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Antidepressants

  • Neurotransmitter Regulation

Antidepressant drugs work by regulating the levels of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which play a key role in mood regulation.

These medications aim to relieve symptoms such as persistent sadness, loss of interest, and changes in sleep and appetite patterns.

  • Alleviation of Symptoms

Antidepressants may take several weeks to exert their full effect, requiring consistent and patient use under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

  • Not Instant Relief

Antidepressants are medications designed to alleviate symptoms of depression and other mood disorders by influencing neurotransmitter levels in the brain.

What is an Antidepressant?

Antidepressants drugs are primarily used to treat various mental health conditions, including

What Are Antidepressants Used For?

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Panic Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Chronic Pain
Bipolar Disorder
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Eating Disorders (e.g., Bulimia Nervosa)
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Sleep Disorders (e.g., Insomnia)

Lists of Antidepressants

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
Tricyclic Antidepressants
Tricyclic Antidepressants
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Atypical Antidepressants
Atypical Antidepressants

Fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxetine (Paxil), Sertraline (Zoloft), Citalopram (Celexa), and Escitalopram (Lexapro).

Examples
Cons
  • Potential sexual dysfunction.

  • Initial worsening of anxiety.

  • Withdrawal symptoms if suddenly stopped.

  • Relatively safe even if taken in an overdose.

  • Less sedating than older antidepressant drugs.

  • Fewer side effects.

Pros
Mechanism of Action

SSRIs inhibit serotonin reuptake pumps, amplifying the serotonin signal in neural synapses.

Depression, panic disorders, OCD, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Indications

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Mechanism of Action

Blocks the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine, elevating their amounts.

Indications

Depression, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia.

Serotonin
Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Cons
  • Possible elevated blood pressure.

  • Increased heart rate.

  • Withdrawal symptoms.

  • Treats a broad spectrum of depressive and anxiety symptoms.

  • Some SNRIs are indicated for pain syndromes.

Pros

Venlafaxine (Effexor XR), Duloxetine (Cymbalta), Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq).

Examples

Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline, Imipramine.

Examples
Cons
  • Potential for fatal overdose.

  • Dry mouth, constipation, weight gain, urinary retention.

  • Potential cardiac side effects.

  • Effective for neuropathic pain.

  • Long history of use, extensively studied.

Pros
Mechanism of Action

Inhibition of serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake. Also interacts with other receptors causing side effects.

Depression, chronic pain, migraines, and certain types of anxiety.

Indications

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Mechanism of Action

MAOIs stop the breakdown of monoamine neurotransmitters, increasing their levels.

Indications

Atypical depression, treatment-resistant cases.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

Cons
  • Dietary restrictions to avoid hypertensive crisis.

  • Risky drug interactions.

  • Sedation, weight gain, insomnia.

  • Can be effective when others aren’t.

Pros

Phenelzine (Nardil), Tranylcypromine (Parnate).

Examples

Bupropion (Wellbutrin), Mirtazapine (Remeron), Trazodone.

Examples
Cons
  • Risk of seizures, can't be used in bulimia or anorexia patients.

  • Weight gain.

  • Sedation.

  • No sexual side effects, weight-neutral.

  • Can help with sleep and appetite.

Pros
Mechanism of Action

Diverse mechanisms, often not solely focused on serotonin. For instance, Bupropion acts on dopamine and norepinephrine.

Major depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder (Wellbutrin), insomnia (Trazodone).

Indications

Atypical Antidepressants

Antidepressants, when prescribed and monitored by healthcare professionals, can be effective. Yet, like any medication, they carry potential risks and side effects. Discussion of concerns with a healthcare provider is crucial before starting or stopping treatment, ensuring a decision based on thorough evaluation. Regular follow-ups are essential for monitoring progress and making necessary treatment adjustments.

Are Antidepressant Drugs Safe?

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