Abby's Inklings: Mental health meds - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Abby's Inklings: Mental health meds

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The Lookout Staff Writer Abby Cowels

Abbigail Cowels

By Abby Cowels
Staff Writer

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly more comfortable with talking about my mental health struggles from having ADHD. I have avoided pharmaceuticals, they scared me. I was given them as a child, before I had any idea what they were for.

In my adulthood, and eventually after being exhausted from the perpetual cycle of unrelenting anxiety and inner dialogue, I gave it another chance. My doctor offered me a test after a few (actually many) unsuccessful rounds of meds. It is called GeneSight.

She told me the test will check my saliva and use my DNA to tell me exactly how my unique biology will interact with various drugs.

How was it that after 28 years of unsuccessful treatments and medications, and even the last three years I have been talking to my doctor, this the very first time I am hearing about it? I could not decide if I wanted to grovel at her feet, or verbally lash out at her. Let’s just say, I bit my tongue.

The agony of trial and error pharmaceutical testing on mental health patients can be life threatening. The drug-induced changes in your brain’s chemical makeup do not seem like something you take a blind shot at, or multiple shots, for that matter.

I tell every person I encounter who expresses the same struggles with finding the right combinations of medication about the GeneSight test. Here I am, writing about it now, telling you about it.

The test does not just cover medications like anti-depressants, but covers each individual category of psychotropic pharmaceuticals. These include mood-stabilizers, anti-psychotics and those for anxiety: 64 medications in total.

I encourage anyone who is looking to help improve their mental health, with the help of medication, to urge their doctor to order the GeneSight test. If you find that insurance will not cover it, here are directions on how to file an appeal on the decision.



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