Dementia More Likely in Veterans With PTSD
September 7, 2010 – The American Geriatrics Society published a study that reveals that veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are twice as likely to develop dementia than veterans without PTSD. This includes veterans who have suffered traumatic injuries as a result of their time spent in combat.
PTSD can be caused by many different situations but is usually triggered by life threatening events like combat. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but most commonly include:
- Difficulty sleeping;
- Mood problems; and
- Avoiding things, people, and places reminiscent of the trauma.
Although the study suggested the connection between dementia and PTSD, its authors could not offer a reason for the increased risk. More research must be done in order to determine if the possibility of dementia can be lowered by successfully treating a veteran’s PTSD. If effective treatment of PTSD lowers the risk, the repercussions for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan would be significant.
Of those veterans with PTSD, researchers must still establish which groups or individuals are the most at-risk and if PTSD brought on by trauma other than combat also makes people more apt to develop dementia. The study is a good starting point but a lot more research needs to be done in order to determine how to best help veterans suffering from these conditions.