Antidepressants are drugs designed to relieve the symptoms of depression. Different types of antidepressants are available. The main ones are:
MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors)
SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
SNRIs (Serotonin and Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors)
NASSAs (Noradrenaline and Specific Serotoninergic Antidepressants)
How antidepressants work is unknown but it is believed that they increase the activity of certain chemicals in our brains called neurotransmitters which pass signals from one brain cell to another. The chemicals most involved in depression are thought to be serotonin and noradrenaline.
The most commonly prescribed antidepressants belong to the SSRI group. They increase the brains level of serotonin by blocking the reuptake of serotonin, thereby making more available. This brief clip gives a simple explanation:
MAOIs, inhibit the monoamine oxidase enzyme, thus allowing a greater supply of these chemicals to remain available.
Up to one-third of people who stop antidepressants have withdrawal symptoms, which may include stomach upsets, flu-like symptoms, aches and pains, crying spells, agitation, anxiety, dizziness and electric shocks. Like benzodiazepines, these drugs should never be stopped abruptly. They should be tapered off under the supervision of your doctor.
Antidepressants, Commonly Used
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