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PunyaHealth Experts

Published on 12 Jul 2020


How do antidepressants works and it's categories?


Antidepressants are medicines that can help an individual if he or she is suffering from depression, anxiety, social anxiety, seasonal affective disorders, chronic depression, and other mental health conditions. Suicidal thoughts, withdrawal symptoms, sleeplessness, nightmares are some adverse symptoms of mental illness.

How do antidepressants work?

Antidepressants are no magic. They work by correcting the various chemical imbalances of the neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that connect the brain and the body and are highly responsible for mood swings as well as behaviors.

Categories of antidepressants

Antidepressants can be categorized into five types, depending on their functional areas.


SNRIs are the most commonly prescribed medications. They function by improving the level of serotonin and norepinephrine, which are highly responsible for enhancing the mood. These drugs are used to treat anxiety disorders, chronic neuropathic pain, major depressions, ADHD, OCD, menopausal symptoms in women, postpartum depressions. Constipation, sweating, weight loss, or weight gain, headache are some of the side effects of SNRIs.


SSRIs are very effective in treating depressions and are prescribed commonly due to their low side effects. They work by affecting the serotonin. These drugs make it easier for the brain cells to understand and take messages and thus cools down a mood by stabilizing it. Low levels of sodium, nausea, and rash are some of its side effects.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Commonly known as TCAs, they are used to treat anxiety, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and some cases of depression. As they have a few side effects, they are less popular than the first categories of antidepressants.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

These are the introductory drugs most commonly prescribed before the patient is prescribed SSRIs or SNRIs. Recently, it is being used all over the world when no other antidepressants have performed well. It has numerous side effects including obesity, blurred vision, anxiety, rash, sexual dysfunction, etc.

Noradrenaline and specific serotonergic antidepressants

Though these types of antidepressants are used widely, these are very high in side effects. The possible side effects of NASSAs are dry mouth, obesity, drowsiness, dizziness, allergy, diarrhoea, fainting, seizures, etc. They are used to treat personality disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, etc.

If you are suffering from any mental illness or depression, consult a specialist before depending on any un-prescribed antidepressants. These drugs must be taken according to the mental condition in the required amount, failing to do so can have adverse effects.