Myriad Genetics Blog Myriad Genetics Blog > Winter Depression is a Serious Health Issue for Many People Winter Depression is a Serious Health Issue for Many People January 17, 2018 GeneSight It is estimated that 19 million people suffer from “year round” depression. If every American with depression lived in one state it would be the country’s fifth largest state. For many of these people, their depression will get worse in the winter months. Additionally, approximately 11 million Americans suffer from a severe winter form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Many factors contribute to winter depression including: financial debt, too many commitments, weight gain, bad weather and broken resolutions. These factors can also cause existing depression to worsen in the post-holiday winter months. Symptoms can include feelings of hopelessness, thoughts of suicide, loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from social interaction, sleep and appetite problems. For patients suffering from severe depression, getting on the right treatment may be life-saving. The standard trial and error treatment paradigm for depression can be ineffective and frustrating. Antidepressant medications are used to treat patients but many people don’t get relief from their first, second or even third medication. Less than half of patients with depression respond to their first medication. Treatment response decreases to 29 percent with the second medication and drops to 17 percent with the third. One challenge is that everyone responds differently to these medications based on our genetics. Fortunately, there is a simple genetic test called GeneSight, which helps doctors understand what medications are more likely to work and less likely to cause side effects for an individual patient. Armed with this personalized genetic assessment, clinicians can tailor their treatment plans to individual patients’ profiles and achieve better results. GeneSight-guided treatment helps improve the lives of patients with depression. An important study published in the Molecular Neuropsychiatry, showed that patients whose treatment was guided by the GeneSight test experienced 70 percent greater improvement in depressive symptoms versus treatment as usual. Additionally, recent results from a large clinical trial in 1,200 patients with major depressive disorder showed that patients whose treatment was guided by GeneSight were more likely to achieve remission and response, meaning patients were no longer depressed or felt much better. GeneSight is widely accessible and is becoming standard of care. More than 23,000 healthcare professionals have used GeneSight with more than 650,000 patients tested. Medicare and other health plans cover the GeneSight test for patients who have failed one or more antidepressant medications. For more information, talk with your doctor or visitwww.genesight.com.