ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A new local study has found an effective treatment for anxiety issues among senior citizens.

Up until now, the standard therapy involved tranquillizers and sedatives. A Washington University School of Medicine study, however, finds that the use of antidepressants combined with psychotherapy is more effective and seems to be tolerated and safe.

“Even though as a group, the whole group benefited from anti-depressant medication,” says Washington University researcher Eric Lenze. “The individuals who then had cognitive behavioral therapy added to that had significant improvements or significantly greater improvement.”

Lenze says he hopes the research will give older adults more options to consider before using sedatives and tranquillizers to manage anxiety.

Lenze says he is now working on a new study, testing whether an intervention that’s similar to meditation, called mindful based stress reduction, can help improve worry symptoms and cognitive functions in seniors, such as memory.

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