Trauma evokes an emotional response that does not like to let go. It clutches on to one’s emotional wellbeing and roots itself in our psyche and controls one’s thoughts. This can cause intense mood swings, anger, and depression. New research is beginning to uncover more layers of how behavioral changes are not only difficult to overcome but they are also being passed down through generations.
Research conducted through the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich has uncovered a bit more of the processes underlying what hereditary trauma is. This research came from psychologists seeing behavioral issues that parallel with those of their traumatized parents. Using mice, researchers found that traumatic stress alters the amount of “microRNAs” in the blood, brain, and sperm. A lack of microRNAs can lead to a misregulation of cellular processes controlled by the microRNAs.
When looking at a group of mice who were exposed to stress and a group who was not, when bred, the litters of the stressed mice showed lower insulin and blood sugar levels. When looking at the conclusions of the study Professor Isabelle Mansuy stated, “We were able to demonstrate for the first time that traumatic experiences affect metabolism in the long-term and that these changes are hereditary.”
Children of PTSD
Children of those with PTSD, even veterans, can form a hereditary disorder called secondary PTSD. In some cases, a parent’s trauma can become the child’s own and the child’s behavior and emotional issues may reflect those of their parents.
Diagnosing trauma is a difficult process but knowing if your parents have trauma issues can help better understand a child’s own trauma. In terms of treatment, there are various methods of therapy that can be beneficial to those living with emotional trauma, like talk therapy. Cognitive therapy and virtual reality exposure therapy are also other methods to help those with emotional trauma.
There has also been other research conducted showing a “silver lining” to those with a parent with emotional trauma. Holocaust survivors children are much less likely to suffer from PTSD in the wake of a traumatic incident of their own. Parent’s can be proactive regarding their child’s mental health if they know that they suffer from emotional trauma.