What Are Antidepressants?

Contrary to popular understanding, antidepressants are not just for treating depression. Antidepressants are medicines that help to balance neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters send messages throughout the body. Neurotransmitters are responsible for the chemicals in the brain that promote wellbeing and improved mood, such as serotonin or dopamine. Who could benefit from more balanced neurotransmitters? Consider these 3 reasons a person may want to try antidepressants.

center for family medicine 3 Types Of Patients Who Can Benefit From Antidepressant Medications

1. You feel more anxious than typical

Antidepressants can be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders, including social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder. Some people may take antidepressants long-term. Others may take the medications only for a period while working on other coping strategies for decreasing anxiety.

2. You’ve gone through a traumatic event

These medications may be helpful for people who have gone through trauma. In particular, a doctor may prescribe antidepressants to treat post-traumatic stress. These medicines might treat both the depression and anxiety that often comes with post-traumatic stress. Taking antidepressants may also improve sleep and concentration.

3. You deal with seasonal depression

Some people only deal with depression during certain times of year. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is common in people who live in areas that are overcast or dreary during certain months of the year. One of the best antidepressants for SAD is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications help increase serotonin, boosting people’s moods during those rough months of the year.

How long does it take for antidepressants to work?

One of the most common reasons people stop taking antidepressants is not waiting long enough for the medications to work. Many people don’t notice a big difference until 6-8 weeks into the treatment plan. After that time period, however, if a person still doesn’t notice a difference, there may be other options. The doctor may adjust the dosage, try a different antidepressant, or offer other treatments.

Are antidepressants enough?

Antidepressant medications can be a helpful tool. But these medicines aren’t the end-all be-all. Many people benefit from a multi-pronged approach to mental health. Eating healthfully and exercising regularly are often-overlooked habits that add up to a big mental health boost. Many people dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns benefit from talk therapy, along with or without medication.

It takes patience

Improving mental health can take time. Many people have to try multiple approaches before finding a treatment plan that works effectively. The key is to be patient, trust the doctor, and take all medications as prescribed. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. For more information about antidepressants and mental health treatments, speak with a healthcare provider.