Study Nurture trumps nature in determining severity of PTSD symptoms

myptsd

MyPTSD Pro
Researchers previously identified a host of genetic risk factors that help explain why some veterans are especially susceptible to the debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


 
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Digz

MyPTSD Pro
That is really interesting. My T has flagged this with me as a reason in the development of dissociative symptoms also and severity of symptoms, the lack of secure attachments in childhood.
 

kkd

New Here
I'm wondering if it holds if you had the ability to form secure attachments but not the opportunity.
Dang. I would guess it would hold. I'd been thinking along similar lines - what if you had/assumed/thought you were securely and normally attached and then just 'failed' to go back to that after finding that the caregivers can unilaterally break or reinstate that relationship?

I read the study at the link on the day it was posted, and the line @ms spock quoted messed with me too. That, and when you hear how others' reaction to you after an event has a big influence.
 

ms spock

Sponsor
I'm wondering if it holds if you had the ability to form secure attachments but not the opportunity.
There's a lot about child development that I don't know but I presumed that absent a congential brain disorder, malnutrition or injury, that every child would have the ability to form secure attachments, to my mind it's the lack of opportunity that is the main issue.

what if you had/assumed/thought you were securely and normally attached and then just 'failed' to go back to that after finding that the caregivers can unilaterally break or reinstate that relationship?
To my way of thinking if the attachment is broken by caregivers it's not secure and normal attachment.

A child wouldn't assume or think they would feel it viscerally.

caregivers reinstate that relationship?
It means they have withdrawn and neglected the child's needs.
I read the study at the link on the day it was posted, and the line @ms spock quoted messed with me too. That, and when you hear how others' reaction to you after an event has a big influence.
So if you are abused and you have good enough attachment and are comforted and validated that could insulate against PTSD?
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
So if you are abused and you have good enough attachment and are comforted and validated that could insulate against PTSD?

This makes total sense to me.

I’m remembering as I read that attachment styles are neither fixed nor completely discrete. E.g - I experience anxious avoidant and secure attachment . I am securely attached with my husband but under pressure I may revert to anxious or avoidant / disorganised briefly before talking myself down . My disorganised attachment leans differently to the anxious or avoidant style with different people in different situations .

I’m more likely to lean towards avoidant - but none of this means I cannot form secure attachments .

HOWEVER - This all makes total sense in relation to insulation to ptsd when i think of polyvagL theory - and reverting to not just basal responses in brain but basic life experiences /. My early experiences until independence were not secure - so under the stress of trauma and reversion to lack of agency - it’s not surprising those of us who have that experience - don’t feel ‘secure ‘ and experience more retraumatisation afterwards - if we don’t have strong , secure , emotionally mature and ‘resolved’ network - rather than a couple of great people . to have a family , or a ‘village’ behind us , or embracing us , and to believe that is safe might be a cushion. (Note - a cushion is not a total preventative For anyone thinking - but I do have that ... and doubting their family /relationships!!!🌹)
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
Interesting topic.
I tried to break it down but probably not succeeding here so this is my understanding and not sure if it makes sense:
  • Baby with secure attached (genetic determinant) + secure parent (genetic determinant) = secure attachment (but a later event could reset anything depending the severity of experience)
  • Baby with secure attached (genetic determinant) + parent with issues of attachment or had trauma (nurture) = whatever the parent instills their level of attachment or worse AKA Trauma for the baby.
So genetically a sound baby for attachment finds no opportunity to attach healthily with anyone and ends up with some traumatic carry on until something hits in their life later on and becomes full blown PTSD.
  • Baby with genetic defects + a secure parent = May end up feeling not well but perhaps no traumatic issues? Maybe feels misunderstood/mis recognized (autism spectrum) etc – No sure if this will be considered PTSD.
  • Baby with genetic defects + insecure/parenting = chaos – maybe even earlier death or severe traumatic events. Beyond PTSD.
  • Baby with genetic defects + parent with genetic defects = survival of some sort? Or early death. Beyond PTSD.
 

