Anxiety Disorders

Frequently Asked Questions

33. What is being done to improve understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders in older adults?

The research on treating anxiety disorders in older adults lags behind other fields. Many studies of anxiety treatments limit their enrollment to participants younger than 65, thereby excluding older adults.

Among studies that do include older adults, results have suggested that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be less effective in older adults compared to younger adults. However, CBT may be more effective if it is modified to address the specific issues and limitations that are unique to older adults.

Doctors once believed that older adults did not develop anxiety disorders. They believed anxiety disorders were specific to younger people. Researchers are just now beginning to understand how anxiety disorders affect older adults. But much more research is needed.