These medications are mostly used to treat depression. But they also treat other problems like anxiety, pain and insomnia. Antidepressants may help balance your mood and get you back to everyday life.

How They Work

We don't fully understand how antidepressants work. We do know they affect neurotransmitters in your brain. These natural chemicals, like serotonin and dopamine, help signals pass between nerve cells. When they are out of balance, your mood and emotions change. We think antidepressants help bring these chemicals to more normal levels.

Types of Medications

There are many types of antidepressants, and they can affect your brain in different ways. Not all types are effective for all people. Your doctor may have you try different medications before finding the one that's right for you.


If you're taking an antidepressant, follow all of your doctor's instructions and advice. Take it only as directed. Don't change your dose, and don't stop taking it without talking to your doctor. That can be really dangerous. Talk to your doctor for more information about the safe use and possible side effects of antidepressants.