Epigenetics And Trauma Research
The field of epigenetics is focused on how behaviors and the environment influence the way your genes work. Genetic changes affect which proteins are made, and epigenetic changes affect a genes expression to turn genes on or off.
Epigenetic changes can affect health in several ways.
- Infection: Germs can change epigenetics to weaken your immune system.
- Cancer: Certain mutations increase your risk of cancer.
- Prenatal nutrition: Prenatal environment and behavior can impact a fetuss epigenetics.
There have been multiple observational studies on how experiencing a famine prenatally affects offspring. The researchers found a consistent correlation between prenatal exposure to famine and adult body mass index , diabetes, and schizophrenia.
Another study in 2018 found that the male offspring of Civil War soldiers who spent time as prisoners of war were more likely to die early after age 45 than people whose fathers had not been POWs. The researchers concluded that paternal stress could affect future generations and that the impact may occur through epigenetic channels.
Icipants In This Study
The study was conducted at Central European Institute of Technology , Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. A part of DNA samples was obtained with the cooperation of the National Institute of Mental Health, Klecany, Czech Republic. All of the volunteers were Czechs or Slovaks . Participants had no brain trauma injury history or cognitive or mental impairment. While all Holocaust survivors and their descendants were fully or partially of Jewish origin, none of the controls were due to lack of Jewish persons without the Holocaust history in Czech Republic.
Introduction To Inherited Anxiety
Though not every person with an anxiety disorder considers their disorder the result of genetics, there are some that do, and with good reason. While it is entirely possible that your anxiety disorder is the result of a traumatic experience in your lifetime, the frequency of people with anxiety disorders also having a parent or parents with some form of anxiety disorder is too high to discount.
This article will examine the facts and theories behind inherited anxiety.
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Responses To The Etiquette Of Christmas Estrangement
Christmas is such a mixed experience in our home. After 3 generations of estrangement there arent many fights anymore, just a lot of disinterest, a lot of aloneness, and waves of sadness, especially on special occasions. Oddly enough, each of my siblings feel the same way and none of us have the wherewithal to maintain relationship. I really like your idea of lighting a candle for those not there. Thanks Fiona. ~T
The inter-generational estrangement drift is hell on relationships. How do we learn to remain connected, when our role models so far back could not? Its an interesting dilemma. I do hope you will have a lovely holiday with the kids and by all means light a candle xx
Hi,thankyou soooo much for this article!The holidays is a very tough time for myself and my nuclear family.We are estranged from our inlaws I believe because we are a interracial couple.Im an only child and my mom died years ago.My husbands family has started using my children as pawns in their hate.I have continued to each out through cards and gifts but all of his family is quickly pulling away.Our hearts are heavy but its getting easier to move on.The newyear may mean complete severing.Its sad.but it seems thats their wishand we maybe better off:)
Black Families Have Inherited Trauma But We Can Change That
When I look at my life, family, and community, I wonder: which patterns are authentically ours, and which are a result of cultural PTSD?
In recent years, talk about cultural trauma and its impact on Black families has made its way to mainstream media. Theres been a desire to understand how were affected today by what our ancestors experienced.
Over the years Ive been curious about the patterns and practices Ive observed in my own family. Sitting under my grandmothers feet asking questions about her life was the start of a journey for me. To better understand myself, I needed to understand who and what I come from.
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Fear Disorders: Panic Disorder
Panic disorder, a common debilitating condition that occurs in 23% of the population, is characterized by recurrent, unexpected episodes of intense anxiety for a period of at least one month and including at least one of the following: concern about having additional attacks, concern about the implications or consequences of further attacks, and a marked change in behavioral patterns . As with many anxiety disorders, initial evidence for heritability was provided by twin and family studies. For example, meta-analyses of family and twin studies estimated the heritability of panic disorder to be between 0.28 and 0.43 . In addition, family studies of probands with panic disorder have estimated an increased risk of 516% in first-degree relatives of panic disorder patients .
The majority of genetic association studies of panic disorder have focused on specific candidate genes. Candidate genes associated with panic disorder include, but are not limited to, adenosine 2A receptor , catechol-o-methyltransferase , cholecystokinin , serotonin 2A receptor and monoamine oxidase A . To date, the effect sizes of these individual susceptibility loci are modest and no definitive candidate genes for panic disorder have been identified.
Kids Are Inheriting Their Parents’ Trauma Can Science Stop It
Lowell, Massachusetts, a former mill town of the red-brick-and-waterfall variety 25 miles north of Boston, has proportionally more Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans than nearly any other city in the country: as many as 30,000, out of a population of slightly more than 100,000. These are largely refugees and the families of refugees from the Khmer Rouge, the Maoist extremists who, from 1975 to 1979, destroyed Cambodias economy shot, tortured, or starved to death nearly two million of its people and forced millions more into a slave network of unimaginably harsh labor camps. Lowells Cambodian neighborhood is lined with dilapidated rowhouses and stores that sell liquor behind bullet-proof glass, although the towns leaders are trying to rebrand it as a tourist destination: Little Cambodia.
