Depression medications are medications used to treat major depressive disorder, some anxiety disorders, some chronic pain conditions, and to help manage some addictions. Common side-effects of antidepressants include dry mouth, weight gain, dizziness, headaches, sexual dysfunction, and emotional blunting. There is a slightly increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior when taken by children, adolescents, and young adults. A discontinuation syndrome can occur after stopping any antidepressant which resembles recurrent depression.
Some reviews of antidepressants for depression in adults find benefits while others do not. Evidence of benefit in children and adolescents is unclear. The twenty-one most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications were found to be more effective than placebo for adults with major depressive disorder in a 2016 meta-study. There is debate in the medical community about how much of the observed effects of antidepressants can be attributed to the placebo effect, with some claiming that there is no effect above and beyond it. Most research on whether antidepressant drugs work is done on people with very severe symptoms, a population who exhibits much weaker placebo responses, so the results cannot be extrapolated to the general population.
There are effective treatments for depression that do not involve medications or may be used in conjunction with medications.
Antidepressants are used to treat major depressive disorder and other conditions, including some anxiety disorders, some chronic pain conditions, and to help manage some addictions. Antidepressants are often used in combinations with one another. The proponents of the monoamine hypothesis of depression recommend choosing the antidepressant with the mechanism of action impacting the most prominent symptoms—for example, they advocate that people with MDD who are also anxious or irritable should be treated with SSRIs or norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and the ones with the loss of energy and enjoyment of life—with norepinephrine and dopamine enhancing drugs.