Newswise — Two out of three women diagnosed with depression or anxiety say they have reached or are approaching their breaking point regarding their mental health, according to the GeneSight® Mental Health Monitor, a new nationwide survey from Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: MYGN).
This breaking point can include a negative impact or a significant strain on anything from social life to caring for loved ones at home to professional obligations. Four out of 10 women without a diagnosis of depression or anxiety say they have reached or are reaching this point.
When feeling overwhelmed, nearly three in four (72%) of women say they "just need to take a break,” with 31% believing “I need to try harder.” Only 13% said they thought “I should see a doctor” when feeling overwhelmed.
“Women often feel pressure to ‘hold it all together’ and not admit when they are struggling,” says Dr. Betty Jo “BJ” Fancher, a family medicine and psychiatric physician assistant with a doctorate of medical science and a masters in psychopharmacology. “Yet, if you are sobbing on the floor of your shower, throwing things in anger or repeatedly screaming into a pillow, these are signals that you have crossed a line and should see a healthcare provider about your mental health.”
Delaying mental health treatment is common among the women surveyed. In fact, more than half (51%) of women diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression waited at least one year before seeking treatment – or never sought treatment at all.
“The GeneSight Mental Health Monitor found that women are waiting more than a year – longer than they should – to get the mental health treatment they need,” noted Rachael Earls, PhD, a medical science liaison with Myriad Genetics, makers of the GeneSight test. “It is critical to receive treatment for mental health because we know that mental health conditions are highly comorbid with other physical diseases, such as cancer, stroke, heart disease. Why live with a mental health condition that can impact every aspect of your life until you reach a breaking point?”
According to the survey, the top reasons women diagnosed with depression or anxiety delayed treatment are:
- “I thought it was ‘just a phase’ or that I could get over it on my own” (60%)
- “I didn’t want anyone to know I was struggling” (50%)
- “I didn’t want to take medication” (31%)
- “I couldn’t afford treatment” (26%)
- “I didn’t have health insurance” (19%)
- “I didn’t have time to seek treatment” (18%)
Will my concerns be validated or ignored?
The reluctance by some women to seek treatment may be rooted in how their mental health concerns have been received by family and friends.
Six in 10 of the women surveyed with depression or anxiety diagnosis say they have been ignored or dismissed by family, friends, and/or partners about their mental health concerns. Less than half of women (44%) say they talk to friends or family to relieve stress and anxiety.
“I have friends who won’t talk to their parents about how they are struggling because they are afraid of their parents’ reaction,” says Ansley, daughter of Dr. Fancher and a senior at the University of Georgia, who has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and ADHD. “Therapy has helped me, so I know the benefits of talking to someone about your mental health. When friends or classmates say they are suffering with depression or anxiety, I encourage them to reach out to someone and get the help they need.”
Despite available treatment options, fewer than two in 10 women believe they will ever be free from anxiety or depression symptoms.
Getting personalized treatment
Six in 10 women diagnosed with depression or anxiety agree that taking a prescription medication was the most helpful step in treating their anxiety or depression symptoms, more than any other action or treatment option offered in the survey, including therapy.
Only about 30% of women who have been prescribed psychiatric medication are aware of genetic testing that may help their physicians with prescribing decisions – and only 8% of these respondents have had genetic testing. Yet, 67% of diagnosed women whose doctor did not use genetic testing said they wish their doctor had told them about and/or offered a genetic test that could provide information about how their genes may affect medication outcomes.
Dr. Fancher orders the GeneSight test to get personalized genetic information about her patients that helps her understand how they may metabolize or respond to certain medications commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, ADHD and other mental health conditions.
“Having the genetic information from the GeneSight test at my fingertips to help inform my medication selection makes me a better provider,” said Dr. Fancher.
Ansley’s mental health provider also uses the GeneSight test. “She made adjustments based on my results, and I am happy to say that everything is working really well,” said Ansley.
For more information on how genetic testing can help inform clinicians on treatment of depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other psychiatric conditions, please visit GeneSight.com. To download graphics, a multimedia video and other information regarding the survey, please visit GeneSight.com/Mental-Health-Monitor.
About the GeneSight® Mental Health Monitor
The GeneSight Mental Health Monitor is a nationwide survey of U.S. adults conducted online by ACUPOLL Precision Research, Inc. from Feb. 25 – March 11, 2022, among a statistically representative sample (n=1000) of adults age 18+. The survey included a representative sample of women diagnosed with depression and anxiety. The margin of error in survey results for the total base population at a 95% confidence interval is +/- 3%.
About the GeneSight Test
The GeneSight Psychotropic test from Myriad Genetics is the category-leading pharmacogenomic test for 64 medications commonly prescribed for depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other psychiatric conditions. The GeneSight test can help inform clinicians about how a patient’s genes may impact how they metabolize and/or respond to certain psychiatric medications. It has been given to more than 1.5 million patients by tens of thousands of clinicians to provide genetic information that is unique to each patient. The GeneSight test supplements other information considered by a clinician as part of a comprehensive medical assessment. Learn more at GeneSight.com.
About Myriad Genetics
Myriad Genetics is a leading genetic testing and precision medicine company dedicated to advancing health and well-being for all. Myriad discovers and commercializes genetic tests that determine the risk of developing disease, assess the risk of disease progression, and guide treatment decisions across medical specialties where critical genetic insights can significantly improve patient care and lower healthcare costs. Fast Company named Myriad among the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022. For more information, visit www.myriad.com.
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