The pandemic has turned our world topsy-turvy. All of us are trying to adjust to the ‘new normal’. However, senior citizens are having the hardest time grappling with this ‘new reality’. Dr Kedar Tilwe, consultant psychiatrist, Fortis Hospital Mulund and Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, shares five signs that indicate your parents are battling anxiety. Here’s what to watch out for and do to address their concerns…
Signs that indicate your parents are battling anxiety
The following are clear indicators that your parents are overly anxious, and need to be reassured.
- Mood swings and anger outbursts
Often, inability to control your worries and concerns, despite understanding that they are misplaced, can lead to an increase in frustration and result in anger outbursts and temper tantrums. Not responding in a hostile manner, allowing them to vent out the frustration, and then calming their concerns is a good way to prevent an unnecessary escalation.
- Constant worrying :
Preoccupation and rumination about distressing thoughts and disturbing news is especially common in the current scenario of the ‘New Normal’. Reassuring them about the precautions that you are taking and clarifying and discussing the news with them will help calm them.
- Sleep disturbances
Not getting sleep or deceased sleep time especially, on the account of disturbing thoughts, is a common presentation. Ensuring a fixed routine to the sleep-wake cycle and following sleep hygiene punctually can prove beneficial.
- Remaining aloof or constant reassurance seeking
Though these are behaviours at the opposite ends of the spectrum, they are a sign of anxiety issues. Gently draw the attention of your parents to this behaviour. Also, encourage them to verbalise their fears, so you can reassure them.
- Panic attacks
Panic episodes with sudden palpitations, paresthesia, sweating, abdominal discomfort, fear of impending doom in the absence of any explainable medical reasons, are perhaps the most common signs of anxiety. If after consulting a physician no obvious precipitating cause is found, then consulting a mental health professional may prove beneficial.