Anxiety in mid life can lead to dementia in seniors, according to recent studies.
The research was done by Amy Gimson, a researcher at the University of Southampton’s Faculty of Medicine in the United Kingdom.
Gimson and colleagues observed that several studies found a link between anxiety and late-onset dementia. Late onset dementia is the most prevalent form and affects people from around the age of 65.
Anxiety often occurs together with depression, and symptoms have often been reported by people years before receiving a diagnosis of dementia.
Anxiety: Study Results
Researchers sifted through 3,500 studies in search of papers that examined the link between midlife depression, with or without anxiety, and late-onset dementia. The results showed a positive correlation between moderate to severe anxiety and later development of dementia: Clinically significant anxiety in midlife was later associated with an increased risk of dementia over an interval of at least 10 years.
The link between anxiety and dementia, may be explained by an excessive stress response triggered by the mental health condition. High stress may accelerate the aging process of brain cells, which, in turn, can speed up age-related cognitive decline.
Previously, it had been shown that depression doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Anxiety: Treatments To Avoid Late Onset Dementia
Non-pharmacological therapies are known to reduce anxiety in midlife. These include talk therapies, mindfulness-based interventions, and meditation practices.