Different approach to help find depression

March 2, 2013 12:55:21 AM PST
Diagnosing a physical condition can be challenging, But it's even more difficult for a mental issue.

For Virginia Von Rhine, art is like mediation and soothes the symptoms of her mental illness.

It's the only thing that's brought this antique dealer peace. She's suffered with major depressive disorder and anxiety since the second grade.

Clinical depression affects nearly 15 million Americans, with two-thirds of patients failing to adequately respond to a first line of anti-depressants and 30 to 40 percent of patients still trying to find relief after three more interventions.

Nurse Practitioner Laura G. Leahy said, "And that's a huge number of individuals in our country."

Leahy says a new genetic test could help. The genecept assay test uses a patient's saliva to look for genetic biomarkers associated with depression, helping doctors predict which anti-depressants are most likely to work.

"And say, yes you are an ultra-rapid metabolizer and that is why you are more likely to have significant negative side effects, not respond to such and such medication," Leahy said.

For Virginia, the test helped doctors put her on a new course of treatment. I didn't have it for all those years, but I have it now.

The test can be used for patients with a range of difficult to treat psychiatric conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.


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