GeneSight is the strongest weapon to fight the battle and win
Before college, I had always been on the conservative side and a rule follower. This changed dramatically in college. I first exhibited signs of anxiety, aggressiveness, and impulsiveness upon returning home after my sophomore year of college. I then experienced a dreadful and hellish combination of agony and inner angst – and knew my life would never be the same.
My first venture into seeking medical guidance was a trip to a primary care physician who claimed I was a “type A personality on overload.” I had a hard time sleeping, so she prescribed me a sedative and a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). For six weeks, I waited patiently for the medications to work, but they offered no relief.
Disappointed by this visit, I sought the help of a psychiatrist. He made the diagnosis of dysthymia (mild depression) and kept me on the SSRI. It still didn’t help – and I was left with confusion and unanswered questions.
The third time I sought medical help, I was misdiagnosed by a psychiatrist as having Bipolar 2. It wasn’t until I was 23 that I was finally diagnosed correctly with Bipolar type 1 and anxiety. I was prescribed an anticonvulsant and a different SSRI than the one I had taken previously. This one had success.
I hit a critical road bump in 2011. I switched psychiatrists again and was now in the care of one of the top psychiatrists in Philadelphia at this time, who specializes in mood disorders. Yet, my depression was so severe that I barely functioned at work and should have filed for disability. He first prescribed me an antipsychotic, which ended up having extreme side effects. I stopped that medication and he then prescribed a medication that is a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, which spun me into a state of severe anxiety and almost landed me in a psychiatric hospital.
A Believer in Science
I decided to seek the help of another psychiatrist, who introduced me to the GeneSight test. I immediately felt both frustrated and overjoyed that there existed a test that could potentially save time and help get us closer to finding medication that might help me.
I wanted to take the GeneSight test because I am a huge believer in science. The test identifies genetic variations that may impact the way your body metabolizes or responds to certain medications. From my perspective, it gives your doctor a strong starting point, rather than a frustrating experience of taking shots in the dark.
Confirmation of Why Past Medications Were Poor Fits
A few days after taking the GeneSight test, my new psychiatrist received the results and went over them with me. I took the results with me and poured over them, as I am an avid reader who has researched medicines and various psychiatric diseases for more than 20 years.
FINALLY, I could see everything on paper. I saw reasons why the other treatments may have been poor fits. All of the self-doubt I carried was immediately put to rest. I finally stopped blaming myself.
It was almost like seeing 20 years of struggles, trial and error, and confusion clearly expressed in a short report. The few medicines that had never worked for me were in the low gene-drug interaction category. The SSRIs and antipsychotics I took (which did not work for me) were in the significant gene-drug interaction column.
I jumped up and down with joy after going over my results. The next time I saw my psychiatrist, he prescribed a new medication.
It took two weeks for me to see results on my new medication. Before the GeneSight test, I had bouts with mental health issues for so long. The test brought us to trying a new medication that I hadn’t tried, which worked very well for me.
I Wake Up with a Flutter & Excitement
I now participate fully in life. Every day I wake up with a flutter and excitement in my stomach knowing that I am whole, that I am fully awake, and that I have the same opportunities as everyone else. I do wish I had heard of the GeneSight test earlier or that other doctors had ordered it, but I am just so grateful to have found it.
If someone were to ask me about what GeneSight means to me, I would tell them it helps provide clarity to the “gray area” of psychiatry – the person’s unique genetics.
I am no longer frustrated and confused, but grateful and prepared. My mental health issues are something that will always be there and may rear an ugly head at any time, but GeneSight has offered me the strongest weapon to help fight the battle and win.
This story is one patient’s personal experience. Other patients may not have the same experience or outcome. Do not make any changes to your current medications or dosing without consulting your healthcare provider.
The GeneSight test must be ordered by and used only in consultation with a healthcare provider who can prescribe medications. As with all genetic tests, the GeneSight test results have limitations and do not constitute medical advice. The test results are designed to be just one part of a larger, complete patient assessment, which would include proper diagnosis and consideration of your medical history, other medications you may be taking, your family history, and other factors.
If you are a healthcare provider and interested in learning more about the GeneSight test, please call us at 855.891.9415. If you are a patient, please talk with your doctor to see if the GeneSight test may be helpful.