*This entry was originally posted on Medium on December 16, 2016*
I was reading this blog post on Scientific American where the headline reads (link included):
12% of adult Americans take antidepressants, according to research published in Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine
“Mental health has declined as prescriptions for antidepressants and other drugs keep surging”
I feel like the current rhetoric is that antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication aren’t working. While it’s possible, I feel like many people are also misdiagnosed.
Chemically we are all very different and some people may metabolize certain medications better than others.
More pressure needs to be put on psychiatrists and doctors who can prescribe such medications. Not that I think they are prescribing haphazardly.
I take an antidepressant and I have anti-anxiety medication. I was very adverse to medication, but the nurse practitioner at my primary care clinic got me to try it. She also suggested that I take a GeneSight test.
I don’t know know the technical details behind the test but it’s a DNA test and they analyze your DNA to see which medications work best for you.
It’s amazing! They color code the medications by type (antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc) with green, yellow, and red. Green meaning it can be taken as usual, yellow meaning certain tweaks need to be made to the dosage, and red which for the most part means you shouldn’t take that medication.
Not a lot of people are aware of this test, from what I can tell.
I don’t see a psychiatrist, so my therapist didn’t say anything but I found out from my primary care.
If you have a primary care clinic that you go to and are curious, ask them.
I got the impression that prescribing medication was closer to guesswork than science. But with this test, there’s science behind it that you can generally understand.
I haven’t been on my medications for too long to come to any real conclusions but they seem to work. I don’t experience some of the problems that I had that were debilitating. I don’t feel dull and I still experience my emotions, but I can manage them better.
Medication has helped me, in conjunction with regular therapy.
There is no ‘one size fits all' solution to mental health, nor should there be. It’s incumbent on both the patient and doctor to make an effort to identify and understand what the problems and symptoms are and to come up with a plan of attack together.
I hate reading about people saying medication or therapy don’t work. Just because it doesn’t work for one person, doesn’t mean it won’t work for another.