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How Pharmacogenetics Can Help a Generation’s Mental Health Crisis

In the past couple of years, mental health among teens and young adults has taken a toll. With the ever-shifting pandemic landscape, having to adapt our social and school lives to keep people safe, and the general normalcy of everyday life being completely rewired, depression and anxiety rates have unprecedently risen.


Photo by Maryville University


Not only is depression something that’s hard to live with, it’s also something that’s incredibly hard to treat. When seeking medicinal solutions, the process of finding the right drug is time-consuming and laborious. It’s hard to know how the body will react to things, it’s hard to know when a drug will fully take effect, it’s hard to know if it will make your mental health better or worse. Here’s where pharmacogenetics come in. Pharmacogenetics can almost completely eliminate the trial and error process of finding a prescription drug that works for you.


According to recent National Institutes of Health studies, pharmacogenetic testing "has the potential to decrease morbidity, decrease treatment-emergent side effects, improve treatment response, decrease inpatient admissions and readmissions due to lack of efficacy or side effects, and cost of care for the patient and his or her family." This form of testing is non-invasive and makes it more likely for mental health disorders to be treated well on the first try. Not only does it make the process quicker, it’s also healthier for the patient. By knowing how the body metabolizes and reacts to medicines, it’s easier to prescribe a drug that will collaborate with the body as opposed to fighting against it. Overall, pharmacogenetics is beneficial for so many things, but especially for a generation struggling with such new global phenomena.


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