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Treating Anxiety Disorders in Older Adults: Current Treatments and Future Directions

Bower, Emily S. MA; Wetherell, Julie Loebach PhD; Mon, Thetsu MD, PhD; Lenze, Eric J. MD

doi: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000064
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Abstract: Anxiety disorders are highly prevalent among the elderly and are associated with increased disability, poor quality of life, and cognitive impairment. Despite this high prevalence and associated morbidities, anxiety disorders in late life are underreported and understudied. In this article, we discuss the epidemiology, disease presentation, and current treatment of anxiety disorders in older adults. We also discuss limitations in the current understanding of such disorders in this population, as well as future research directions that may reveal the mechanisms and rationale for treatment regimens for anxiety disorders in late life. We present material on the application of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) model to geriatric anxiety. Finally, we describe optimal management strategies of anxiety disorders.

From San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego, Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology (Ms. Bower); VA San Diego Healthcare System and University of California, San Diego (Dr. Wetherell); Healthy Mind Lab, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine (Drs. Mon and Lenze).

Original manuscript received 7 April 2014; revised manuscripts received 6 August and 1 October 2014; accepted for publication 16 October 2014.

Correspondence: Eric J. Lenze, MD, 660 S. Euclid Ave., Box 8134, St. Louis, MO 63110. Email: lenzee@wustl.edu

© 2015 President and Fellows of Harvard College
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