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PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental problem that can affect anyone but the seniors are most susceptible to it. If you want to know why it happens, how its presence can be identified, and how it can be best managed then read on.
Seniors can witness varying degrees of trauma, like going through a divorce or losing a job. These will affect him and he will probably be feeling low for a while but he will be back on his feet soon. PTSD happens when more serious circumstances present themselves to the ageing person. In the U.S. it has been seen that men are more prone (70%) to developing PTSD as compared to women (41%).
These reasons cited, not everyone is affected by it even if he is coping with a depressive phase in his life. You might be more prone to it if:
After a traumatic incident it is normal feel on the edge, have disturbed sleep, and not be blessed to socialize normally. But if this persists for long then you should get yourself checked for PTSD. At this stage of your life you might even see the symptoms coming and going, which at times, makes diagnosis a little difficult.
In case if you are wondering if you suffer from PTSD or not, here are the most obvious warning signs.
Many people of your age will try and manage their PTSD by trying to overwork or even use medicines and alcohol to escape from the traumatic memories. But this is not the right way to approach the issues. For example, the medicines usually given are benzodiazepines which, in seniors, can lead to dementia, heart attacks, reduced metabolism, walking difficulty, and confusion.
Reach out to your close friends and relatives who you might not have been in touch with. When you begin to talk and share with others, you will be better able to handle yourself. Don’t think that just because you have aged people will take this as a sign of your weakness. Those who know you will respect you for the step that you have taken and do all that they can to help.
When PTSD happens at this age one usually tends to become all bottled up and sedentary. The more inactive your mind and body is, the more the traumatic experience will haunt you. So, you should chalk out an exercise routine for yourself and also start on some activity that will de-stress the mind – like writing, painting etc.
When you attend classes that talk about bringing back positive vibes into your life or even those that teach you meditation and yoga, you are bound to feel better. You won’t notice changes in a day, but with time, you will calm down.
In this context, you should also take some time out where you can be alone amidst nature – watch the trees, the ducks in the pond, the sun playing hide and seek – greenery and fresh air will soothe your troubled mind.
Do some research and find groups in your vicinity that have people of your age suffering from PTSD. When you are among others who understand your problem, you will be able to open up more easily and even recuperate out of it. For example, PTSD might need MRI scans which scares you. But when you hear from others how they have already dealt with it, then it becomes less scary for you.
Contact a professional who has experience in dealing with PTSD. Getting treated on time is vital as, with age, it deteriorates further. Antidepressants can work at your age. But you should not take these yourself and you need to be in regular touch with your doctor so as to monitor its effectiveness and see that no side effect results.
When the senior tells and retells the psychotherapist of the issues that are troubling him, then he is likely to accept it. When he loudly speaks of the incident repeatedly then it turns out to be therapeutic because it desensitizes the very stimuli that was making them feel nervous and fearful.
Don’t be scared to admit that you have PTSD and this seek therapy for it. The more you let it be the more you will find distancing yourself from your family and losing a hold over your life. At your age it might even lead to heart attacks. So, please don’t waste any more time and start your treatment soon.