If you live with depression, treatment options such as therapy, medication or a combination of both may be suggested to you by a mental health professional. A variety of medications are commonly prescribed to help reduce depressive symptoms.

One of the most popular types of medications prescribed is antidepressants. When used according to your healthcare professionals directions, antidepressants can reduce and relieve symptoms such as:

  • lack of motivation
  • changes in sleeping patterns
  • difficulties with concentration
  • suicidal ideation
  • changes in appetite

If you’ve been prescribed antidepressants to help you cope with your symptoms it can take up to 4 to 8 weeks to notice the effects of your medication. But symptom relief and how one responds to the type of antidepressant they’re prescribed can vary from person-to-person.

If you believe the antidepressant your taking isn’t working, consider speaking with a mental health professional to help you discover which type of antidepressant may work best for you.

This quiz is designed for anyone who wonders if their antidepressants are working.

The quiz could also be helpful if you have questions about how to recognize if your antidepressant medication is reducing depressive symptoms.

This online screening is not a definitive tool.

Based on your answers, the results will guide you through the next steps depending on the length of time you’ve been taking antidepressant medication and if you notice a change in the symptoms you’re experiencing.

This quiz is for people who are only taking one antidepressant. The results will not be accurate for someone taking more than one medication to treat their depression, such as two antidepressants or an antidepressant plus another psychiatric medication.

How long does it take for an antidepressant to work?

You may notice the effects of antidepressants in as little as 1 to 2 weeks. But it often takes longer to notice a real improvement in your symptoms. If you haven’t noticed any changes after 4 weeks, you can talk with a health professional to help you determine the next best steps.

Not all antidepressants are effective for everyone. Your doctor or prescriber might recommend switching to a different antidepressant or adjusting your dose. It can take some time to find the medication regime that works best for you.

How do antidepressant drugs work?

Antidepressant medications work by helping to regulate chemical messengers in your brain called neurotransmitters. The primary neurotransmitters affected by antidepressants are serotonin and norepinephrine. Overall, antidepressants work by increasing the availability of serotonin, norepinephrine, or both in your brain.

Researchers don’t know exactly how these medications help reduce the symptoms of depression. Current theories include an increase in neural plasticity and a reversal of negative affect bias. This may help your brain recover from the effects of chronic stress and unhealthy thought patterns.

How do I know if my antidepressant works?

It can take time for antidepressants to work and the effects can be subtle at first. It make several weeks for you to recognize the cumulative effects of these changes on your mood and thought patterns. Research suggests that noticing these changes can be more difficult if you have limited social interaction or if your living situation is not well-suited for mood recovery.

What is the most energizing antidepressant?

Antidepressants often have side effects. Newer antidepressant medications, like SSRIs and SNRIs, are less sedating than older antidepressants, like tricyclic antidepressants.

Can you feel antidepressants working?

It may take several weeks for you to notice the effects of your antidepressants. It takes time for your brain to start responding to the medication and longer for you to notice the cumulative effects of those responses.

You may notice small changes at first, such as less severe negative reactions to negative stimuli, like daily stressors. You may also notice more positive responses to positive stimuli, like happy faces. But it can take time for these small effects to have a broader impact on your mood.