Advertisement

How do genetics affect my risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Because not everyone who lives through a traumatic event develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) biological factors probably increase the risk. The disorder tends to affect certain families more than others, so there may be a genetic predisposition.

Someone who has had depression or who has a first-degree relative (such as a parent, sister, brother, or child) who's had a depressive episode is more likely to develop PTSD. For example, a study of 81 rape survivors found that those with family members with depression were more likely to develop PTSD than those whose family members did not have depression. One theory is that people with PTSD have a particularly strong response to stress, and that excess emotional stress reduces the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that oversees memories. Preliminary research has shown that the hippocampus is smaller than normal in people with PTSD, as well as some people with depression. This might be why people with PTSD often complain of memory problems and depression. More research is needed, though, to tease out genetic or biological factors that influence PTSD.

Continue Learning about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Causes

Does PTSD affect children differently than adults?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that can affect both children and adults. ...
More Answers
Does post-traumatic stress disorder run in families?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness with a number of causes. One possible caus...
More Answers
What causes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is caused by a recurring memory of a traumatic event, such ...
More Answers
What are my chances of getting post--traumatic stress disorder?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
If you experience or witness a traumatic event it is possible you will develop post-raumatic stress ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.