As the year comes to a close, this time presents a great opportunity to think about your mental health and treatment, if applicable. Here are a few things to consider during the holidays and the start of the New Year.
Mental Health and the Holidays
Many people experience changes in their mental state during the holiday season. While some people find that their mood is more positive or cheerful, others struggle with feelings of anxiety or depression. These feelings may be due to irregular routines and schedules, travel, increased alcohol consumption, or in some cases, lack of time spent with family and friends on holidays.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers helpful tips to deal with these “holiday blues” – including getting enough sleep, setting reasonable expectations, and finding ways to exercise or relax.
Checking in on School-Aged Children
As the first half of the school year comes to a close, it’s an important time to check in on how your children are doing. Ask your child how the first few months went – is he or she struggling with classes and schoolwork? If so, potential causes could be attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, or anxiety.
If your child has been dealing with ADHD, you may notice that his or her medication hasn’t been working well. He or she may struggle with increasing their medication dosage due to intolerable side effects. If this is the case, you should talk to their clinician about potential options.
Pharmacogenetic testing, such as the Genomind® Professional PGx Express™, can help your child's clinician personalize their treatment towards medications that could help them feel better. Genomind's PGx test looks at 24 genes related to mental health treatment. It provides guidance across 10+ mental health conditions and 130+ medications to help clinicians determine:
- Which medications will likely be the most effective
- Which medications may have side effects
- How you metabolize medications for personalized dosing guidance
This genetic test from Genomind requires a prescription. Learn more about it here.
New Year’s Resolutions
The start of a new year is a great time to talk with your clinician about your mental health treatment. Some people find that they gain weight over the holidays, which may be related to seasonal stress, overindulging, or certain types of medication.
It’s normal to feel frustrated when a treatment isn’t working for you – many people struggling with a mental illness respond poorly to the first medicine they try, as everyone’s body is different. If you are unhappy with your current medication or treatment regimen, ask your clinician for more information on pharmacogenetics testing like the Genomind® Professional PGx Express™. You can find patient resources here to share at your next appointment.
About the Author
Mary Riccelli, PMHNP, B.C., PhD.
Mary Riccelli is the Clinical Services Director of Compass Colorado Healthcare Systems. Ms. Riccelli is also a nurse practitioner of psychiatry, serving over 4000 patients annually, in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Ms. Riccelli currently serves on the clinical team at Peak View Behavioral Health, in Colorado Springs. She is a member of The Neuroscience Educational Institute.