CSA Survivors, Epigenetics and the Miracle of Science

Apparently, you can now change your DNA. While that may be a slippery-slope for those who would cash in on such technology, I see it as a miraculous breakthrough for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and for all P.T.S.D. sufferers.

Although in many ways the experience of undergoing sexual abuse has made me who I am as a person- strong, resilient and highly empathic, I don’t feel as if I should continue to suffer from the long-term, physical effects of complex P.T.S.D. To give the reader a few examples of the kind of physical damage such high levels of stress suffered over many years have inflicted on my body, I’m referring to migraine disorder, anxiety, panic attacks, acid reflux, ulcers and autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), to name a few. Not to mention depression, (both seasonal-affective and chronic) and eating disorders, which are now finally recognized as actual medical conditions. I don’t share all of these things to elicit sympathy, these are just things I’ve learned how to deal with and take in my stride. But I do feel it’s important to illuminate the truth on what it’s like to be an adult sexual abuse survivor, living with complex P.T.S.D. symptoms on a daily basis, because science and medicine are still studying the long-term effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.) on the human body, and the more knowledge that is shared from real-life sufferers from this disease, the more that can be done, I hope, to reverse the effects of it, as much as possible. My goal is to achieve maximum good health, so doing whatever it takes to remove the negative side effects of a lifetime of extreme stress can only improve my health, and hopefully the health of other survivors.

To further explain the effects of childhood trauma on the survivor’s genetic makeup,

“Child abuse can leave marks, not only physically and emotionally, but also in the form of epigenetic marks on a child’s genes. Although these epigenetic marks do not cause mutations in the DNA itself, the chemical modifications-including DNA methylation-change gene expression by silencing (or activating) genes. This can alter fundamental biological processes and adversely affect health outcomes throughout life.” – NIH article, July 3, 2013 Read the article here:

‘Child abuse leaves epigenetic marks’

It sounds like a bleak prognosis for survivors, but there’s hope. Scientists are experimenting with technology which might reverse those epigenetic marks on our genes, which are currently being tested for cancer patients, along with a few other diseases. Here’s an article about the progress being made in the field of genetics:

‘TET PROTEINS ERASE EPIGENETIC MARKS’

Let’s hope that modern science finds a way to reverse those negative effects from trauma on our bodies. Bring on the science, bring on the healthy, revitalized genes, and here’s to our health, wellbeing and safety, fellow survivors! We’ve earned it, and we truly deserve it!

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