Treating Trauma-related Disorders in Later Life : Moving Forward

Among stress-related disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) takes a central position. Although the percentage of older adults suffering from this condition appears to be lower than among younger adults, PTSD among them often presents a serious condition with high comorbidity rates. In this contribution, recent insights into post-traumatic stress disorder among older people as well as psychotherapeutic treatments are discussed. In particular, the results of recently completed investigations are discussed.


In this research, treatment outcomes of two psychotherapeutic approaches considered suitable for older PTSD patients (Narrative Exposure Therapy or NET and Present Centered Therapy or PCT) were compared in terms of psychopathology and psychosocial adjustment. For older patients suffering from PTSD with varying backgrounds, both NET and PCT showed the potential for a significant reduction of symptoms (PTSD, depression and subjective distress). Moreover, it was found that older adults can change long-standing beliefs, even after long-past childhood trauma. In a patient’s own words: “I am still here, the past didn’t bring me to my knees”. These findings disconfirm unfounded pessimism regarding psychotherapy in later life. Currently available treatment approaches in later life can be meaningful in improving the quality of life in older adults for years to come.

Jeannette C.G. Lely and Rolf J. Kleber | 2022
In: Emilio Ovuga, Stress Related Disorders
DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.102499
Elderly, Interventions, Narrative Exposure Therapy, Netherlands, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotherapy, Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), Quality of Life, Randomized Clinical Trial, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Treatment