It is well known that diseases with organic lesions ( diseases where we can see and know what's wrong) have very effective medicines. But mood disorders like depression do not have any known theory of its cause, would it's medication be effective in that case? This is one of the main reasons why people often bring up the question as asked by you.
Now depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest,it affects how one feels, thinks and behaves and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.The treatment plan of this condition depends on the type and severity.
It usually includes
--Anti depressant pills and
--In severe cases brain stimulation techniques such as electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation.
Most patients of depression are prescribed one or the other antidepressant.These medicines lift one's mood and ease the sadness and hopelessness that one feels. Antidepressants work by balancing chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters that affect mood and emotions.The neurotransmitters mainly involved are serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
The main principle of antidepressants is to increase the levels of these neurotransmitters at the areas where they are most effective and decrease it at areas where they are non functional i.e. they basically inhibit the reuptake of these neurotransmitters at areas where they are not very useful.
Antidepressants are thereby classified into
--Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
--Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors,
--Serotonin modulators and stimulators (modulate the receptors of the neurotransmitters)
--Tricyclic antidepressants (act by blocking the serotonin and norepinephrine transport) and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors ( inhibit the activity of the monoamine oxidase enzyme family which breaks down these neurotransmitters).
While many people find that antidepressants work well to help reduce the symptoms of depression, one might not feel better right away. It usually takes at least three to four weeks before one can notice a change in mood. Sometimes it can take even longer. Taking the medicine every day as directed helps increase the chance that it works. If the first antidepressant taken doesn’t work, it’s likely that another one will. About 60% of people who take antidepressants feel better with the first medicine they take, but others need to try more than one before noticing a change.
A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health in 2008 found that about 50% of patients who did not feel better after using one medication noticed an improvement when they took a new one or added a second medication to the first treatment.If the pills do not work
even after a change, it is likely that the patient is suffering from major depressive disorder and would require the other modes of treatment as mentioned above.
Hence it can be said that whether or not depression pills work, depends on the severity of the illness.