Panic? Anxiety? Depression? More People Experiencing Mental Health Challenges

People of all walks of life, from celebrities like Dwayne Johnson or Lady Gaga, to your next-door neighbor, have experienced mental health issues like panic attacks, anxiety, or depression. Treatment is effective and available.

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Panic? Anxiety? Depression? More People Experiencing Mental Health Challenges
5 Min Read January 25th, 2022 Updated:February 9th, 2022

We all experience fear from time to time; however, it probably is more than just fear if you have a very intense sudden fear. If your fear or general anxiety is causing symptoms like chest pain, heart palpitations, shaking, shortness of breath, sweating, numbness, or a feeling of impending doom or losing control, you probably are having a panic attack. 

Be it a panic attack, anxiety, or clinical depression, they all have shared symptoms, but they are specifically different conditions. One thing in common is many people have experienced these conditions during their lifetime. 

People of all walks of life have experienced panic attacks, anxiety, and even depression. Johnny Depp and his former girlfriend Kate Moss have shared their history of panic attacks. Actress Emma Stone is another celebrity who is not immune from experiencing a panic attack.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

"The Rock" actor and former professional wrestler Dwayne Johnson shared his history of depression going back to age 18. Carson Daly had symptoms of anxiety going back to when he was ten years old. Lady Gaga has battled depression and anxiety for many years.

Sudden Intense Fear is a Panic Attack

A panic attack is a sudden event of intense fear with some or all of the symptoms. However, there is no real danger or cause for these feelings. When a person is in constant fear of another panic attack - and have more frequent panic attacks, you may have panic disorder.

Panic attacks and panic disorder is, on their own, usually not life-threatening but can affect your quality-of-life and scare your friends and family when you are experiencing one of these attacks. 

These episodes of panic can happen at any time. You could be at a restaurant, at work, or even in your sleep; it happens, and you are in panic. Generally, it occurs suddenly with no warning.

Unlike anxiety, which usually has clear triggers, panic attacks happen suddenly and unexpectedly but usually only past a few minutes. A person with anxiety has excessive feelings and thoughts of irrational fear and worry, and they continue for more extended periods of time. People with anxiety fear something terrible will happen, and they can't let those feelings go.

Anxiety and Depression are Ongoing

Panic attacks and anxiety are different than depression. With depression, the person has a deep feeling of sadness and a general sense of hopelessness. Those who suffer from depression are listless, negative, and sometimes have suicidal thoughts.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, anxiety and depression often occur together, but individuals can also experience them separately. There is some overlap in symptoms, but each condition has its own unique ones as well.

Depression and anxiety are treatable, whether they occur together or separately - Anxiety vs. Depression: Which Do I Have (or Both?) – Cleveland Clinic.

Keep in mind, however, that anxiety and panic attacks are separate conditions, and the treatment can be different - Are Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks the Same Thing? – Cleveland Clinic.

More Panic Attacks Since Virus Crisis

There are some signs that more people are experiencing panic attacks as two studies have shown an increase in Google searches for the term "panic attack." However, the Cleveland Clinic says that individuals with anxiety disorders, depression, or other mental illnesses are more prone to panic attacks.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Reportedly, 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder. According to Mental Health America, 19.86% of adults experienced a mental illness, equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans. That study was completed just before the COVID-19 virus crisis. An increasing number of people are reporting serious thoughts of suicide.

From August 2020 to December 2020, there was a 13% increase nationwide in anxiety-related symptoms and a 14.8% increase in depression-related symptoms. The COVID-19 virus crisis has had a significant impact on our mental health, according to a study published in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly journal.

Research shows that anxiety-related symptoms of Americans have decreased as the COVID-19 vaccine has rolled out; however, the ebb and flow of the pandemic can impact our mental health.

Older People are Lonely and Isolated

There are effective treatments for all these issues, but individuals should seek treatment, and their families should encourage them to follow through with treatment. 

Older people experience fewer panic attacks, but they suffer from anxiety and depression. While depression is common in older adults, it is not considered normal, and treatment can be effective.

According to the National Institute on Aging, depression can be common with people who have dementia. In fact, dementia can cause similar symptoms as depression. Plus, depression can be an early warning sign of possible dementia. Suicide attempts may also increase in people recently diagnosed with dementia.

The NIA also says that as people get older, they often spend more time alone. Seniors spend more time alone, even in long-term care facilities where the virus infection increases isolation. The social isolation caused by COVID-19 has made this situation worse. 

Loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher rates of depression, and families should look for signs of depression and anxiety with their older loved ones. 

Don't ignore any of these mental health challenges in anyone - including yourself. Seek the help of your doctor and avoid the stigma that mental health problems still create in some people's minds. 

As we get older, life can get more complicated. Our health declines, our bodies break down, and we sometimes need help with daily living activities. Being prepared will make these changes easier to deal with for your family and your finances.

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About the Author

Linda is a freelance writer interested in retirement planning, health and aging.

LTC News Contributor Linda Kople

Linda Kople

Contributor since October 31st, 2017

Editor's Note

We all should be aware of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. As our loved ones get older, they may suffer from these mental health challenges. 

We will all experience a decline in our health as we age. Our bodies will deteriorate, and we may suffer from dementia. These changes will often result in our need for long-term health care. The costs of care - in-home care, assisted living, or nursing home care are expensive. These costs are rising rapidly nationwide and will put a financial strain on your income and assets and place stress and anxiety on your family.

Be prepared by adding an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy to your retirement plan. You will have access to tax-free benefits to pay for your choice of quality care options in the setting you desire. Your loved ones will have the time to be family instead of caregivers. 

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s.

Seek Professional Advice

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family.

Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums do vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.

A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

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You can find many tools and resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis. 

To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

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LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with your Long-Term Care Insurance policy. 

You can also get support in finding quality caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities

If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.

Take a moment and read - 

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.  

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

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