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Antidepressants are drugs used for the treatment of major depressive disorder and other conditions,
including dysthymia, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, chronic pain.
How Antidepressants Work
Most antidepressants work by changing the balance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. In
people with depression, these chemicals are not used properly by the brain. Antidepressants make the
chemicals more available to brain cells like the one shown on the right side of this slide.
Antidepressants can be prescribed by any doctor, but people with severe symptoms are usually referred
to a psychiatrist.
Antidepressants are a broad group of drugs that are used in the treatment of depression. Although they
do not cure depression, they are usually effective at improving mood and relieving symptoms such as
restlessness, anxiety, sleep problems, and suicidal thoughts.
There are at least six main types (classes) of antidepressants. For example, the tricyclic
antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake
inhibitors, norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and the
atypical antidepressants. Each type has a slightly different action on specific neurotransmitters, such as
serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine. Side effects also differ between classes.
Some reduction in symptoms may be noticed within one to two weeks; however, it may take several
months of treatment for the full effects to be seen.
Anxiety disorders are different, though. They are a group of mental illnesses, and the distress they
cause can keep you from carrying on with your life normally.
Fatique, This is the lack of energy and motivation (both physical and mental). This is different than
drowsiness, a term that describes the need to sleep. Often a person complains of feeling tired and it is
up to the health care professional to distinguish between fatigue and drowsiness, though both can occur
at the same time. Aside from drowsiness, other symptoms can be confused with fatigue including
shortness of breath with activity and muscle weakness. Again, all these symptoms can occur at the same
time. Also, fatigue can be a normal response to physical and mental activity; in most normal individuals it
is quickly relieved (usually in hours to about a day, depending on the intensity of the activity) by reducing