JAN 10, 2016 8:21 AM PST

How Does The Brain Respond To Antidepressants?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medication, second only to antibiotics. That's because depression affects more than 20 million people in the United States alone. Symptoms of depression can vary, but typically include feelings of sadness and hopelessness, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, difficulty concentrating, lack of energy, and fatigue.

Many classes of antidepressants act by changing the levels of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The thought is that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, and the drugs work by restoring equilibrium in the brain. But there are conflicting data on whether antidepressants actually work.

There is not one final answer to depression likely because the disease is complex, involving many different pathways and causes. Watch the video to learn more about the different antidepressants and how scientists think they work.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 16, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 16, 2019
Here's What Would Happen if the Earth Stopped Orbiting the Sun
The Earth orbits the Sun once every 365 days, or one full year. It does this while whizzing through the vacuum of space at break-neck speeds of up to 110,0...
DEC 31, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 31, 2019
There's More to a Cat's Whiskers Than You Think
Cats may be enjoyable pets, but their true roots go back to incredibly predacious creatures with bodies that have been evolutionarily adapted for hunting p...
JAN 21, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 21, 2020
Here's Why SpaceX Blew Up a Falcon 9 Rocket in Mid-Air
SpaceX completed a substantial milestone for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program this week, an undertaking that involved one of the commercial space compa...
JAN 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 26, 2020
How Much Do You Know About the Planet Mercury?
Mercury is the solar system’s smallest planet, and it’s also the one residing closest to the Sun. But while Mercury is commonly shrugged off as...
FEB 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 09, 2020
Here's Why NASA Needs Another Space Station Orbiting the Moon
NASA already has the International Space Station at its disposal, and with that in mind, many have come to question why the American space agency plans to...
FEB 16, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 16, 2020
Drone Footage Shows a Hungry Blue Whale Lunging At Krill
Blue whales are the largest living mammals on Earth, capable of growing as long as three full-length school busses. As you might come to expect, large anim...
Loading Comments...