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Delayed Reaction to Trauma in an Aging Woman

By Darnell Ladson and David Bienenfeld


Events of later life may awaken long-suppressed memories and feelings and yield emotional or behavioral problems that are evidence of an early traumatic experience. It is believed that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms are more prevalent in the younger general population, but the lack of data supporting PTSD in the elderly may be due to the complicated presentation. The elderly often present to psychotherapy with comorbid diagnoses and may underreport their symptoms, or the symptoms may be masked by other diagnoses. PTSD is associated with increased rates of major depressive disorder, substance-related disorders, panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, specific phobia, and bipolar disorder. Most of the literature on PTSD in the elderly stems from research on Holocaust or World War II survivors. In this paper, we will explore this particular dimension of late-life onset mental disorder with attention to the relevance of old trauma in performing psychodynamic psychotherapy

Topics: Psychotherapy Rounds
Publisher: Matrix Medical Communications
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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