St. Louis, May 2021 – It would be easy to mistake substance abuse as a personal failing. Over the years, some have suggested that those with an addiction simply lack will power or have a fundamental defect in character. But the medical science proves otherwise. The science shows that there are several genetic factors that can lead to addiction.
As a medical practice specializing in personalized addiction care, INSynergy has been on the cutting of using genetic testing for addiction to identify not only what may be fueling a patient’s addiction, but also identifying what treatment options will yield the best results.
“I like to think we are always ahead of the curve,” said Dr. Arturo Taca, Medical Director of INSynergy. “About seven years ago when we started looking at genetics, we would look at only three signals. Now we are looking at 24.”
Genetic testing for addiction helps provide a science-based personalized roadmap to getting each patient successfully on the road to recovery.
“If you just detox and put them on anti-craving medications you are only scratching the surface,” Dr. Taca said.
Take Tom’s case as an example. INSynergy’s genetic testing revealed that Tom’s alcoholism was rooted in an undiagnosed attention deficit disorder.
“It made so much sense,” Tom, an INSynergy alum said. “It was incredible.”
By treating his ADD, Tom was able to achieve sobriety.
“As I was treated for it,” Tom said. “the desire to have anything to drink or anything to bring my speedy brain down to a normal speed vanished.”
One of the markers that shows up with more than three out of four INSynergy patients is the lack of a certain enzyme that affects their ability to break down folic acid in their diet.
“What we have found is 80-85 percent of our patient population has this abnormality,” Ashley Halker, MHA, INSynergy’s Director of Operations said. “And as soon as we recognize it, we treat it with L-methyl folate.”
Too little of the enzyme MTHFR can lead to anxiety and depression, which often drive substance abuse.
“I stopped getting out of bed in the morning,” Will, an INSynergy Alum said. “There’s definitely times when I just had this unexplainable depression. It was the worst hell I could imagine.”
The prescription version of L-Methyl Folate is called Deplin, a once-a-day supplement that is a game changer for many patients.
“Within a couple of days, I felt a significant difference,” Will said. “With Deplin, I can live free of other substances and feel great.”
Deplin helps patients like Will, who began drinking and using drugs as a teenager. Four other treatment programs missed the genetic connection between Will’s addiction and his MTHFR deficiency. INSynergy’s testing discovered it immediately and they prescribed Deplin. It was just the tool Will needed to get sober.
“I think effectively and sleep effectively,” Will said. “Now every morning I get up it is the same feeling. It’s the way you greet your day.”
Doctor Taca says that the success rate for treating a patient’s depression with Deplin is significantly better than prescription anti-depressants that typically only work about thirty percent of the time.
“Keeping the patient on the least amount of medication that keeps them the most stable is a philosophy that we pride ourselves on,” Halker said. “And getting the patient well.”
Whether it is MTHFR, ADHD, or a different genetic condition, once INSynergy’s genetic testing reveals the underlying physical causes of addiction, talk therapy and family therapy are used to enhance recovery.
“It is such a different approach that INSynergy has, it suggests the rest of their recovery program is more holistic also,” Will said. “I don’t feel anything except clarity and happiness.”