Anxiety and panic attacks

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
Generally, feelings of anxiety in the elderly increase due to physical limitations and personal stresses, which increase their feelings of vulnerability. The extent of anxiety depends on the amount of adjustment the individual is going through and the resources available to help them cope. One source of anxiety is aging. Many elderly people fear sickness, dependency, and potential poverty, causing extreme anxiety. Panic attacks are physical sensations of extreme fear triggered by an anxious panicky thought. These anxious, panicky thoughts can come from the problems the elderly face, such as the fear of being alone, mistrust of others, and physical illness. Some older people openly express their anxiety and feelings of panic, while others may try to protect themselves by blocking out anything they feel is threatening - even the help of others. These types of people will adhere to a rigid way of thinking and living in order to provoke as little change as possible, therefore keeping their anxiety at bay. For more information on support groups and individual counseling for seniors, contact your local hospital or community center.

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