Trazodone Withdrawal a Growing Problem - Why?
Trazodone Withdrawal a Growing Problem - Why?
Table of Contents
What Is Trazodone?
Trazodone is an antidepressant that belongs to a group of drugs named serotonin receptor antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs).1 Trazodone works by helping restore the balance of serotonin in the brain. This effect may account for the drug’s sedative effects on the central nervous system, which could lead to a Trazodone addiction or abuse.
What Is Trazodone Used to Treat?
Trazodone is most often prescribed for patients who are suffering from symptoms of major depression. Medical professionals usually prescribe this drug for severe depression symptoms when other antidepressants have not been effective or have caused adverse side effects for the patient.
Although the FDA has not approved trazodone to treat insomnia or anxiety disorders, the drug is often prescribed off-label to treat the symptoms of these two conditions.2
The drug may also be used to aid those suffering from chronic pain because it does not cause drowsiness and can help people regulate their sleep schedule.
Is Trazodone Addictive?
Antidepressants such as trazodone are not considered as addictive as other substances, such as opioids. People who take antidepressants do not report experiencing cravings such as are common with more addictive drugs, nor do they report feelings of euphoria.3
However, if misused, antidepressants can result in physical dependence and psychological addiction. Antidepressant abuse, like Trazodone, can lead to an Trazodone addiction in people who use it recreationally. Although it does not produce feelings of euphoria, trazodone has a relaxing, calming effect that some users may find desirable, thereby leading them to misuse the substance.
Trazodone addiction is also possible in people with a history of substance abuse or mood disorders.4 Trazodone is often taken with other substances meant to enhance its effects, such as alcohol, ecstasy, or meth. However, mixing this drug with other substances increases the chance of overdose and the risk for other life-threatening side effects.
The Dangers of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol
Mixing trazodone and alcohol is a dangerous cocktail. Alcohol increases the nervous system side effects of trazodone, including drowsiness, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. Other side effects include impairment in thinking and judgment.5
It is necessary for patients taking trazodone to avoid mixing the drug with alcohol to evade the risk of experiencing adverse effects from both substances.
Trazodone Side Effects
Trazodone Overdose Symptoms
Trazodone overdose may occur when someone takes more than the recommended dosage, either by accident or on purpose. Overdose can also happen if the person mixes trazodone with other substances, especially other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol.
Here are the most common overdose symptoms:
- Respiratory system issues, including difficulty breathing and respiratory arrest.
- Cardiovascular system issues, such as irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, chest pain, and a faint pulse.
- Nervous system issues, such as drowsiness, headache, dizziness, seizures, and coma.
- Gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and nausea.
Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms does not always mean that the person has developed a trazodone addiction. In some cases, withdrawal symptoms only indicate a physical dependence on the drug. Symptoms of trazodone withdrawal may include:
How Long Does Withdrawal Last?
The duration of trazodone withdrawal is different for every person. There are several factors at play, such as:
- How long the person has been taking the drug
- The dosage taken
- The person’s lifestyle and genetics
- Whether the person mixed the drug with other substances
- The method of detoxification (cold turkey or tapering)
Generally, the withdrawal symptoms tend to subside one to two weeks after going off the drug. However, some people may experience adverse symptoms several months after safely detoxing from trazodone. The most common long-term trazodone withdrawal symptoms include psychological symptoms and cravings.
Treatment for Trazodone Withdrawal
Most doctors will create a tapering schedule that consists of gradual decreases in dosage over a couple of weeks. The goal of tapering is to avoid the negative trazodone withdrawal symptoms. Although this makes it easier for patients, the process is lengthier than quitting cold turkey. If the patient starts experiencing withdrawal symptoms, this is a sign that the taper is happening too quickly.
Tapering can happen more quickly or slowly, depending on the patient’s needs. For instance, a patient with a more severe trazodone abuse history may be put on a tapering schedule that involves smaller reductions over a longer period.
Tapering should always happen slowly under a doctor’s advice. A patient attempting to taper at home will have a hard time determining the appropriate dose reduction. Failing to determine the appropriate dose reduction may lead to a range of severe withdrawal symptoms.
Mental Health Treatment
Mental health treatment can consist of different therapies, including counseling, behavioral therapy, art, and exercise. These various therapies aim to help the patient live a healthier life and build the skills necessary to quit misusing substances. The patient’s negative thoughts and behaviors need to be replaced with positive habits that will help prevent relapse even after treatment.