The rate of suicide by American war veterans is fifteen percent higher than those who are not veterans. In addition, police officers, EMTs, and firefighters, experience trauma on a regular basis. However, only a fraction of those who experience such events will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As we learn more about the human body and genetics, we are finding that many who experience PTSD may be predisposed to anxiety and depression.
As we learn more about how a person’s genetics may make them more susceptible to PTSD, we can develop guidelines and focus on prevention and treatment strategies. Recruitment for the military and other professions where psychological trauma is a potential hazard of duty includes psychological screening. We now have another tool to help protect vulnerable individuals. Knowing their genetic and epigenetic risk will help with proper placement and treatment. Using genetics will help us to identify who would benefit most from immediate care following trauma and which type of care would be best.
MyHappyGenes is dedicated to helping individuals achieve healthy outcomes through knowledge of DNA and Genetics. By understanding your DNA you can better understand your health outcomes.
According to some studies, Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs in only a minority of persons exposed to traumatic events (Breslau et al, 1998; Kessler et al, 1995). But for many people, the onset of PTSD from a traumatic event puts into motion a tremendous change in their way of life.
I recently encountered a young man (early ’30s) who did seven tours in the military and was released from service with a diagnosis of PTSD. He said his life was significantly changed. He is not able to sleep; he has obsessive recurrent thoughts and has developed a stutter as a result. He says his marriage is in trouble as he has become very fearful and anxious.
“Twin studies established that genetic influences explain a substantial proportion of vulnerability to PTSD, from ~ 30% in male Vietnam veterans (True et al, 1993), to 38% in a sample of male and female civilians (Stein et al, 2002), with an upward heritability estimate of 72% in young women (Sartor et al, 2011)”’
Currently, very few genetic studies of PTSD have examined gene-environment interactions or gene biochemistry interactions. We have come to realize in genetic research that one gene-one symptom is not an accurate means of diagnosing the risk of developing a condition such as PTSD. That the interplay of genes is the true underlying cause of susceptibility to this and other conditions.
The complicated algorithm of MyHappyGenesTM takes into account this unique interplay and increases the accuracy of the information about your unique genetic risks of these sorts of imbalances. We can then design a diet and lifestyle and nutrient approach to increase your resilience and help you deal with life in a much more balanced way.
We now have the necessary tools to develop these predictive models and improve the treatment of PTSD, which offers great hope for patients. However, we still have much more to learn.
How Genes Play a Role in Disease and Health
When slight changes occur in genes, it can cause susceptibility to many common diseases, including cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness. Genetic predisposition and the risk of disease can depend on multiple factors in addition to genetic changes.
Genetic testing can identify potential health problems and give you another tool to make informed decisions about managing your health care. Dr. J. Dunn explores how to obtain correct results and what to do with the results. She also talks about compassion for yourself and others when it comes to problems beyond our control. Her book – Genetic Compassion – will help you to understand how genes play a very important role in how we feel.