Harvard Health Letter

More than a happiness boost: How mood medications help when you’re depressed

depression-doctor-medications
Image: AlexRaths/Thinkstock

Antidepressants can help reduce insomnia, loss of appetite, and fatigue associated with depression.

When your doctor recommends an antidepressant to fight depression—such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)—it's about more than just boosting your mood. Depression has many potential physical effects. "Most people aren't aware that depression can lead to other health problems," says Dr. Amanda Hernandez, a geriatrician at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Health complications

Emotional and psychological symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, apathy, and despair; trouble concentrating or making decisions; thoughts of suicide; and a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.

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