A new study from the American Geriatrics Society may have identified another risk factor that could increase the likelihood of dementia. Individuals taking medication to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder could increase their risk for dementia later in life.
A closer look at the study
Researchers looked at over 3 million participants aged 56 and older. The study focused on individuals working with veterans. According to NPR, there continues to be a stigma for individuals who have seen combat seeking out treatment for PTSD. However, the stigma of seeking out treatment for PTSD is beginning to dissipate.
The study tracked patients since 2003 over nine years. The results found that individuals taking medication to cope with PTSD, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antidepressants, were more likely to suffer from dementia later in life than individuals who didn't take these medications. While researchers noted the connection between these medications and dementia, they acknowledge that more research is needed to learn about the relationship.
A deeper look at PTSD
Post traumatic stress disorder encapsulates multiple symptoms related to a traumatic event. The National Institute of Mental Health noted that PTSD can be both acute and chronic. However, the NIMH noted that individuals must have symptoms including flashbacks of a traumatic event, avoidance and mood changes for up to one month for it to be identified as PTSD. When these symptoms last for a shorter amount of time, it can be acute stress disorder.
According to the National Center for PTSD, approximately 7 to 8 percent of the U.S. population will experience PTSD over their lives. The center found that a higher percentage of women reported having PTSD compared to men. However, the rate increases when looking at the military, as up to 30 percent of Vietnam veterans suffer from PTSD. Both medication and talk therapy can help individuals with this disorder.
How dementia affects seniors
Dementia encapsulates many symptoms that seniors can have. It can affect memory and motor function. In addition, seniors could experience depression in the beginning stages, according to the Alzheimer's Association. These symptoms can make it difficult for seniors to live on their own. Home care providers can ease the stress on individuals and families struggling with dementia. To learn more, reach out to Interim Healthcare today.