Over 43 million Americans experience mental illness in a given year–that’s one in five adults and most of them suffer from depression. There’s no easy test to know if mental illness exists, but there are some common signs:
- Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger .
If any of these symptoms exist, then it may be time to consider an accurate diagnosis from your health care provider. It’s the first step in a treatment plan. From there, recommendations for care may vary, though usually involve a combination of counseling, medication and sometimes lifestyle changes.
The right medication
If you’ve ever been prescribed medications for conditions such as anxiety, depression, seizures, ADHD, then you know that finding the correct medication for you can be frustrating. This is because there are many medications and many variables for you and your physician to consider when choosing the right medication, and it can sometimes take a few tries.
How is your medication chosen?
The effects of medicines can differ from person to person. Your age, weight, general health, genetics and nutrition are factors in how you may respond to a medication. Physicians take into account clinical records to indicate whether there is evidence for recommending one drug over another. Family history is considered, which means your genetics play a part in which medicine is the best one for you. That’s why genetic testing for the effectiveness of psychiatric medications can be a great tool in getting the right prescription for your body’s individual needs.
The answer could be in your genes
The study of how your genes can affect your drug response is known as pharmacogenomics. A simple saliva or blood sample is used to analyze genetic variants that can result in how you may respond to certain medications. Drug classifications for antidepressants, mood stabilizers and other commonly-used medications can be tested. This knowledge helps your physician to personalize medication options for you that could lessen side effects and get you feeling better faster.
Pathway Genomics offers Mental Health DNA Insight® to help predict your response to medications. Your physician can order the test and once a sample is collected, your results are available in just a few weeks. Your physician will use this report in guiding decisions about which medication is most appropriate for your chemistry.
Learn more about Mental Health DNA Insight®.