If you suffer from depression, your psychiatrist or other treating physician will typically prescribe an antidepressant medication as the first treatment option. Antidepressants may not eliminate your depression, but they can help to reduce the symptoms. There are many types of antidepressant medicine, each with its own unique properties. Your doctor may prescribe more than one medication, and may make changes over time, especially if your initial prescription has little to no effect on your depression.
Are antidepressants right for me?
While some antidepressant medicines can be effective for a variety of depression cases, your doctor will determine your unique treatment plan. A number of factors can influence this decision, such as other medications you are currently taking, the underlying reasons for your depression, whether you are pregnant, and other health conditions. Not all antidepressants are right for everyone, so it's important to speak to a qualified medical professional about your options.
Which medication should I take?
There are dozens of antidepressants on the market, and each type affects your body in different ways. Choosing a medication is another decision that must be made by a medical professional, based on factors such as your symptoms, health and potential side effects. Your doctor will ask you questions about your depression and will use your individual situation to determine the best treatment plan.
Each medication has its own risks and side effects. Depending on which medication you take, you could experience:
- Upset stomach
- Weight gain
- Loss of sexual desire
- Birth defects in pregnant women
Again, it's important to note that each medication has its own risks and side effects. Additionally, some side effects may go away within the first few weeks of starting a medication.
Alternative treatments for depression
For some people, medications do little or nothing to improve symptoms of serious depression – a condition known as Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD). If you have not responded well to these or other depression treatments, your doctor may recommend TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation). TMS is an FDA-approved treatment for major depression. TMS may be a good option when medications and other treatments have failed.
Learn more about TMS