Clinicians’ experiences of anxiety in patients with dementia

Knut Engedal & Siren Eriksen Clinicians’ experiences of anxiety in patients with dementiaDementia July 14, 2016 

 

B0003584 MRI of the brain overlaid with "anxiety"
image source: Mark Lythgoe, Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Since anxiety in patients with dementia is a complex, understudied phenomenon, this paper presents clinicians’ experiences of anxiety in this population.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven clinicians experienced with dementia in elderly patients (65 years and above), and then evaluated via qualitative content analysis.

Analysis revealed three main categories: A reaction to loss and worries, symptoms of anxiety and depression interfere with each other, and anxiety in dementia—a multidisciplinary task.

Anxiety in this population is perhaps best understood as a reaction to loss and worries, and existential in nature by the participants. Care interventions can reduce or prevent anxiety symptoms in this population. However, when anxiety co-exists with depression it might be difficult to attenuate these symptoms through care measures alone. To better identify and treat the condition, valid dementia-specific anxiety-screening instruments are necessary.

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