4 of the best SSRI medications for treating depression

We Accept Insurance

Let’s check if your insurance provider will cover your treatment costs.
Verify Insurance

Start or continue treatment from wherever you are

Small-group settings for enhanced care & community

Recovery coaches provide added accountability & support

Treating Depression

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. Treatment plans usually consist of a combination of the following:

  • Antidepressant medications
  • Psychological counseling (individual and group therapy)
  • Supplements
  • Specific food choices
  • Homeopathic options

Physicians meticulously select the most suitable medication for each patient to control their symptoms. It is crucial for patients to adhere to their prescription and seek advice from their doctor before altering their medication.

Need help with depression? Call Us!

Categories of Antidepressants

  • SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
  • SNRIs (selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors)
  • MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Atypical antidepressants

SSRIs Drugs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)

SSRI drugs are designed to impact the body’s serotonin level. Serotonin is vital in multiple body functions, including mood and energy level. When serotonin is off balance, it changes how a person manages life’s stresses.

The role of the SSRI drug is to moderate serotonin neurotransmitters. In this way, depression can be managed, and a patient may function fully in their life.

Although there are many SSRI medications available, 4 of the best SSRI medicines for depression are:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR)

Citalopram (Celexa)

What is Citalopram?

Citalopram is an SSRI depression medication prescribed by doctors. One of the most well-known Citalopram brand names is Celexa. It is used as a treatment for depression and major depressive disorder. Citalopram should always be taken as instructed, without interruption. It may take up to a month to see improvement in symptoms. Sudden stopping of this medicine can result in agitated confusion. Do not stop taking citalopram without consulting a doctor.

Important Cautions and Considerations for Citalopram Use

Before starting a regimen with citalopram, it’s imperative to take several precautions to ensure your safety and the medication’s efficacy:

  • Comprehensive Medical History: Before beginning this medication, doctors should have a complete list of your medications. Also, review your medical history to avoid complications.
  • Heart Health Awareness: This drug has been linked to severe heart problems. Contact a medical professional immediately if you experience heart palpitations, chest pain, or dizziness.
  • Interaction with MAOIs: Citalopram should not be taken at the same time as an MAOI.
  • Mental Health Vigilance: If you have negative thoughts of self-harm or suicide, seek immediate help.
  • Breastfeeding Advisory: Refrain from breastfeeding while taking citalopram, as it can be transmitted through breast milk and may affect the infant.
  • Managing Missed Doses: Missed doses should be taken as soon as possible. However, do not double a dose; skipping one dose is better than taking two at once.

Citalopram Side Effects

As with any medication, citalopram may have side effects. Be aware of any physical changes that need a doctor’s attention.

Serious Side Effects

  • Allergic reaction – Do not ignore symptoms like hives, blisters, fever, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat or tongue.
  • Behavior and mood changes – worsened depression, irritability, restlessness, and more.
  • Seek emergency assistance for any thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

Common Side Effects

  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Increased thirst
  • Decreased appetite or increased nausea
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Increased weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Bloody noses
  • Symptoms of a cold (congestion, sneezes)

Other Citalopram side effects are possible. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a complete list. Also, discuss any symptoms you think may be related to taking citalopram.

You deserve to feel better

Change can start with a single phone call – We’re here to listen.

(844) 949-3989 arrow_right

Sertraline (Zoloft)

Sertraline is a medicine used by doctors in the treatment of depression. It is also known by its brand name, Zoloft.

An SSRI antidepressant, helps patients manage the condition of depression. It can also treat other illnesses, like:

Patients should always tell their doctor about their medications and supplements. Once taking sertraline, follow instructions carefully. Do not stop taking this medication suddenly, as it may cause serious reactions. Consult a doctor or pharmacist with any questions or concerns.

Important Cautions and Considerations for Sertraline Use

As with any prescription medication, sertraline may cause some unwanted effects. Be aware of the following cautions and seek help if needed:

  • Do not take sertraline while also taking MAOIs, pimozide, or methylene blue injections.
  • Be vigilant of any thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Seek immediate medical care if having these thoughts.
  • Do not give to children under the age of 6.
  • Avoid using this medication if you are pregnant – but do not stop taking it without a doctor’s close supervision.
  • Ask a doctor if breastfeeding while taking sertraline is a safe option.
  • If a dose is missed, take it as soon as possible. Never take a double dose of sertraline.

Sertraline Side Effects

While taking this medication, patients may experience varying side effects. Contact a medical professional as needed.

Emergency medical attention may be needed if:

  • Allergic reaction (like trouble breathing, swelling, hives)
  • Extreme mood or behavior changes (like increased agitation, depression, or anger)
  • Manic behavior, seizure
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Changes in vision
  • Signs of low sodium

Common Side Effects of Sertraline

  • Gastrointestinal problems (like nausea, diarrhea, or indigestion)
  • Excess sweating, unexplained tremors
  • Problems sexually

Escitalopram (Lexapro)

Escitalopram (also known by its brand name, Lexapro) is an antidepressant. It is classified as an SSRI. This medication is used in the treatment of depression and MDD (or major depressive disorder). It is intended for people over the age of 12. It is also used to treat adults’ anxiety.

