We are fortunate to live in a time that recognizes the connection between our physical and mental wellness because that wasn’t always the case. With this growing understanding, we have more and more tools at our disposal to help navigate mental health concerns. One exciting key to this wellness puzzle is the power of genetic testing for mental health care and support.
At Ancora Wellness in Hillsboro, OR, our providers use all appropriate tools and methods to provide an integrative model of care that supports the body, mind, and spirit. We nurture the whole person through counseling, naturopathic care, bodywork, and community classes. Connect with our team to book your care today.
Running the Obstacle Course of Mental Health Care
Even with so many advances in mental health care, finding the proper medication treatment for mental health concerns can feel like the emotional equivalent of running an American Ninja Warrior course.
If you’ve never seen the show, here’s an overview. It’s an intense (some might say absurd) athletic competition where competitors race through a series of extreme obstacles designed to test balance, agility, and strength all at once. Almost everyone fails to make it through the course and finds themselves plunging into the water below. The very few who do make it through the first round get to progress to another set of obstacles. It’s…fun?
When it comes to finding the right mental health medication or treatment, it can seem as if you’re running that course. But instead of trying to fight past your arms giving out on the salmon ladder or having to time a jump just right, you’ve got to find your way through different pitfalls:
- Your original symptoms, such as anxiety or poor sleep
- The time, money, and energy expenditures required to pursue treatment
- Medication side effects
- Sleep Disruptions
- Worsening Symptoms
But you don’t get to climb out of a pool to cheering friends and family. You just have to keep going the best you can.
In a month or two, if nothing is better or things get worse, you get to try another medication. Rinse and repeat as needed.
Sounds lovely, right? No. Emphatically, no!
The ultimate goal of mental health treatment of all kinds is remission. That is, your care plan shouldn’t leave you feeling unmotivated and dull or amped up and unable to accomplish what you want. It should help you feel so great that you can participate in your life in fun, satisfying, and empowering ways.
Genetic Testing for Mental Health Care
Here’s the great news. We can use a super sweet tool to fast-track folks off the medication obstacle course. With this tool, we can plunk them right down in the winner’s circle where they can feel better quickly and, usually, without nearly so many side effects.
This tool is genetic testing.
You have a unique genetic makeup, which means your body has a unique way of doing things. We each process foods, chemicals, and medications differently based on our genetics. So, what works for your neighbor may not work for you. Medication is never a one-size-fits-all solution, whether for physical ailments or mental health concerns.
(Sidenote: Because you share genes with your biological family, knowing your family history can be helpful in treatment. For example, if you know your mom responded well to an SSRI, there’s a good chance you will too.)
Direct-to-consumer tests like 23 And Me look at a wide swath of the genome and cannot provide the precise data doctors need when prescribing medicine. The test we use at Ancora is from a cutting-edge company called Genomind and is only available through doctors.
This genetic screening is powerful because it looks at 24 genes to help determine how well they will process and respond to different medications. It examines genes that code for enzymes that break down neurotransmitters in the brain and those that process medications in the liver. With this information, we can better understand how best to support your unique genetic makeup.
Genetic Testing Is a Helpful Tool, Not a Fix-All
It would be phenomenal if this genetic test could shine a golden light on one magic, fix-all medication for mental health concerns. It can’t. No test currently on the market can do that. But it does help your provider narrow down which medications are best suited for your constitution.
This information, coupled with clinical experience, helps us work with you to select an effective and quicker-acting treatment plan. With this data, we can keep you off the traditional medication obstacle course.
A successful and comprehensive mental health treatment plan will include counseling, physical medical care, nutrition services, and lifestyle changes. Often, supplements are also appropriate. Fortunately, you can find all these services under one roof here at Ancora Wellness!
Our joy is in treating the whole person, and we don’t believe you need something “wrong” with you to receive compassionate and expert care. Schedule a risk-free consultation here to get started. We can’t wait to meet you!