Updated: Jul 19, 2021
Discover how your genetics can reveal insights into more targeted mental health treatment.
I am a big proponent of self-advocacy when it comes to one's mental health and well-being; particularly as it pertains to taking prescribed medications to treat mental health symptoms. Thus, I encourage clients seeking medication to request, if not insist, they receive a simple genetic lab test from their prescribing physician that produces comprehensive valuable information.
Would you believe that up to 50% of all patients have a poor response to the first psychiatric medication tried? Yet, a simple cheek swab of DNA can produce a lab report containing information to help clinicians, in collaboration with patients, make more informed treatment choices. This report is the result of advances made in pharmacogenomics—the study of how one's genetic makeup affects the body's response to medication.
Also referred to as pharmacogenetics, pharmacogenomics is relatively new and unknown among a large percentage of prescribing physicians and clinicians. Patients may need to educate their healthcare providers about the genetic test's existence. Fortunately, many healthcare plans cover at least a portion of the cost, and Medicaid and Medicare may cover up to 100% of the cost. Some pharmacogenomic labs may offer a financial assistance program.
There are several labs offering this type of genetic test nationwide. The two that I have recommended most often, based on how well the information is presented to consumers, are GenoMind (http://www.genomind.com) and GeneSight (http://www.genesight.com) whether you just received a mental health diagnoses, or you've been on the psychotropic medication roller coaster for quite some time, speak to your prescriber about this simple, yet game-changing, genetic report.