Patients prescribed escitalopram should give their doctor a complete list of other medications. This includes supplements and over-the-counter medicines. Patients should also share an accurate medical history to get the best care.

A person who takes escitalopram should not stop without first consulting their doctor. Sudden stopping of this medicine can cause serious side effects.


When taking escitalopram, be aware of the following cautions. Seek medical care if needed.

  • Do not take if also taking citalopram or pimozide.
  • Do not take if also taking MAOI drugs.
  • If thoughts of self-harm or suicide worsen, get immediate help from a doctor. This is a serious situation and should not be ignored.
  • If the patient is pregnant, discuss whether escitalopram is the right medication. This medicine can be detrimental to the fetus.
  • Do not breastfeed until you speak with your doctor about possible side effects.

Side Effects of Lexapro

Even when patients take escitalopram correctly, there can be side effects. Be aware of the possible reactions to taking this medicine.

Seek immediate help at an emergency room if you experience the following:

Allergic reactions (including difficulty breathing, swelling in the face or throat, or hives)

  • Extreme changes in mood and behavior (such as increased hostility or aggression)
  • Changes in vision (including blurring and seeing a halo light)
  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Thoughts racing
  • Headache or slurred speech

Common side effects of Escitalopram

  • Pain when urinating
  • Feeling dizzy, weak, more tired
  • Anxiety and agitation, shaky muscles
  • Sleeping problems
  • Dry mouth or extra thirsty
  • Nauseous or constipated
  • Bloody noses
  • Sexual dysfunction (including change in sex drive)

Paroxetine (Paxil)

Paroxetine is a prescription medication. It is used in the treatment of depression and MDD (or major depressive disorder). Other conditions that can also be treated with this medication are:

Paroxetine is classified as an SSRI. As an antidepressant, this drug helps balance brain chemicals. In this way, conditions like depression can be managed.

Patients should inform their doctor of a complete list of their medicines. This, along with an accurate medical history, helps the doctor treat the condition.

Common side effects of Paroxetine

  • Changes in eyesight
  • Increasingly weaker, dizzier, or tired
  • Increased anxiousness
  • Sweatier or shakier than normal
  • Trouble sleeping (having insomnia)
  • Sudden infections
  • Stomach problems (decreased appetite, increased nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation)
  • Dry mouth
  • Unexplained infection
  • Unusual headaches
  • Sexual dysfunctions (including lowered sex drive

These are just some of the side effects of Paroxetine. Contact your doctor or medical professional for additional information.


Before taking paroxetine, patients should discuss any relevant warnings about this drug. Any changes in symptoms or behavior should be reported to a medical professional.

Some cautions to be aware of include:

  • Take as prescribed; don’t stop suddenly.
  • Avoid taking it with Thioridazine, Pimozide, or MAOIs.
  • Note mood/behavior changes; seek medical help.
  • For hallucinations, severe dizziness, violent vomiting, or seizures, seek emergency care.
  • If suicidal or self-harming, get urgent help.
  • Pregnant patients should discuss paroxetine risks with a doctor.
  • Do not breastfeed while on this medication.
  • Not for those under 18.
  • Avoid missing doses; don’t double up if missed.

What to do if you’re having suicidal thoughts?

Depression can often lead people to consider hurting themselves. It can even lead them to believe suicide is their only escape from the pain they feel.

Some of the signs to watch for (in yourself and others) include:

  • Discussing a desire to die or kill themselves
  • Actively looking for ways to act on their thoughts (like purchasing a weapon)
  • Feelings of hopeless and despair
  • Talk a lot about the pain they are in, that they feel like they can’t escape
  • State they feel like a burden to other people
  • Behave out of character
  • Excessive sleeping habits
  • Become isolated and withdrawn from society
  • Obsess over wanting revenge or having extreme anger

If you or someone you know is experiencing these feelings, help is available. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a nationwide support system.

Discover your path to recovery with individualized depression treatment

Overcoming depression may seem overwhelming to those with the condition. However, there is hope for a fulfilled life with a treatment plan made just for you.

Are you experiencing the symptoms of depression and don’t know what to do? Modern Recovery Services is here to help.

We are a behavioral health and accountability treatment program. We provide support in the form of a professional team and a caring environment.

We believe in treating the patient as a unique individual. Our program has a variety of options available to meet your needs. This means the plan we create to manage depression will also be unique.

Contact us today! Let’s work together to see how psychotherapy and medication can help you have the life you deserve.


  1. Medical News Today. What is Depression: Definition. August 4, 2022. Available at: medicalnewstoday.com.
  2. eMedicineHealth. What are the Top 10 Antidepressant Drugs? May 24, 2022. Available at: emedicinehealth.com.
  3. eMedicineHealth. SSRI Drugs and Depression. October 2022. Available at: emedicinehealth.com.
  4. Drugs.com. Citalopram. December 3, 2021. Available at: drugs.com.
  5. Drugs.com. Sertraline. May 23, 2022. Available at: drugs.com.
  6. Drugs.com. Escitalopram. December 1, 2021. Available at: drugs.com.
  7. Drugs.com. Paroxetine. December 1, 2021. Available at: drugs.com.
  8. 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Help Someone Else. 2022. Available at: 988lifeline.org.
  9. 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. About. 2022. Available at: 988lifeline.org.