5 Common or Best Antidepressants for Anxiety and Depression

Choosing the best antidepressant is not a simple process. Effective medications from the past are a good starting point. New users of antidepressants should consider the risks involved in making their selection.

Depression, or major depressive disorder (MDD), is a mental health condition with symptoms that have been present for over two weeks. These symptoms include loss of interest, low energy, and guilt or hopelessness. Antidepressants, which work by increasing the amount of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, are often used to treat it. Chemicals called neurotransmitters help nerve cells talk to each other.

Best Antidepressants List

There are different types of antidepressants, each with its way of working and possible benefits for treating depression and anxiety. Here are some common groups and a short description of each:

1. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Many people with depression and anxiety disorders are given SSRIs as their first treatment. They work by making the brain make more serotonin, which helps control mood. Examples include sertraline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro), and fluoxetine (Prozac).

2. Inhibitors of Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake (SNRIs)

SNRIs also raise serotonin levels, but they also target norepinephrine, which is another mood-regulating neurotransmitter. For some people, this double action can be helpful in more ways. SNRIs like venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) are often given to people with depression.

3. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

an older type of antidepressant that works by stopping serotonin and norepinephrine from being taken back up by the brain. They are used less often today because they can have side effects, but they may work for some people who don’t respond to other drugs.

4. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

MAOIs are an older type of antidepressant that blocks the enzyme monoamine oxidase, which breaks down neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Due to dietary restrictions and possible drug interactions, MAOIs are usually only given to people who haven’t gotten better with other treatments.

5. Atypical antidepressants

a group of drugs that don’t fit into the other classes. Some examples are Wellbutrin (bupropion), Remeron (mirtazapine), and Desyrel (trazodone). They work in different ways to ease the symptoms of depression.

Choosing the best antidepressant is not a simple process. Effective medications from the past are a good starting point. New users of antidepressants should consider the risks involved in making their selection.
Choosing the best antidepressant is not a simple process. Effective medications from the past are a good starting point. New users of antidepressants should consider the risks involved in making their selection.

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Depression Fact Sheet

Definition: Depression is a common mental health disorder characterized by persistent sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, and a range of physical and cognitive symptoms. It affects how a person thinks, feels, and functions daily.

Prevalence: Depression is a global health concern, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds.

Symptoms: Common symptoms of depression include persistent sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite and weight, sleep disturbances, low energy levels, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Risk Factors: Depression can be influenced by various factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, trauma, chronic medical conditions, certain medications, substance abuse, and significant life events such as loss or relationship problems. Women may be at a higher risk due to hormonal fluctuations.

Impact: Depression can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, affecting their relationships, work or school performance, physical health, and overall well-being. It can also increase the risk of other health problems, including cardiovascular diseases.

Treatment: Depression is a treatable condition. Treatment options may include psychotherapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy), medication (such as antidepressants), or a combination of both. Lifestyle modifications, social support, and self-care practices are essential to manage depression.

Breaking the Stigma: Depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It is a medical condition that requires understanding, compassion, and support. By promoting open conversations, raising awareness, and challenging stigmas associated with mental health, we can create a more supportive environment for individuals affected by depression.

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Depression Statistics

Understanding the stages of depression and the prevalence of this mental health condition is crucial in addressing its impact on individuals and society. Depression is a common and serious mental disorder affecting millions worldwide. By examining the stages of depression from a statistical perspective, we can gain valuable insights into its prevalence, demographic patterns, and the burden it places on individuals and healthcare systems.

21 million

An estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 8.4% of all U.S. adults.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of major depressive episodes was higher among adult females (10.5%) than males (6.2%).

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (17.0%).

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

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How does a doctor know which antidepressant will work best for you?

