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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent mental health conditions in older adults. Late-life anxiety disorders occur frequently in medical contexts, and are risk factors for other psychiatric disorders, cognitive impairment, general medical conditions, and mortality. Age-related changes in aetiology, prevalence, and phenomenology contribute to challenges in detection and management of late-life anxiety disorders. Functional neuroimaging and lesion studies point to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and amygdala as key neural substrates of anxiety disorders, and dysfunctions in these neural circuits may be precipitated by genetic predispositions. Current psychological and pharmacological interventions are at best moderately efficacious. More research is needed to understand age-related changes in the relationship between anxiety and disability, and to develop more effective treatments tailored specifically to older adults.

Keywords: anxiety disorders, older adults, worry, psychological distress, psychopathology, mental health, interventions, neurobiology

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