Living Reference Work Entry

Mental Health and Illness of the Elderly

Part of the series Mental Health and Illness Worldwide pp 1-23

Date: Latest Version

Anxiety in Late Life

  • Gerard J. ByrneAffiliated withAcademic Discipline of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Room 05, K Floor, Mental Health Centre, Royal Brisbane & Women’s HospitalOlder Persons’ Mental Health Service, E Floor, Mental Health Centre, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital Email author 


This chapter focuses on anxiety disorders, which occur at high prevalence throughout the world. It summarizes contemporary findings on prevalence and risk factors. It deals with assessment issues, including rating scales. It explores the available evidence on effective management strategies in older people, including behavior therapy and antidepressant medication. Emphasis is given to the role of non-pharmacological interventions. The chapter deals with several controversial issues, including the limited evidence for the manual-based psychotherapies in late-life anxiety disorders and the role of benzodiazepines and antipsychotics. Anxiety disorders are often underestimated as causes of human distress and disability.


Anxiety Avoidance Panic Phobia Agoraphobia Exposure Psychotherapy Antidepressants