Antidepressant Medications (2023)

Overview

Antidepressant medications are most commonly used to help relieve the distress ofdepressionoranxiety. They are also used to help with other conditions such as bulimia and chronic pain.

Antidepressants help many people. However, they don't work for everyone. Even when they do work well, they can only do so much. They often work best when they are combined with talk therapy, support from family and friends and self-care (e.g., regular exercise, a nutritious diet and getting enough sleep).

Antidepressants can take up to several weeks to be fully effective. Early signs that the medication is working include improved sleep, appetite and energy. Improvement in mood usually comes later.

Do I need this treatment?

If you are distressed for more than two weeks by feelings of sadness, despair and hopelessness, or by excessive worry that is hard to control, see a doctor for an assessment of your symptoms and situation and to discuss treatment and support options. Early treatment can help to ensure treatment success.

Be sure your doctor knows if you have had times where you felt a reduced need for sleep in combination with an unusual amount of energy, or where your mood changed from feeling depressed to feeling unusually happy or irritable.Mood stabilizer medicationsmay be more suited to your needs, either on their own or in combination with antidepressants. Antidepressants alone can cause some people to switch from depression into mania.

Medications are only one way of treating depression and anxiety. Talk therapies, such asinterpersonal psychotherapyandcognitive-behavioural therapy,can be just as effective. Peer support, school and job counselling, and housing and employment supports can also help to deal with problems that may trigger or worsen depression or anxiety.

What do Antidepressant Medications do?

Antidepressant medications increase the activity of chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. Increasing the activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine seems to help lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, the brain is a very complex organ and the reasons why these drugs work are not yet fully understood.

We do know that these drugs help to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety in up to 70 per cent of people who try them. This rate is even higher when people who don’t get relief with one type of antidepressant try a second type.

Side effects of Antidepressant Medications

All medications can have side-effects. Some people experience no side-effects. Others may find the side-effects distressing. In most cases, side-effects lessen as treatment continues.

Treatment is usually started at a low dose, to minimize side-effects, and then slowly increased until the ideal dose is found. The ideal dose is one that provides the greatest benefit with minimum side-effects.

If you are experiencing side effects, check the information given to you by your doctor or pharmacist on the specific effects of any drug you have been prescribed. If side-effects are not mild and tolerable, it is best to continue taking your medication as prescribed but let your doctor know as soon as possible. Your doctor may:

  • encourage you to wait a little longer for the side-effects to fade
  • adjust your dose
  • suggest you take the medication at a different time of day
  • prescribe other medications to help control side-effects
  • change your medication
  • stop medication treatment and suggest a different type of treatment approach.

Side-effects vary depending on the type of medication. More information on side-effects is included for each type of types of antidepressant.

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You can help to control possible side-effects on your own by:

  • getting regular exercise and eating a low-fat, low-sugar, high-fibre diet (e.g., bran, fruits and vegetables) to help prevent weight gain and constipation
  • using sugarless candy or gum, drinking water and brushing your teeth regularly to increase salivation and ease dry mouth
  • getting up slowly from a sitting or lying position to help prevent dizziness.

Do antidepressants increase the risk of suicide?

When starting medication treatment for depression, people may be at an increased risk of suicide. Most cases of increased risk of suicide were observed in adolescents and young people. One possible explanation is that it may be related to the increase in energy that comes early in treatment, before improvement in mood. In other words, antidepressants may give some people the energy to act on their suicidal thoughts.

Some antidepressants can also cause feelings of agitation, restlessness and detachment. These feelings may resemble symptoms of anxiety and may add to, rather than relieve, feelings of hopelessness and despair. Some people may become suicidal or violent. This reaction to antidepressants is thought to occur in about four per cent of people who take them, with the risk being highest in the first few weeks of treatment.

Before starting treatment, prepare for the possibility of feeling worse before you feel better. Know what supports are available to you and who you can call.

When you begin treatment, monitor your thoughts and moods, and communicate any thoughts of hurting yourself or others with your doctor, a crisis line or the emergency department.

If you experience an increase in suicidal thinking or anxiety, your doctor can help you decide if you should stop taking the medication or if you should try to be patient and give the medication a chance to work.

