1. Antidepressant Medications
Major depressive disorder isn’t just a condition — depression is also a common symptom of many mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and even sometimes schizophrenia. Antidepressant medication can help treat depression in most people. Research shows that more than 13% of adults in the United States have recently taken depression medication.
How it works
Antidepressants can help by balancing neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and serotonin help you sleep better, regulate mood, improve the ability to focus and concentrate, and more. In short, antidepressants can help promote a more positive mood while stabilizing emotions.
“Individuals struggling with depression, or any disorder, often struggle with the symptoms so severely they deter them from daily functioning activities. This is when medication can be helpful, as it helps manage those symptoms to a level that can allow the individual to function. Antidepressants (or any psychotropic medications) do not ‘cure’ disorders.”
It’s really important to highlight the fact that antidepressants prescribed for depression only treat the symptoms of depression, not the root cause. To be as effective as possible, these medications should almost always be used in conjunction with talk therapy and other lifestyle changes that focus on self-care.
There are various types of antidepressants, each with its own pros and cons. This is one reason why it’s so necessary for a psychiatrist who knows you and understands your condition and symptoms to prescribe and carefully monitor antidepressant medication.
“Antidepressant medications have evolved to have more options for people struggling with depression. It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all for any medication; this applies to antidepressants.”
Types of antidepressants:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): The most commonly used and prescribed type of antidepressant
- Serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): Similar to SSRIs, but instead of working on only your serotonin levels, SNRIs work on both serotonin and norepinephrine. This can be a better combination for some people.
- Noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NaSSAs): Newer class of psychiatric drugs that might be used when SSRIs haven’t been effective.
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): An older form of antidepressants, generally not the first drug that will be tried. It can have more severe side effects than most SSRIs or SNRIs but might be effective in cases of extremely severe depression or when other medications haven’t worked.
- Serotonin antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs): More commonly used to treat other conditions, but can be used to treat anxiety.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): Another older form of mental health medication, rarely used today.
Some commonly-prescribed antidepressant psychiatrist medications include:
- Nardil (Phenelzine)
- Prozac (Fluoxetine)
- Zoloft (Sertraline)
- Effexor (Venlafaxine)
- Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
- Celexa (Citalopram)
- Lexapro (Escitalopram)
- Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
- Anafranil (Clomipramine)
- Tofranil (Imipramine)