Trazodone is a prescription drug used as a sedative and treatment for major depressive disorders. It belongs to a drug group known as Serotonin Receptor Antagonists and Reuptake Inhibitors or SARIs.

These drugs balance your brain’s serotonin and noradrenaline—chemicals influencing your mood. By supplementing these much-needed chemicals, Trazodone helps decrease depressive symptoms in patients and make them feel better.

According to recent surveys, Trazodone remains one of the most prescribed drugs not just in New York, but across the entire U.S. With millions of prescriptions every year, experts estimate that one in every five Americans uses Trazodone, either as a sleeping aid or antidepressant.

That said, Trazodone is a long-term medical treatment and can last months or years. And while it’s generally safe when prescribed by your doctor, misguided intake can result in dependence and other symptoms akin to addiction.

If you or someone you know suffers from Trazodone dependence, this post will guide you through everything you need to learn to recover. We’ll begin with the common side effects of Trazodone use and its risks, then go over the withdrawal timeline and available treatments.


Is Trazodone Addictive?

Trazodone and similar antidepressant drugs aren’t labeled addictive by the Food and Drug Administration. Currently, there are no studies indicating that the drug, used as a prescription, induces uncontrolled cravings like other substances (i.e., opioids).

However, like most medications, Trazodone comes with a string of side effects. Long-term intake or misuse of the drug can result in physical dependence. Patients who don’t follow their doctor’s instructions while taking the prescription also risk overdosing or withdrawal.

People who use Trazodone recreationally are at higher risk of experiencing dependence or psychological addiction. While it doesn’t cause feelings of euphoria like marijuana or cocaine, it does have a calming effect that some might find desirable.

Still, it’s important to note that dependence on a drug isn’t always the same as addiction. People can experience dependence on prescription antidepressants like Trazodone without the impulsive craving qualities of clinical addiction.

Side Effects of Trazodone Use

Like most drugs, Trazodone use comes with mild to serious side effects. Depending on the application, a patient can experience short or long-term symptoms.

Side Effects

One common side effect of taking Trazodone as an antidepressant is sleepiness. Along with the drowsiness, you may also experience:

  • Tiredness
  • Swelling
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Stuffy nose
  • Significant weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction

These symptoms can last for a few days or weeks.

Adverse Symptoms

While rare, Trazodone also comes with severe symptoms requiring immediate medical attention. These adverse reactions to the drug can include:

  • Increased suicidal thoughts
  • Worsening depression
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Erection that lasts hours
  • Memory and concentration issues
  • Hallucinations
  • Skin rashes
  • Low sodium levels in the body

If you or someone you know exhibit the above-mentioned symptoms, call 911 or other local emergency hotlines.

Dangers of Long-Term Intake

The dosage and length of Trazodone prescription depends on several factors, including the severity of your medical condition and age.

In long-term Trazodone treatments, the patient may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Physical dependence
  • Psychological addiction
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Liver problems
  • Vision problems
  • Coordination problems
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Anemia or low white blood cell count

Another danger of long-term Trazodone prescription is overdosing. It can occur when someone, whether by accident or design, ingests more than the recommended dosage of the drug.

Overdosing can also happen when someone mixes Trazodone with other substances, such as alcohol. Having dangerous levels of the drug inside the body can cause seizures, high fever, prolonged painful erection, and abnormal heart rate.

Trazodone Physical Dependence

Physical dependence refers to a medical condition where the individual relies on a substance to function daily. After a long period of intake, your brain and body can become accustomed to the chemical supplement from Trazodone and adapt to it.

Can You Experience Withdrawal From Trazodone?

Withdrawal is your body’s attempt to readjust itself in the absence of the drug it depends on. As such, if you suddenly stop taking Trazodone after years of use, you may experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms.

An individual suffering from Trazodone dependence may experience uncomfortable withdrawal. In cases where a person experiences severe dependency, they might neglect the possible harm and continue taking the drug to avoid painful withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of Trazodone withdrawal can include:

  • Tightness in the chest region
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Inability to focus
  • Muscle pains and fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches
  • Agitation
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to sleep
  • Vertigo
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Severe sweating
  • Electrical sensations in the brain

As an antidepressant, sudden discontinuation of Trazodone may worsen an individual’s depressive symptoms as well. For this reason, it’s crucial for anyone taking Trazodone to detoxify under the guidance of a medical expert.

