How do antidepressant medicines work?
The decision to take an antidepressant, undertake psychological therapy, or combine both approaches, is very individual. Talk to your health professional about what you think will work best for you.
Antidepressant medicines change the levels of specific chemicals in the brain. These brain chemicals are alsocalled neurotransmitters.
Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters that transmit signals between cells in your brain. Serotonin, along with other neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline and dopamine, are thought to have an important effect on mood and anxiety.
Individual antidepressants can be grouped according to how they work in the body. Within each group, there are usually several medicines that work in a similar way, but may differ slightly from each other.
For depression, the different groups of antidepressants are about as effective as each other overall, but some people will respond to one antidepressant better than another. The type and severity of side effects can also be quite different between these groups of antidepressants.
For anxiety disorders, the evidence is a little different and suggests that some antidepressants may have more benefits than other antidepressants. Your doctor can advise you on which antidepressants might work best for treating your anxiety disorder.