A recent graduate of a university in Georgia, Ansley remembers struggling with anxiety for most of her life. As early as middle school, she experienced performance-related anxiety, worrying she couldn’t keep up with her classwork and meet her own expectations. By the time she was in high school, her anxiety took on a new form — and became debilitating.
“I remember it was around 10th grade when it started,” Ansley recalls. “When I would walk into a room and hear people whispering, I would always think they were talking about me — even though the logical part of my brain knew they weren’t. Then I would try to listen to what they were saying. It got to the point where I wouldn’t be able to focus on class, and all of it just got to be really overwhelming.”
She quietly dealt with her anxious thoughts on her own, hoping if she ignored them they would eventually go away. But the thoughts persisted and eventually it all became too much.
“I didn’t talk to anyone about the anxiety until my junior year when I finally told my mom I needed help,” says Ansley.
Her mom worked in family medicine and psychiatry, so Ansley was raised with an understanding of the importance of mental health. When the time came, she felt comfortable telling her mom she wanted to go see a doctor, knowing she would be understanding and supportive.
At her doctor’s visit, Ansley was prescribed anxiety medication. After a year of taking it, she felt it was working, but she wasn’t getting as much relief from her anxiety symptoms as she had hoped. Between a painful falling out with a close friend and her upcoming transition to college, she wanted to ensure her anxiety symptoms were under control.
Her doctor thought there might be a medication more suitable for her, but first he wanted more information about Ansley that he couldn’t get by just talking to her. He recommended that she take the GeneSight test, which would analyze her genes and how they may impact her body’s ability to metabolize or respond to certain anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other mental health medications. The GeneSight report would explain which medications may require dose adjustments, may be less likely to work, or may have an increased risk of side effects based on Ansley’s genetic profile.
With support from her mom, who knew about the benefits of the GeneSight test from her own patients, Ansley decided to give it a shot.
“After my results came in, my doctor changed my medication,” says Ansley.
Her GeneSight report showed that her body may have trouble processing the medication she was currently taking. With this new knowledge in hand, her doctor recommended she switch to a different medication.
Living Her Best Life
Now, thanks to the GeneSight test and her new medication, Ansley is feeling better than ever.
“Getting help for my anxiety really helped me blossom as a person,” she says. “Beforehand, I was very shy and timid, and I didn’t speak my mind unless I was around people really close to me, but now I don’t care what people think of me. I’m gonna be me because I’m happy with who I am and know that people love me.”
To others who may be living with anxiety, Ansley wants you to remember you’re not alone. And if it’s getting to a point where it’s affecting your ability to live a full and happy life, consider telling someone you trust — and talking to your healthcare provider.
“It’s not fair to yourself to live only half of your life because of your anxiety,” she says. “And if you’re worried about not being able to find a medication that works for you, consider asking your doctor about GeneSight because I’ve seen firsthand how it can help.”
More About The GeneSight Test
What does it do?
The GeneSight Psychotropic test analyzes your unique genetic makeup to determine variations that may affect how you metabolize or respond to certain medications commonly prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other psychiatric conditions. So far, tens of thousands of healthcare providers have ordered the GeneSight test for more than 2 million people.
Why does your genetic profile matter?
Based on your genetic profile, your body may break down certain medications at a slower rate than normal. On the flip side, it may metabolize other medications more quickly. For this reason, some medications and dosages may work better for you than others.
How does the GeneSight testing process work?
- Your clinician places an order for the GeneSight test.*
- Your clinician collects a DNA sample by swabbing the inside of your cheek, or you can collect the sample at home using the GeneSight at Home patient collection kit.
- Your DNA sample is sent to the accredited GeneSight lab for analysis.
- After the lab receives the sample, your clinician will typically get test results in a few days.
- Your clinician then reviews the results with you and determines if any changes should be made to your treatment plan.
To learn more about the GeneSight test, visit genesight.com/mental-health.
The GeneSight test gives your healthcare provider an invaluable tool to give them insight into your individual genetic makeup and how your genes may impact how you metabolize or respond to certain medications.
* The GeneSight test must be ordered by and used only in consultation with a healthcare provider who can prescribe medications. As with all genetic tests, the GeneSight test results have limitations and do not constitute medical advice. Do not make any changes to your current medications or dosing without consulting your healthcare provider.