Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Beyond Depression

Anxiety is twice as likely to strike as depression.

Defining the Problem

The umbrella term "anxiety disorder" is used to describe a range of mental health problems, including:

  • Phobias, such as fear of flying, heights, or public places
  • Panic disorder, or the sudden feeling of impending doom
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, in which people experience senseless or distressing thoughts that lead them to repeat actions, like hand washing multiple times in rapid succession
  • Generalized anxiety disorder, often described as "a constant state of worry"

Occasional feelings of anxiety are a normal part of life, but anxiety disorders cause people "to become preoccupied with their thoughts to such an extent that it disrupts their everyday lives and drains their mental energy," says Wilson.

Like Coats, many older adults suffer for years without knowing what is wrong with them, Wilson says. Only a third of those afflicted seek treatment. Some may feel stigmatized; others may not be aware that the symptoms they are experiencing are part of a treatable mental health condition. According to the Surgeon General's report, anxiety disorders usually first appear when people are younger, but the stress of aging -- deteriorating health, bereavement over the loss of a spouse -- can cause their reappearance in later years.

Help Is at Hand

Today, more is known about treatment for anxiety, and according to mental health experts and research studies, the success rate is usually high, with obsessive compulsive disorder often the only exception. Individual counseling and group therapy can help people understand their anxiety disorder and situations that can trigger it. They can also learn coping methods, such as relaxation techniques. While medications like benzodiazepines have been tried, according to the Surgeon General's report, such drugs are more effective for episodes of acute anxiety in older adults than for the treatment of chronic, or ongoing, anxiety.

After two years of group therapy, Coats learned how to use such techniques as exercise, self-help groups, and relaxation tapes to help him cope with his anxiety. "I'd say I was plagued by it for 16 years,'' he says. "I used to keep it all to myself and not talk about it. But now I find the more I talk about it and face my anxiety, the better I feel.''

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing