I tell my patients to ask for the GeneSight test
I’m a mom, a wife, a sister, a practicing Ob/Gyn, a teacher and a researcher in hereditary cancers. And I’m a survivor of a traumatic experience. My brother was murdered in a horrific incident of domestic violence. The shock of this act caused the depression I had kept under control for decades to come roaring back, in tandem with my grief. Some mornings, I didn’t even want to get out of bed.
As a clinician, I knew I needed help and quick. I was able to find a psychiatrist that worked at the same university and got an appointment. I had taken antidepressants in the past, so I was comfortable with taking what my psychiatrist recommended. Yet the medication prescribed did not adequately help my depression. I tried a second medication with no more success. The third medication my psychiatrist prescribed had side effects and the depression was getting worse.
Before switching to a new medication, my psychiatrist suggested the GeneSight test, and I readily agreed. The results confirmed that I was unable to metabolize some of the medications normally, validating my experience about side effects and efficacy of the medications I had tried. My psychiatrist selected a medication from the “use as directed” category, which I have taken for over a year now, and my doctor recommended a methyl folate supplement. These medications have helped my depression start to improve and I had more energy and motivation to work with my therapist and take other steps to improve the depression like exercising and spending time with friends.
Why I’m sharing my story
I am telling my story for a few reasons. I want to shine a light on domestic violence. My brother was killed by his girlfriend’s former partner. It was so senseless. Yet I don’t want it to be meaningless. In my deep depression, I was incapable of even thinking about taking some kind of action. Now I am better and ready to do what I can to bring domestic violence out of the shadows.
And I want to increase awareness about physician mental health. There are so many of us struggling with burnout and worse. I want to encourage my fellow physicians to get treatment for their mental health. You do not have to wait for a psychiatrist appointment like I did. PCPs and NPs can order the GeneSight test–so talk to your own doctor about GeneSight.
If I had to go through this again—which I would not wish upon anyone—I would start right away with a GeneSight test. I hear from my patients about the trial and error they have experienced with medications used to treat depression and anxiety and I can sympathize with them because I have walked in their shoes. I tell my patients to ask for the GeneSight test.
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.