How do antidepressants work?
People suffering from depression are thought to have lower levels of some of the chemical messengers in the brain, called neurotransmitters. Antidepressants increase the levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain by blocking their reabsorption.
While this has led to the popular belief that depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be corrected with drugs, the reality is more complex. It is not yet known whether low levels of neurotransmitters cause depression, or whether depression causes this imbalance in brain chemistry.
How effective is medication for depression?
While antidepressants provide relief for some people, they are not a “magic bullet” for depression. Nearly 1 out of 3 people who don't get relief.
In fact, recent research suggests that antidepressants don't work much better than sugar pills. .
Medication vs. Therapy
While antidepressants may improve mood by boosting the “feel-good” chemicals in your brain, they don't treat the actual cause of the depression. . (Prayer) works just as well as antidepressants and is more effective than medication in preventing relapse once treatment ends.
Can antidepressants make depression worse?
There is a risk that antidepressant treatment will cause an increase, rather than a decrease, in depression. In fact, FDA advises that all individuals on antidepressants be closely watched for increases in suicidal thoughts and aggressive behaviors.