When you’re deciding on an antidepressant or SSRIs, it helps to read about all your options to find one that works best for you.

Antidepressants are a common way to treat the symptoms of depression. This class of medication also treats other conditions like anxiety, chronic body pain, and insomnia.

Some of the most common antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Some medicines work well with some people but not with others. Antidepressants and SSRIs may help manage your symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Once you get proper instruction and treatment from a medical professional, you may find that drugs like SSRIs may lead you toward a happier and healthier daily life.

Experts still have different opinions on which SSRIs prove most effective.

For example, a 2020 research study found that SSRIs and selective serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are equally effective in treating depression.

However, another group of experts found in their 2017 study that escitalopram — an SSRI — yielded better results compared to other drugs.

Reading about the different SSRIs may feel overwhelming if you’re not a physician or a pharmacist. There are several types of SSRIs that you can consider before beginning treatment.

Consider this list of SSRIs and their different brand names:

Brand nameGeneric name

This drug class is so popular because it disrupts body processes less than other medications, leading to fewer side effects. However, there are still effects you should be aware of before taking them.

The common side effects found in SSRIs include:

  • nausea
  • shaking
  • nervousness
  • sleeping difficulty
  • sweating
  • agitation
  • fatigue

The below table reflects the frequency of some side effects reported with SSRI therapy:

Side effectCitalopramFluoxetineParoxetineSertraline
Nauseagreater than 15%greater than 15%greater than 15%10-15%
Insomnia10-15%greater than 15%10-15%greater than 15%
Nervousnessno effect10-15%1-5%5-10%
Low sex drive1-5%1-5%1-5%less than 1%
Weight lossless than 1%5-10%1-5%1-5%
Fatigue1-5%no effectno effect10-15%

Everyone is different in how their body responds to medication. Consider speaking to a doctor about potential side effects.

Before you think about taking an antidepressant, consider the other aspects influencing your decision. Having the trust and supervision of a medical professional may be essential in finding the right medication for you.

Working with a therapist

Medical professionals may prescribe antidepressants if you’re diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions.

A primary care doctor may provide your initial diagnosis, but a mental health professional can offer second opinions or help identify any other areas of concern. They can also help you find the right antidepressant.

Depending on the severity of your depression, medication therapy may not be all you need to manage your symptoms.

It may be easier to take a pill each day, but sometimes you may want additional treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to really combat your symptoms of depression.

Relationship with other antidepressants

Have you tried an antidepressant in the past, or are you currently taking a similar medication? These questions are worth considering if you’re looking to go back on antidepressants.

It’s important to report any medication to your doctor before starting a course of antidepressants, as some can interact with one another in harmful ways.

Taking certain types of antidepressants together may increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, which occurs when taking multiple medications that impact your body’s serotonin levels. Note, though, that all antidepressants affect serotonin levels.

Finally, it’s important to avoid stopping antidepressants without speaking to a doctor first. You may need to wean off them slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Side effects vs. benefits

Everyone reacts differently to medication. Some experience only mild side effects. But some may experience severe effects that may significantly impact your daily life.

For example, SSRIs may cause dizziness. If you’re older and taking SSRIs, this may increase your risk of falls and bone fractures.

People have various legitimate risk factors, so it’s always worth exercising caution and asking if medication side effects would outweigh their benefits.

Pregnancy and SSRIs

Many people experience symptoms of depression both during pregnancy and after they’ve given birth. Doctors prove extra cautious when prescribing SSRIs while pregnant unless their benefits outweigh the risks.

Before starting SSRI therapy, consider asking a doctor some questions to help you make the right decision. Especially if you’re pregnant, consider speaking to your doctor before taking any medications or supplements.

Medication is just one part of the recipe for effective treatment of depression.

Prescription medications can help ease the severity of symptoms, but psychotherapy — like CBT — can help you address the underlying causes of depression.

Consider these links if you’re looking for more information on treatment for depression or anxiety:

Even if you can‘t afford therapy, consider contacting a support group or crisis line.

If you are feeling depressed, try not to feel ashamed or alone. There is hope. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor.

Knowledge is power and puts you in the best place to find the treatment plan that works for you. Better days are ahead as you find ways to manage your symptoms and make more room for joy, patience, and productivity in your life.