Antidepressants as a Depression TreatmentSeveral types of antidepressant medications are used as treatment for depression. Some specific classes of medications used to treat the condition include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
There are also several different medications available within each of the classes of drugs mentioned. SSRIs and other newer medications that affect neurotransmitters (SNRIs and NDRIs) generally have fewer side effects than tricyclics or MAOIs.
Sometimes, the healthcare provider must try a variety of antidepressants before finding the most effective medication or combination of medications to treat a person's depression. In some cases, the dosage must be increased for the antidepressant to be effective. Although some improvements may be seen in the first few weeks, antidepressant medications must be taken regularly for three to four weeks (or, in some cases, for as long as eight weeks) before the full therapeutic effect occurs.
(Click Antidepressants for more information about the classes of medicines used to treat depression, as well as a specific list of depression medications in each class.)
Psychotherapy as a Depression TreatmentMany forms of psychotherapy, including some short-term therapies (10 to 20 weeks), can help people with depression. "Talk" therapies help people gain insight into, and resolve, their problems through verbal exchange with the therapist. This talk therapy is sometimes combined with "homework" assignments between sessions. Behavioral therapists help people learn how to obtain more satisfaction through their own actions and how to unlearn the behavioral patterns that contribute to, or result from, their depression.
(Click Psychotherapy for Depression to learn more about this depression treatment option.)