All available antidepressant medications are based on serendipitous discoveries of the clinical efficacy of two classes of antidepressants more than 50 years ago. These tricyclic and monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressants were subsequently found to promote serotonin or noradrenaline function in the brain. Newer agents are more specific but have the same core mechanisms of action in promoting these monoamine neurotransmitters. This is unfortunate, because only approximately 50% of individuals with depression show full remission in response to these mechanisms. This review summarizes the obstacles that have hindered the development of non-monoamine-based antidepressants, and provides a progress report on some of the most promising current strategies.