Types of Antidepressant Medications

There are several classes of antidepressants; within each class there are many individual medications. While all antidepressants work well overall, no drug or type of drug works equally well for everyone who takes it. You may be advised to try more than one type of antidepressant or to use a combination of antidepressants to seek relief from your distress.

The different types of antidepressants are listed in the order in which they are most commonly prescribed. Medications are referred to in two ways: by their generic name and by their brand or trade names. Brand names available in Canada appear in brackets.

SSRIs

This group of drugs, including fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Cipralex) and sertraline (Zoloft), is usually the first choice for treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. These medications are known to have milder side-effects than some other antidepressants. Buspirone (Buspar) is similar to SSRIs and has been found to help with anxiety but not depression.

Common side-effectsinclude nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight gain, dry mouth, headaches, anxiety, sedation and a decrease in sexual desire and response. This group of drugs may also cause a jittery or restless feeling and sleep difficulties, such as problems falling asleep, waking in the night, vivid dreams or nightmares.

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SNRIs

This class of medications includes venlafaxine (Effexor), duloxetine (Cymbalta), levomilnacipran (Fetzima) and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq). These drugs are used to treat depression, anxiety problems and chronic pain.

Common side-effectsinclude nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, nervousness or anxiety, fatigue, loss of appetite and sexual problems. In higher dosage, these medications may increase blood pressure.

NDRIs

The medication available in this class is bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban). When used to treat depression, it is often given for its energizing effects, in combination with other antidepressants. It is also used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and as a smoking cessation aid.

Common side-effectsare jitteriness and insomnia.

NaSSAs

Mirtazapine (Remeron), the medication available in this class, is the one of the most sedating antidepressants, making it a good choice for people who have insomnia or who are very anxious. This medication also helps to stimulate appetite.

Common side-effectsare drowsiness and weight gain.

Nonselective cyclics

This older group includes amitriptyline (Elavil), , imipramine (Tofranil), desipramine (Norpramin), nortriptyline (Aventyl), trimipramine (Surmontil) and clomipramine (Anafranil).

Because these drugs tend to have more side-effects than the newer drugs, they are not often a first choice for treatment. However, when other drugs do not provide relief from severe depression, these drugs may help.

Common side-effectsinclude dry mouth, tremors, constipation, sedation, blurred vision, difficulty urinating, weight gain and dizziness. Because cyclics may cause heart rhythm abnormalities, your doctor should order an electrocardiogram (ECG) before you take this medication.

MAOIs

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, such as phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate) were the first class of antidepressants. MAOIs are effective, but they are not often used because people who take them must follow a special diet.

A newer MAOI, moclobemide (Manerix), can be used without dietary restrictions; however, it may not be as effective as other MAOIs.

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Common side-effectsinclude a change of blood pressure when moving from a sitting to a standing position (orthostatic hypotension), insomnia, swelling and weight gain.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I take antidepressants?

When you start a new antidepressant, the first step is to decide whether you can tolerate the side-effects; this should become clear within a few weeks. The next step is to decide whether the drug helps with your depression or anxiety. Improvements should be seen in two to four weeks. Full remission is seen at six to twelve weeks.

If the medication does work for you, your doctor will advise you to continue taking it for at least six to nine months after you start to feel its beneficial effects. People who stop taking antidepressants too soon risk having the symptoms of their depression or anxiety problem return. Most people who take antidepressants need to take them for at least a year. People who experience depression that keeps coming back may need to take them for a longer term.

Are antidepressants addictive?

Drugs that are addictive produce a feeling of euphoria, a strong desire to continue using the drug, and a need to increase the amount used to achieve the same effect. Antidepressants do not have these effects.

Antidepressants do, however, have one thing in common with some addictive drugs—they can cause withdrawal effects when you stop taking them. When you take antidepressants for months or years, your body adjusts to the presence of the drug. If you then stop using it, especially if you stop suddenly, you may experience withdrawal effects such as muscle aches, electric-shock-like sensations, dizziness, headache, nausea, chills and diarrhea. These effects are most commonly reported with paroxetine (Paxil) and venlafaxine (Effexor); however, they can occur with any antidepressant. Some people find these effects distressing and have difficulty withdrawing from these drugs.

How do I cut down or stop taking antidepressants?

