Antidepressants act by restoring the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Treatment with antidepressants usually takes several weeks to work fully and may last up to six months or longer. It can be helpful to combine antidepressant medications and other treatments for better effectiveness.
Antidepressant drugs are used to treat depression and other conditions such as anxiety and panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, premenstrual syndrome and chronic pain.
Side effects of depression medication are very often the main reason for people to stop antidepressant treatment. Side effects of antidepressants include:
- Dry mouth,
- gastrointestinal disturbances,
- urinary retention,
- weight gain or loss,
- sleep disruption,
- blurred vision,
- sexual dysfunction
There are many different kinds of antidepressants that are grouped according to their mechanisms of action and structure. For clinical depression are being used:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / SSRIs
SSRIs work by increasing the level and utilization of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Most common SSRIs are known as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa.
- SNRIs and NDRIs
Similar to SSRIs are serotonin and norepinephrin reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like Effexor, and norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) like Wellbutrin.
- Other Antidepressants
- Combined reuptake inhibitors and receptor blockers like Desyrel,
- Alpha-2 receptor blockers like Remeron,
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) like Elavil
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) like Nardil. MAOIs may have serious side effects if taken with some medications, alcoholic beverages and food products.
For bipolar depression are being used:
- Lithium and anticonvulsants
Lithium as a mood stabilizer and anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine and valproic acid control mania and stabilize the cycling in bipolar depression.