Antidepressants are a type of medication used to treat depression or prevent it recurring.
They can also be used to treat a number of other conditions, including:
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Antidepressants are also sometimes used to treat people with long-term (chronic) pain.
How antidepressants work
It is thought antidepressants work by increasing levels of a group of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, can improve mood and emotion, although this process is not fully understood.
Increasing levels of neurotransmitters can also disrupt pain signals sent by nerves, which may explain why some antidepressants can help relieve long-term pain.
While antidepressants can help treat the symptoms of depress
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