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Using Pharmacogenomics to Treat Dual Diagnosis

Pharmacogenomics to Treat Dual Diagnosis


Many women that come to Origins of Hope treatment center have a dual diagnosis.  Their addiction is often the result of attempts to self treat for a mental health disorder.  Unfortunately, this is common for many that abuse substances.  Depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder often lead to addiction when they are not treated properly.  Medication used in conjunction with therapy can help many women overcome their mental health issues and allow them to engage in a healthy life.  Pharmacogenomics makes it possible to provide an individualized medication regimen that is most likely to successfully treat their illness.  

What is Pharmacogenomics?

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genetics affects a person’s response to medication.  Based on a person’s genetics, he/she may metabolize a drug at a slower or faster rate.  Knowing a person’s genetics, can allow doctors to prescribe the right medication at the right dose.  In the past, doctors have used a trial and error approach to determine which medication at what dosage will work for their patients.  Pharmacogenomics reduces the need for trial and error by tailoring the medication to the person’s genetic makeup.  

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

A dual diagnosis means that there are two issues that need to be overcome, addiction and one or more mental health issues as well.  It is common for those that suffer from addiction to also have a dual diagnosis of depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder.  While everyone suffers from anxiety or a depressed mood at some time or other, if it is long lasting or affects daily life, it is important to speak to a mental health professional to determine if treatment is needed.  Many people suffer from mental illness in silence, and some turn to drugs or alcohol to seek relief.  Sadly, drugs and alcohol only exacerbate the problem, leading to more conflicts and challenges.  In order to treat the addiction, it is important to treat the mental health disorder as well.  

Medication to Treat Mental Health Disorders

Medication in conjunction with therapy has proven to be an effective way to treat mental health disorders.  This makes pharmacogenomics ideal for the mental health industry and a great tool for treating those with a dual diagnosis.  The trial and error approach takes time since many medications to treat depression and anxiety need a couple weeks before it is known whether they are effective or not.  If they are ineffective, this leads to a longer period before the client gets relief.  Knowing which drug will best treat a person can help that person receive better, more effective treatment more quickly.  

Pharmacogenomics and Mental Health Medication

Studies have shown that certain genetic profiles are more likely to have adverse reactions to certain medications. Knowing in advance whether a person is likely to have an adverse reaction will prevent prescribing the drug to those with the potential for adverse reactions. In particular, it has been found that people taking certain drugs for depression and anxiety need to have a specific enzyme in order to metabolize the medication.  Without that enzyme, they could have adverse effects.  A simple genetic screen will allow doctors to prescribe the right medication and reduce the chances of adverse effects. The FDA has published the pharmacogenomics of 30 drugs used in psychiatry, allowing doctors to use that knowledge to better prescribe medications to their patients.

The Benefits of Pharmacogenomics

The benefits of pharmacogenomics are many, including:

  • Increased Accuracy.  The right drug at the right dose to the right patient.  Instead of basing dosage on the patient's size or age, it is based on his/her individualized genetics.  

  • Reduce Adverse Reactions. Genetic screening can look for factors that are known to have adverse reactions.  

  • More Effective. Prescribe the best possible drug the first time.  

  • Reduce Costs.  Costs are reduced by getting rid of trial and error, stopping adverse reactions and getting effective treatment more quickly.  

Origins of Hope Offers Pharmacogenomics

Origins of Hope is excited to announce that we now offer pharmacogenomics to our clients.  This will help us provide the best, most effective treatment to our clients with dual diagnosis.  We don’t just treat addiction, we treat the whole person.  By treating the whole person, we give our clients their best chances for long term recovery.  Visit our pharmacogenomics testing page to learn more or give us a call to see how we can help your begin your addiction recovery.  


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Origins of Hope provides treatment to women for addiction, trauma, anxiety and depression. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, you are not alone. Contact us using the form below or call our 24 hour helpline (561) 304-4673, and get help today! Don't spend another day battling addiction alone. We're here to help.

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