No one knows the real answer to the question of how antidepressants work. At least not yet, but extensive research continues. They are primarily used to relieve the symptoms of moderate to severe depression but are also prescribed for other conditions, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders and chronic pain.

Although how they work in not exactly known, they are believed to increase the activity of certain chemicals in the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters and they function as messengers, used by the nerve cells (or neurons) to communicate with each other. Researchers believe that the neurotransmitters which play a significant role in depression are serotonin, noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and dopamine. They have varying effects including influencing mood, behaviour, learning, emotion, sexuality, appetite, heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, memory, pleasure and desire.

To send messages, the neurons release neurotransmitters into the spaces between neurons called synapses. These neurotransmitters bind to receiving units or receptors. They increase the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, by blocking their re-uptake and reabsorption into the nerve cells that released them, thus prolonging their effect. There are different types of antidepressants which work in different ways but most are based on this principle.

This video shows how antidepressants are believed to work:

The primary composes are particular serotonin re-take-up inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and noradrenaline re-take-up inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclics (TCAs) and noradrenaline, and the particular serotoninergic antidepressants (NaSSAs) which don't fill in as serotonin re-take-up inhibitors. MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors) which like the NaSSAs work contrastingly and have various medication collaborations have been once in a while recommended as of late and are not considered here. When stimulant treatment starts, the patient is encouraged to permit no less than multi month for the helpful impacts to end up apparent. It is trusted this is the time it takes for their cerebrum cells to adjust. In any case, symptoms may happen sooner. The most regularly endorsed kinds of antidepressants utilized by our helpline guests are SSRIs and SNRIs, with some TCAs as yet being used.

Commonly Used Antidepressants

Generic Name                             Brand Name

amitriptyline                                     Elavil,Tryptizol

citalopram                                         Cipramil

dosulepin                                           Prothiaden

fluoxetine                                          Prozac

mirtazapine                                      Remeron, Zispin

paroxetine                                        Paxil

sertraline                                          Lustral

trazodone                                         Molipaxin

venlafaxine                                      Effexor


Direct links to other pages in this ‘About Withdrawal’ section:

About Withdrawal

About Benzodiazepines

List of Symptoms