Treatment and rehabilitation approaches, options and programs for those abusing or addicted to Trazodone, a medication used primarily as an antidepressant.

While developing an addiction to trazodone may not be common, it is still possible. Usually used to treat depression and sometimes as a sleep aid, trazodone has the capability to be abused due to the calming effects it provides.

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone is a prescription medication used primarily as an antidepressant. It is classified as a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor. Trazodone works by blocking the serotonin receptors in the brain, preventing serotonin from being reabsorbed by neurons. This effectively increases the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates various neurological effects, particularly mood. Additionally, trazodone can work as a sleep aid for people struggling with sleep disorders. Although the drug is mostly used for depression, trazodone is sometimes used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Trazodone is sold under brand names like Oleptro and Desyrel.

Related: Trazodone for sleep

While trazodone is not a commonly abused drug, some people use the drug recreationally. Trazodone does not produce a euphoric high, but it can have sedative effects and produce cognitive impairment. Trazodone can help individuals quickly recover from an anxiety attack. As people become accustomed to the medication, their tolerance level builds up, meaning a person needs to consume higher doses to achieve the original level of relaxation.

As with other medications, there is the potential for abuse with antidepressants like trazodone. Risks of antidepressants become more dangerous when they are taken in tandem with alcohol or other drugs. Mixing these substances can increase side effect severity, elevate existing health risks, and create potentially life-threatening situations. For individuals struggling with co-occurring disorders, these dangers to physical and mental health can be increasingly difficult to overcome.

Who Abuses Trazodone?

For individuals prescribed trazodone to treat depression and sleep disorders, it can be easy for them to become dependent on it if the drug is abused. While trazodone is not regularly acquired illegally, it’s most commonly abused by people who are given the medication by physicians. People prescribed trazodone who abuse the drug can risk getting used to the calming feeling that taking the medication gives them. Eventually, their tolerance builds up, making the need for a higher dosage, in order to maintain the original high, more prevalent.

Trazodone Addiction Signs, Symptoms and Effects

Each person reacts differently when they develop a trazodone addiction. There are different factors that can account for how severe an addiction is.

Factors affecting the severity of the addiction include:
  • Overall health
  • Dosage taken
  • How long the drug was taken
  • Consumption of other substances while taking trazodone

A sure sign of trazodone addiction is when a person is reluctant to stop taking the drug even when continued use proves detrimental to their physical and mental health. This shows that the momentary relief trazodone gives is more important to them than their health.

Common Side Effects of Trazodone Addiction

Each person reacts differently to different kinds of drug. Due to each person’s unique chemical makeup, the kind of side effects that can be experienced will vary.

Some additional side effects can include:
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Digestive issues
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Confusion or memory issues
  • Muscle pain
  • Numbness or tingling

Severe Side Effects of Trazodone Addiction

Aside from the common effects of trazodone, there are severe symptoms that may appear as well. When certain side effects arise, they serve as  a sign of the severity of the addiction. It’s important to see a medical professional if any of the following symptoms arise:

Some additional severe effects can include:
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting, unconsciousness or coma
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Increased or irregular heartbeat
  • Bruising or bleeding

In addition, when trazodone is taken in excess there can be health risks, such as:

  • Accelerated or irregular heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Seizures
  • Breathing difficulty

When a person ignores these side effects, they are ignoring clear warning signs that an addiction may be forming. At this point, professional treatment should be sought out immediately.

Treatment Options for Trazodone Addiction

Because medications like trazodone work by acting on brain chemistry, an abrupt removal of regular drug consumption can cause uncomfortable side effects. While considered distinct from drug withdrawal, the symptoms associated with antidepressant discontinuation are real and withdrawal should be attempted with medical supervision. A doctor typically works with patients to reduce dosage over time in order safely transition the patient off the drug and minimize the intensity of withdrawal side effects.

Treatment for Drug Abuse at The Recovery Village

When patients begin the treatment process, they are evaluated on the severity of their addiction as well as any other co-occurring disorders they may be dealing with. From there, a team of medical professionals and clinical therapists determine the best route of action to ensure that the detox is planned in the most efficient way possible. Once detox is completed, patients can go through programs determined by the treatment team to help them learn proper coping skills for life post-treatment. Depending on the severity of the addiction, the following treatment options may be recommended:

Once one of these programs is completed patients may continue with another program, with regular therapy sessions or they can start attending a 12-step program. This is to ensure that they continue using the tools and skills acquired in treatment.

Seeking professional treatment is beneficial for individuals as doctors can help with providing medication to manage the withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced. Some of these symptoms can include feelings of agitation, depression, anxiety, confusion, dizziness, headaches and extreme irritability. A doctor at the treatment facility will have the ability to prescribe medications to soothe the withdrawal symptoms and make withdrawal more comfortable for the patient.

If you or a loved one struggle with trazodone addiction, help is closer than you may think. Our representatives are eager to help you take the first step toward recovery. Each call is free and confidential, so call today to learn more about long-term recovery.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.