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Antidepressants are medications used to treat all kinds of depression, from mild depression to major depression with anxiety to depression associated with bipolar disorder or cyclothymic disorder. This category of medications is broad, because there are so many underlying causes of depression, and different medications will work for different people, depending on their needs. Depending on the type of antidepressant prescribed, the medication could take a few weeks to begin lifting depression. It is important for people taking antidepressants to stay in contact with their prescribing physician or psychiatrist in order to keep track of the medication’s effectiveness.
There are five basic categories of antidepressant medications.
Although SSRIs and SNRIs are the first go-to prescriptions to treat depression, the above list shows that several categories of antidepressants exist because treatment for mental health conditions is so individual. Some understanding of the most effective prescription treatments for depression can be gathered by comparing some lists of popular antidepressants.
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Although the antidepressant that works best is a very individual experience and choice, some medications are more popular among both prescribers and patients. One of the first lists of these antidepressants was compiled in 2009 by a group of psychiatrists. Their top 12 most popular and effective antidepressants were:
In 2013 and 2014, there were slightly different prescription and sales patterns for antidepressants in the United States. Here are the most popular and prescribed antidepressant medications from that time period:
Between these two lists, the following antidepressants remain popular, widely prescribed, well liked, well tolerated, and induce few side effects. These are, in alphabetical order:
However, as new antidepressant formulas are released, prescribed, and found to have side effects or be widely effective, this list is likely to change. For now, though, it appears that SSRI and SNRI type antidepressants are the most effective forms of medicating most types of depression.
If depression, regardless of underlying cause, is not properly treated as soon as possible, it could lead to substance abuse. People who struggle with all kinds of mental health conditions, like bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression, may also struggle with substance abuse, as a method of self-medicating their symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction to or dependence on drugs and alcohol, along with the brain chemistry changes caused by drugs and alcohol, can actually make symptoms of depression worse over time.
People who struggle with both depression and substance abuse have co-occurring disorders. It is important to find effective treatment for both of these conditions at the same time. Experts agree that co-occurring disorders must be treated simultaneously for recovery on both fronts to occur.
As more medical research is conducted into the prevalence of co-occurring disorders, more rehabilitation programs are incorporating this capability into their treatment plans, and they are better prepared to help people struggling with simultaneous substance abuse and mental health issues. With professional help, individuals can learn to manage both their substance abuse and their depression so they can embrace healthier, happier lives.