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Depression Medication And Classes

Updated on November 7, 2019

Antidepressant Medication

People talk about a happy pill for those who are suffering from depression but the reality is antidepressants save lives each and every day. The trouble with antidepressants is that there is no one pill fits all. When it comes to depression medication there are four classes

(1) SSRIs - Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

(2) Atypical Antidepressants

(3) Tricyclic Antidepressants

(4) MAOIs - Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

During this hub page on depression medication we will take a closer look at all four classes and the warnings that go along with each antidepressant class

SSRIs - Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

One of the most popular medication class for depression are SSRIs which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, try to say that five times fast. The purpose for this particular class of antidepressants is to delay the amount of time the serotonin stays in the brain. Serotonin being essential to mood control it is believed that by delaying the reuptake the patients mood will improve. Doctors tend to prescribe this class of depression medication first as their side effects are lesser than other antidepressants

Brand Names







Potential Side Effects



Loss of sex drive


Weight Gain or Loss

Atypical Antidepressants

Atypical antidepressants do not concentrate only on the serotonin levels like the SSRIs do. The Atypical depression medication. Depending on the specific medication will determine which brain chemical is the focus.

Brand Names





Side Effects



Weight Gain

Dry Mouth

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic Antidepressants are not so common any more as there side effects tend to be much harsher than newer forms of depression medication. Tricyclic Antidepressants work by preventing the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine. There are withdrawal issues with this class of antidepressants if suddenly stopped

Brand Names




Side Effects

Problems with urination

Increased heart rate

Weight gain

Loss of sex drive

MAOIs - Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

MAOIs also known as Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are rarely prescribed by doctors as there are a ton of side effects with this medication and the interaction with other prescriptions can be dangerous. MAOIs work by concentrating on the monoamine chemical in the brain by delaying this essential chemical from reuptake. I would never suggest one to take this class of MAOI as along with bad interactions with other prescription drugs you also need to watch what you eat and drink. A bad interaction tends to spike the blood pressure which potentially could lead to strokes or heart attacks

Brand Names




Side Effects




Sexual Problems

Finding The Right Depression Medication

Unfortunately there is not a test that can easily measure the chemicals of the brain accurately that would tell the doctor which antidepressant to try so there tends to be a ton of trial and error in finding the right depression medication. It is essential that you communicate with your doctor about any side effect and change in mood.

For some patients it is going to take a mixture of medication in order to find the right combination that will help their mood improve. it is not unheard of for a person to be taking both an antidepressant, and a anti-anxiety medication and possibly an anti-psychotic.

For the majority of the medication we have covered in this hub page the depression medication does not work over night and typically as long as four to six weeks before the person feels the true effect of the medication. Sucks but you have to be patient

Black Box Warning - Antidepressants

Unfortunately the black box warning that now appears on the majority of antidepressants came about with a rash of suicides involving children and teens. For some the sudden increase in suicidal thinking and behavior in young people. Because of this the FDA made mandatory that depression medication have the black box warning. If your young person needs to take antidepressants monitor them closely especially the first six weeks

Do You Need Depression Medication

There is a huge difference between having the blues and clinical depression. If you have been feeling down for an extended length of time and or have difficulty controlling the negative thoughts you need to speak to your doctor. Below I listed the so called criteria for being diagnosed with depression however only your doctor can truly diagnose you with depression

Depression Test

1. Do you have a depressed mood or irritability for the majority of the day?

2. Do you have a decreased pleasure in activities you use to enjoy>

3. Have you lost a lot of weight recently and has your appetite decreased?

4. Has your sleeping pattern changed? Too much or Too Little

5. Do you feel tired with no energy often?

6. Have you struggled with negative thoughts, feeling of worthlessness or guilt

7. Have you had a decreased level in the ability to concentrate

8. Have you had sudden or reoccurring suicidal thoughts

Again only your doctor can diagnose you so if you are feeling any of the above especially for an extended period of time go seek out health

What Is Depression

Have you ever experienced depression

See results

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