The Different Types of Antidepressants and How They Work

The Different Types of Antidepressants and How They Work

There are many different types of antidepressants on the market today. Each one works a little differently, and it can be confusing to know which one is right for you. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of antidepressants and how they work. We will also provide information on how to find the right antidepressant for you, and what to expect when starting treatment.

What Are Antidepressants?

What Are Antidepressants?Antidepressants are a type of medication used to treat clinical depression or prevent it from coming back. It refers to a group of drugs that work on the chemicals in our brains called neurotransmitters. These include serotonin and norepinephrine. Moreover, it is believed that antidepressants help by restoring the balance of these chemicals.

According to studies, one in ten Americans takes antidepressants. This statistic includes adults as well as children and teens. They are the second most commonly prescribed type of medication in the U.S., after cholesterol-lowering drugs.

What Are The Types Of Antidepressants?

There are four main types of antidepressants. These include:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant. They work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood and emotion. SSRIs are effective for treating depression, anxiety, and some other mental health conditions.

It works by helping to restore the balance of a chemical called serotonin in your brain. Some examples of SSRIs include:

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs are another type of antidepressant. They work by increasing levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Norepinephrine is another neurotransmitter that affects mood. It works in a similar way to serotonin. Also, it is believed that increased levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine can have a more positive effect on mood. Rather than just increasing levels of one neurotransmitter.

Some examples of SNRIs include:

Tricyclic antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressantsTricyclic antidepressants are the oldest type of antidepressant. They work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. They are called “tricyclic” because they have three rings of atoms in their chemical structure.

Some examples of tricyclic antidepressants include:

  • Amitriptyline (Elavil),
  • Imipramine (Tofranil), and
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor).

These antidepressants work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. This increases the levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain. As a result, they can have a more positive effect on mood.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

MAOIs are another older type of antidepressant. They work by inhibiting an enzyme called monoamine oxidase. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. By inhibiting this enzyme, MAOIs increase levels of these neurotransmitters. MAOIs are generally not used as first-line treatment because they come with a risk of serious side effects.

Still, here are some examples of medication in this class:

  • Nardil (phenelzine)
  • Marplan (isocarboxazid)
  • Emsam (selegiline)

Moreover, it is important to discuss with your physician the potential risks before taking MAOIs.

Atypical antidepressants

Atypical is basically another word for unique or different. So, atypical antidepressants are a type of antidepressant that doesn’t work in the traditional way. They’re thought to work by changing the levels of certain chemicals in your brain, which can impact your mood. There are quite a few different atypical antidepressants available, including:

So, these are the types of antidepressants that are available. And, you should know that there are different types because each type of antidepressant works differently. And, each type of antidepressant has its own side effects. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about which type of antidepressant is right for you.

Now that we’ve gone over the different types of antidepressants, let’s talk about how they work.

How Do Antidepressants Work?

How Do The Types Of Antidepressants Work?

This is often the first question people ask when they have been prescribed an antidepressant. And it’s a good one! How these medications work can be very complex and is still being studied today. However, it is believed that these medications work by helping to restore the balance of certain chemicals in the brain. Which are responsible for mood and emotion.

There are four main types of antidepressants: SSRIs, SNRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, and MAOIs. Each type works a little differently and can be more or less effective for different people. It’s important to talk to your doctor about which type of antidepressant may be right for you.

Moreover, the basic criteria for these medications to work are that you need to take them regularly. And, take it at the same time every day. It can take up to four to eight weeks for you to feel their full effects. Also, you must discuss the dosage and side effects of the medication with your doctor.

What Conditions Are Treatable With Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are most commonly used to treat the following listed conditions:

Some antidepressants are also used “off-label” to treat conditions such as:

Antidepressants don’t just treat the symptoms of depression. But they can also be used for treating anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and some eating disorders. As you can see, antidepressants have a wide range of uses. Still, it is important to discuss with your doctor before taking to any of the types.

What Are The Side Effects Of Antidepressants?

What Are The Side Effects Of Antidepressants?The side effects of all types of antidepressants can be different for each person. Some people may experience no side effects at all. While others may experience one or more than the following:

  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Trouble sleeping or drowsiness during the day
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Sexual side effects

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have with taking antidepressants. Some side effects may go away after a few days or weeks of taking the medication. But other side effects may persist even after you stop taking the medication.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any side effect that is bothersome or does not go away. You should also let your doctor know if you are:

  • pregnant,
  • breastfeeding, or
  • planning to become pregnant

Because antidepressants can pass into breast milk, you should not take them if you are breastfeeding without first talking to your doctor.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are people who prefer not to take medication for their depression and instead opt for other alternatives. So here are some alternatives to the types of antidepressants mentioned earlier.

