Feeling down or overwhelmed with emotions is part of life. However, if your sadness isn’t the usual, short-lived mood fluctuation, but more of an ever-present fog clouding your perspective, there might be a larger chemical imbalance or trauma to address. Luckily there’s always help available, especially now with so many amazing telemedicine providers offering high-quality virtual care.
In this article, we’ll review Prairie Health, a new telemedicine platform for anxiety and depression that offers personalized treatment for each patient based on genetics. We’ll look into their unique approach, and see how effective it can be at putting you on the right path. Before that, how do you know you’re depressed? If you’re short on time, jump ahead to our review of Prairie Health. Otherwise, here is everything you need to know, including anxiety and depression treatments, how effective they are, and the risks involved:
A quick 101 on depression and anxiety treatment.
While many people confuse anxiety and depression as the same thing, note that they differ.
Generally, depression is a feeling of extreme hopelessness or worthlessness, while anxiety is common if you have excess feelings of worry. In fact, many people experience both anxiety and depression at the same time.
How common is depression?
Globally, more than 246 million people live with depression and anxiety. In the USA, 34 out of every 100 adults show signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, or both. All of this is to say: if you’re suffering from anxiety and depression, you’re not alone.
The pandemic wreaked havoc on the economy and that alone is stressful for most. A 2020 survey shows that 53% of Americans experience anxiety more often now than before the pandemic. 51% experience depression more often than before coronavirus.
Even with these alarming numbers, national healthcare does little towards treating patients who show signs and symptoms of clinical anxiety or depression.
There are only about 11 psychiatrists for every 100,000 Americans. This is not to mention the hefty costs that come with seeing a private psychiatrist (often $300 or more per visit). While most can’t afford to pay premium psychiatric rates, a bigger number doesn’t care about seeking any form of treatment because of social stigma. It’s sad that so much suffering goes undiagnosed and untreated, but luckily there are many smart folks working to change that.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression
As noted, you can experience anxiety and depression separately or both at the same time. These conditions have signs and symptoms that overlap, including poor concentration, irregular sleeping patterns, and irritability. Even so, there are symptoms that are prevalent to each.
Some of the behavioral signs and physical symptoms associated with depression include:
· Persistent feeling of sadness and emptiness
· Feeling guilty and pessimistic.
· Restlessness and irritability
· Quick anger
· Suicidal thoughts and attempts
· Lost interest in hobbies and pleasurable activities
· Decreases energy and chronic fatigue
· Poor appetite and decreases weight
Common behavioral signs and physical symptoms associated with anxiety include:
· Panic and dread
· Racing and grinding teeth
· Quick fatigue
· Muscle tension
· Poor memory
What are the most popular remedies for anxiety and depression?
The Mayo Clinic, a leading healthcare provider, says antidepressants are a common remedy for anxiety and depression. However, it is important to note that while antidepressants can relieve the signs and symptoms of anxiety, they aren’t able to address unresolved psychological issues that may be weighing you down.
How do they work, exactly? Antidepressants alter the chemical messengers that relay anxiety symptoms to the brain cells. There are various types of antidepressants, including:
1. Tricyclic Antidepressants
Tricyclic antidepressants aren’t common because they have adverse side effects compared to other antidepressants. Even so, doctors can still prescribe this medication if your anxiety fails to respond to other types of antidepressants.
Drugs that fall under this category include:
2. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI)
SSRI drugs will cause little to no side effects at therapeutic doses and function by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. These are the kind of drugs that a medical doctor will kindly prescribe to new anxiety patients. They include:
Other types of antidepressants that a medical doctor can prescribe include Atypical and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). They can also call for behavioral therapy to help relieve the signs and symptoms of anxiety. The most prevalent therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This involves talking to patients and identifying or breaking down thoughts that lead to depression and anxiety.
What are the potential side effects of anxiety medication?
Before undertaking any of the above treatments, note that they can result in adverse side effects. To make matters worse, these effects can even worsen your anxiety symptoms in the worst cases.
If you ask folks about their experience with antidepressants, chances are you’ll hear complaints about the woes of finding the perfect meds (dosage + drug) through a lot of trial and error. That’s because antidepressants have their fair share of side effects that vary from one individual to another. For instance, drugs work in the body after a successful metabolism process, but if these drugs stay in your body for too long, you’ll likely experience fatigue, headaches, joint pains, and even nausea while other people may not experience any side effects at all. Overall though, side effects unfortunately are more common than we’d like, which is why Prairie Health’s use of genetic testing to reduce pharmaceutical trial and error is clever.
