Depression is a common disorder that is becoming better understood as an illness that can be chronic, recurrent, and refractory to treatment. Depression can produce substantial suffering and profoundly affect a patient's self-esteem, relationships, and functional capacity. The improved adverse-effect profile and safety from overdose of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have led to treatment of milder forms of depression and thus increased treatment of depression overall. This article synthesizes several previously published reviews and psychopharmacology resources and addresses practical issues related to initiating, monitoring, continuing, and discontinuing SSRIs. Precautions related to SSRI use and important considerations for various types of depression are discussed.
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