SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – In a new national poll, the GeneSight® Mental Health Monitor found that 83% of people with depression agree that life would be easier if others could understand their depression. Yet most people who have not suffered from depression may not be able to understand the challenges, including its treatment.
“Depression is one of the most misunderstood disorders. When people misinterpret patients with depression as ‘lazy’ or ‘dramatic’ they vastly underestimate and ignore the debilitating symptoms of major depressive disorder, ”said Mark Pollack, MD, medical director of the GeneSight test at Myriad Genetics. “That’s why we are working with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, so that loved ones can offer more empathetic support and people with depression don’t feel so alone.
For Mental Health Awareness Month (May), GeneSight and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) have teamed up to raise awareness and understand what a person with major depressive disorder feels like and why it can be so difficult to get treatment.
Lack of understanding and empathy about depression
Three in four people living with depression said they want support from those close to them, including just listening or saying encouraging things like, “How can I help?” or “Do you want to talk about it?”. Instead, almost half of people with depression said they were more likely to hear statements like, “You have to get over / get over it” or “We’re all sad sometimes.”
“Depression is a serious but treatable medical condition that affects the way a person feels, thinks and acts. Although typically characterized by feelings of sadness, symptoms of depression can show up as irritability or listlessness, ”said Michael Thase, MD, professor of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine and Corporal Michael J Crescenz VA Medical Center, and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of DBSA. “We need to work together – providers, patients, family and friends – to continue to reduce the effects of stigma. Misunderstanding the disorder can cause people to feel embarrassed and / or unwilling to seek the treatment they need. “
According to the GeneSight Mental Health Monitor, nearly half of people who have been diagnosed with depression or who fear depression say they feel ashamed / embarrassed when others learn they have depression.
A pandemic prompts a search for a new treatment
More than half of those diagnosed with depression said in the survey that they had started a new drug since the start of the pandemic. However, for some, starting a new drug for depression does not guarantee success.
More than half of people diagnosed with depression said they tried four or more drugs for depression in their lifetime, and almost one in four said they tried six or more drugs to try to find one. relief.
“I couldn’t get out of bed to take care of my children, let alone go to the doctor several times to try new drugs that ‘might’ help,” said Amanda, a 25-year-old woman who was diagnosed. of depression. “The years of trial and error have been so frustrating and overwhelming. You feel stuck in this way of life. “
Those who indicated in the GeneSight Mental Health Monitor that they had gone through the process of trial and error described the experience as follows:
⦁ “On a roller coaster” (51%)
⦁ “I’m just waiting for the next side effect” (45%)
⦁ “Walk in a labyrinth blindfolded” (44%)
⦁ “Play a game of darts, only I follow the darts” (42%)
While 4 in 10 people diagnosed with depression say they are not convinced that their depression medication will work for them, 7 in 10 would feel “optimistic” if their doctor recommended genetic testing as part of their treatment plan. treatment.
Genetic tests, like the GeneSight mind-altering test, analyze how a patient’s genes can affect their results with medications commonly prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric conditions.
“With just a simple swab from the cheeks, the GeneSight test provides your clinician with information about drugs that may require dose adjustments, be less likely to work, or have an increased risk of side effects depending on genetic makeup. of a patient, ”said Dr. Pollack. “This is one of many tools in a physician’s toolkit that can help patients feel like themselves again.”
Overcome Depression Disconnect
While 7 in 10 adults said they were more aware of their own mental health issues or those of others than before the start of the pandemic, less than half of adults are very confident that they can recognize if a loved one is suffering from depression, according to mental health monitor GeneSight.
For a better understanding of depression and treatment, visit KnowMentalHealth.com. For more information on how genetic testing can help educate clinicians in the treatment of depression, please visit genesight.com.