There used to be a lot of stigma around taking antidepressants, but as mental health has shifted from a taboo topic to something more people are comfortable discussing openly, that has changed. Now, up to 19% of people in the U.S. take an antidepressant every month, and usage is on the rise. So, if you’re taking meds for depression, you are not alone. A quick rundown on the science of these medicines: Most antidepressants work by targeting specific neurotransmitters in your brain, the chemical messengers that transmit signals from one nerve cell to the next. Antidepressants affect the ones that control mood and emotion, like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The most commonly prescribed antidepressants are called SSRIs (a lot easier to remember than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors!). They work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. You’ve probably heard of common SSRIs, like Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline), but there are others—as well as SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), like Cymbalta (duloxetine), which boost serotonin and norepinephrine. There are still more antidepressants, which work in different ways or don’t fit neatly into another category. So...why are there so many different types? Good question. First, depression is a huge challenge personally and globally, as it’s the leading cause of disability worldwide. (Check out our entry on depression in Symptoms to learn more.) Second, many people try several different medications before landing on one that works for them. Finally, antidepressants can work for a while and then stop being effective, leaving some to explore other options. But prescription drugs aren’t your only choice for treating depression. Some people find St. John’s wort, an herbal supplement, helpful for mild depression (but be aware that it interferes with several common meds, including birth control!). Omega-3s in fish, nuts, and seeds, or in capsules, may be a possible depression treatment. Early studies show a link between the amino acid 5-HTP and improved serotonin levels, but again, be careful: This one can also be risky when combined with certain antidepressants. Then there’s DHEA, a synthetic hormone similar to one your body makes that may help improve symptoms of depression. If you want to experiment with a natural remedy to fight depression, talk to your practitioner so you can avoid mixing meds that don’t belong together. Don’t try to figure that out alone!
Recent posts about Antidepressants
I just switched from SSRI to SNRI. Anyone have experience w this? Wondering how long until I can expect to feel an energy boost. 😴
I’ve tried almost every SSRI and have found I’m extremely sensitive to medication (in contrast to this, cannibis has changed my life!). Wondering if anyone else experiences these sensitivities with anti-depressants or anti-anxiety pharmicuticals?
Hi! This is perhaps a niche question, but are there any meditators out there who have experience with SSRI’s? I recently started taking Lexapro and have noticed that it seems more difficult to sense my “inner aliveness” during a body scan. Does this resonate with anyone/ has anyone experienced this? Hoping it will get better as my body adjusts.
Videos about Antidepressants
What I've Learned: Making Sense of Antidepressants & Health | The History, Logic and Current Science
What I've Learned
Books about Antidepressants
Medications for Anxiety & Depression: A no-nonsense, comprehensive guide to the most common (and not so common) antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs available
Recovery and Renewal: Your essential guide to overcoming dependency and withdrawal from sleeping pills, other benzodiazepine tranquillisers and antidepressants
This is an essential guide for counsellors, doctors, other healthcare professionals, family members and anyone affected by dependency and withdrawal from sleeping pills, other benzodiazepines and antidepressants. Drawn from the author's personal experience with discontinuing a benzodiazepine prescribed for her dystonia (a neurological condition causing involuntary movements), her many years of supporting others in withdrawal, and her counselling training and expertise, it focuses on healing and empowerment and includes coping tips, success stories, description of symptoms and everything else one needs to know in order to self-care and succesfully overcome this experience.
New update: Now includes two new antidepressants approved by the FDA in March 2019: esketamine, taken as a nasal spray, for persons who have not responded to previous medicines, and brexanolone, the first antidepressant specifically for postpartum depression. Overview: About 16 million Americans experience a major depression each year, and at any given time about one in ten adults is taking antidepressants. There are many different ones, in what can seem like a bewildering variety. In this book, Dr. Mendelson makes sense of the many treatments for depression, and shows that understanding how antidepressants work can help in making better decisions. The book begins with a non-technical, lavishly illustrated introduction to how antidepressants affect the brain, and a more general presentation of how drugs are absorbed and processed by the body. The second section describes the various classes of antidepressants, including how they work, how long they stay in the body, their interactions with other medicines, side effects, and things to consider when choosing a particular one. The third section provides guidance if things are not improving, such as changing or adding medicines, as well as non-medication alternatives including psychotherapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Finally, there is a presentation of related depressive disorders such as seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Written with both scientific rigor and compassion, Understanding Antidepressants is a useful guide for anyone suffering from depression, as well as their families. It is written broadly enough to be a helpful introduction for students and trainees, and mental health workers with non-technical backgrounds who wish to learn more about these commonly used medications. About the author: Wallace B. Mendelson MD is a Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Pharmacology (ret) at the University of Chicago, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He has authored or co-authored four books and numerous scientific papers, primarily in the fields of psychopharmacology and sleep medicine. His most recent book, The Science of Sleep (available on Amazon), shares with Understanding Antidepressants the goal of providing the scientific background of a group of disorders in a non-technical and very readable manner.
