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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can generalised anxiety disorder develop later in life and what could cause it?

    Lately I have felt constantly anxious… not about anything in particular and I can't think of any life changes. What could be causing this anxiety?
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  • Beulah Warren

    Psychologist

    Beulah Warren is a registered Psychologist who has worked with infants and their parents for over 20 years, initially on research projects and later clinically. … View Profile

    It can develop later in life. In fact, I think it often occurs later in life, because I think we become less confident as we age.
    There could be all sorts of mental loss of supports, and all sorts of reasons why generalized anxiety increases. We need to look very carefully at the context of the person, though certainly this can develop later in life.

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    Jennifer Grant

    Psychologist

    New practice opened Feb 2018. Seewebsite www.coffspsychneuro.com.au I'm passionate about working with people from all walks of life to help them create a more vital, … View Profile

    Yes, as Beulah says, generalised anxiety disorder can develop at any time in life, even without any particular life changes. There’s multiple possible causes. You’d want to rule out medical/physical explanations first. Anxiety-like symptoms can be a sign of hormonal changes, micronutrient imbalances, respiratory problems, plus more.
    Fear and worry are normal. They function to get us to take some type of protective action when our safety or health appears to be threatened. As we age, it’s normal to have more thoughts of concern about our health, physical wellbeing and mortality.
    I work with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Within this approach, I’d be wanting to know more about (a) the content of your thoughts/ worries and whether you’re treating those thoughts as if they’re true & real; (b) the physical sensations you’re experiencing, what you’re doing to try and get rid of them or control them, and how that’s working for you; © how your feelings of anxiety are getting in the way of living a life that is meaningful, purposeful and vital. If you’re interested in this approach you can find an ACT therapist in the therapist listings at actmindfully.com.au.

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    Dr Carolyn Ee

    Acupuncturist, GP (General Practitioner)

    I'm a Sydney GP with a special interest in women's health especially menopause and TTC ( trying to conceive). I specialise in acupuncture, and am … View Profile

    It would be worthwhile seeing your GP to rule out any medical causes that might make you anxious. Also to have a chat about how you are feeling, and to see if it warrants seeing a psychologist. Your GP will be able to refer you for psychological therapies that are subsidised by the government.

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