Major Classes of Antidepressants

Major Classes of Antidepressants

Serotonin is the brain’s feel-good chemical, norepinephrine is connected to how alert you feel, and dopamine is the reward center of the brain. Not enough of any of these neurotransmitters is what causes depression. It is important to learn about the different classes of antidepressants so you can better decide which one is best for you.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors inhibits the action of monoamine oxidase to allow more neurotransmitters to regulate your mood to be available in the brain. Discovered in the 1950s, examples of this antidepressant include Nardil, Parnate, Marplan, and Emsam. This antidepressant is used less often since there can be complications when taking them with other medications or food with tyramine. Tricyclic antidepressants, made of three interconnected rings of atoms, slow down the nerve cells from reabsorbing serotonin and norepinephrine to be available. Examples include Tofranil, Vivactil, Surmontil, Sinequan, and Maprotiline. The side effects can be constipation, dry mouth, blurry vision, weight gain, and heart arrhythmia. Tricyclic antidepressants can also be good for chronic pain, migraine, and OCD.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors allow more serotonin to be available. This was the first antidepressant to be intentionally developed to be an antidepressant in the 1970s instead of only noticing the side effects later. It can come in the form of Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro, and Viibryd. This antidepressant has fewer side effects except for sexual dysfunction. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, FDA-approved in December of 1993, slow down the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin. It can be helpful for those with fatigue from depression as well as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. These antidepressants include Effexor, Cymbalta, Pristiq, Savella, and Fetzima. There are also atypical antidepressants that change one or more dopamine, serotonin, or norepinephrine but each works differently. Atypical antidepressants include Wellbutrin, Remeron, Desyrel, Trintellix, and Nefazodone.

To better figure out which antidepressant is the best choice for you, decide what side effect is hard for you to ignore or that you can find bothersome. It is possible that you might have to try out many different ones before you find the one that works well for you with the least amount of side effects. Do not rely solely on antidepressants as they work effectively when combined with psychotherapy, finding your depression triggers, and self-help strategies. By being patient with each antidepressant you try combined with counselling, you will be on a successful treatment path.

Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 888-570-7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.