Beating the Winter Blues using Genetic Testing


For many people, winter brings to mind cold, wintry days spent cozying up in front of the fire or sipping hot chocolate while watching your children play outside.  For some, winter is a difficult time of year emotionally and a time for sadness or even severe depression.

Feeling sad this time of year is nothing new for many people but how do you know if it’s just a case of the winter blues or severe depression?  It’s estimated 19-million Americans suffer from depression year round and many of those suffer from a severe form of winter depression. This severe winter form of major depression is called “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD.

Dr. Sagar Parikh, Professor of Psychiatry,  “SAD is just a sub-type of depression so both types of depression have the same symptoms like low mood, pessimistic thinking, thoughts of suicide, trouble functioning.  The difference is seasonal depression is predictably worse.”

Dr. Sagar Parikh is a professor of Psychiatry.  He says anti-depression medications don’t always work the first time because medication is blindly chosen by a practitioner.  He says genetic testing is changing that.  “Now we have personalized medicine.  Genetic tests have emerged such as GeneSight which allows us to tailor the source of the medication to the person’s own genetic profile.”

The test involves a cheek swab which collects genetic data on 12 different genes.  

Dr. Sagar Parikh says, “Some of those genes are about the brain function, the serotonin and some are the liver because the liver metabolizes or processes the anti-depression medication. You put it together and then map that onto existing anti-depressants and get anti-depressants classified for the person.””

Dr. Parikh says by following this process, your doctor is able to determine which medication is more likely work for you, increasing your chance for success in the fight against depression.  Click here for more information:


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