Is there any good news?
Fortunately, the rising number of reputable telehealth companies like Prairie Health are making a difference to millions of Americans.
Imagine living a life where you can access affordable mental healthcare without stigma.
You can get mental healthcare services from licensed professionals regardless of your location, thanks to the internet.
Most importantly, imagine getting the right approach for your individual needs. That’s exactly what Prairie Health aims to achieve – let’s dive into what they offer.
How does Prairie Health treat anxiety and depression?
Source: Prairie Health
Prairie Health offers genetic testing and expert treatment for anxiety and depression. Psychiatrists working with Prairie Health leverage genetic information that describes how fast your body’s enzymes work to tailor and plan customized treatments that are less costly, have fewer side effects, and promote a quick recovery process.
In order to make sense of their approach, it’s essential to understand that enzymes affect the way you process and metabolize drugs. Different individuals have distinct enzyme variations that render the same one-size-fits-all treatment approach ineffective. Thus formulating compounds that your body can properly digest and use to catalyze the intended chemical reactions are key.
How do doctors at Prairie Health use genetic testing for better anxiety drugs?
While genetic information may not predict the perfect medication for anxiety, it can help reduce the “trial and error” approach to medication that’s otherwise so energy- and time-consuming, culminating in expensive medical costs. Doctors at Prairie Health make use of genetic testing to weigh the best treatment and medication options for anxiety.
These genetic tests analyze your metabolic profile that psychiatrists with Prairie use to mitigate side effects from anxiety treatment. If the metabolism rate is slower, then there is a high likelihood that the depressant will stay in your body for longer. In this instance, some of the adverse effects that you’ll likely experience include extreme fatigue, nausea, and weight gain. Not fun.
Is Prairie Health’s genetic testing safe?
Prairie Health uses a simple saliva-based DNA collection tool that comes with their Welcome Kit. To make the best decisions, your psychiatrist will only use the medical recommendations validated by reputable healthcare groups like the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC).
Source: Prairie Health
How to start anxiety treatment with Prairie Health
Anxiety treatment is quite simple and patient-friendly at Prairie Health. If you decide to seek professional help, Prairie Health’s system will get you started in three simple steps:
1. Meet Your Care Team
As soon as you join Prairie Health to begin your treatment journey, you’ll get assigned to a Care Partner who is your primary touchpoint throughout the recovery process. The Care Partner has professional training and experience to walk you through the journey of improved mental health through text support and monthly video calls. Your Care Partner will also ship the genetic test kit to your home.
2. Return Your Genetic Test
After receiving the saliva-based DNA kit, you’ll mail it back to Prairie Health for laboratory analysis. The test kit is simple to use, and you’ll hardly need any guide. However, kindly ensure that you follow all the steps included with the kit. The sample shouldn’t get contaminated for accurate analysis.
3. Get Your Treatment Plan
After analyzing your genetic information and health history, psychiatrists at Prairie Health will give you a personalized treatment plan. The treatment plan depends on various factors such as the shortest recovery period and minimal side effects.
What treatments for anxiety and depression does Prairie Health offer?
Prairie Health has one plan to help you manage anxiety and depression. It includes both therapy and prescription medications. Here are the components of
1. Prescription medication
Prairie Health has a team of three psychiatrists to schedule online appointments for patients. While there is a shortage of mental health specialists, Prairie Health works with several board-certified psychiatrists who can fit you in their schedule at convenient times. These doctors will prescribe the right antidepressants for you based on your full medical history and genetic test.
2. Ongoing Care Counseling
Medication alone isn’t always enough to treat anxiety and depressions. Your care team will always check in with you via video calls to offer professional counseling. However, it is essential to note that the care counseling provided by Prairie Health’s Care Partners is not meant to be a substitute for clinical therapy.
How does Prairie Health offer ongoing care for anxiety and depression?
It is also important to note that your Care Partner provides ongoing support via text and video calls in five main ways:
Couching: Your Care Partner at Prairie Health will closely work with you to set realistic mental health growth. They also offer moral support to see that you achieve all your goals. They reach out to members from time to make sure they are doing okay.
