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Anxiety is the most common mental disorder experienced by older adults. 

Anxiety Disorders affect over 18 percent of people over the age of 60. As many as 7 percent of this age group have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), a disorder characterized by uncontrollable worries about everyday things. 

Despite its prevalence, Anxiety Disorders remain one of the most undiagnosed and undertreated conditions in this age group. This is due to the failure of the current model of the primary care physician as gatekeeper model.

Eric J. Lenze, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, says,

Studies have shown that generalized anxiety disorder is more common in the elderly … than depression, which affects about 3 percent of seniors. Surprisingly, there is little research that has been done on this disorder in the elderly.

Due to the lack of evidence, doctors often think that this disorder is rare in the elderly or that it is a normal part of aging, so they don’t diagnose or treat anxiety in their older patients, when, in fact, anxiety is quite common in the elderly and can have a serious impact on quality of life.

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Do you treat your mental health issue with medication only?

If you do, you are part of a growing trend among mental health care providers.

This shift to the sole use of medication to treat mental health problems is detailed in a study released this month in the Archives of General Psychology. The authors find that market forces, primarily insurance reimbursements, are forcing psychiatrists to limit their time with patients to 15-minute medication maintenance visits rather than also providing psychotherapy.

The percentage of patients who received both medication and psychotherapy from their psychiatrists fell to 28.9 percent in 2004-05, from 44.4 percent in 1996-97. 

The findings are expected to intensify a debate over the increased medicalization of psychiatric care. The debate is about the shifting emphasis on the biology of mental illness, as opposed to the processes of the mind addressed in psychotherapy. This debate is seen in the mental health stances of the two Presidential candidates. McCain’s plan emphasizes the use of medications over psychotherapy, while Obama’s seeks a balance between the two.

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It is a universal truth: We all lie to our therapists!

We wouldn’t lie to our auto mechanic about the funny noise under the hood. We wouldn’t lie to our hair stylist about wanting to cover our bald spot.

Then why lie to our therapists, wasting money, time and emotional energy?

There are many reasons, both complex and simple. Click continue to see the top 10!

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