Harvard Men's Health Watch

Unveiling post-traumatic stress disorder

Often considered an ailment of only military veterans, this condition also can affect many older men.

PTSD
Image: Devoryou/Thinkstock

Mention post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and most people immediately think of military veterans. While this group is highly susceptible to PTSD, research has shown that older adults, specifically men, are also vulnerable.

PTSD is a potentially debilitating condition that can occur in people who have experienced a natural disaster, war, terrorism, serious accident, violent personal assault, or similar traumatic event.

Research from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs suggests that 70% of men ages 65 and older have been exposed to at least one traumatic event during their lifetime. Common age-related stressors like retirement, increased health problems, cognitive decline, the sudden death of a spouse or friend, and other life issues also can increase their risk.

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