Talk therapy

Talk therapy

This is also known as psychotherapy or counseling. It involves talking to a therapist about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The therapist will help you understand your depression and find ways to manage it. This psychotherapy is basically working on yourself with the help of a professional. It includes:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

This type of therapy helps you identify and change negative thinking and behavior patterns. The goal is to help you feel better about yourself, manage your emotions, and improve your functioning.

Interpersonal therapy

This type of therapy focuses on your relationships with others and how they may be affecting your depression. The therapist will help you identify and change problematic interpersonal relationships.

Behavioral activation

This therapy focuses on increasing pleasurable and positive activities to help lift your mood. The therapist will work with you to set goals and identify activities that make you happy. These activities can range from simple things like taking a walk or reading a book to more complicated tasks like volunteering or going back to school.

So, these types of therapies can be really helpful in managing your depression without medication. If you’re interested in any of these alternatives, then contact Mantra Care for more information. It is a platform that offers online mental health services at an affordable cost. Book your free consultation to know more about it.

Support Groups

Support groups are often a vital part of depression treatment. They provide an opportunity to share your experiences with others who understand what you’re going through. Many people find support groups helpful in managing their depression.

There are different types of support groups, including:

  • Peer-led support groups: These groups are typically run by people who have experience with depression. They often offer guidance and support, but they’re not trained, mental health professionals.
  • Professional-led support groups: These groups are typically led by a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor. Professional-led groups may be more structured than peer-led groups and may include educational components.
  • Online support groups: These groups provide an anonymous and convenient way to connect with others who are dealing with depression. They can be a helpful supplement to other forms of treatment.

If you’re interested in finding a support group, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you find a group that’s right for you. You can also search online directories for a support group in your area.

Self-Care Techniques

Sometimes, only with self-care techniques and no medication, people are able to manage their depression. This is because the condition might be mild and they are able to recognize their triggers. So, some self-care techniques that can help with depression are:


Exercise is now been shown in studies to be just as effective as medication for mild to moderate depression. This is because it releases endorphins, which are mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. In fact, exercise makes you feel fit. And eventually, it reduces the low self-esteem and body image insecurities if you have any.


What you eat can also affect your mood. Be sure to eat a balanced diet and avoid processed foods. Processed foods can contain additives that can worsen it and helps release endorphins, which have mood-lifting properties. Moreover, eating a healthy diet helps in maintaining a healthy weight, which is another low self-esteem trigger.

Spend time in nature

Spend time in natureNature is now known to have mood-lifting effects. Spend time outside every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Breathe in the fresh air and take in the beauty around you. This is the healthiest way to clear your mind and improve your mood.

Connect with others

Isolation can worsen depression, so make sure to connect with others, whether it’s family, friends, or a support group. Talking to others can help you feel less alone and more understood. This will enable you to express yourself and eventually help you work through your problems.

Recognize your accomplishments

It’s important to focus on the positive and recognize your accomplishments, no matter how small they may be. This will help you boost your self-esteem and give you a sense of accomplishment. In fact, your accomplishments are like a pat on the back that encourages you to keep going.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial for people with depression. A lack of sleep can worsen symptoms and make them feel more fatigue. Be sure to get at least eight hours of sleep every night.

These are just a few self-care techniques that can help with depression. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you might be depressed. So they can rule out any other underlying conditions and give you the best treatment plan possible. And remember, you are not alone. There are many people who have been through it and come out the other side. So never give up hope.


To conclude, the types of antidepressants are many and varied, but all of them work to relieve the symptoms of depression. It works by affecting the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Some types are more effective for certain people than others. So it is important to discuss your options with a doctor or mental health professional before starting any medication.

As the medication options for treating depression continue to grow. It is important to be informed about the different types of antidepressants and how they work. Only then can you make the best decision for your individual needs. So, what are you waiting for?

For more information, please contact MantraCare. Depression is a mental illness characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in daily activities. If you have any queries regarding Online Depression Counseling experienced therapists at MantraCare can help: Book a trial Depression Therapy session

Try MantraCare Wellness Program free

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.