Can You Be Predisposed to PTSD?

Can You Be Predisposed to PTSD?After the Vietnam War, there was a great deal of research about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that focused on whether a person could be genetically predisposed to the disorder. The question arose because the military and medical professionals were trying to understand why some veterans experienced PTSD and others did not.

Military personnel from the same unit, who shared the same missions, were in the service for the same length of time and had received the same training were reacting differently to the violence they experienced. Some were grateful to be home and resumed their everyday life with little disruption. On the other hand, others struggled with occasional nightmares and a period of transition. Still others suffered with alcoholism or drug abuse in an attempt to forget the memories of war. A final group suffered significant PTSD symptoms, many of whom attempted to self-medicate their pain with drugs and alcohol.

Concepts of Predisposition to PTSD

With such a wide range of reactions to similar military experiences, concepts arose regarding predisposition to PTSD, including the following:

  • Predisposition due to preexisting psychopathology (the study of a mental illness)
  • Predisposition due to preexisting traits or characteristics considered normal
  • Predisposition due to prior experience of family stress

After researching these fields, medical professionals found considerable results and know more today about PTSD than they ever have.

How People Can Be Predisposed to PTSD

If family life does not prepare people to deal with trauma, they may be predisposed to PTSD. For example, if a person lives in a family with an alcoholic parent, the child may believe it normal to have a withdrawn parent with erratic behavior. The child learns adaptive behaviors to deal with this lifestyle, but may not recognize that it is unusual. Because these children have not learned effective methods of coping with trauma, they may be more susceptible to PTSD in the future as they have no reference level for coping with pain.

How Family Stressors Can Predispose People to PTSD

In this category, the research focuses on other family dynamics that can incapacitate children to deal with stress. These may include a verbally violent divorce, living with an addicted parent or sibling and living in a physically or emotionally abusive setting. These stressors can make children feel uncertain, insecure or unworthy, which can damage a child’s self-esteem and inhibit the way that a child handles stress.

Treatment for PTSD

Some people with PTSD self-medicate their symptoms to relieve emotional turmoil. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol only contribute to pain. However, other PTSD patients abuse drug and alcohol to feel better, but leads to co-occurring ailments, a mental health issue and an addiction.
Specialized rehab centers are specifically designed to treat co-occurring conditions in Dual Diagnosis treatment. This model combines treatment for both conditions under one plan to afford patients the best opportunity to heal mentally and recover from addiction.

Help with PTSD

Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline any time to explore your options for treating PTSD effectively. You can recover with the right help.

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