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Types of Antidepressant Medications

Your therapist or physician has recently recommended that you begin antidepressant drug therapy for a whopping bout of depression you are going through. Do you know what you're taking? Do you know what it does? And do you have options?


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

What do they do?
SSRIs are selective because they act only on the neurotransmitter serotonin. Normal levels of serotonin are required to regulate mood and other functions. Slowing the release of serotonin from the brain is thought to improve move and other functions. Benefit: Less side effects than other antidepressants Side effects include dry mouth, nausea, nervousness, insomnia, headache and sexual problems.

1. escitalopram | brand name: Lexapro
2. citalopram | brand name: Celexa
3, fluoxetine | brand name: Prozac
4. paroxetine | brand name: Paxil
5. sertraline | brand name: Zoloft

Tricyclic Antidepressants (tricyclics)

What do they do?
Tricyclics work on two neurotransmitters -- both serotonin and norepinephrine. It is thought that they may work on other chemicals in the body as well. Benefit: More research. Doctors have been prescribing these for depression for a very long time. Side effects include dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, difficulty urinating, worsening of glaucoma, impaired thinking and tiredness and increased blood pressure and heart rate.

1. amitriptyline | brand name: Elavil
2. desipramine | brand name: Norpramin
3. imipramine | brand name: Tofranil
4. nortriptyline | brand names: Aventyl, Pamelor

Other antidepressants

What do they do?
These antidepressants work a little differently than the other two. But it is possible you may be prescribed these or see these advertised. Side effects vary from drug to drug. Check with your physician. Benefit: May work for people when other drugs haven't worked.

1. venlafaxine | brand name: Effexor
2. Nefazodone | brand name: Serzone
3. Bupropion | brand name: Wellbutrin
4. Mirtazapine | brand name: Remeron
5. trazodone | brand name: Desyrel

MAOI antidepressants

What do they do?
Everything that tricylic antidepressants do plus affect levels of dopamine in the body. These are not as commonly used because they are difficult to use for many patients. There are many food and drug interaction precautions that patients have to strictly adhere to. Benefit: Patients see success in MAOIs when they have used other drugs in the past that haven't worked. Side effects include weakness, dizziness, headaches and tremors.

1. phenelzine | brand name: Nardil
2. tranylcypromine | brand name: Parnate

Make sure you speak in depth with your physician about what drug would work best for you based on your presenting symptoms and medical history.

Related Links:
Top 5 Books on Depression
Free Depression Screening

Source: Healthyplace

Lisa Angelettie is an author, counselor, & coach on mental health, relationship, and other life issues for women. You can also visit her at http://www.girlshrink.com Please visit us for more discussion on this topic in the depression forum to talk about it further. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for topics in the news, new articles, website & book reviews, and other useful depression resources. Subscribe below.

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