An adult who use to be the envy of many with high tolerance of pain and fitness, one who challenges bodily function to perform at its optimum, a once-active adult who often indulge in physical activities and a sound-minded individual can all land in hospital beds because of anxiety disorder later in life. Normally, they are no longer able to be in control of their body and mind due to the aging process. Choice is sometimes not a privilege when disturbances in the body and mind can no longer be managed effectively.
Phobias are one of the first few anxiety disorders that an aging adult will face. Fear of irrational situations such as getting old, dying, flying, small tight spaces, heights, flying and objects are common when something traumatic takes place.
Older people suffer from panic attacks because they are worried about recurring attacks. It is unpredictable and unexpected. The attacks are usually triggered by emotional disturbances such as phobias and other emotional disorders. Some panic attacks even occur during sleep. Common symptoms of panic attack are shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, chills, nausea and dizziness.
Panic anxiety and panic attacks are frightening because its symptoms are similar to a heart attack. While it only last a few seconds, it can be quite an intense and daunting experience. Proper analysis of similar disorders must be done thoroughly to spare those with panic disorder unnecessary embarrassment, suffering, isolation and anxiety.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Sudden demise of a life partner or off spring can pave the way to a post-traumatic stress disorder in older adults. Under notion that a parent should never outlive their children, their death is too much to bear for majority of adults. The effect is immediate as they are forced to deal with the morbidity of death – their children’s and soon, their own.
Acute Stress Disorder
This is a result of exposure to extreme trauma such as sudden death. Anxiety disorder begin showing merely within the first month after a tragedy, accident or death occurs.
In older adults, eating disorders occur out of stress, sadness or fear of diseases. Eating a balanced and moderate diet in older adults is crucial to their health. In older adults, eating disorders occur out of stress, sadness and fear of age-related sickness. Terminal illness, death of love one, diseases such as diabetes, heart conditions can all contribute to eating disorder at this stage in an adult’s life.
Regardless of age, getting sufficient sleep is still required to maintain a healthy body and mind. The elderly do not need as much sleep as younger adults but a good night snooze is very much necessary. Older adults often face difficulty falling asleep and waking up frequently during the night. The bodily clock also gets confused causing indifferent reaction to night and day disrupting sleep and wake up time.
Sleep impairment is a serious condition in older adults. Frequent urination at night and waking up many times a night to answer nature’s call causes severe sleep deprivation. Elderly people who suffer from arthritis will also find themselves at the mercy of sleep due to excruciating pain in their joints present more apparent during the night and colder weather. Intake of alcohol and caffeine contained in older people’s most loved beverage, tea and coffee can also contribute to sleeping disorder.
Rest is essential in older adults especially those with medical condition. Anxiety disorder affecting sleep deprives them of this much-needed rest. It causes abnormal sleep patterns resulting to sleep disruption, deprivation and sleeplessness (insomnia). Sleep disorder can get in the way of normal bodily function. Physical and mental exhaustion are common indication that the body is not at its optimum level.
Physical Symptoms of sleep disorder are more obvious than other forms of anxiety disorders. Symptoms include episodes of emotional outburst, irritability, feeling and looking tired and slow in reacting to people and situations. They all lead to more serious problems such as sleepwalking and narcolepsy, snoring and sleep apnea. All are equally dangerous and life threatening and should be controlled or stop.