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Biological Consequences and Transgenerational Impact of Violence and Abuse

Biological Consequences and Transgenerational Impact of Violence and Abuse

By Gretchen N. Neigh,Ph.D., Lorie A. Ritschel, Ph.D., and Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, Ph.D., Psychiatric Times, 11/17/10

Numerous biological theories have been proposed to explain the potent and robust effects of ELS [Early Life Stress] on mental and physical health outcomes. One such theory, the diathesis-stress model, posits that:

• Excess reactivity of certain neural and endocrine systems increases individual vulnerability to stress-related disease

• Exposure to stress during developmentally critical periods results in persisting hyperreactivity of the physiological response to stress

Thus, genetically susceptible individuals are at increased risk for stress-related disease.

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