Anxiety increases risk of dementia and cognitive impairment: Study

Anxiety increases risk of dementia and cognitive impairment: Study

“A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.” The quote by British scientist and philanthropist John Lubbock sums up the impact that anxiety can have on someone’s life. It is normal to be anxious about certain things, but living in a state of constant panic can result in various psychological and physiological disorders.

Various researches are being conducted to find treatments that can help people get rid of anxiety. A recent study has indicated that the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia is associated with anxiety.

The authors of the study titled “Anxiety as a Predictor for Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” examined all the existing studies linking anxiety and cognitive level. In the study, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry in July 2016, the scientists analyzed the prevalence of the deteriorating stage of dementia in patients for which they took into account both community studies and researches on patients being assessed in memory clinics. Of the total, 20 studies met the above mentioned benchmarks for the same.

Anxiousness led to decline of cognitive faculties

The researchers found that in four studies that analyzed 4,155 patients, severe state of anxiousness predicted the decline of cognitive faculties. Incident dementia was found to predict cognitive decline in six studies that analyzed 6,004 patients.

The association between anxiety and dementia was more prevalent among patients aged 80 years and above, as compared to those aged below 80 years. Nevertheless, the association between anxiety and conversion of the same to dementia was not much among cases of clinical mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Need to focus on risk factors affecting onset of dementia

The association between anxiety and MCI grew stronger with an increase in age and the authors proposed that the same might be a prodromal sign of the disorder. They stressed that very few studies were available in the field of dementia. The same needs further analysis as MCI is an important risk factor in the onset and development of dementia problems.

The comorbidity of anxiousness and depressive behavior with MCI shows the necessity of further study. As most studies focus on depression and related disorders, the authors of the study said, “Studies are scarce and vary in methodology, especially according to the setting and stage of the neurodegenerative process.”

The scientists indicated the need for physicians to be aware of anxiety as a possible predictor of dementia irrespective of the former being a direct cause of the latter.

The authors said that as they had taken into consideration both community and clinical studies, the potential of referral bias was reduced. Referring their study as the most detailed account of the current base possible, the authors highlighted the need to examine if neuropsychiatric signs like apathy and depression are independent risk factors or if they are an expression of a latent underlying variable.

Need for timely treatment

It is not easy to get over anxiety. Nearly 40 million adult Americans are afflicted with anxiety disorders, as per the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). As panic attacks get constant and recurrent, affected people are more in need of support as opposed to unnecessary criticism about themselves. It is important to realize that mental health is as important as physical health.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental illness, contact the Sovereign Mental Health Services to know about our various mental health treatment facilities in the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 or chat online for information about our anxiety disorders treatment centers in California.

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