A proper mental health diagnosis is the key to seeking the right course of treatment and making healthier life changes. While depression and bipolar disorder have been recognized by millions of people worldwide, a traditional diagnosis depends on clinical assessments by doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists and can be more subjective than objective. A new blood test may change that. This new test monitors for blood biomarkers linked to mood disorders and has the potential to diagnose depression and bipolar disorder.

What Happened in the Study

A study published by Molecular Psychiatry in 2021 has identified 26 biomarkers in patients’ blood linked to mood disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and mania. For four years, researchers worked with hundreds of patients at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, conducting a series of tests to identify and confirm gene expression biomarkers in blood that can be tied to mood disorders. In patients with depression, their mood was tracked in each session with samples of their blood taken. Comparing the samples against 1,600 studies on human genetics, gene expression, and protein expression, the team identified 26 biomarkers linked to mood disorders and validated their results in another series of patients.

The Results of the Study

In the final test, the researchers investigated another group of patients to see if the 26 biomarkers could determine mood, depression, and mania and predict future hospitalizations. After this test, it was determined that 12 of the biomarkers had strong links to depression, six tied to bipolar disorder, and two indicated mania. Their precision medicine approach can help highlight specific drugs that might treat their conditions. The results suggest a range of non-antidepressant medicines such as pindolol, ciprofibrate, pioglitazone, and adiphenine could function if used as antidepressants. Eight biomarkers are involved in circadian functioning, which can explain the ties between depression and sleep disorders.

Future Implications of the Study

While there is no telling when a test like this will become more broadly available, the researchers hope their results will convince the psychiatry community that precision medicine has a place in diagnosing depression and other mental illnesses. The researchers hope that just like oncology is a crucial medical department in diagnosing and treating cancers, they would like mental illness to be treated just as seriously to help save lives. This blood test has the potential to diagnose a mental health disorder and figure out the correct course of treatment to ensure you have control over your life.

Imagine if a blood test was able to determine if you have a mental illness. The blood test results would give instant, definitive results and tell you what the proper medications would be to treat it. At Alta Loma, we understand the seriousness of mental health disorders in a person’s life and their loved ones. We are here to help you in any way we can. Located in Georgetown, Texas, our transformative treatment center can provide you with individualized treatment, coping skills education, a long-term continuum of care, and more. Call (866) 457-3843 for more information.