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Article   |    
Clinical Presentation of PTSD in World War II Combat Veterans
Robert Hierholzer; Jan Munson; Carol Peabody; John Rosenberg
Psychiatric Services 1992; doi:
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emergency psychiatric, service at Valley Medical Center, 445 South Cedar Avenue, Fresno, California 93702; University of California, San Francisco, in Fresno

Veterans Affairs Medical Center in, Fresno

1992 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Clinicians have increasingly recognized posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Vietnam veterans, but the disorder may be easily over looked among World War II combat veterans. The authors review recent studies of PTSD in older veterans and describe five cases that illustrate the diverse clinical presentations of PTSD in this population. Symptoms included anxiety, cognitive and somatic complaints, depression, alcohol dependence, and amnestic periods. Despite the variedpresentations, a fairly consistent patient profile emerged. Patients avoided reminders of war, showed an exaggerated startle response, and experienced restless sleep and chronic anxiety. Factors associated with exacerbations of symptoms were retirement and reminders of war experiences. Although past studies have emphasized resuppression of the trauma, the authors encourage a flexible approach to treatment, including exploratory techniques.

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