PTSD May Increase Chances of Dementia

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is becoming more prevalent with every soldier in every deployment cycling back to the United States. It is one of the most common yet least understood ailments afflicting U.S. soldiers. Every day seems to bring new proposed methods of treatment for PTSD, but now a new danger looms.

A new study has shown that older veterans, who have been diagnosed with PTSD are twice as likely to develop dementia as those veterans who have never suffered from PTSD.

Showing the link, however, is not the same as explaining why the link occurs in the first place. Previous studies found a correlation between lowered brain volume in the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain involved in both memory and response to stress, and PTSD. Probably not coincidentally, Alzheimer’s (which has similar symptoms to dementia) most discernible trait is a loss of memory and other cognitive abilities: 

  • The ability to speak;
  • The ability to identify objects; and
  • The ability to think abstractly.

Data on 53,155 veterans diagnosed with PTSD was analyzed and compared to 127,928 veterans not suffering from PTSD. The study found of the veterans with PTSD, 10% developed new cases of dementia whereas of those veterans without PTSD, only 6.6% developed new cases of dementia.

Even after researchers compensated for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or depression, those veterans suffering from PTSD continued to be twice as likely to develop dementia as those veterans without PTSD. The correlation being established, more research will be needed to develop the relationship.

The one thing that is going to help combat PTSD and its debilitating effects is information. The more information we know about PTSD, the more successful we may be in preventing older veterans from developing dementia.

If you are a veteran and suffering from PTSD and fighting the VA to get disability compensation, contact Veterans Help Group, a veterans law firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We represent more than 5000 disability claimants. Our disability attorneys have experience with cross examining agency-appointed medical and vocational experts and take time when speaking with you about your disability claim. Call us today at 1-855-855-8992 for a FREE legal consultation. There is NO OBLIGATION to hire our firm and there are NO FEES unless one of our trained disability lawyers wins your case.