What is Hereditary Trauma?


According to the Sidran Institute, an organization that provides traumatic stress education and advocacy, nearly 70% of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20% of these individuals have later developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Traumatic events in someone’s life could cause them to develop not only PTSD, but other mental disorders that have helped them to cope at the time or have come about due to the anxiety or fear of the situation. The mental illness that is derived from a traumatic event within a person’s life would later be passed down to children as well, which defines hereditary trauma.

Science Daily introduced several researchers from the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich, with Isabelle Mansuy, a professor at ETH Zurich leading the group. Mansuy and her team have been running tests to explore the molecular processes involved in non-genetic inheritance of behavioral symptoms induced by traumatic experiences in early life. From their findings, Mansuy explained, “With the imbalance in microRNAs in sperm, we have discovered a key factor through which trauma can be passed on…most likely, it is part of a chain of events that begins with the body producing too much stress hormones.”

PBS identified another study which examined the DNA of Holocaust survivors and their children. The researchers found similar variations from the norm in both generations, and both relating to anxiety and depression disorders. The findings from this study implicate that children of individuals who experienced extreme stress and trauma in their lives are likely to develop stress or anxiety disorders themselves. If you’ve ever experienced anxiety or depression without having any cause or reason, you may be predisposed to it from your parents’ trauma.

How can we change this? The best way to combat any genes that make us susceptible towards mental illness is to seek help for it immediately. If we can catch it early, we have an even higher chance of warding it off before it worsens. Mental illness can affect every aspect of our lives, and can even lead us into other risky areas such as addiction. If you believe you may be struggling with substance abuse and/or mental illness, seek treatment now.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse treatment program. We believe in holistic recovery, meaning that we will work with you to restore your mind, body, and spirit. If you’re seeking treatment for either substance abuse or dual diagnosis, call us at 888-743-0490. There are many people that can help you develop the tools you need to succeed.