Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol
Many drugs have possible interactions and relationships to other substances including alcohol, and trazodone is one of those. There are actually two ways to look at the relationship between trazodone and alcohol. The first is in terms of whether or not they can be used together, and if so, what the possible effects are.
There’s another relationship, however, and that’s the use of trazodone for alcohol withdrawal. Both topics are discussed below.
In addition to being used as a treatment for depression, there are quite a few extra-label uses for trazodone, such as for the treatment of insomnia and pain from chronic conditions like fibromyalgia.
One of the most common symptoms of trazodone is drowsiness, which is why it is considered a good treatment option for insomnia, and it’s also less addictive than many other options used to help patients with insomnia.
It’s believed trazodone works on serotonin receptor sites in the brain, which is how it helps depression and also helps improve things like appetite and general life outlook.
While trazodone is considered a pretty safe drug in most instances, what about combining trazodone and alcohol?
You shouldn’t mix trazodone and alcohol because it can increase how your body responds to the alcohol. It can increase the side effects of the alcohol so you might feel more intoxicated, like you have a loss of coordination, nauseous, or lightheaded. In fact, trazodone shouldn’t be mixed with any other central nervous system depressants (which alcohol is), because it can also increase the chances of an overdose occurring.
Even with a low dose like trazodone 100 mg and alcohol, it can be very risky to mix the two.
Trazodone on its own rarely causes overdoses, but with trazodone and alcohol, death can occur, particularly when one or both are taken in large doses.
Trazodone and alcohol death can occur because both can affect respiration and functionality of the central nervous system.
Along with the risks of trazodone and alcohol death, people who take this drug should also be aware of the risks of serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome occurs when the levels of serotonin are too high in the brain, and it can occur if you’re taking multiple substances that raise the availability of serotonin at the same time. Serotonin syndrome can be fatal in some cases.
Trazodone can in particular help with the insomnia that can occur with alcohol withdrawal, but it can also help with depression, mood, and anxiety, all of which are symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. In a lot of cases, drug classes like benzodiazepines are used to help with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, but benzos have a lot of risks, including the fact that they are in and of themselves addictive, while trazodone, for the most part, isn’t, as long as it’s taken as directed.
Insomnia and sleep disturbances are also incredibly common in people who are detoxing from alcohol as well as other drugs, so trazodone can be helpful.
When someone is withdrawing from alcohol, it can affect a lot of their neurotransmitter levels in the brain, leaving them depleted, which is another reason trazodone can be helpful.
Trazodone, along with not having a high risk of becoming addictive, also isn’t a narcotic, which is why some alcohol treatment programs utilize it.
Of course, while trazodone for alcohol withdrawal is useful, it’s not without side effects some of which can include constipation, drowsiness, dry mouth and something called priapism, which is a persistent and painful erection.
While you should never combine trazodone and alcohol, trazodone can be helpful for alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and it tends to be safer and less addictive than other drugs often used such as benzodiazepines.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.