Learn More About Depression Medication
Depression is a common mental health condition characterized by symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to function such as sadness, fatigue, and low motivation. Antidepressants are medications that target certain brain chemicals related to depression, which may help reduce symptoms, especially when combined with therapy.
Below you’ll find a list of articles that will help you learn about depression medication in general, as well as specific antidepressants and their side effects.
Featured Depression Medication Articles
Common Types of Depression Medications
SSRIs and SNRIs are two of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant classes. They work by impacting levels of key neurotransmitters in the brain. These medications are often prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. Depending on your diagnosis and symptoms, your provider may consider one or both of these medications as a part of your treatment plan.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are a class of medication used to treat depression, anxiety, and other conditions. SNRIs work by affecting chemical messengers in the brain, which for some, may help regulate mood and relieve depression symptoms.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by decreasing the reuptake or reabsorption of serotonin and increasing the neurotransmitter’s concentration in the brain.1 SSRI medications are first-line treatments for multiple diseases, including depression, anxiety, bulimia, OCD, PTSD, and several others.
Other Commonly Prescribed Depression Medications
Prozac (fluoxetine) is a safe, effective prescription medication recommended as a treatment for a variety of mental health concerns. It’s among the most prescribed antidepressants in the United States. Prozac interacts with neurotransmitters to produce a positive response; however, like other medications, it can cause unwanted side effects that limit its benefit.
Sertraline (Zoloft) is in the antidepressant drug class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is the first-line medication for medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD.
Celexa (citalopram) is an antidepressant approved to treat depression and anxiety in adults. Celexa is a brand-name medication, and it contains the generic drug citalopram. Celexa is also used off-label to treat similar symptoms in conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People will likely experience mild symptoms such as vomiting and nausea to start, but there are still chances for more severe health risks.
Depression Medication Side Effects
Lexapro is the brand name medication of the generic drug escitalopram, which is FDA-approved to treat major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety in adults and depression in adolescents aged 12-17. Most people respond well to treatment, making Lexapro a viable option for first-line treatment for these disorders. Still, it is important to understand that taking Lexapro carries a black box warning for increased suicidal thoughts (in patients under 25 years old) and additional risks for serotonin syndrome, seizures, and activation of manic episodes.
Cymbalta treats major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and other mental health conditions. Taking this antidepressant can result in mild and common side effects, such as vomiting and sweating. However, adverse reactions may become severe and require immediate medical attention. It is important to be aware of these possibilities in order to prepare for necessary action if needed.
Paxil (paroxetine) is medication used for treating depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health conditions. The drug has been associated with side effects that can range in severity. Serious reactions may occur based on one’s age and overall health.
Alternatives to Depression Medications
St. John’s wort is best known for its ability to help alleviate symptoms of mild to moderate depression. While It is not an FDA approved medication, it is widely available as a natural herbal supplement, sold both online and in stores.
Certain types of therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness therapies, interpersonal therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy are proven to be effective in treating depression.
Alternative treatments for depression often include more holistic approaches, such as meditation, expressive therapies, yoga, and supplements. Traditionally, depression is treated using a combination of therapy and medication. However, seeking complementary options is beneficial, especially for those who suffer from treatment-resistant depression or are interested in natural remedies.
More Articles About Depression Medication
Several alternatives exist for SSRIs. Alternatives include selective-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and benzodiazepines. Other alternatives include Buspar, Welbutrin, serotonin modulators, antipsychotics, and ketamine.
Antidepressants can cause various sexual side effects, such as difficulty reaching orgasm, loss of desire for sex, erectile problems, vaginal dryness, and issues with arousal and satisfaction.
Mixing alcohol with antidepressants is not recommended because of several potentially harmful outcomes. The combination can lead to excessive intoxication, dizziness, and disorientation, and it can worsen depression. The risk of suicidal thoughts or violent behavior becomes elevated as well.1
Yes, it is possible to overdose on antidepressants. Different types of antidepressant medications carry different levels of risk of overdose. Understanding the risks of antidepressant overdose is an important part of treatment with antidepressant medication. Knowing how to recognize an overdose and what to do in case of an overdose can be crucial in saving lives and minimizing harm.
Eating grapefruit while taking antidepressants may lead to medication build-up in the bloodstream, which can cause complications. Grapefruits block the absorption of the medication in the intestines by binding with enzymes. This reduces absorption, causing a rise of the medication in the bloodstream.
Switching antidepressants may be considered if a medication does not seem effective or results in side effects. Strategies for switching antidepressants can include tapering, a direct switch, or a washout period. Your doctor will consider your medication and condition to determine the best switching strategy.