Mental health and wellness issues are integral aspects of public health. However, misconceptions and generalizations of treatment continue to burden patients and affect the quality of their life. As physicians apply different treatment methods to improve the quality of patients’ lives, they gain insight into the root cause of mental illnesses. These insights reveal a high link between genetics and mental illnesses. This article examines the effects of genetic factors on your patients’ mental health and how test results can help treat the conditions.

Causes of Mental Illnesses

Most mental health conditions stem from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Environmental factors cover all causative factors that were not inherited. Environmental factors that can lead to mental illnesses include brain trauma, exposure to chemicals, substance abuse, and traumatic events. Diagnostic manuals help you in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health illnesses that stem from environmental effects. You can combine therapy and conventional drugs to improve the quality of life for your patient.

Recent genetics studies and research have found genetic variations in patients suffering from mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. Epigenetic regulation and genetic polymorphisms also contribute highly to mental illnesses.

How Genetics Affect Mental Health

Genetic variations can affect the mental health of a patient directly. Children inherit illnesses from their parents if the genetic variation is maintained. Other genetic factors that lead to mental illnesses require a trigger or activation. Single-gene changes are likely to be the cause of a mental illness.

Epigenetic Regulation

Epigenetics refers to how an individual reacts to the environmental factors that cause mental illnesses. Studies show epigenetics are on a standby mode- they can be switched on and off at any moment.  Consequently, environmental factors such as drug and substance abuse can affect some patients more than others.

A family may also have some children affected by mental illnesses while others do not display symptoms of mental challenges. Similarly, children in a family with a history of mental health illnesses may demonstrate different levels of mental illness symptoms. The differences in severity or risk of mental health illnesses emanate from epigenetics regulation.

Genetic Polymorphisms

In public health, genetic polymorphism measures the susceptibility of individuals in a population to a disease risk factor. Genetic polymorphisms make some people more prone to mental illnesses than others. Children brought up in the same violent environment may react differently to violence if their genetic polymorphisms are different.

Challenges in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Illness

Mental illness presents treatment challenges for many physicians. Many physicians use diagnostic manuals in treating their patients other than examining the root cause of the patient’s symptoms. However, recent studies reveal a link between mental illnesses and genetics. Consequently, you can utilize genetic testing as a differential diagnostic tool.

Order a Genetic Test for Your Patients

At Tesis Labs, we appreciate the role of genetic testing in the management of mental health. We understand the importance of genetic testing as a diagnostic tool for mental illnesses since most illnesses originate from genetic factors. Call us today at (866) 837-4780 to order a genetic test for your patient and eliminate the guesswork.


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