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Anti-depressants are medications prescribed to treat a variety of different conditions including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).


Most anti-depressants work by activating certain groups of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. 

Anti-depressants will usually be taken in tablet form. Tablets will commonly be prescribed as a course for six months and it will normally take between two and four weeks to feel the effects of the medication. Different types of anti-depressants include: selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

What you Need to Know

When you are prescribed anti-depressants:

If you choose to take drugs while prescribed anti-depressants:

Seek medical help if you experience adverse effects. Mental illness can be a medical emergency too. Call 111 or 999 if you need to.

Taking anti-depressants with other drugs, legal or illegal (and including alcohol) can increase the risk.

Legal Information

Anti-depressant medication prescribed by a doctor is controlled by the Medicines Act 1968. This means they should only be prescribed by a doctor and should not be sold or shared by pharmacists or members of the public.

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