what are antidepressants?
Your doctor may offer you antidepressants if you have very low mood or symptoms of depression. They can also help if you have other mental health problems, including anxiety. Scientists aren't sure how antidepressants work. But they think that they may work by increasing levels of certain chemicals in your brain that help improve your mood and emotions.
Antidepressants should start to work within 2-3 weeks. There is no set time for how long you should take antidepressants. Your doctor may ask you to take your antidepressants for 6 months after your symptoms are gone. This can help stop your symptoms coming back. Your doctor will work out how much you should take, and for how long. Antidepressants are not addictive. But you may get withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them suddenly.
What are the different types of antidepressants?
All antidepressants work in different ways. One type of antidepressant may suit you more than another. Here, we give an overview of the different types.
Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) suggests that SSRIs have fewer side effects than the other types of antidepressants. All the following medications treat low mood and depression. Some may also treat other conditions, including anxiety, bulimia, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
SNRIs are similar to SSRIs. They treat depression and chronic pain.
Tricyclic antidepressants can treat depression, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and migraine. Tricyclic antidepressants can take 2 to 4 weeks to work. These are older medicines, and generally have more side effects than other antidepressants.
mono-amine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
MAOIs are an older antidepressant. These are not prescribed as much. Your doctor should monitor you if you take these. You cannot eat certain foods if you take these. Your doctor should give you more information if they prescribe these for you.