Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.
Leann Poston, M.D.
Leann Poston, M.D. earned her medical degree from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. She completed an MBA from Raj Soin College of Business, focusing on healthcare. She is a full-time medical communication writer and educator.
February 4, 2021
Antidepressants are medications commonly prescribed to treat conditions like depression and anxiety, and they are clinically proven to reduce symptoms associated with the conditions they treat. There are many different classes of antidepressants, including tricyclic antidepressants, and each works in a different way.
We are all vastly different in how we respond to medications, meaning, one treatment does not fit all. Modern medicine has found a way to cater to people with many different physiologies and many different mental health conditions by developing various classes of medications.
Each class of antidepressants has several medications with varying side effects and interactions. They’re all trying to achieve the same result of treating a mental illness, but how they go about it is vastly different.
Among the different classes of antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants are some of the first-ever to hit the market. As the oldest class of antidepressants, doctors have been prescribing them since the 1950s, but they’ve held their value for many people.
As we’ve moved through our timeline of pharmaceutical evolution, we’ve created many different classes of antidepressants. However, tricyclic antidepressants continue to be commonly prescribed in the modern age of medical practice.
Understanding the details of tricyclic antidepressants is a great way to discover if they’re right for you. Read on to learn more about tricyclic antidepressants, including side effects, precautions, and even how to get them online.
The 1950s proved to be an important decade in the advancement of medical treatments for depression. It was in this decade that tricyclic antidepressants were invented and first prescribed to treat mental illnesses.
Tricyclic antidepressants work simply by increasing the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain. Having these two chemicals more available in the brain is known to treat depression and may help with other bodily functions as well.
Serotonin and norepinephrine are both neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain. Serotonin is known to improve mood and norepinephrine is felt to improve alertness and energy.
The Cleveland Clinic states that “due to their adverse effects and lethality in overdose quantities, over time [tricyclic antidepressants] have been largely replaced by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) in depression management.”
Modern treatments such as SSRIs and SNRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain to make more available for nerve cells to use.
If you’re wondering why doctors still prescribe tricyclic antidepressants, simply put, they still work best for some people. Everyone reacts to treatment differently, so what may work well for one person may not work as effectively for another.
The newest is not always best when it comes to medicine; it depends on the individual.
Tricyclic antidepressants can also treat other health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and chronic bedwetting. They are sometimes used to prevent migraines, help with chronic pain and relieve the symptoms of panic disorders.
Unfortunately, like all medications, there are side effects that may come with taking tricyclic antidepressants.
The most common side effects include:
Tricyclic antidepressants are also known for blocking histamines in your body. Histamines are chemicals released by white blood cells in response to a foreign protein such as a bee stinger or ragweed. If you have allergies and you start having teary eyes or sneezing, you can thank histamine for this because they respond to allergens by increasing inflammation in these affected areas.
Tricyclics antidepressants block the effects of histamines, which can cause other side effects such as:
There are several tricyclic antidepressants available.
Some examples of tricyclic antidepressants are:
If you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder such as depression, tricyclic antidepressants may help. But, the first step to getting there is talking with a medical professional. Making this first appointment can be an intimidating step, but it’s potentially one of the most important ones to move on to a better life.
Perhaps you are having a more challenging time and don’t want to be out in public, a newer path to consider when seeking treatment is scheduling a virtual doctor’s appointment.
One of the many benefits of living in a world of modern medicine is the growing role technology has in the healthcare space. Now we have the capabilities of getting professional medical assistance without having to even leave home.
For many with a mental health condition, leaving home can be a barrier to treatment. The last thing you want to do is open up about how you’re feeling in a space that you’re not comfortable in. With virtual appointments, you can talk with the doctor from the comfort and safety of your home, and you don’t have to worry about blocking out a whole half of your day to go. Many online appointments are available on the same day and take as little as 15 minutes.
Online doctors are able to prescribe antidepressants, including tricyclic antidepressants, and will send your prescription to your local pharmacy.
Tricyclic antidepressants are a true veteran in the mental health industry. They’ve been around for a while and have saved and changed a lot of people’s lives for the better. To this day, doctors still prescribe them for their patients even though other options are available.
You can set up a virtual appointment with a doctor to see if tricyclic antidepressants can improve your mental health as they have for many others. Click here to book an appointment with our top telehealth partner PlushCare, and take the first step in starting a treatment plan for your mental health.
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