PTSD Potency

Post traumatic stress disorder biology influences recipients

(RxWiki News) You may be carrying biological attributes within your genes that increase your risk of developing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Researchers say that the potency of your PTSD may depend on your traumatic trigger.

Approximately eight percent of the population will meet the criteria for PTSD during their life, reaching closer to twenty percent in returning veterans. So what can be done to prevent and treat PTSD? An assistant professor of psychiatry at Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics recommends consulting biology. 

"Contact a therapist if traumatic flashbacks interfere with your life. "

Ananda B. Amstadter, Ph.D., researches the area of traumatic stress and the focus of her work is to understand the biological and environmental factors of post-traumatic stress disorder. She, also associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, tells the college news center: "We know that PTSD is about thirty percent heritable. In other words, genes account for about one-third of the variance in risk for PTSD. We're trying to identify exactly which genes are involved, and how the environment might moderate these relationships."

Amstadter explains that by determining the genes involved and understanding the effects of specific variants, medical professionals may be able to identify people needing help after an extremely traumatic event.  Recent breakthroughs in suicide detection research has top psychiatric professionals excited about saving lives, providing additional hope that Amstadter's predictions may realize in the near future. 

Moving forward, Amstadher hopes to create a means to predict factors differentiating people who do not have symptoms or have experienced a natural recovery from those who develop the long-lasting symptoms of mental health disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder. This work will allow mental health practitioners to focus on prevention as well as treatment with patients.

Until then, please contact your doctor if experiencing any symptoms of PTSD:

  • Intrusive memories (ex: flashbacks, upsetting dreams)
  • Emotional numbness
  • Avoidance of thought/mention of traumatic past
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Issues with concentration
  • Memory problems
Review Date: 
November 9, 2011