Whether you want to cut down your dose or stop taking a medication, the same rule applies: go slowly. Sudden changes in your dose can greatly increase your risk of having another mood episode or having withdrawal effects.

The first step is to ask yourself if this is the right time. Are you feeling well? Is the level of stress in your life manageable? Do you feel supported by your family and friends?

If you think you’re ready, talk to your doctor. If your doctor doesn’t agree, find out why. If you are not satisfied with his or her reasons, you may want to see another doctor for a second opinion.

If your doctor does agree, he or she will advise you not to skip doses but to reduce your dose gradually—usually by about 10 per cent at a time—with at least two to three weeks between each reduction. This process of cutting back will take several months. Using a pill cutter can help you to cut your dose down in small amounts.

If you want to stop taking more than one medication, your doctor will usually suggest that you lower the dose of one drug at a time.

As you cut down, if you start to feel unwell, let your doctor know. He or she can help you determine whether you are experiencing withdrawal effects or signs that symptoms are returning. Don’t be afraid to go back up with your dose. Find the dose that works best for you.

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Will antidepressants interact with other medications?

Antidepressants may interact with some other types of medication, even over-the-counter medications, such as cold or allergy tablets or cough syrups, and some herbal remedies, such as St. John’s wort. Always ask your doctor, dentist or pharmacist about potential drug interactions with the medication you are taking before you take other medications.

What if I drink alcohol or coffee while taking antidepressants?

Drinking alcohol can worsen symptoms of depression or anxiety. Alcohol can also worsen some side-effects of antidepressants, making you more sleepy, dizzy and lightheaded. However, if you have been taking antidepressants for more than a few weeks, and you are feeling well, having a drink or two on occasion should be okay—but remember that one drink could have the effect of two or even three drinks.

The caffeine in coffee and other beverages can cause problems if you struggle with depression or anxiety. Depression disrupts sleep, and caffeine, a stimulant, can make the problem worse. It is better to drink decaffeinated coffee and beverages or to decrease the amount you drink.

What if I use street drugs while taking antidepressants?

If you’re taking antidepressants, chances are you’re trying to get relief from symptoms of depression or anxiety. You want to feel well. While street drugs such as marijuana or cocaine may have some effects that seem to make you feel better for a while, mixing the effects of these drugs may make your situation worse. Street drugs may also interact with your medication, for example, by interfering with its effectiveness or by worsening side-effects.

Will antidepressants affect my ability to drive safely?

Depression itself can lead to fatigue and concentration problems, affecting your ability to drive. Antidepressant medications may also cause drowsiness, especially in the early stages of treatment, before your body has adjusted to the medication. If you feel drowsy, do not drive a car or operate machinery. Alcohol, sedatives and antihistamines (cold and hay fever medication) will worsen the problem. It’s never wise to drive after drinking alcohol, and it’s even more important to follow this rule when taking antidepressants.

Will antidepressants affect my sex drive and function?

Both depression and the drugs used to treat it can decrease people’s desire for sex. Antidepressants, especially those that increase serotonin activity, can also negatively affect sexual function. Sexual side-effects of antidepressants can include delayed ejaculation and the inability to experience an orgasm.

Many factors affect your sexuality. When antidepressants bring relief from the distress of depression or anxiety, this may help you to focus more on your partner and to feel more desire. If you think your medication affects your sexual function, your doctor may be able to help by changing your dose, switching medication or adding other medications.

Is it safe to take antidepressants while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Each woman’s situation is unique and should be discussed with her doctor. For any pregnant woman with a history of depression, the question of whether to take antidepressants during pregnancy usually comes down to a risk-benefit analysis. Depression can affect prenatal care and a mother’s ability to parent her newborn child. When treatment with an antidepressant helps to avoid a relapse or to reduce distress, the benefits of continuing the medication may outweigh the risks.

Antidepressants are relatively safe to use during pregnancy. When they are used close to delivery, newborns may be restless and irritable, and may have sleeping, feeding and breathing difficulties. These problems resolve within three days to two weeks. Antidepressants do not increase risk for birth defects.

The amount of antidepressant passed through breast milk is very small and is not considered to be a risk to the baby, especially when weighed against the benefits of breastfeeding.

