International Psychogeriatrics

Depression and Anxiety in Geriatric Inpatients

Treatment of Anxiety in the Cognitively Impaired Elderly: Can Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Help?

Deborah-Anne Koder a1
a1 Psychogeriatric Unit, Prince Henry Hospital, Little Bay, NSW, Australia

Article author query
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Anxiety is commonly reported in patients with dementia, resulting in a further decline in functioning. An overview of the clinical application of cognitive-behavioral techniques in treating anxiety in elderly patients with brain damage is presented. Two cases are described with a focus on clinical anxiety management techniques that have been modified to suit cognitively impaired elderly patients. These modifications include simplifying material, using more structured techniques, and recognizing the critical role of the patient's caregiver in therapy. It is concluded that cognitive-behavior therapy can help in reducing anxiety in the demented population; the potential benefits of this therapy are an increase in patients' self-esteem and independence and the prevention of hospitalization.

(Received December 9 1997)
(Accepted April 20 1998)