In a recent Psychology and Aging review of treatments for geriatric anxiety disorders, CBT for late-life generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) showed the most consistent positive results. Particularly strong support was found for an enhanced CBT protocol that included memory aids and between-session phone-calls to increase homework completion.

The authors emphasize the prevalence and consequences of GAD in older populations. Anxiety in geriatric patients often coexists with increased physical disability and impairment, overuse of medical services, decreased life satisfaction, and other negative effects. Although anxiolytic medications appear to be effective for geriatric anxiety, many older adults avoid them because of side effects and because of concerns about adding to their existing medications. The authors suggested that “effective psychosocial treatments as an alternative to or in combination with pharmacotherapy for late-life anxiety remains an important priority.”

Study authors: C. R. Ayers, J. T. Sorrell, S. R. Thorp, J. L. Wetherell