All as a result of the first meta-analysis of the relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and dementia, which covered more than a million patients, and found that untreated PTSD doubled the risk of dementia in the elderly. Research, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, describes the condition as one of the greatest health challenges of the 21st century. Today, more than 50 million people worldwide suffer from it, and estimates say it will triple its prevalence by 2050. In the absence of effective treatment, the key to managing this degenerative disease is early identification and helping patients to limit the development of an uncontrollable condition at some point.
As already mentioned, one of the most vulnerable groups is people with PTSD, but interestingly… the relationship is both ways, meaning dementia also increases the risk of delayed PTSD. According to Canadian scientists who rely on studies of 1.69 million patients, the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder is associated with a 61% higher probability of developing dementia. Surprisingly, however, the incidence of dementia among PTSD war veterans is lower than that of the rest of the population - so if they are excluded from the study, we get a result that suggests that patients with PTSD are twice as likely to develop dementia.
Scientists hypothesize that this finding may suggest that treating PTSD may reduce the risk of developing dementia, as veterans are much more likely to be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder than regular Kowalski. Many people with PTSD do not receive treatment, sometimes because of poor health care and sometimes because of fears of stigma often faced by those seeking help. Now we have more evidence of how traumatic experiences and the help they receive can have a long-term impact on a person, including the development of dementia in the future, explains one of the authors, Vasiliki Orgeta. While it is not clear what exactly the mechanism is behind this unusual relationship, one possible answer is that PTSD affects many of the behavioral factors that are associated with the development of dementia, from depression to addiction. Scientists are wondering whether the early diagnosis and treatment of PTSD can delay or even prevent the development of dementia, which has the potential to change the lives of millions of people around the world.