chapter  4
16 Pages

Anxiety and depression in older people

ByGEORGINA CHARLESWORTH, JANET CARTER

Depression is characterised by low mood and loss of interest in life. The symptoms of depressive disorders are pervasive, and can impact on all areas of a person’s day-to-day living. Biological symptoms include loss of appetite and changes to sleep patterns. Psychological symptoms include feelings of guilt and a sense of hopelessness while behavioural symptoms include withdrawal from others and reduced engagement with activities of daily living. The characteristics of anxiety in later life include anxious mood, tension and non-

specific somatic complaints such as dizziness, shakiness and nausea. Autonomic hyper-arousal is common and often accompanied by anxious ruminations over health or ‘free-floating’ worries in relation to trivial matters which are often recognised as irrational. The extent to which anxiety in older and younger people is qualitatively different has been an area of debate, and has yet to be resolved (Bryant et al. 2008).