The children of the traumatized have always carried their parents suffering under their skin. For years it lay in an iron box buried so deep inside me that I was never sure just what it was, is how Helen Epstein, the American daughter of survivors of Auschwitz and Theresienstadt, began her book Children of the Holocaust, which launched something of a children-of-survivors movement when it came out in 1979. I knew I carried slippery, combustible things more secret than sex and more dangerous than any shadow or ghost. But how did she come by these things? By what means do the experiences of one generation insinuate themselves into the next?
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Genetics Of Anxiety Disorders
According to epidemiologic surveys, anxiety disorders represent the most common class of psychiatric disorders, though these estimates include PTSD and obsessive-compulsive disorder which are no longer grouped with anxiety disorders in DSM-5 . The burden of these disorders is substantial, owing in part to their early onset and persistence . Early stress and trauma are important risk factors for anxiety disorders and dysregulation of HPA axis function has been demonstrated in generalized, panic, and phobic anxiety disorders .
Ocd Ptsd And The Evolutionary Advantages Of Anxiety
In the case of OCD, it is believed that a tendency towards cleanliness and hyper awareness of the order of immediate surroundings may have become encoded into the genes in order to increase the lifespan of humans and allow for more reproduction due to the connection between good sanitation and health, as well as that between self-awareness and an improved capability for self-defense. It has further been discovered that a genetic mutation of the body’s serotonin transporter gene is common in people with OCD, and may be a contributing factor to the condition.
Similarly, PTSD is thought to be a possible evolutionary mutation. Though it may be hard to imagine why debilitating flashbacks and persistent stress could be an advantage, evolutionary theorists believe that PTSD could have evolved to protect humans from threats, triggering the fight or flight response at the slightest hint of remembered danger and causing the person to go into a super-powered mode of high blood pressure, adrenaline coursing through their veins and extra glucogens or sugar energy rushing to power their muscles. This would have ensured safety from even the slightest potential threat.
However, what’s even more likely is that these anxiety disorders are actually misfirings of the evolutionary advantages. For example, with OCD, keeping order and clean can be valuable, but obsessive compulsive disorder may occur when that value has gone too far.
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How Generational Trauma Presents
The symptoms of generational trauma may include hypervigilance, a sense of a shortened future, mistrust, aloofness, high anxiety, depression, panic attacks, nightmares, insomnia, a sensitive fight or flight response, and issues with self-esteem and self-confidence, says Dr. DeSilva.
Experts are learning more about how trauma affects the immune system. It may lead to a dysfunctional immune systemone thats either too active or not active enough, Dr. DeSilva notes. This can result in more autoimmune diseases or a greater propensity for illness.
Trauma also influences the microglia, the brains immune system. When in a high trauma reactive state, the microglia eat away at nerve endings instead of enhancing growth and getting rid of damage, Dr. DeSilva explains. The microglia go haywire in the brain and cause depression, anxiety, and dementia. This can translate into genetic changes, which can be passed down to further generations.
What Is Intergenerational Trauma
Intergenerational trauma is the theory that a trauma that is experienced by one person in a familyfor example, a parent or grandparentcan be passed down to future generations because of the way that trauma epigenetically alters genes.
While epigenetic studies have found correlations between prenatal and preconception trauma and gene methylation in offspring, not all scientists agree with the findings.
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Prospects For Clinical Translation
Although few specific genetic risk variants for stress-related disorders have been established, progress in this area may provide important opportunities for translation to clinical and public health applications. In particular, genetic discoveries may facilitate advances in therapeutics, risk prediction, and diagnostic classification.
Apart from providing new molecular targets, genetic findings may also translate to improved therapeutic options by identifying new phenotypic targets: etiologically-based subgroups that may be useful for matching patients to effective treatments . Relatedly, pharmacogenetic approaches aim to identify genetic profiles that can be used to select the most effective and least toxic therapies for a given patienta central goal of precision medicine. While validated genetic predictors of treatment response have been identified in other areas of medicine, none has yet been established for stress-related disorders .
What Are The Treatments For Post
The main treatments for PTSD are talk therapy, medicines, or both. PTSD affects people differently, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. If you have PTSD, you need to work with a mental health professional to find the best treatment for your symptoms.
- Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, which can teach you about your symptoms. You will learn how to identify what triggers them and how to manage them. There are different types of talk therapy for PTSD.
- Medicines can help with the symptoms of PTSD. Antidepressants may help control symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside. Other medicines can help with sleep problems and nightmares.
