Higher Risk for PTSD in Veterans with History of Childhood Trauma

A collaboration between researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the University of Michigan has shed some light on the genetic role played in veterans developing adult PTSD. A recent study published in the JAMA Psychiatry medical journal reports that genetic risk factors for PTSD are more apparent in veterans who suffered childhood adversity.

Research focused on 810 Ohio National Guard soldiers in a Study of Risk and Resilience. All 810 soldiers reported having a potentially traumatic event in their lifetime. The majority of the participants were deployed to combat zones, and about 42 percent saw active combat.

Doctors compared the survey results to genetic testing and found that the ADRB2 gene’s genotype correlated with the soldier’s risk for developing PTSD. The researchers found that soldiers exposed to two or more types of childhood adversity and who had the AA genotype of the rs2400707 SNP in the ADRB2 gene were more resilient to PTSD symptoms in adulthood. Those with the AG genotype had a medium-risk of PTSD as adults and those with GG genotype had the highest risk of adult PTSD. The research did not find a difference by genotype among soldiers with fewer than two types of childhood adversity.

Researchers are hoping to apply this genetic information to helping detect early signs or risks of PTSD and work on preventing the condition or reducing its impact. According to Dr. Israel Liberzon, University of Michigan Professor of Psychiatry, “By understanding how PTSD develops, we are better positioned to imply effective prevention and intervention strategies in the military and beyond.”

PTSD is one of the most common forms of veteran disability, yet also one of the most misdiagnosed or ignored. PTSD symptoms can be confused for other mental disorders or misdiagnosed as a mild TBI. Many veterans are also reluctant to seek mental health care for help managing their symptoms. Veterans denied while attempting to file a VA disability benefits claim should contact Veterans Help Group ® for assistance and claim support. Call today – 1-855-855-8992.