Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Older Adults

Monday, May 17th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

There’s both good news and bad regarding the incidence of mood and anxiety disorders in older adults. When researchers of the University of California at San Francisco studied a national survey of 9,282 participants ages 18 and older (including 2,575 who were ages 55 and older), they found that prevalence rates of mood and anxiety disorders tend to decline with age. However, the conditions remain very common in older persons, particularly in women.

Only non-institutionalized adults took part in the survey, which was conducted in the continental United States. Approximately five percent of the senior participants reported experiencing a mood disorder (for example, depression) during the past year, while more than 10 percent had experienced some form of anxiety disorder (for example, panic disorder). About three percent reported having had both mood and anxiety disorders.

No differences were found between race/ethnicity groups. However, women had a significantly higher rate of disorders than did men. The study’s authors wrote, "These results highlight the need for intervention and prevention strategies."

This research was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (67:5). To read the abstract, click on http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/67/5/489.

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