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How Do SSRI and SNRI Antidepressants Work?

woman discusses ssris and snris with doctor

People being treated for depression or anxiety are often prescribed antidepressant medications.  These medications may have varying degrees of success for different people. Those who are prescribed antidepressants might be wary of taking a medication that is meant to alter the brain, or might be unsure of how the pills are supposed to alleviate mood disorders.  While there is still much to learn about the human brain and mental illness, experts have a few solid theories that might explain how antidepressants help fight anxiety and depression.  Most modern antidepressants fall into the category of SSRIs and SNRIs, also known as reuptake inhibitors, and work by preventing nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing certain neurotransmitters.  These “feel good” neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, carry signals throughout the brain that regulate mood. The theory behind reuptake inhibitors is that by delaying reabsorption, the brain will have a surplus of these neurotransmitters, which will result in more efficient communication between cells.  Since it is believed that people who suffer from anxiety and depression may lack healthy communication and mood-regulating function in the brain, SSRIs and SNRIs are often prescribed to bypass this issue.

The Ladder That Helps You Climb Out of The Hole

Antidepressants are typically not the only treatment required for anxiety and depression, but they can give you the boost you need to start taking better care of yourself.  Antidepressants usually take several weeks before they begin to work, so it is important to take your medications as directed and stick with it long enough to determine effectiveness.  If one medication doesn’t work for you, it is likely that another one will. Once your brain begins to find a bit of balance and emotional wellbeing, it is important to start building a foundation for long-term mental wellness.  This might mean therapy, proper nutrition, exercise, and finding a creative outlet. If you are struggling with addiction, antidepressants may be prescribed to treat a co-occurring mental health disorder. There are many helpful resources you may choose to take advantage of on the path to recovery, and antidepressants may be the leg up you need to restore health and happiness in your life.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and mental health issues, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.