Medication for Depression: Types, Side Effects, and How to Take It

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Medication is one of the most common treatments for depression. It can take several weeks to start working, so it’s important to be patient and give them time.

There are many different types of antidepressants, and the best one for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances. Your doctor will help you choose the right medication for you.

Some of the most common types of antidepressants include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant. They work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood regulation. Examples of SSRIs include citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), and sertraline (Zoloft).
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs work by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Examples of SNRIs include venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): TCAs are older antidepressants that are still effective for some people. They work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine, as well as other neurotransmitters. Examples of TCAs include amitriptyline (Elavil) and nortriptyline (Pamelor).
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): MAOIs are the oldest type of antidepressants, but they are also the most difficult to take. They work by blocking the action of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase, which breaks down neurotransmitters. Examples of MAOIs include phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate).

All antidepressants have the potential for side effects, but the most common side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. Some people may experience more serious side effects, such as suicidal thoughts or actions. If you experience any serious side effects, be sure to talk to your doctor right away.

If you are considering taking medication for depression, it is important to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. They can help you decide if medication is the right treatment for you.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about medication for depression:

  • It is important to take medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Do not stop taking medication without talking to your doctor.
  • Be aware of the side effects of medication and report any serious side effects to your doctor right away.
  • Talk to your doctor about other treatments for depression, such as talk therapy or lifestyle changes.

With proper treatment, most people with depression can recover and live a full and productive life.

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