Counseling: During bad days, a Care Partner from Prairie Health can provide emotional support. Even though this mental health professional isn’t licensed to practice psychotherapy, they leverage evidence-based techniques to help you feel well. This includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) exercises.
Medication Support: For a quick and effective recovery process, take medication as prescribed by your physician. Your Care Partner is there to offer additional support over text if you experience unexpected side effects from your medication.
Care Coordination:Prairie Health prioritizes mental health and can help you get quick medical and emotional assistance even if not with them. Your Care Partner can coordinate with your other healthcare providers like primary care physicians, therapists, primary care providers and any other doctor to ensure your broader care team is synchronized and provides support in harmony.
Administrative Support:Your Care Partner provides ongoing administrative support to help you navigate Prairie’s Health system with ease. This support includes answering questions that arise from billing, DNA test kits, and appointment scheduling.
Cerebral vs Prairie Health vs Brightside vs Hims: How does Prairie Health compare to other popular telemedicine providers for anxiety?
Let us take a quick look at how Prairie Health stacks up to its popular online telehealth and teletherapy startups like Cerebral, Brightside, and Hims who also focus on convenient access to quality mental health care:
Best Online Mental Health Service Providers:Prairie Health vs Cerebral vs Brightside vs Hims
|Can prescribe Rx meds for anxiety and depression online?||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Access to licensed therapists?||Not through Prairie – they coordinate with your therapist.||All licensed therapists for 1-1 sessions.||All licensed therapists for 1-1 sessions.||Currently only offers group therapy.|
|Pricing||Medication + care counseling costs $149 for the first month, then $99/ month thereafter||Medication + care counseling costs $25 for the first month, then $85/ month after that. They also offer a plan with medication + therapy for $325/ month.||Medication + care counseling costs $45 for the first month, then $95/ month after that. They also offer a plan with medication + therapy for $240/ month.||Both group therapy and medication cost $49/ month.|
|Treatment personalized to your genetics?||✔️||❌||❌||❌|
There are also alternative solutions for anyone who’s been labeled “treatment-resistant” – ketamine therapy has been increasingly embraced by the mental health community. Check out our review of Mindbloom’s ketamine therapy for treating anxiety if you think traditional therapy or medication may not be working for you.
Prairie Health reviews: What are customers saying?
Most customer reviews indicate high satisfaction with Prairie Health’s platform. In their page reviews, the company scores 4.95/ 5-star reviews on reviews.io. Here is what some customers have to say about their experience:
Users noted that genetic testing aided in prescribing customized medication that significantly reduced the signs and symptoms. Moreover, customers are happy that they could attend doctor appointments from the comfort of their homes.
Patients also mentioned that Prairie Health provided a swift transition process for folks already using other anxiety medications. Experts at the company consider all medical history before prescribing new meds.
The Verdict: Should you trust Prairie Health with your anxiety and depression meds?
Before deciding on whether Prairie Health is the best service provider to treat your anxiety and depression, it’s helpful to think through if and how you’ll benefit from online care. Thus if you know exactly what medication that works for you, then you may opt for an alternative like Hims to save a few bucks.
That said, Prairie Health sets a new standard as the only telemedicine company (we’ve seen at least) that leverages genetic testing to offer personalized anxiety and depression treatment. With Prairie, you’re more likely to find an effective medication to relieve your anxiety symptoms sooner than you would otherwise via simple trial and error. The company also offers ongoing support for as long as you have an active subscription in case you ever have questions or feel like you need to talk to a mental health professional.
Who else is Prairie Health best suited to help? If your schedule is packed or budgets are tight and you can’t make weekly or biweekly therapy work, there is no need to subscribe to weekly services. Prairie Health offers monthly appointments and unlimited messaging with your Care Partner to accommodate.
The bottom line is that Prairie Health makes personalized treatment more accessible and more affordable than ever to help you manage your anxiety. Most of the customer reviews we found online indicate that the company’s insistence on providing treatment designed for each individual actually works, especially for customers who’ve struggled to find a prescription that works well for them.
With this in mind, if you’ve experienced challenges with medication in the past or want to give yourself a great chance of getting a medication that works for you, we recommend you give them a try.
If you’re experiencing feelings of anxiety and wonder if you should seek professional help, take our 5-minute anxiety quiz. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve tried Prairie Health or any other telehealth services for anxiety or depression!