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Anxiety and Depression in the Elderly

Abstract: Is it possible to see anxiety symptoms such as worrying, fearfulness etc in depressed older people?

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Anxiety and Depression in the Elderly

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Question(s): 
Written by: Petros Skapinakis, MD, MPH, PhD, lecturer of Psychiatry in the University of Ioannina Medical School, Greece. Eva Gerasi, postgraduate student in the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 29 Jul 2008.

Is it possible to see anxiety symptoms such as worrying, fearfulness etc in depressed older people?

Answer:

Both somatic and psychological symptoms of anxiety co-exist with depression in older patients. As psychological symptoms one can often see excessive worrying, especially about non-existent or minor health problems, or attention-seeking behaviour, fearfulness, apprehension, increased vigilance and even poor concentration and memory. Often are also present restlessness, breathlessness and hyperventilation, sweating, headaches and muscular pains, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea and palpitations (physical symptoms). These physical symptoms may easily be mistaken for physical illness and severe forms of anxiety can cause exhaustion and dehydration.
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