The UltraMind Solution: The Simple Way to Defeat Depression, Overcome Anxiety, and Sharpen Your Mind
From the ten-time New York Times bestselling author of Ultrametabolism, The Blood Sugar Solution, and Eat Fat, Get Thin comes The UltraMind Solution. —Do you find it next to impossible to focus or concentrate? —Have you ever experienced instant clarity after exercise? Alertness after drinking coffee? —Does your brain inexplicably slow down during stress, while multitasking, or when meeting a deadline? —Do you get anxious, worried, or stressed-out frequently? In The UltraMind Solution, Dr. Mark Hyman explains that to fix your broken brain, you must heal your body first. Through his simple six-week plan, Dr. Hyman shows us how to correct imbalances caused by nutritional deficiencies, allergens, infections, toxins, and stress, restoring our health and gaining an UltraMind—one that’s highly focused, able to pay attention at will, has a strong memory, and leaves us feeling calm, confident, in control, and in good spirits.
The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
Based on the highly effective, proven Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) program: a practical plan for natural ways to treat depression--without medication In the past decade, depression rates have skyrocketed, and one in four Americans suffer from major depression at some point in their lives. Where have we gone wrong? Dr. Stephen Ilardi sheds light on our current predicament and reminds us that our bodies were never designed for the sleep-deprived, poorly nourished, frenzied pace of twenty-first century life. Inspired by the extraordinary resilience of aboriginal groups like the Kaluli of Papua New Guinea, Dr. Ilardi prescribes an easy-to-follow, clinically proven program that harks back to what our bodies were originally made for and what they continue to need with these six components: Brain Food Don't Think, Do Antidepressant Exercise Let There Be Light Get Connected Habits of Healthy Sleep The Depression Cure's holistic approach has been met with great success rates, helping even those who have failed to respond to traditional medications. For anyone looking to supplement their treatment, The Depression Cure offers hope and a practical path to wellness for anyone.
Psych Meds Made Simple: How & Why They Do What They Do
People living with mental illness are often left out of the loop when it comes to understanding how exactly medications work. This book will explain pharmacology in a simplified way to help you understand the effects, both positive and negative, of psych meds, and why these effects occur. It's everything you didn't realize you wanted to know about medications! The book begins with the essentials of pharmacology and moves on to cover all the major classes of psychiatric medications. You'll learn why one medication in a particular class might be a better fit for you than another. Are you having weight gain from your medication? You'll find out why, and what other medications might be less likely to have the same side effect. I've pulled together what I've learned in my training as a nurse and (former) pharmacist and years of clinical experience, added in my personal perspective from having taken many of these medications, and distilled it down to the essential elements you need to know to take charge of your own health and illness.
Podcasts about Antidepressants
Medgeeks Clinical Review Podcast: SSRIs
PhysicianAssistantBoards.com - Today were going to be discussing SSRIs. Well go over the pharmacology, adverese reactions, and seratonin syndrome. This drug is so commonly prescribed, that the boards like to test you on this. Also, you NEED to know about this medication if your in clinical practice!
Your Nutrition Prescription Podcast: Coming Off of SSRI Anti-Depressant and Anti-Anxiety Medications
One in 10 adults in the US are taking anti-depressant medications that have been shown to be no more effective than a sugar pill for mild to moderate cases of depression. These medications also carry serious side effects including increasing rates of suicide, especially among teens, and altering neurotransmitter production which leads to more anxiety and depression with continued use. Today, I am going to outline how I help clients wean off of these medications by underlying factors related to depression and anxiety and using neurotransmitters precursors to support the process.