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What are Antidepressants?

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.