by Samhita Vitta on  September 16, 2020 at 1:28 PM Mental Health News
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Increases the Risk of Dementia
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experienced people are twice as likely to develop dementia later in life, according to a study by UCL researchers.

The research is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The researchers reviewed 13 studies conducted on four continents. The data included a total of 1,693,678 people, investigating the link between PTSD diagnosis and increased risk of dementia up to 17 years later.

Eight studies indicated that people with PTSD faced a 61% higher risk of dementia, and two studies that used different methods found that PTSD was associated with double the odds of developing dementia.

PTSD associated dementia risk was higher in the general population when compared to veterans. General population were more than twice as likely to develop dementia.

Veterans are typically likely to receive PTSD treatment, so treating PTSD may reduce subsequent dementia risk.

Many people with PTSD do not access treatment. However, there is evidence that accessing treatment for traumatic experiences can have a long-lasting impact on the individuals and influence future risk of developing dementia.

The risk of dementia could be higher than what the studies suggest because PTSD also increased dementia risk factors such as social isolation, depression, or elevated alcohol intake. Most of the studies adjusted for some of these risk factors so that the overall findings might underestimate the true cost of PTSD.

It remains unclear how PTSD increases dementia risk, but the researchers suggest that it might be related to hypervigilance and recurrent re-experiencing of the trauma, contributing to threat and stress-related activity in the brain, while withdrawal from social life may reduce cognitive reserve and resilience.

PTSD is also common among people who have been hospitalized for COVID-19. They are underdiagnosed and undertreated, which can have long-term consequences.

It is important to develop preventive measures for people at an elevated risk of dementia.

Source: Medindia

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