Anxiety disorders in older adults: A comprehensive review

Kate B. Wolitzky-Taylor, Natalie Castriotta, Eric J. Lenze, Melinda A. Stanley, Michelle G. Craske

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

310 Scopus citations

Abstract

This review aims to address issues unique to older adults with anxiety disorders in order to inform potential changes in the DSM-V. Prevalence and symptom expression of anxiety disorders in late life, as well as risk factors, comorbidity, cognitive decline, age of onset, and treatment efficacy for older adults are reviewed. Overall, the current literature suggests: (a) anxiety disorders are common among older age individuals, but less common than in younger adults; (b) overlap exists between anxiety symptoms of younger and older adults, although there are some differences as well as limitations to the assessment of symptoms among older adults; (c) anxiety disorders are highly comorbid with depression in older adults; (d) anxiety disorders are highly comorbid with a number of medical illnesses; (e) associations between cognitive decline and anxiety have been observed; (f) late age of onset is infrequent; and (g) both pharmacotherapy and CBT have demonstrated efficacy for older adults with anxiety. The implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations for the DSM-Vare provided, including extending the text section on age-specific features of anxiety disorders in late life and providing information about the complexities of diagnosing anxiety disorders in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-211
Number of pages22
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010

Keywords

  • Course
  • DSM
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Late-life anxiety
  • Prevalence

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    Wolitzky-Taylor, K. B., Castriotta, N., Lenze, E. J., Stanley, M. A., & Craske, M. G. (2010). Anxiety disorders in older adults: A comprehensive review. Depression and Anxiety, 27(2), 190-211. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20653