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Can You Have Trauma Symptoms Without Experiencing Trauma
Trauma can also be passed on through changes in gene expression. This is known as the epigenetic transmission of trauma. Epigenetics is understood as changes in gene function that are heritable and not associated with changes in ones DNA sequence . It is thought that epigenetic changes can occur as a result of extreme stress, such as in the case of parents with histories of trauma.
Considerations For Future Genetic Investigations Of Anxiety Disorders: Gene
The growing evidence for the genetic bases of anxiety disorders has suggested the following imperative that should be heeded when pursuing future investigations, as stated by : a single gene may contribute additively and interchangeably to vulnerability to , but its contribution is neither necessary nor sufficient for manifesting the expression of the phenotype of . Bearing this in mind, many of the studies reviewed below have examined potential gene by environment interactions that underlie anxiety disorder vulnerability and symptomatology.
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Making The Diagnosis: Clinical Description
The typical patient who is diagnosed with DID is a woman, about age 30. A retrospective review of that patients history typically will reveal onset of dissociative symptoms at ages 5 to 10, with emergence of alters at about the age of 6. Typically by the time they are adults, DID patients report up to 16 alters , but most of these will fade quickly once treatment is begun. There generally is a reported history of childhood abuse, with the frequency of sexual abuse being higher than the frequency of physical abuse. Patients who have been diagnosed with DID frequently report chronic suicidal feelings with some attempts. Sexual promiscuity is frequent but patients usually report decreased libido and an inability to have an orgasm. Some patients report that they dress in clothing of the opposite gender or that they, themselves, are of the opposite gender. Patients often report extrasensory experiences related to dissociative symptoms, sometimes called hallucinations. They report hearing voices, periods of amnesia, periods of depersonalization, and may use the plural when referring to the self. These patients experience so much dissociation and also many somatic symptoms that they have a very inconsistent work history. Patients usually have periods of time for which they cannot account, may meet people who know them but whom they do not recognize, and find clothes in their possession that they do not recall purchasing and normally would not wear.
The Meaning Of Alters Or Alternates
Although the alters described in DID are sometimes referred to as ego states, Watkins and Watkins draw a distinction between the two concepts. They define ego state as an organized system of behavior and experience whose elements are bound together by some common principle but that is separated from other such states by boundaries that are more or less permeable. Watkins and Watkins and others differentiate the concept of alters from that of ego states because the alters in DID have their own identities, involving a center of initiative and experience, they have a characteristic self representation, which may be different from how the patient is generally seen or perceived, have their own autobiographic memory, and distinguish what they understand to be their own actions and experiences from those done and experienced by other alters, and they have a sense of ownership of their own experiences, actions, and thoughts, and may lack a sense of ownership of and a sense of responsibility for the action, experiences, and thoughts of other alters.
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What Is Generational Trauma
- 26 October 2018
Generational trauma is unresolved trauma and shame genetically inherited from your mother or father through epigenetic inheritance. It surfaces as disempowering feelings and behaviours that make no sense in the context of the life of the person experiencing them.
Generational trauma is unresolved trauma and shame genetically inherited from your mother or father through epigenetic inheritance.
Dna Methylation Microarray Analyses
Blood samples were collected from all participants. Purified DNA was quantified on a Qubit Fluorometer and for each sample 500 ng was bisulphite-converted using EZ DNA Methylation Kits . The samples were then assayed for genome-wide DNA methylation levels using Illumina EPIC DNA methylation arrays that offer a high coverage of CpGs > 850,000 CpG sites at single-nucleotide resolution, covering all known genes . All procedures were performed according to the manufacturers protocol, and arrays were scanned on an Illumina HiScan at the Genomics Research Centre, QUT.
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Distress Disorders: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
There is currently some debate among psychiatrists as to whether PTSD should remain in the category of anxiety disorders as DSM-V is developed. Arguments in favor of PTSD remaining as an anxiety disorder include its co- morbidity with other anxiety disorders and the efficacy of treatment strategies for PTSD that were previously proven successful with other anxiety-related conditions . Many of those opposed to the classification of PTSD as an anxiety disorder view it as being more closely related to depression . For the purposes of the present review, we have maintained the classification of PTSD as an anxiety disorder while addressing PTSD co-morbidity with other anxiety disorders as well as major depression.
Previously determined estimates suggest that greater than 75% of the general population will experience a traumatic event during their lifetime , yet as few as 5% of those exposed to a traumatic event will develop PTSD . Recent attempts to characterize individual vulnerability to PTSD from a genetic perspective have been impeded by several factors including, but not limited to, the complex nature of this disorder, the requisite exposure to a traumatic event that precipitates its development, the high degree of psychiatric co-morbidity with PTSD, and the litany of potential confounding factors associated with most genetic analyses.
Diagram of genetic factors interacting with developmental stress to impact vulnerability to develop anxiety and other psychopathology.