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This Is How Genes Can Affect Mental Health

DNA

Consider this: Mental illness affects nearly 20 percent of Americans, including both adults and children.

It isn’t just because we’re stressed out, or that we’ve experienced trauma, or that we’re in bad relationships. Mood disorders and other mental illnesses are more than situational.

How Your Genes Affect Your Brain and Body

Your mental health can be affected by your daily experiences—but it’s also influenced by your genes. In fact, your genes can affect how your brain functions and how your body reacts to mental health medications.

More specifically, your genetic makeup, or genome, will affect how your brain functions and how your body metabolizes drugs. In fact, genetic dosing information appears on the label of at least 260 medications.

How Your Genes Affect Your Risk for Mental Health Conditions

Behavioral traits might be hardwired into your DNA, or your genetic building blocks. Knowing how your genes affect your brain can shed light on the most common mental health disorders.

This is where family history might influence risk. If your parent has heart disease, for example, you’re at an increased risk of heart disease. The same is true of some mental health conditions.

If mental health problems run in your family, you could be at an increased risk of developing a mental health disorder. And family history includes both shared genetics and shared environments.

New Frontiers in Mental Health Research

Scientists are studying how our genes interact with our environment and possibly contribute to our mental health state. Other studies look to reveal the many different genes that may contribute to increasing your risk of developing certain mental disorders.

It’s not yet possible to use genetic information to predict who will develop mental disorders, and genetics can’t be used to diagnose mental illness. However, researchers are hopeful that someday soon genetics can be integrated into all aspects of mental health—from diagnosis to treatment.

Good news: If you’ve had a hard time finding the right medication for mental health treatment, pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing can help.

Genomind’s pharmacogenetic test is the most advanced and comprehensive mental health PGx test available. The test, which requires a prescription, can look at your genetic makeup to help your clinician determine:

  • Which medications may be more likely to be effective
  • Which medications may be more likely to have side effects
  • How you metabolize medications for personalized dosing guidance

Does Your Medication Work for You?

Get a lifetime of mental health treatment guidance. Genomind’s leading pharmacogenetic test was designed to help your clinician personalize your treatment plan based on your genetic profile. Get started today.

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