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Study Shows Link Between PTSD and Genetic Susceptibility 

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney

Although Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, affects a significant part of our population and an even larger portion of the veteran population, there is relatively little information known about this condition. This disorder involves reliving traumatic experiences and sometimes has no identifiable cause. In order to treat PTSD in former service members, it is important to understand how it develops and identify genetic susceptibility in individuals before they develop the disorder.

Doctors and researchers conducted a study of veterans and PTSD to explore potential genetic predispositions. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), PTSD affects 11 to 30 percent of former servicemembers.

The study used genetic data from members of the Million Veteran Program, which is funded by the VA. It was comprised of over 165,000 U.S. veterans that were divided into two separate groups: European Americans and African Americans. Researchers sought to find biological links to the most common symptoms of PTSD.

For the European American group, researchers found eight parts of the brain that that may be connected to PTSD and stress responses. Specifically, striatal medium spiny neurons are related to motivation, reward, reinforcement, and aversion. Additionally, there may be a connection between PTSD and other psychiatric and behavioral conditions, most notably schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Since the African American participant population was small, it did not yield statistically accurate data for this study. Doctors and researchers also found that further studies would be necessary to identify genetic patterns associated with PTSD for both groups.

The passionate and dedicated lawyers at VetLaw have the experience necessary to handle veteran disability claims. If you have been affected by PTSD and need disability benefits, reach out to VetLaw’s team of attorneys for help with this process. Call today to start discussing the details of your case.