Some antidepressants work by increasing neurotransmitters released (MAOIs). Some block neurotransmitter clearance (Tricyclics, SSRIs). Prozac, or Fluoxetine, is an SSRI, or serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitor, that reduces the reuptake of serotonin from the synapse. This makes it so the neurotransmitter stays in the receptor for a longer period of time, lengthening the overall effect of the serotonin. Serotonin plays roles in sleep cycles, aggression, and mood and temperature regulation.
How antidepressants work is an important concept because many people are affected by depression. I know people close to me that have suffered from depression and have also been prescribed antidepressants, so this topic is very relevant to me.
I know depression relates to a chemical imbalance in the brain, but is depression caused by this chemical imbalance? What are some other possible causes of depression? Could drug abuse relate to depression?
Genetics may be a possible answer to the cause of depression. Some people may not produce as much serotonin or norepinephrine, which both affect mood. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the frontal lobe that is responsible for thinking. I know people who are depressed, often have this downward spiral way of thinking. They start thinking negatively about themselves and have a hard time getting out of that way of thinking. Maybe an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex relates to depression in some way. The limbic system of the brain is known as the emotional center of the brain. I would imagine that the limbic system could be linked somehow to depression.