If you decide to stop taking medications during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, it is a good idea to see your doctor more often, to help you monitor for a return of symptoms.

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Can children and teens use antidepressants?

Most antidepressants are not officially approved for use by children and teens. The first line of treatment with this age group should always focus on resolving issues in the young person’s life and on counselling. However, when distress is so severe that non-drug approaches are not possible, or when they do not work, antidepressants may be considered. Studies of children and and young people who take antidepressants suggest an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour, but not death by suicide.

Can older adults use antidepressants?

Antidepressants are an effective treatment for depression in adults over 65 and are known to decrease the risk of suicide in this population. However, due to the increased sensitivity of the older body, older adults are more vulnerable to side-effects. As older adults often take multiple medications, they are also more vulnerable to drug interactions. Older adults usually start with lower doses, and the dose is increased at a slower rate.


Adapted from Understanding psychiatric medications: Antidepressants ((c) CAMH, 2012)

Additional Resources

  • Understanding psychiatric medications: Antidepressants (PDF)
  • For more information on medications, contact your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

FAQs

What percentage of people respond to antidepressants? ›

Around 60% of people respond by about two months to the drugs with about a 50% reduction in their symptoms - an improvement in mood, better sleep and so on. But, he said, “about 80% of people stop antidepressants within a month”.

What is the success rate of antidepressants? ›

Without antidepressants: About 20 to 40 out of 100 people who took a placebo noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks. With antidepressants: About 40 to 60 out of 100 people who took an antidepressant noticed an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.

Is it OK to take antidepressants for life? ›

MYTH: Once on antidepressants, I'll be on them for life. FACT: Not true. A general rule clinicians often use is that a person should be treated with antidepressants at least one-and-a-half times as long as the duration of the depressive episode before they can begin to be weaned off.

What is considered an adequate trial for most antidepressants? ›

This study, defined minimally adequate treatment as meeting one of the following 2 criteria: 4 visits in 12 months with a physician, with a medication trial (antidepressant or mood-stabilizer) lasting at least 30 days. 8 psychotherapy or counseling visits (average duration 30 minutes) in 12 months.

Do antidepressants actually help? ›

How effective are antidepressants? Antidepressants can be helpful for people with moderate or severe depression. They're the most effective treatment for relieving symptoms quickly, particularly in severe depression.

Which antidepressant has the highest success rate? ›

1. SSRIs
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
24 Sept 2021

Is it worth trying antidepressants? ›

Research suggests that antidepressants can be helpful for people with moderate or severe depression. They're not usually recommended for mild depression, unless other treatments like talking therapy have not helped.

How is life after antidepressants? ›

Discontinuation symptoms often include physical complaints that aren't commonly found in depression, such as dizziness, flulike symptoms, and abnormal sensations. Discontinuation symptoms disappear quickly if you take a dose of the antidepressant, while drug treatment of depression itself takes weeks to work.

Is it worth it to get antidepressants? ›

If you keep taking your medicine, there is a good chance that you will start to feel less depressed and that the side effects will decrease. Most people feel that the benefits of antidepressants are well worth the price of living with some side effects.

Can you take antidepressants for 30 years? ›

And luckily, as long as the benefits of the medication outweigh the potential side effects, there's no strong evidence that long-term use of SSRIs poses any major problems. “These medications have been around for decades,” says Dr. Jin Hee Yoon-Hudman, a psychiatrist and medical advisor at Minded.

How long do people stay on antidepressants? ›

Clinicians usually recommend that people continue taking antidepressants for about six months after they begin feeling better. Although it is tempting to stop taking the medication as soon as you feel better, abruptly stopping will greatly increase your risk of relapse.

What happens if you stay on antidepressants for years? ›

Those who had used antidepressants for >3 years reported more severe side effects, including “weight gain”, “addiction”, “feeling not like myself ”, “withdrawal symptoms”, and “suicidality”, than those who had been on antidepressants for ≤2 years.

How long does it take for most antidepressants to reach a therapeutic level? ›

It may take about 4 to 8 weeks before you get the full benefit from your antidepressant.

How do you know if your antidepressant is too high? ›

If you're taking antidepressant medication and you either feel unusually elated, or you become very terse with your loved ones, feel noticeably more irritable, or have an uncharacteristic bout of rage, then it's likely that your antidepressant dose is too high.

