Medication Monday: It Is In The Genes

Welcome to another Medication Monday, the weekly series that examines some of the available mental health medications, as well as some of the common issues surrounding mental health medication. Today, I want to talk about something pretty darn cool, which is genetic testing and the benefit that could have on prescribing mental health medication.

Many a mental health consumer has been frustrated by the fact that mental health medication is as much an art as a science. This is in part because there is still so much about the brain, mental illness, and mental health medication that we don’t fully know or understand. Making it hard to identify on the first try what medication will work and which one won’t.

However, science is starting to offer some insight. Genetic testing can tell doctors and psychopharmacologists about the genetic make up of an individual, and specifically how they are likely to tolerate a specific medication. It isn’t full-proof, particularly when it comes to actual efficacy, but it gives doctors more information and may help them avoid medications that would have unpleasant or serious side effects and interactions.

While this science is still in its early stages, I find it an encouraging sign for the future, as science brings us closer and closer to better addressing mental illness and better prescribing mental health medication.

As always, Medication Monday is not meant as a substitute for medical advice. Questions about any of the issues or medications discussed in this series should always be brought to one’s doctor or psychopharmacologist. This series is merely meant as a brief informative introduction, and as such, I thank you for reading.

Until next time, be well.


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