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Anxiety

Definition Epidemiology

There is a tendency for you to ignore the psychological symptoms of anxiety as you tend to focus on the physical complaints.

Anxiety in the elderly is as common as in the young. 10% of the elderly has symptoms of anxiety.

What brings out anxiety are the stresses associated with:

  • The ageing process
  • Chronic physical problem
  • Memory problem
  • Emotional losses

Signs and Symptoms

You may have anxiety if you:

  • Tend to be more concern or fretted over small matters
  • If something going on with your life is causing you concern
  • If you found that you have a harder time putting things out of your mind
  • If you started to develop chest pain or difficulty in breathing more often.
  • If you feel your heart racing faster
  • If you have problems in sleep because there are so many things in your mind.

Complications

If anxiety is not treated then you can develop depression

Treatment

Discuss with your doctor about your symptoms. He may refer you to a mental health professional for further consult. 2 types of therapy can be given:

  • Non drug:
    • Breathing exercise
    • Relaxation exercise
    • Cognitive behavior therapy by replacing your anxiety producing thoughts with more realistic ones. These may need several sessions.
  • Drug

There are several types of medication which your doctor can use to treat the anxiety symptoms.

Prevention

There are ways to help you better able to cope with life, to manage stress well, to promote good self esteem and to build a good social support network. There are 4 mental health skills which are relevant:

Support

Befrienders (www.befrienders.org.my) Malaysian Mental Health Association (www.mentalhealth.org.my)

Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Suraya binti Yusoff
  : Dr. Susy Mathew
  : En. Harol Hanam bin Muhammed Wahid
Reviewer : Dr. Lazli Bin Bakar