What is the minimum time to be on antidepressants? ›

It's usually recommended that a course of antidepressants continues for at least 6 months after you feel better, to prevent your condition recurring when you stop. Some people with recurrent illness are advised to carry on taking medicine indefinitely.

What do antidepressants do to happy people? ›

Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the brain that communicate messages back and forth between neurons. Specifically, antidepressants act on the neurotransmitters that help to regulate the mood (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in most cases).

What positive effects do antidepressants have? ›

Antidepressants are prescribed to relieve symptoms and reduce the chance that they'll come back. They help with emotional balance and reduce symptoms like restlessness, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. As antidepressants work to help treat your depression, they, in turn, can help you sleep better.

What is the truth about antidepressants? ›

In general, antidepressants work really well, especially when used along with psychotherapy. This combination may give you better results than using either treatment alone. Most people on antidepressants say they have eventual improvements in symptoms such as sadness, loss of interest, and hopelessness.

Why you shouldn't be afraid of antidepressants? ›

Antidepressants aren't going to make all of anyone's problems go away. But some people find that medications make it easier to get up every morning, cope with the daily challenges of depression and work through their issues. They're also not meant to take the place of behavioral therapy.

Is there a downside to taking antidepressants? ›

Common side effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) can include: feeling agitated, shaky or anxious. feeling and being sick. indigestion and stomach aches.

Do antidepressants give you hope? ›

'Getting better' means different things to different people, and people aim for different levels of recovery. People often say that taking an antidepressant gives them a feeling of hope that it will 'work' and that they could begin to 'feel better' but it can be difficult to predict and is different for each person.

Do antidepressants change you forever? ›

Some believe it is unlikely that antidepressants cause any permanent changes to brain chemistry in the long-term. Evidence seems to indicate that these medications cause brain changes which only persist whilst the medication is being taken, or in the weeks following withdrawal.

Do you feel happy after taking antidepressants? ›

Some people may notice no change from taking medication for depression, while others may report feeling emotionally blunted. They may no longer report feeling the low and down feelings linked to depression, but may also have trouble feeling the happiness and comfort other people feel.

Why do people take antidepressants for years? ›

Many people with depression continue taking antidepressant drugs for months or even years after their symptoms have resolved. This so-called maintenance therapy aims to reduce the risk of relapse. The numbers of people taking maintenance therapy for depression is increasing.

How can you tell if antidepressants are working? ›

How do I know if my antidepressant works? When you start taking an antidepressant, you should begin to function better in your daily life before you start feeling better, says Dr. Michael McGee. In other words, you should begin sleeping better, eating better, and having more energy.

When do antidepressants peak? ›

The effects of antidepressants are thought to be related to neurotransmitters or chemical messengers in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. As we mentioned, it can take 1 to 2 weeks for these changes to take effect, with a peak around the 6 to 8-week mark.

Is a good alternative to antidepressant drugs? ›

Exercise. Research suggests that regular exercise may be a more effective treatment for mild depression than antidepressants. Exercise helps boost levels of chemicals called serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which can lift your mood.

What are the top 3 antidepressants? ›

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most prescribed type of antidepressant and include: Fluoxetine. Citalopram. Sertraline.

What happens when you take antidepressants and get high? ›

In fact, using marijuana with other drugs such as antidepressants can be dangerous and even catastrophic. Antidepressants and marijuana can cause heart palpitations, panic attacks, and even hallucinations when used together. In the United States, approximately 13.2% of adults are taking an antidepressant of some kind.

What does too much SSRI feel like? ›

It's needed for the nerve cells and brain to function. But too much serotonin causes signs and symptoms that can range from mild (shivering and diarrhea) to severe (muscle rigidity, fever and seizures). Severe serotonin syndrome can cause death if not treated.

Can it take a year for antidepressants to work? ›

MD. The timing of a drug's antidepressant effects depends on many factors including the patient's symptoms, biological individuality, and life stressors. Overall, a person can expect an antidepressant to work anywhere from four to eight weeks after the first dose.

