Antidepressants including SSRIs typically do not provide immediate relief for depressive episodes, anxiety, and other mental conditions. Consistently using antidepressants in the prescribed dosage is necessary to experience noticeable changes.
Consult a psychiatrist to discuss your symptoms indicating depression before using antidepressants.
- Antidepressants such as SSRIs usually take up to 8 weeks to work.
- Antidepressants work by altering the chemical levels in the brain and people may start experiencing side effects in the first week. These are settled over months.
Antidepressants are drugs that help relieve symptoms of depression. They are also used in the treatment of other mental health conditions. Antidepressants are normally prescribed for moderate to severe depression along with psychotherapy.
How long does it take for antidepressants to start working?
Antidepressants take several weeks to show noticeable effects on symptoms. During;
WEEK 1: Patients may experience mild to moderate side effects such as feeling anxious, tremors, etc during the first week
WEEK 2: Within the first 2 weeks, patients might start feeling that the antidepressant works.
WEEK 4: Full benefits from antidepressants may take 4-8 weeks. Side effects such as dry mouth, mood swings, etc typically subside within 4-5 weeks.
Antidepressant treatment lasts 4-9+ months to prevent symptom recurrence upon early discontinuation.
Research Finds – About 40–60% of people taking antidepressants observe improvement in their symptoms within 6–8 weeks.
How Long Do Different Types of Antidepressants Take to Work?
Antidepressants do not provide instant relief. According to research, improvements may not be immediately noticeable in people who take antidepressants.
|Antidepressants||When to start work|
|Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs||Takes 2 to 8 weeks to show the effects|
|Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)||2 to 4 weeks.|
|N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor blockers, a newer class of antidepressants||Within hours or days of the first dose|
|Ketamine||Potent and rapid antidepressant effects. After 2 weeks and 1 month of the last dose|
Did You Know: Many antidepressants have a dual action such as SSRIs. They tend to act on different chemicals, achieving optimal levels at different times.
Research Finds- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) should not be taken together with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and other psychotropic drugs. It may lead to serotonin syndrome ( a potentially life-threatening drug reaction).
Antidepressants – Mode of Action and Major Classes:
Antidepressants block the reuptake of neurotransmitters through selective receptors. They increase the concentration of specific neurotransmitters around nerves in the brain.
Antidepressants generally fall into several classes. The drugs in each class are similar but not identical.
|Class of Antidepressants||Medications|
|Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors||Lexapro (escitalopram)|
|Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors||Fetzima (levomilnacipran);Cymbalta (duloxetine)|
|Tricyclic antidepressants||Norpramin (desipramine) ;Pamelor (nortriptyline); amitriptyline; doxepin|
|Atypical antidepressants||Viibryd (vilazodone); Remeron (mirtazapine); Trintellix (vortioxetine)|
Common Signs that Antidepressants are Working:
Knowing whether antidepressant medicine is working is a crucial component of treatment. Recognizing the symptoms and signs that the antidepressant is effective can provide reassurance. When antidepressants kick in, you may experience:
- Improved mood and emotional well-being
- Increased energy and motivation
- Overcoming of hopelessness
- Better sleep quality
- Reduced anxiety and worry
- Improved concentration and focus
- Enhanced ability to enjoy activities
- Stabilized appetite and eating patterns
Remember! These signs may not happen all at once. They’re gradual. This means that it may take time before you can tell if your antidepressant is the right fit for you.
Read also: Best Medicine for Depression in Pakistan
What to expect during the first month of treatment?
Patients may generally experience such conditions while taking antidepressants in the first month;
- Temporary nausea, dizziness, headaches, or appetite changes are common but subside.
- Mood, energy, and well-being improve gradually, but full effects may take weeks.
- Progress is closely monitored, side effects managed, and treatment adjusted if needed.
- Maintain open communication with your psychiatrist for concerns and changes in symptoms.
Read also: What Causes Depression in Early Childhood?
Research Finds- About 33-344% of people may develop tachyphylaxis who take antidepressants. Tachyphylaxis refers to an acute, sudden decrease in response to antidepressants.
Therapeutic effects of antidepressants usually take a few weeks to completely activate in the body. Patience and consistency with medication are essential to get effective results such as better mood and improved sleep. Continue taking the prescribed dosage of antidepressants even if you do not observe an immediate improvement in symptoms. It is important to consult with a psychiatrist to discuss any side effects that you may experience.
1. What is the success rate of antidepressants for depression?
About 60% of patients respond to the antidepressant approximately within 2 months. The symptoms of depression are reduced by 50% in these patients.
2. Do antidepressants work in 1 day?
Even from the first day a person takes an antidepressant, the medicine is active within the mind. Researchers have observed that a few patients have found some antidepressant outcomes even a few hours after using medicines