Trazodone for Anxiety

Trazodone is a prescription medication that’s primarily used for the treatment of depression, but it has many off-label uses as well. For example, it’s often prescribed to treat insomnia and other conditions like fibromyalgia. Another reason it may be prescribed is for the treatment of anxiety.

The following provides an overview of what trazodone is, how trazodone for anxiety works and it offers answers to questions like “is trazodone like Xanax.”

Trazodone for Anxiety | Is Trazadone Like Xanax?
Trazodone is approved by the FDA to be used as an antidepressant. However, it can improve things like sleep, overall mood, appetite and also anxiety symptoms.
It’s more specifically classified as an atypical antidepressant, and it acts as a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor. It’s often given to patients who don’t respond well to other types of antidepressants like SSRIs.

There is some evidence showing that in recent years trazodone has been used more commonly as a sleep aid, which is an off-label use, as compared to an antidepressant. It has benefits including the fact the fact that it’s cheaper than many brand name sleep aids and antidepressants, and it also tends to have fewer side effects as compared to types of drugs like benzodiazepines.

It’s believed that trazodone acts on several receptor sites in the brain and that it affects and balances levels of serotonin in the brain. It’s also believed to have a secondary effect on norepinephrine, and these neurotransmitters can also play a role in anxiety, which is why trazodone for anxiety is also an off-label use of this drug.

While trazodone for anxiety can be a useful treatment option, it tends to be best suited to help patients with depression and anxiety. However, some physicians may opt to prescribe it for anxiety without depression.

There are some reasons trazodone for anxiety may be more beneficial than using other classes of drugs like benzodiazepines, including the fact that it’s not considered habit-forming in most cases, so it can work well for patients prone to drug abuse.

When trazodone is prescribed as an antidepressant or for any other purposes, a physician will usually start at the smallest effective dosage, and then they may go up from there. Trazodone is available in dosages including 50, 100, 150 and 300 mg. A typical trazodone dosage for anxiety may start at 150 mg a day, divided into several doses throughout the day, and then that can be increased as needed over time.

If drowsiness is a concern, the majority of the medication might be taken at bedtime, since sedation is one of the primary side effects of a trazodone dosage for anxiety.

Trazodone for social anxiety may also be prescribed, but this is more common in patients who have depression along with social anxiety.
Many people wonder “is trazodone like Xanax?” What are their similarities and differences?

First, what is Xanax?

Xanax is not classified as an antidepressant but is instead a benzodiazepine. It’s a short-acting drug that works on certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are imbalanced in people with anxiety disorders including panic disorders, anxiety associated with depression, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Xanax is considered not just short-acting, but it is also used for as-needed anxiety situations, such as panic attacks.

When someone takes trazodone, it binds to the 5-HT2 receptor, and when it’s taken at high doses, it acts as a serotonin agonist. It’s believed to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression by inhibiting serotonin reuptake. Xanax, on the other hand, binds to benzodiazepine receptors, and it increases the inhibition of GABA neurotransmitter activity in the brain. It significantly impacts the activity of the central nervous system in a way that trazodone doesn’t.

The chemical structure of trazodone and Xanax are very different from one another, as are the mechanisms of action.

Trazodone also works not just to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, but it also improves appetite, life outlook, mood and sleep. Xanax just has calming effects, and wouldn’t be a good treatment for someone with depression in most cases.

Another big difference between trazodone and Xanax is the fact that Xanax is very addictive. Trazodone may cause addiction, but not at the level of Xanax. If a patient is prone to drug abuse Xanax may not be an ideal option, whereas trazodone could work well.

The side effects of trazodone and Xanax can be similar to one another including weight gain, drowsiness, and dry mouth.

Is trazodone for anxiety? In some cases, it might be, although it’s primarily used to treat depression and anxiety. It can help with anxiety associated with depression, however. Is trazodone like Xanax?

No, not necessarily.

While both may be used to treat similar conditions, trazodone is an antidepressant, while Xanax is a benzodiazepine. They also act on the brain and body in different ways, and trazodone is less likely to be abused or become addictive as compared to Xanax.

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.

Have more questions about Trazodone abuse?
Read the most frequently asked questions