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What Medications Treat Depression?

What Medications Treat Depression?

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of anti-depressants available. Some of these are designed to treat depression caused by a chemical imbalance, while others are designed to treat depression caused by chronic pain. These often have been manufactured in such a way that they are meant for long-term use, without abuse, as long as dosage frequency and amount is adhered to. Still others are intended only for short-term use.


Here are a just a few examples of the types of anti-depressants available, as well as a brief description of the types of depression they treat best, how they work, and whether they can be considered as long-term or short-term treatment options. They are listed by brand name as well as the generic name.

Prozac (Fluoxetine), Celexa (Citalopram), Paxil (Paroxetine) - These drugs are known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). This means they work on a certain chemical, serotonin, produced by the brain. They increase the production of this chemical, because underproduction can often be a cause of depression. They can be long-term or short-term options.

Effexor (Venlafaxine), Cymbalta (Duloxetine) - These two drugs are known as Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SSNIs). Again, these are chemicals produced by the brain. They work similarly to SSRIs, but in this case there are two chemicals-serotonin and Norepinephrine-produced.

Elavil (Amitriptyline), Tofranil (Imipramine), Pamelor (Nortriptyline) - These are called Tricylic antidepressants. These types of medications work by increasing the amount of Serotonin and Norepinephrine that is produced in the brain, and helping the chemical to last longer before they are inactivated. These drugs can be long-term or short-term options.

How Can Anti-Depressants Be Abused?

Anti-depressants can be abused by being taken too often or by a person taking more than is prescribed. Both of these actions can cause a drug tolerance to build up, which makes the person feel that more must be taken, thus creating a vicious cycle. Anti-depressants can also be abused by a person continuing to take them even after there is no longer a reason. This can be the case in a traumatic experience.

The old adage "time heals all wounds" is true in many instances, such as death or divorce. A person is still affected by the experience - she still misses her loved one taken in death or divorce has dramatically changed her life, but eventually, she begins to adjust. When this occurs, the anti-depressants should be stopped.

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