Antidepressants are medicines that are mainly used to treat moderate to severe depression. They can help improve mood and increase motivation for people who may have lost interest in activities they once enjoyed. They can also help with sleep, thinking and concentration. Antidepressants work best when they are used together with psychological therapies, like CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and lifestyle changes. Read more about treating depression.
Antidepressants are not usually needed, and are often not very effective for mild depression. CBT, talking therapy and regular exercise work better for mild depression.
Antidepressants are also used to treat other conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. They are also sometimes used to treat people with long-term (chronic) pain.
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