Trazodone Withdrawal and Other Side Effects

While usually considered safe, trazodone withdrawal can cause serious side effects.

Trazodone Withdrawal & Side effects

Table of Contents

What is Trazodone?

Most commonly, trazodone is used for sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.

However, trazodone is also prescribed by medical professionals to treat other conditions. Off-label uses include fibromyalgia, bulimia, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorders, and schizophrenia. Researchers have also recently been looking into trazodone as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease.2

In addition to treating various conditions, trazodone increases energy levels, appetite, and mood levels. It can have a sedative effect, and many patients report a sleepy and relaxed feeling from the drug. It is typically taken at night to manage the effects of drowsiness.

What Is Trazodone Used to Treat?

Most commonly, trazodone is used for sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression.

However, trazodone is also prescribed by medical professionals to treat other conditions. Off-label uses include fibromyalgia, bulimia, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorders, and schizophrenia. Researchers have also recently been looking into trazodone as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease.2

In addition to treating various conditions, trazodone increases energy levels, appetite, and mood levels. It can have a sedative effect, and many patients report a sleepy and relaxed feeling from the drug. It is typically taken at night to manage the effects of drowsiness.

Trazodone Class and Schedule

Trazodone is considered an atypical antidepressant, meaning it does not fit into the same standard categories of more common antidepressants, such as SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, or MAO inhibitors. Instead, it is often categorized according to its action as a serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibitor, otherwise shortened to SARI.

It typically takes up to two weeks to have a significant effect on sleep and mood. Usually, doctors start prescriptions with a low dose and will increase it as needed.

While trazodone is monitored by prescription, it is not considered a controlled substance and does not fall under any of the DEA’s five schedules of drug classification. This factor does not necessarily mean the drug is safe. Classification is a way to decide if someone should face criminal charges because of a drug in their possession without a prescription, not on their potential danger. As an atypical antidepressant, authorities do not consider it a narcotic or a controlled substance.

Is Trazodone Addictive?

The medication is mainly considered non-addictive. However, patients must take it under the supervision of a doctor. Those with a history of substance use disorder are at risk for developing a dependency and misusing the medication.

Some of the signs of trazodone misuse include using without a prescription, taking higher doses than prescribed, or crushing and snorting tablets to speed up the effects. Those who exhibit these behaviors would benefit from professional help.

How to Use Trazodone

Trazodone comes in an oral tablet and should be taken as prescribed by a doctor. Prescriptions typically start at 150 mg a day. Doctors may increase the dosage by 50mg increments, depending on the patient’s response to the medication. The maximum dosage is 400mg per day and up to 600mg during a hospital stay.

Tramadol should be taken with food to reduce the risk of side effects. Additionally, patients should avoid it if they’ve taken an MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days.

Why Do People Abuse Trazodone?

While it is not inherently dangerous, chronic use of trazodone can result in physical dependence.

It can become an addiction if the body needs the medication to function normally or if someone experiences withdrawal without it.

To avoid the symptoms of withdrawal, some patients may go out of their way to visit different doctors or purchase the substance illegally. Whether it is addictive is debatable because patients typically do not experience cravings for it. However, whether it is addictive or not, there is a risk of misuse. Patients may need assistance with stopping use.

The Dangers of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol

Both alcohol and trazodone depress the central nervous system. As such, mixing the substances can be lethal. The sleepy or dizzy feelings that can come with trazodone can worsen with alcohol. It can be especially dangerous with heavy or binge drinking. Mixing both alcohol and trazodone can also result in heart or breathing issues.

Trazodone Side Effects

Trazodone is typically considered safe when used as directed. However, misuse can increase the risk of experiencing unwanted and sometimes intense side effects. Depending on the individual’s physiology and amount of trazodone taken, some individuals may try to avoid stopping use to escape uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Short-Term Side Effects

Side effects from trazodone use are often due to a reduced level of sodium in the body, as well as disturbance of the central nervous system. Some of the short-term side effects include:

While doctors typically recommend taking the medication at night, some patients report that they still have drowsiness in the morning. Because of its increased risk of suicidal thoughts in children and teens, trazodone is not recommended for them. The drug has a black box, which is the sternest warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of its dangerous side effects for children, teens, and young adults.

The substance can remain in the body for up to 42 hours. Moreover, bigger doses can create more severe side effects. Typically, side effects last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Long-Term Side Effects

Continued use of trazodone can result in more serious and last symptoms. Taking the medication longer than recommended may result in different side effects than short-term use. Long-term side effects of trazodone include:

  • Heart rate issues, either hypo-or hypertension
  • Short-term memory issues
  • Verbal learning problems
  • Reduced arm muscle endurance
  • Decreased serum sodium levels
  • Angle-closure glaucoma, leading to increased pressure on the eye.
  • Fainting

Trazodone Overdose Symptoms

While the risk for trazodone misuse is low, taking 600 mg within 24 hours can result in an overdose. Taking the maximum prescription of trazodone is only done in a hospital setting where dosage can be closely monitored.

With too much trazodone, serotonin syndrome can occur. This syndrome is the result of excessive levels of serotonin present in the body. It usually happens when two antidepressants are taken together, but it can also occur when there is too much trazodone in the body.

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:

There is an increased risk of developing serotonin syndrome when starting the medication or during changes in dosage.3 Changes in medication and starting use should only be done under the supervision of a doctor to prevent the development of serotonin syndrome.

Mixing trazodone with other medication or alcohol is the most common cause of an overdose. Always discuss any vitamins, herbs, and supplements as well as other drugs you take with a medical professional before taking trazodone.

Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms

While considered non-addictive, the body can experience withdrawal symptoms once the medication has cleared from an individual’s system. As a result, trazodone withdrawal is a serious apprehension for both patients and medical professionals.

Some of the trazodone withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle pain
  • Agitation
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pain
  • Seizures
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Exhaustion and fatigue

To prevent withdrawal symptoms, many medical professionals recommend that a person gradually taper off trazodone. Tapering down one’s drug use allows the body to become used to increasingly smaller amounts of the medication, thereby reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

How Long Does Withdrawal Last?

Trazodone withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as one day after cessation and can last up to three weeks after the last dose. How long trazodone withdrawals last depend on how heavily the medication was used. Those who have a more extended history of use may have more intense symptoms for longer.

Treatment for Trazodone Withdrawal

Many people avoid quitting trazodone use because of the withdrawal symptoms. However, no one must go through it alone. With oversight from addiction specialists, though, withdrawal symptoms can be minimized and therapy can ensure long-term sobriety.

Tapering Off

Because of the severity of trazodone withdrawal symptoms, it is generally recommended that the medication is tapered off in the case of trazodone abuse. Individuals that want to avoid trazodone side effects while stopping or switching medication should consult with their doctor or a medical professional. Their supervision can help ensure that any unwanted trazodone withdrawal symptoms, also known as discontinuation syndrome, are minimized.

Mental Health Treatment

Depending on the reason for trazodone abuse, therapy can provide valuable help. Individual therapy can help provide individuals the tools they need to navigate life without dependency. In addition, speaking with a medical professional can help to find non-addictive medication instead to address issues.

If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
(888) 744-9969 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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