As a person who got out of depression without antidepressants, I believe that If you're depressed it's for psychological reasons, let it be solved with psychological solutions (not chemical). Chemical solutions will temporarily make you feel better, then get you addicted (because you'll need them to feel better) then when your body builds tolerance, you're back to feeling bad with the added frustration that chemicals don't work anymore.
This question is about one's life (not just some period of time).
Antidepressants are pharmaceutical drugs used to treat major depressive disorder and other conditions, e.g. anxiety disorders. The most popular classes of antidepressants are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI drugs), serotonin modulator and stimulator (SMS drugs or SPARI drugs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCA drugs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI drugs), tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCA drugs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI drugs), or noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant (NaSSA drugs).
On average, antidepressants improve peoples' lives markedly.
There are unfortunately a lot of cases of psychotropic medication being pushed for off-label uses. The close relationship between pharmaceutical companies and many doctors is a serious problem. Overdiagnosis and overmedication is an issue in the psychiatric industry.
But in most cases, a person who is depressed would benefit from an SSRI, SNRI, SMS/SPARI, TCA, MAOI, etc. For many people I know, it was the only thing that worked at all for their needs.
In my mind, an antidepressant is like insulin to a diabetic. The diabetic still has to make life changes to be really healthy and happy. But that insulin is crucial to give them the ability to do that. An antidepressant won't make you happy, but it can make many capable of being anything but sad, anxious and empty.
The average mean indicates that antidepressants can usually help make a person's life better.
However, antidepressants alone are not a treatment for depression, though they are often an important part of that treatment. Depression has a physical cause, but there is more to it than just balancing the chemicals in the brain. The entire body is involved, including the hormones, central and peripheral nervous systems, musculature, skin, and all our senses. The impact our experiences have is also a factor. Cases of depression vary from mild clinical depression to major depressive disorder, and only a trained professional can help assess the severity of depression and suggest a course of action.
What Causes Depression - Harvard Health
Each specific one has been clinically shown to generally increase quality of life. If they don't, they don't get FDA approval.