(Adapted from VA’s “PTSD: The National Center for PTSD”)
There has been little research done that looks at treatment for PTSD in older adults versus younger people. We do know that PTSD, like many other disorders, can affect older individuals differently than it affects younger adults.
When dealing with trauma-focused treatments, older adults may develop increased anxiety and confusion. As it may be more difficult for older adults to benefit from therapies when confusion is present, presenting materials in a variety of formats and focusing on one topic at a time may be helpful. It may also help to include caregivers in the treatment plan as they often play a critical role by reinforcing information presented in therapy sessions.
Medications used to treat older adults may take longer to work, including those drugs prescribed to treat PTSD. Side effects may be more pronounced in older adults too, so dosages may have to be adjusted over time. And, because older adults are often taking medications for other disorders, physicians should monitor any confusion to determine whether it is related to drug interactions.
PTSD in older adults may need a bit of a different approach for treatment purposes than is required with younger adults. What limited evidence there is at this time does support that PTSD treatments are effective for older adults.