Golden Oak Medicine
Geriatrics & Adult Medicine located in Asheville, NC
Anxiety disorders could affect up to 20% of seniors. If you’re struggling with overwhelming stress, fear, or worry that’s affecting your life, Golden Oak Medicine in Asheville, North Carolina, specializes in helping older people. Kate Marshall, MD, Golnosh Sharafsaleh, MD, MS, AGSF, FAAFP, and their team, offer expert diagnosis and treatment of anxiety disorders to patients over 55. To find freedom from your debilitating anxiety, call Golden Oak Medicine or book an appointment online today.
What is anxiety?
Feeling anxious or worried is a common reaction to stressful situations. In many cases, it’s even beneficial because it helps you deal with problems and avoid danger. However, if you feel anxious most or all of the time and it’s preventing you from leading the life you want, anxiety has become a clinical illness.
Anxiety disorders cause various unpleasant feelings related to stress, such as fear, worry, nervousness, and even terror. You might also experience physical symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Blushing or hot flashes
- Sweating heavily
- Muscle tension and cramping
- Difficulty swallowing
Older people with severe anxiety may worry that they’re having a heart attack, as the symptoms can be similar. Anxiety can also contribute to memory problems and increase your risk of developing depression.
Are there different types of anxiety?
Anxiety can take several forms, including:
Generalized anxiety disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) makes you feel nervous, worried, and filled with dread. Patients with GAD tend to worry about everything in their lives and see minor issues as major problems.
Phobias are irrational fears of an object, creature, or situation – spiders, heights, and enclosed spaces are common examples, but anything could be the subject of a phobia. Exposure to the subject of your phobia causes extreme reactions, and you may go to excessive lengths to avoid such exposure.
Social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder affects people who become overly stressed when in the company of other people. That is especially true of large gatherings and being with people you don’t know. Older people may worry about not being able to remember people’s names or problems like incontinence in social situations.
Anxiety can sometimes reach a peak where you suffer a panic attack. These attacks happen suddenly, causing symptoms like chest pain and palpitations, shaking, and feeling frozen in place. If you have panic disorder, these attacks occur frequently and are so traumatic you might avoid anything that could trigger an attack.
In addition to anxiety disorders, there are similar conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How is anxiety treated?
The Golden Oak Medicine team specializes in treating anxiety in older people and has expert insight into the specific problems anxiety can cause in the elderly.
They may recommend psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is especially effective in dealing with anxiety disorders. You might also benefit from medication to reduce the intensity of your anxiety.
If you’re feeling anxious all the time, call Golden Oak Medicine or book an appointment online today.
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