We were doing research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for a training we are establishing about the generational pattern we see in our PTSD clients. We continually see instances where multiple people were subjected to the exact same trauma without some of them getting PTSD. We have heard and seen several instances where people feel that they went through the same trauma and didn’t get PTSD, leading them to feel those who got PTSD from the event are just weak.

I am here to tell everyone, that is defiantly not the case. We have seen many different types of events that cause PTSD. Physical events such as gang violence, domestic violence, combat, sexual assault / molestation, accidents, and natural disasters to name a few can all cause PTSD. We know those who have experienced violence in early childhood are more likely to develop PTSD as adults. Now, studies are suggesting that PTSD can be passed down genetically from someone who has PTSD to their children. It can change the trajectory of the entire family. This revelation means that the cost of combat PTSD will change the lives of soldier’s families for generations to come.

Living in poverty, gang violence, bullying, and fighting all increase the chance of someone developing PTSD. Those who have lived through trauma are more susceptible to developing PTSD. The inner-city violence might not have caused PTSD, but it increases the chance of getting PTSD later in life if they don’t have it already. Wealthy or middle class folks can suffer from PTSD also. Domestic Violence, and bullying is a large contributor to PTSD and have no social economic status (SES) attached, PTSD does not discriminate. Money doesn’t prevent PTSD, everyone is susceptible to it.

As we all know, the Veterans Administration drives the PTSD bus. Most of the PTSD treatments, studies, and information comes from the VA. But they are not the only entity conducting research. Combat is the most well-known, documented, and accepted cause of PTSD in our society. Everyone who lives through combat is a changed person. Ten people can be in the same firefight and only one of them gets PTSD. It is possible for all 10 or none of them to get PTSD, but the chance exists for everyone. It has been proven that each deployment increases the chance of getting PTSD. Along with combat being recognized as a leading cause of PTSD, sexual assault / molestation are big contributors also.

Often families do not recognize sexual assault as the cause of the PTSD in their loved one because they are unaware of the event. The shame and guilt that comes along with sexual assault causes people not to disclose what happened to them. One of the biggest mistakes our society makes is overlooking sexual assault of men. Society looks at sexual assault differently when men are victims rather than women. Sexual assault often is not disclosed because of society, leaving families wondering how someone got PTSD or has the signs of PTSD because they do not know about the trauma.

I often tell people that everyone is one car accident away from PTSD. It is not only car accidents; it is any type of accidents. Almost drowning, falling down a cliff, falling off a roof, or accidental shootings, have been shown to cause PTSD. Other causes include natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, fires, or hurricanes. Any of these can cause someone to get PTSD, it does not have to be combat related.

Understanding what can cause non-combat PTSD can be a relationship changer for both those who have PTSD or their families. Most PTSD in our society comes from events happening to non-military personnel. What we recently found as a possible cause of PTSD shocked us and made us look differently at how generational transmission is possible, could PTSD be Genetic? There are experts in the field of trauma who believe PTSD can be genetically transferred from one generation to another. Where some people might scoff at this idea, we believe it is possible and something to be researched in-depth.

If this is true, as research has suggested, PTSD can be passed on genetically, we need to look at how being married to PTSD can change the outcome for families suffering from PTSD for generations to come. Those who live through horrific events such as physical violence, domestic violence, combat, sexual assault / molestation, accidents, and natural disasters could be passing the PTSD to their children genetically. This might be the answer as to why one person gets PTSD and another doesn’t when two people endure the same trauma. You can think of it like this; the inherited DNA is the gun and the traumatic event is the trigger. The gun may never be fired if there is no traumatic event to trigger it, PTSD does not occur. We understand that this can be scary to most people, but PTSD can be headed off with counseling and managing the symptoms if you know what they are. The earlier PTSD is resolved, the less likely it will be passed down. Having PTSD does not have to be a life sentence if it is managed.

Please visit us on our Facebook page Married to PTSD Pro or our website www.marriedtoptsd.com for updates on live PTSD trainings and conversations for families and friends of those living with a loved one who has PTSD. If you are interested at hosting a live training I can be reached at afterdutyvets@gmail.com.