Anxiety disorder causes feelings of fear, worry, apprehension, or dread that are excessive or disproportional to the problems or situations that are feared. Anxiety is a common illness among older adults, affecting as many as 10-20% of the older population, though it is often undiagnosed.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) develops after a traumatic event that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm to the individual, a loved one, or even strangers. PTSD can result from traumatic incidents, such as a mugging, rape, abuse, car accidents, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes, in addition to resulting from experiences of war.
Suicide assessment is particularly important in older patients. People 65 years and older, particularly men, have the highest suicide rate of any other group. This contradicts a popular misconception that the highest rate is among the young. Anxiety disorders, especially panic disorder and PTSD, are independently associated with suicide attempts. Clinicians need to assess suicidal behavior among patients presenting with anxiety problems.