PTSD Symptoms after Serious Falls

According to a new study elderly people that have fallen down and suffered an injury may develop post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms (PTSD). Researchers found that 27 out of 100 people, over the age of 65, who had been admitted to a hospital after a fall developed PTSD symptoms.


The study measured 17 symptoms of PTSD using the Post-Traumatic Stress Symptom Scale and then researchers took information on the patients’ background, mental health issues, health conditions, marital status, and information about their fall, including where they fell and the location of injuries.


The study found that women, unemployed individuals, those who had less education, and those who suffered injuries to the back and chest were most likely to have symptoms of PTSD. There was also an association between PTSD symptoms and the number of other medical conditions reported. Symptoms that were often reported were feeling distraught when reminded of the fall, a change in future plans, and problems sleeping.


Nimali Jayasinghe, assistant professor of psychology and faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, said that PTSD symptoms are expected to lessen over time since the patients were interviewed while still recovering in the hospital. Jayasinghe hopes future studies will be conducted to examine the extent of long-term effects for patients.



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