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Targeting the Best Mental Health Medications with Genetic Testing Results


Targeting the Best Mental Health Medications with Genetic Testing Results

One in five American adults suffer from some sort of mental illness and most of them suffer from depression. There’s no easy test to determine if mental illness exists but nami.org lists some of the 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

·  Avoiding friends and social activities

·  Difficulties understanding or relating to other people

·  Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy

·  Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite

·  Changes in sex drive

·  Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)

·  Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)

·  Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs

·  Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)

·  Thinking about suicide

·  Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress

·  An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents)

If you have any of these symptoms, then the first step in a treatment plan is an accurate diagnosis from your health care provider. Treatment plan recommendations can vary and often include counseling, medication and changes in lifestyle.

Prescriptions for Mental Health

Prescription medications for conditions such as anxiety, depression, seizures, ADHD are vast. Sometimes, your physician uses the trial-and-error method based on many variables. So finding the best fit of a medication for you can be frustrating.

Finding the Best Medicine

The efficacy of a particular medicine can differ for each patient. Depending on your age, weight, state of health, genetic profile and quality of nutrition can affect the way you may respond to a medication. Your doctor will consider whether he/she should recommend one drug over another. Since your family history is considered, your individual genetics play a part in choosing the best medicine for you. Genetic testing for the effectiveness of psychiatric medications helps your provider to prescribe the right medicine for your body’s individual needs.


The study of how your genetics play a part in your medication response is pharmacogenomics. Saliva or blood samples are 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. A physician can then personalize medication recommendations that could lessen negative side effects so you’ll feel better faster.

Getting Tested

Pathway Genomics® offers Mental Health DNA Insight® to help predict your response to medications. Your health care provider can order the test and once a sample is collected, your results are available in just a few weeks. And, your provider will use this report in guiding decisions about which medication is most appropriate for your chemistry.

Becky Wilcox is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about beauty, fashion, technology and more.  She writes for Life with Lisa as well as several other blogs and websites.  Check back soon for more from Becky.


  1. Mary Ambrosino says

    Very helpful article.