Researchers studying genetic data from 200,000 people have found that the heritability of post-traumatic stress disorder is similar to that of depression and other forms of mental illness.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, affecting some eight million adults at some point in their lifetime in the United States alone. Despite this, it is not clear why only some people who experience a traumatic event go on to develop PTSD. Some researchers have suggested that the disorder is only a social construct, but previous studies have hinted that genetics has some role. Now a new study confirms a clear biological basis for PTSD.
In the largest and most diverse genetic study of PTSD to date, scientists from more than 130 institutions participating in the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) have found that PTSD has as strong of a genetic component as other psychiatric disorders. Genetics, they write in Nature Communications, accounts for between five and 20 percent of the variability in PTSD risk following a traumatic event.