Can antidepressants take a year to work? ›

Most antidepressants take one to two weeks to start working. But you might feel some benefits sooner than this, such as improved sleep. Speak to your doctor if you don't feel any benefit after taking an antidepressant regularly for two to four weeks, or if you feel worse.

Does your brain go back to normal after stopping antidepressants? ›

If the symptoms develop later or gradually, they may constitute a relapse of the depression. Ultimately, these withdrawal symptoms will improve with time, but they can be unpleasant for days and possibly even weeks. In time, the brain readjusts and people should experience a return to their normal state.

How many patients do not respond to antidepressants? ›

Abstract. Our results suggest that between 29% and 46% of depressed patients fail to respond fully with antidepressant treatment of adequate dose and duration.

Do people not respond to antidepressants? ›

If you feel like your antidepressant has stopped working, you're not alone. It's common for a medication that once worked wonders to become ineffective, especially if you've been taking it for a long time. Symptoms return for up to 33% of people using antidepressants — it's called breakthrough depression.

How many people with depression do not respond to antidepressants? ›

You might imagine that's pretty rare, right? Wrong. Up to one-third of adults with major depression battle symptoms that don't get better with treatment. Many people struggle to find the medication that's right for them, while others never respond to your standard antidepressants.

What percentage of patients appear to not respond to SSRIs? ›

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a significant class of drug that seeks to remedy this disruption by increasing serotonin levels at nerve junctions. However, for reasons that have been unclear, SSRIs do not work for around 30 percent of people with major depression.

Why you shouldn't be afraid of antidepressants? ›

Antidepressants aren't going to make all of anyone's problems go away. But some people find that medications make it easier to get up every morning, cope with the daily challenges of depression and work through their issues. They're also not meant to take the place of behavioral therapy.

Why do people refuse antidepressants? ›

People often hesitate to take antidepressants because they're afraid of the side effects or of becoming dependent on the medication. But unlike many sleeping pills and sedatives, antidepressants don't lead to physical dependence or addiction.

Do antidepressants block empathy? ›

Summary: Antidepressants for major depressive disorder reduce the aversive response triggered by exposure to the suffering of others. Findings suggest antidepressants may lead to impaired empathy of pain perception.

Do antidepressants take away all emotion? ›

Nearly half of patients on all types of monoaminergic antidepressants report emotional blunting,6 and it is associated with serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) therapy as follows: among 161 patients, 46% reported a narrowed range of affect, 21% reported an inability to cry, and 19% reported apathy.

Do antidepressants mask feelings? ›

On antidepressant medication, it is possible that you might experience a sense of feeling numb and less like yourself. Though the symptoms of depression have decreased, there may be a sense that other emotional responses – laughing or crying, for example – are more difficult to experience.

What happens when antidepressants don't help? ›

But if your depression treatment isn't working, don't give up. Most people can get their treatment-resistant depression under control. You and your doctor just need to find the right approach. This might include different drugs, therapy, and other treatments.

How do you know if antidepressants aren't working? ›

Signs Your Antidepressant Stopped Working
  1. You experience no relief from your depressive symptoms. ...
  2. Your depression gets worse. ...
  3. You experience a sudden surge of energy—while still battling the blues. ...
  4. You are overwhelmed by the drug's side effects. ...
  5. You start suffering from violent mood swings.
16 Nov 2015

Can you still feel sad on antidepressants? ›

Antidepressants were lauded back in the 80s as the miracle cure for major depression, but as more and more clinical trials are revealing, as many as 50% of the patients who were prescribed antidepressants did not experience a successful result—on antidepressants but still depressed.

Why do some people react badly to SSRIs? ›

The answer is in your genes. Not all patients experiencing mood swings or depression have abnormally low levels of serotonin in the brain. Even though they have normally functioning liver enzymes that metabolize SSRIs properly, they are still unable to tolerate these medicines, even at low concentrations.

How many people achieve remission with antidepressants? ›

Finally, a meta-analysis of 6 RCTs comparing antidepressants and psychotherapy in patients with MDD reported mean remission rates of 46% for each treatment [24].

Do SSRIs cause no empathy? ›

SSRI antidepressants are sometimes associated with emotional blunting. This can also include such symptoms as feeling indifferent or apathetic, being less able to cry and less able to experience the same degree of positive emotion as one normally would.

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