It’s true that antidepressants generally manipulate one or more of the different mechanisms that regulate the levels of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that affect mood and response to emotional situations. But there are several different classes of antidepressants, and each works in a different way:
•Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors allow more of the neurotransmitter serotonin to be available to the brain. Common SSRIs include Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft.
•Serotonin-norephinephrine reuptake inhibitors allow more serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitter to be available. SNRIs include Cymbalta, Pristiq and Effexor.
•Norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitors allow more norepinephrine and dopamine to be available. Wellbutrin is the only NDRI currently on the market for depression.
•Monoamine oxidase inhibitors prevent serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine from breaking down. Nardil is the most commonly prescribed MAOI.
Some people have to try different medications before they find one that sufficiently improves their depression.