Taking an Antidepressant, how do they work?

Antidepressants are a class of medications used to treat depression and other mood disorders such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are different types of antidepressants, but they generally work by changing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Depression is believed to be caused by an imbalance of these neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that help brain cells communicate with each other. Antidepressants work by affecting the way these chemicals are produced, released, and reabsorbed in the brain.

Antidepressants are complex and there are several theories as to why they help in decreasing depressive symptoms. One of the most widely accepted theories is the monoamine hypothesis, which suggests that antidepressants work by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitters in the brain by either blocking their reuptake or by inhibiting their breakdown. Another theory suggests that antidepressants work by stimulating the growth of new neurons in the brain, that possibly is caused by excessive stress and depression.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) are a type of antidepressant that increase the levels of serotonin in the brain by blocking its reuptake, which means that more neurotransmitter is available for communication between brain cells. Other types of antidepressants, such as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI’s) and trycilic antidepressants (TCA’s), work by increasing the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine.

Antidepressants can take several weeks to start working, and the full therapeutic effects may not be felt for several months. It’s important to work closely with healthcare provider when taking antidepressants, as they can have side effects and may interact with other medications or substances.

If you or someone you know have questions about medications and wish to schedule an appointment with our provider, please contact Eastside TMS and Wellness Center at 425-919-6826.

Eastside TMS and Wellness Center does offer an alternative to medications; we also treat patients using TMS therapy. If you would like to know more information about TMS therapy, contact us using the phone number above.