For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, it’s no secret that my son Dan had negative experiences with medication used to treat his OCD. He was overmedicated, wrongly medicated, and improperly weaned from various combinations of ten different medications over a fifteen-month period. Medication didn’t help him; it hurt him. For him, the best meds turned out to be no meds at all.
There are, however, a good number of OCD sufferers who are helped by medication (usually in combination with Exposure and Response Prevention therapy). But even for those who benefit from taking medication it is often a long, frustrating journey to find the right medication, or combination of medications, that work. We’ve all heard it before: trial and error is the only way to find that often elusive “right combination.”
But is trial and error really the only way?
In this detailed blog post, DeeDee writes about her experiences with genetic testing to evaluate medication sensitivities. According to her, this look into your DNA is typically covered by insurance when approved by a doctor, and results were reported to her in three categories: Analgesics, Psychotropics (antidepressants, antipsychotics), and ADHD medications. In this interesting follow-up post, DeeDee is happy to report that, with the help of this genetic testing, she is now taking the right combination of medications.
I am not endorsing this genetic testing, as I really know nothing about it. But I love the idea! Instead of being human guinea pigs, OCD sufferers (and those who suffer from other brain disorders) could have their cheeks swabbed, and then be presented with a report detailing what drugs, and dosages, might be helpful, what drugs might not work, and what drugs should absolutely be avoided. This sure would have saved Dan (and us) a good deal of suffering.
When Dan was going through his various medication trials, I remember thinking that it seemed like such a primitive process. In this day and age, with all the advances in science and medicine, shouldn’t there be a more sophisticated way to determine what medications might or might not work for a particular person?
If you are in the midst of “trial and error,” you might want to ask your doctor about genetic testing, and/or learn more about it on your own. And if it is something you decide to pursue, please let me know how it goes. Fighting OCD can be tough; if there is any way to ease the battle, I want to spread the word!