can be a sign of other problems, such as depression, dementia, physical illness, or side effects to medications. Anxiety can be a symptom of many common medical disorders, including heart disease, lung disease, thyroid and other endocrine problems, neurologic illness, dietary problems, and more.”
Recognizing the signs of anxiety, which tend to fall into four general categories, can be the first sign in relieving extensive stress: Tense muscles, which can lead to shaking, trembling, muscle restlessness, and easy tiring Increased nervous system activity, which can lead to shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, sweating, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, flushes or chills, frequent urination, or difficulty swallowing.
Being overly watchful or alert, including feeling “on edge,” being easily startled, having difficulty concentrating, having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or feeling irritable Changes in behavior or normal routines, such as avoiding situations, withdrawing, or decreasing activities outside the home.
Research suggests that recognizing the signs of anxiety can be the first step in seeking help and relieving the problem — leading to a calmer existence.
Think calm. Be calm.