According to the United States Census Bureau, more than a third of the adult population in America shows signs of clinical depression or anxiety. These mental conditions have increased dramatically during the pandemic. There are many elements of the pandemic that directly correlate to some of the perceived causes of anxiety and depression. For example, the pandemic has required many to stay home for extended periods of time, this forced social isolation could increase the risk of depression. Additionally, increased fear of the virus can lead to heightened anxiety.
Mental Health & Telemedicine
Another negative impact of the pandemic is that it has been almost impossible for patients to see their medical providers outside of emergency situations. In some cases, patients themselves do not want to go to the doctor out of fear of the virus. Because of this, many medical providers have been offering telemedicine or virtual doctor’s visits. There has been a surge in these style appointments specifically for mental health. Although this may have been a difficult transition, some physicians are optimistic about how telemedicine can help patients in the future for similar issues. Telemedicine has definitely helped patients that are experiencing the symptoms of mental conditions get medical care. Unlike many physical ailments, mental conditions can be diagnosed without physical in-person examinations.
Depression & Anxiety Medication Shortages
The pandemic has greatly impacted supply chains throughout America. The worst of these issues have been in industries where demand increased at the start of the pandemic while supply decreased due to closed offices and businesses. Pharmaceutical companies that make antidepressants like Zoloft warned of possible shortages. These shortages are being caused at almost every step of the drug manufacturing and distributing process. In some cases, drug makers are unable to get the necessary APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) that they need to make their medications. In other cases, the increased demand for these medications during the early months of the pandemic have decreased supplies. This can cause many issues for patients and physicians and could require changes in prescription based on available supplies.
Pharmacogenetic Testing & Prescription Medication
The average patient can spend anywhere from six months to over a year switching depression/anxiety medications until they find one that works for them and doesn’t produce harmful side effects. This is because psychiatric drugs have profoundly different reactions with individual patients on the basis of their genetics. Pharmacogenetic testing can actually prevent the trial and error method for finding the right medication. A simple PGx (pharmacogenetic) test, can tell a patient what medications are best suited for them. This helps patients reach a better outcome faster.
Pharmacogenetic Testing with TruGenX
TruGenX provides pharmacogenetic testing to medical providers nationwide. Our CLIA certified lab can help improve patient outcomes when prescribing depression & anxiety medication. With the increase in patients that are experiencing clinical depression or anxiety as well as the decrease in available medications, a simple pharmacogenetic test can go a long way in helping your patients. For more information, please contact us and we can help you set up an account with our lab.