There are many factors to think about when selecting an antidepressant. A good place to begin is with a medication that has proven effective in the past. When choosing an antidepressant, new users should be aware of the potential for adverse effects. The SSRIs and SNRIs used in the modern antidepressant treatment are generally better tolerated. SNRIs are a possible first-choice treatment for persistent pain. If the current treatment plan works, bupropion can be added for fewer sexual side effects. Because of its sedative effects, trazodone is a possible treatment for depression accompanied by insomnia. It’s important to talk to your doctor about which antidepressant will work best for you.

What is the Quickest-acting Antidepressant?

The antidepressant Spravato is popular because of how quickly it works; some users report feeling better after just a few hours. However, it is only available for in-office use by a medical professional and has some significant risks. Another rapid-acting, freely prescribable option is Auvelity, which can alleviate symptoms in as little as a week. However, it typically takes a few weeks for antidepressants to start working, though this varies from person to person. In most cases, you may see results in about 4 to 6 weeks.

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Treating Depression with We Level Up

To combat the multifaceted nature of depression and help patients on their road to recovery, We Level Up provides various services. Psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and social workers are all on hand at these facilities to work together in providing individualized treatment plans. What follows is a detailed description of our services:

  • Individual Therapy: A licensed therapist specializing in treating depression works with the person one-on-one. They use methods shown to work, like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), to help people recognize and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that make them depressed.
  • Group therapy: During group therapy sessions, people can share their experiences, learn from each other, and gain new insights and ways to deal with their problems. Group therapy also makes people feel less alone and gives them a sense of belonging.
  • Family therapy: Because depression affects the whole family, family therapy is offered to help people talk to each other better, understand each other better, and strengthen their relationships. It teaches people about depression and gives them effective ways to help someone they care about get better.
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Many people with depression also have other problems, such as problems with drugs or alcohol, anxiety, or personality disorders. Mental health treatment centers deal with these dual diagnoses by giving integrated treatment plans that treat both conditions simultaneously.
  • Psychiatric Evaluation: In-depth psychiatric evaluations are done to check for any underlying mental health problems that could be causing or making depression symptoms worse. This evaluation helps tailor the treatment plan to meet each person’s needs.
  • Holistic Therapies: Art therapy, music therapy, mindfulness-based practices, yoga, and meditation improve overall health, reduce stress, and help people care for themselves better.
  • Aftercare Planning: Treatment centers for mental health stress the importance of ongoing care and offer aftercare planning to help people return to normal lives. This could include sending people to outpatient therapy, support groups, or other community resources to ensure consistent care.

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  1. How do antidepressants work?

    Antidepressants help by making the brain make more of certain neurotransmitters. Chemicals called neurotransmitters allow nerve cells to talk to each other. Antidepressants work on serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which are the three main neurotransmitters.

  2. Which antidepressant has the least side effects?

    When it comes to antidepressants, the side effects can differ from person to person and from drug to drug. But, in general, some antidepressants are thought to have fewer side effects than others. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are often the first choice for treating depression because they have fewer side effects than other drugs. SSRIs like sertraline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro), and fluoxetine (Prozac) are known to have fewer side effects than older antidepressant classes like tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

    Common side effects of SSRIs include mild stomach problems, headaches, or problems with sexual function, but most people can handle them well.

Watch How to Improve Mental Health? 8 Steps & Tips for Maintaining Your Mental Wellbeing. Find Top Mental Health Tips & Anxiety Tips Advice from a Therapist.

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Search We Level Up WA 5 Common or Best Antidepressant for Anxiety and Depression Mental Health Topics & Resources
  1. Endocrine Society. (2022). Adrenal hormones.
  2. Kalin, N. H. (2020). The critical relationship between anxiety and depressionThe American Journal of Psychiatry.
  3. Moraczewski, J., et al. (2022). Tricyclic antidepressantsStatPearls.
  4. National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2017). Depression.
  5. NIH MedlinePlus Magazine. (2020). Commonly prescribed antidepressants and how they work.
  6. Sub Laban, T., et al. (2022). Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI)StatPearls.

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