The human body is made up of millions of different cells that work together to perform a variety of functions. Each cell contains information about the person it belongs to, including genetic makeup – which can be related to psychological disorders and analysed through blood testing.
This testing method can be a useful tool for the diagnosis of psychological disorders, but it is important to note that it is just one part of the diagnostic process and should be used in combination with other methods, such as psychological evaluations of the individual.
Here are a few ways in which blood testing can help diagnose psychological disorders.
Detecting specific biomarkers
Some psychological disorders, such as Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia, are associated with biomarkers that can be detected through blood testing. Though not fully studied, research has shown that individuals with Bipolar Disorder have abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine (which can be measured by blood testing). Similarly, individuals with schizophrenia may have abnormal levels of certain enzymes and proteins like BDNF, IL-6 or IL-1 which could be detected through blood analysis.
Blood testing can be a useful tool in the diagnosis of psychological disorders, but it can only detect specific biomarkers and is not able to provide a comprehensive diagnosis on its own. Likewise, some psychological disorders can’t be associated with blood biomarkers at all.
In addition to receiving a diagnosis and appropriate medication, individuals with psychological disorders need to engage in other forms of treatment such as:
- Psychological or psychiatric therapy
- Self-care practices
- Support from loved ones
By taking a holistic approach to treatment, individuals with psychological disorders can experience a significant improvement in their mental health and overall well-being.
Monitoring the effectiveness of treatment
Many psychological disorders are treated with medications. Blood tests can be used to monitor the levels of these medications in the body to help doctors determine the appropriate dosage for a particular patient and ensure it is working effectively.
Treatment is an individualized process because people with the same diagnosis may have different symptoms and respond differently to them. The best way to know what treatment is right for you is by talking with your healthcare provider about the benefits of each option in order to make an informed decision based on your specific needs.
Once you’ve decided how to treat your disorder(s), you may notice there are many different options available, such as:
- Therapy (such as cognitive behavioural therapy)
- Lifestyle changes (such as improving sleep quality or exercise)
Each one comes with its own set of pros and cons – some treatments are more effective than others, some are better suited for certain disorders and some are more appropriate for specific individuals – but all of them can help manage symptoms effectively if used correctly over time.
Identifying underlying medical conditions
Some of the symptoms you might be experiencing can be caused by underlying medical conditions, such as hormonal imbalances or nutrient deficiencies, which can be detected through blood testing. Regular blood testing is an important part of maintaining good health. It helps to ensure your body is functioning properly and identify any potential health concerns early on. This allows for timely treatment, preventing issues from becoming more serious.
If you are looking to optimise your wellness by keeping your blood in check, look for blood work near you to get started.
Identifying genetic risk factors
Research has shown that a person’s genetic makeup can affect their susceptibility to mental illness or certain psychological disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Blood testing can help identify genetic markers that may increase an individual’s risk for developing these disorders.
Several studies have demonstrated a genetic link between inflammatory markers and psychological disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder as well. Inflammation has also been linked to other types of mental disorders; although it’s not clear whether inflammation causes these conditions or vice versa.
In addition to causing physical damage over time, stress may also cause changes in your brain function that can lead to depression (and possibly other psychological conditions). Moreover, antidepressants have been known to decrease levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in people with chronic conditions, which shows how psychological conditions are related to inflammation and possibly, genetic markers.
There’s no doubt that mental disorders are a complicated and multifaceted problem. However, it is believed that by using blood tests to measure blood biomarkers associated with psychological disorders and treatment efficiency, genetic risk factors, and overall wellness, we can get more insight into diagnosing a psychological disorder. Therefore, these tests can be used as part of a holistic treatment plan combining both conventional therapies and blood testing.
3 Key takeaways
- Blood testing can be a useful tool for the diagnosis of psychological disorders, but it is important to note that it’s just one part of the diagnostic process and should be used in combination with other methods.
- Some psychological disorders are associated with biomarkers or genetic markers that can be detected through blood testing.
- Underlying medical conditions, such as hormonal imbalances or nutrient deficiencies, could also be the cause of some of your symptoms, which is why ruling them out is important.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.