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Question : I consider myself a healthy 42-year-old man. But recently I have become anxious and I can't figure out why. What do you suggest?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Michael Craig Miller, M.D Michael Craig Miller, M.D., is Senior Editor of Mental Health Publishing at Harvard Health Publications. He is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Miller is in clinical practice at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he has been on staff for more than 25 years.

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September 03, 2013
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It is a bit unusual to develop anxiety for the first time at age 42. First pay a visit to your primary care doctor. He or she will check for treatable, medical causes of anxiety.

For example, if your thyroid is producing too much hormone, that could make you anxious. Or you may have started a new medicine that is making you jittery. Are you drinking more coffee? The list of possibilities is long. And your doctor should be able to review them with you.

Anxiety can of course be triggered by stress at home or work. Have you faced a financial downturn? Have you been passed over for a promotion? Has anything changed in a love relationship?

Sometimes, without being aware of it, men in their 40s can become more anxious about their physical wellbeing. In your 30s, you can still think of yourself as a young man. After 40, questions about mortality begin to creep in.

You may be less fit. It may take longer to recover from injury. Your sexual functioning may have changed.

Other pressures can happen in a man’s 40s.

Career demands shift. You no longer enjoy beginner status. You can’t be a rising star anymore.

Children, if you have them, probably require a lot of attention. Maybe they are in the rough teenage years.

You are an experienced person approaching — dread the word — mid-life. Whether at home or at work, people around you may have high expectations of you.

Never mind the expectations of others. You may worry more about meeting your own expectations. One way to deal with that is to get help changing the conversation you have with yourself.

Fortunately, at whatever age, anxiety is one of the most treatable emotional disorders. There are many types of psychotherapy where you can talk about these issues. Medicine can also help you. Both approaches are tools to manage or even eliminate your anxiety.

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