June Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month
How PTSD Can Affect Older Adults
This June, during Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, we all have an opportunity to consider how much we know about this complicated medical disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health defines PTSD as “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.”
According to the National Center for PTSD:
- 6 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point
- Approximately 12 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during any given year
- The prevalence of PTSD over the age of 60 is 1.5 percent to 4 percent
Many of us associate PTSD with veterans who participated in active combat. But PTSD is not just a disorder experienced by those who have been in war—it can be experienced by people of all ages, including older adults, who have experienced any trauma in their life. While this could be serving during a war, it could also include experiencing childhood trauma, suffering from a serious accident, experiencing a natural disaster, or witnessing a traumatic event.
While the occurrence of PTSD among older adults is low, it is still important to understand the signs of PTSD. Keep in mind these common symptoms:
- Experiencing intense disturbing thoughts and feelings long after the event is over
- Reliving the event through flashbacks or nightmares
- Feeling sadness, fear, or anger
- Feeling detached or estranged from others
- Avoiding social situations
- Having strong negative reactions to loud noises or an accidental touch
If you believe you or your loved one is potentially suffering from PTSD, the first step is to speak to your primary care doctor. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the McGregor PACE team for more information.