How Long Does Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Withdrawal from Trazodone can take between several weeks or months, depending on the severity. The lifestyle and genetics of the individual can also play a role in the process.

The most common indicator of the duration of withdrawal symptoms is the duration of the Trazodone medication. Individuals who took the antidepressant for years can experience prolonged withdrawal than those who take it for a few months.

In most cases, the physical manifestations of withdrawal subsides one to two weeks after the patient stops taking the antidepressant.

However, regardless of your history, it’s crucial to seek out professional advice to manage withdrawal. While rare, the patient can develop antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (ADS) and complicate the healing process.

ADS is a condition more likely to occur with antidepressants containing serotonin like Trazodone. Without the guidance of a health provider, the patient may find it challenging to manage their symptoms, which include mania, suicidal ideation, and self-harm.

Treatment Options for Trazodone Dependence

When someone becomes physically dependent on a substance, it dramatically alters their body and brain chemistry.

Some may attempt to detoxify the substance the “cold turkey” way and at home. This reckless method can lead to more severe withdrawal symptoms and mental stress.

Tapering Off Trazodone

Tapering is the gradual reduction of alcohol, illicit substances, or prescription drugs. In using this approach, the patient reduces the risk of developing withdrawal symptoms and eases the healing process.

The duration of substance tapering varies from person to person. Your healthcare provider will work with you in creating a tapering schedule to meet your specific medical needs. This approach ensures an effective detoxification while keeping the risks low.

Throughout the Trazodone tapering process, your healthcare provider can:

  • Talk with your healthcare professionals, pharmacists, and family to procure information that can help with your taper schedule.
  • Monitor your withdrawal symptoms, including physical pains or the ability to do chores and daily tasks.
  • Request blood or urine samples to gauge the amount of prescription medicine or substances in your system.
  • Prescribe other pain treatment alternatives.
  • Offer prescription drugs that help manage withdrawal symptoms affecting your appetite, sleep schedule, and mood.

A heavy Trazodone user may need smaller reductions within a longer period. Although lengthier, this step-by-step plan facilitates a smoother tapering for the patient.

The Importance of Monitoring Mental Health

One disadvantage of detoxifying at home is the lack of resources to cope with your symptoms. Under professional guidance, your healthcare provider can recommend talk therapy to help you develop coping strategies and connect you with other valuable aids.

Group Therapy

Being able to talk about your struggles is a vital aspect of recovery from drug dependency. Group therapies are a valuable tool for this.

A group setting is significantly helpful by allowing the individual to commune with people sharing similar challenges and experiences. It builds genuine relationships while fostering a sense of community to get much-needed emotional support.

Group therapies can be a source of information throughout the recovery process. The individual suffering from Trazodone dependency can obtain insights into how other people deal with shared obstacles.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Drug dependence impacts both the individual suffering and the people in their lives. This encompassing issue can affect how well a patient manages thoughts and emotions.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can help the person suffering from Trazodone withdrawal handle stressful emotions in their recovery. Through counseling, the therapist can assist the patient in understanding the healing process and changing unhealthy habits.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a psychological treatment used by experts to treat problems, including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Used alongside addiction treatment methods, CBT can help the patient improve their functioning and quality of life.

Unlike group therapy, CBT is a one-on-one session where the patient talks with the specialist. The therapist listens to the patient and introduces possible alternatives and new thinking patterns to overcome withdrawal struggles.

Conclusion: Getting Help

Trazodone dependence is an issue that’s becoming increasingly rampant with depressive disorders. While not as severe as other forms of addiction, handling the issue alone can result in risky and potentially fatal consequences.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you or any of your loved ones suffer from Trazodone dependence. Long Island Interventions can guide your recovery with a personalized treatment plan, ensuring a safe and effective healing process.

Published on: 2024-04-07
Updated on: 2024-04-07