Friday

Moderator
There's a lot about child development that I don't know but I presumed that absent a congential brain disorder, malnutrition or injury, that every child would have the ability to form secure attachments, to my mind it's the lack of opportunity that is the main issue.
The study isn’t on children, though. It’s on an adult population. Many of whom would have the ability to form secure attachments, and many of whom would not. Of those who did have the ability, opportunity would be the issue at hand.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
From what I remember from psychology courses: There are two secured attachments. One provided at early development usually at birth and forward (lucky little bastards! 😊) and one earned as an adult. This is one of the reasons a person with traumatized childhood can successfully form earned secured attachment as an adult.
 

Friday

Moderator
I'm wondering if it holds if you had the ability to form secure attachments but not the opportunity.
It reads that way, to me.

One of the things the US military has done since immediately after WWII (outside of elite/special ops teams) is to deliberately break up both units and sibling groups, as often as possible. There’s been a lot of benefit TO that change in policy. Undeniable, unarguable benefit. There’s also been a lot of downsides. The description of which would be a military history doctoral dissertation. Suffice it to say, for now; both a lot of benefit & cost to constantly shuffling people around.

Whilst the study is providing a counterpoint to an earlier study that showed genetic risk factors to explain why some vets do & some don’t get PTSD... It’s also providing a basis to look at restructuring, yet again, into a paradigm more similar to how our elite units currently operate, and how militaries have operated, for hundreds/thousands of years before air travel. Whilst bonds between soldiers not being deliberately broken by a practice of separating units as often as possible isn’t a cure all for PTSD, this study suggests it would certainly lower the prevalence.

I wouldn’t read too much into it, though, beyond providing a counterpoint to genetic tendency. That whilst the genetic risk factors MAY indicate why some vets do & some don’t, that it’s other factors that a person isn’t born with that are far more predicative. Why? Because the US isn’t a socialized country. The VA has been trying to get out of paying for medical & disability & pension costs for vets with PTSD since day 1. They’ve funded hundreds of studies attempting to prove it’s NOT being in the service that caused PTSD, but something broken in the person who enlisted, before they enlisted. If it’s not service-connected? They don’t have to pay. If there weren’t soooooo many vets with fantastic childhoods & no genetic risk factors, they’d have quit paying already. ((Ditto, so many rape victims, car accident victims, etc. with no risk factors for PTSD who go on to develop PTSD.)) Now this study? Is showing that -even more than previously thought- it’s not something a person enlisted with, but their experiences after they enlisted, that are causing their PTSD.
 
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Mee

MyPTSD Pro
1. They’ve funded hundreds of studies attempting to prove it’s NOT being in the service that caused PTSD, but something broken in the person who enlisted, before they enlisted. If it’s not service-connected? They don’t have to pay. If there weren’t soooooo many vets with fantastic childhoods & no genetic risk factors, they’d have quit paying already. ((Ditto, so many rape victims, car accident victims, etc. with no risk factors for PTSD who go on to develop PTSD.)) Now this study? Is showing that -even more than previously thought- it’s not something a person enlisted with, but their experiences after they enlisted, that are causing their PTSD.

I don’t know US law well at all - but I gather from this there is not something that is held pretty sacrosanct in the law of England and Wales - the ‘eggshell skull principle’. I’m going to ask DH who may well know about this .....

For example - if someone push over has an eggshell skull , and that causes them to develope skull fractures from the push their eggshell skull dies not negate that I seriously injured them. I should not have been pushing anyone . It’s a difference - imo - between seeking restitution financially from trauma incurred through legal but horrific circumstances - natural disaster for example, And rape . It’s my understanding that for people in the services there are occasions when admitting the trauma was incurred through non legal situations could be ‘sensitive’ for which ever force/ country that vet served in- were the trauma incurred illegally rather than through legal but traumatic service ?

similarly - rape ( outside of the military) victims often cannot receive funding to support with costs of therapy / medical care - because no one is found guilty . You can’t have one without the other. Thank goodness for socialised services, support systems and affordable therapists!
 
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