My meds stopped working. I wasn't caring for myself properly. I was feeling miserable on a daily basis, and for more and more hours of the day. This wasn't a stubborn case of SAD waiting to resolve. I was on the way to a hospitalization-level crisis.
I told my doctor, and requested a medication change. He made a minor change, and asked if I'd ever had genetic testing. No, I hadn't, and I was puzzled by the question. He gave me a brochure. I asked if he actually found it useful in his practice. He said yes. I took the brochure home. I read it. I googled around to see what others thought. I visited the product home page. I called the company's sales department and my insurance company, and it turned out I could afford it. (You absolutely need to check out your own cost before getting swabbed.)
It turns out that we (mankind's knowledge store) now know quite a bit about the chemical pathways that allow various psychiatric medications to work. And we know that there are a bunch of genetic variants within humans that effect the way the various drugs are processed in the body. We've got a specific list of specific markers, and we've got testing technology that spots presence and absence of the markers within our DNA. Holy shit. The future is now.
I rubbed a cotton swab on the inside of one cheek (my mouth), and a second one inside the other cheek, and they went off in an envelope (I assume next-day delivery) and the lab does a three-day turnaround and the doctor gets to print out a set of charts and interpretations. Results cover antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, ADHD meds, and pain meds. Within each category, each drug is sorted by genetic interactions into Worth Trying (green), Don't Even (red), and Caution (yellow). Within Caution, some are footnoted to show that the drug has lowered effectiveness, requiring higher dosages and thus higher chances of side effects. Others are footnoted to show that a typical normal dose will have far greater effect and side effects, and dosage must be carefully monitored on the lower side.
In my case, there were lots of antidepressants in the red and yellow sector (many of which I'd been on in the past) and only half a dozen in the green, of which my doctor thought perhaps three would be appropriate for me. I'm a week out from the drug change and I've noticed a tremendous improvement already. If you've been on antidepressants you know the rule of thumb is 2-6 weeks to note a significant effect. You also know about the placebo effect and won't treat my results as typical. I think the testing led to a med choice that has helped hugely.
The test is called Genesight, and it is the exclusive property of Assurex Labs. https://genesight.com
It's got FDA approval. Medicare pays it in full. Medicaid pays. Lots of insurances treat it as they do other tests, which might mean that they will pay part but not all. They've got a sliding-scale fee based on income for self-pay folks. They've got a monthly payment plan. As the commercials say, ask your doctor if this product is right for you. I'm sure the company wants everybody taking or considering psych meds to do their testing, but if you're already doing about as well as can be expected, I don't see how it would make sense. Anyways, I'm not any sort of medical professional.
It's okay to share this post. It's okay to summarize this post (with credit and a link-back) because I know that my most concise result is always way too verbose.