Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Risk May be Determined by Genetics

Surviving trauma like wartime combat, rape or assault can leave an individual emotionally devastated. Now, a new research shows that people’s genes may help determine whether they will go on to suffer PTSD. According to Karestan Koenen, the lead researcher, our genes can explain why some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder and others do not.

The study found that the genetic risk for post-traumatic stress disorder is lower in men than women. It adds to evidence that some mental diseases like schizophrenia are genetically linked to TPSD.

Koenen noted that many people develop psychological distress after going through life-threatening experience. Such people may repeatedly remember the event and feel irritable, anxious and unable to sleep. These symptoms persist in some people who consequently develop PTSD. For many people, however, these symptoms decrease over time.

According to Koenen, a professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, genetic studies can offer a basis for new treatment of PTSD and help scientists to better match treatment to patients. Like other common disorders, PTSD is influenced by numerous genetic variants with trivial effects.

The new finding is important because it seems that a connection exists between the genetics of individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder and the genetics of people with other psychiatric problems like schizophrenia.



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