Cayce Health Database
Diathesis-stress refers to the
idea that genetic factors may not necessarily be the singular cause
a of particular disease. Rather, they may only predispose the
individual to the condition. Other factors (such as stress) are
required to "trigger" the genetic factor into action.
For example in schizophrenia, where research
indicates a relatively strong genetic component, when one identical
twin develops the illness the other sibling only has about a 50% chance
of developing schizophrenia. This holds true even when the twins
are separated at birth and raised in different environments. In
other words, some other causal factors must be involved to activate
the genetic tendency. Such research has been done in many illnesses
and supports the concept of diathesis-stress as an explanation of how
a combination of factors produces illness.
Edgar Cayce clearly spoke of the interaction
of "heredity and environment" in production of illness. He provided
numerous examples of how "pre-natal" and "innate" predispositions
are involved in disease. He also described how environment and
psychological (psychosomatic) factors can increase our vulnerability
to genetic pre-dispositions.
For example, spinal injury can cause the nervous
system to become out of coordination, stressing the body's organs and
allowing a genetic weakness to become manifest. Or, excessive
worry or mental stress might also weaken the body and make it vulnerable
to genetic influences.
Of course, in certain instances, the genetic
factor is so strong as to almost ensure that a particular problem will
manifest. Edgar Cayce usually described such cases as "karmic."
Then, the importance of viewing the condition as a lesson to be learned
and an opportunity for growth was emphasized.
As a concept, diathesis-stress is important
because it helps to explain how the same causal factor (such as a
physical or mental stressor) can lead to a variety of illnesses (see
nonspecificity). For example, the same physical insult
(e.g., spinal injury) might be linked to a variety of disorders, depending
upon the genetic predisposition of an individual.
Note: The above information is not intended for self-diagnosis
or self-treatment. Please consult a qualified health care professional
for assistance in applying the information contained in the Cayce Health