Trazodone, as well as brand name medications including Oleptro and Desyrel, are all names given to a specific antidepressant medication. The drug is primarily used to treat depressive states, but it can also treat anxiety disorders and disrupted sleep habits. Trazodone is an effective alternate pill regimen compared to other sedative-like medicines.
Trazodone does not share the addictive qualities of other sedative-related drug classes, such as benzodiazepines. However, this is not to say some individuals do not struggle with trazodone dependence. More often than not, issues relating to trazodone occur when a person grows accustomed to the pacifying nature of the drug. For someone struggling with mental health disorders, the thought of forgoing trazodone can be a frightening one.
Many medical centers offer detox programs that help people struggling with dependence, and one such detox method is called a medical taper. Trazodone tapers provide a framework of support and structure to make the first treatment step an impactful one.
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Tapering off Trazodone vs Quitting Cold Turkey
A person looking to taper off trazodone has a lot on their plate — worrying about withdrawal symptoms shouldn’t be one of the things weighing them down. Fortunately, tapers are created to help ease discomfort, but it takes time.
Tapers can last weeks or months, depending on a patient’s needs. This allows ample time for the body to self-correct and adjust to a trazodone-free path. As mentioned, withdrawals are potentially avoidable with a trazodone taper. When the drug is removed gradually over the course of days, weeks or months, the body doesn’t realize that it is gone.
A cold-turkey detox is quite the opposite. This is when a person stops taking trazodone without a taper. It’s the neurological equivalent of pulling the rug out from underneath someone. There is no time to adapt, and the result can be painful. For this reason, tapers can be a helpful approach.
If someone with dependence chose to suddenly stop using trazodone, they would likely experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. These side effects can include:
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Lack of sleep
- Mood swings
- Nausea or vomiting
- Suicidal thoughts
How to Taper off Trazodone
For most people, the tapering process is incremental. Each patient will usually receive a consultation from professionals and physicians to help craft a unique tapering schedule. Each schedule is tailor-made to fit a person’s individual needs. Tapering begins with the patient’s baseline trazodone dose: how much they were taking per day before treatment.
Once this amount in milligrams is determined, each week will see a 25% reduction in dosage until no more trazodone remains in the system. For example, if a person were ingesting 200 mg per day, they would taper down to 150 mg after their first week.
The rate can be slowed down or sped up depending on the patient’s reaction. If they are beginning to feel the onset of withdrawal symptoms, this may be a sign that the taper is occurring too rapidly and should be dialed back. Slow and steady is the goal of trazodone tapers.
When enough time has passed, the patient will find that they have adapted to life without trazodone. Still, mental health issues may require additional counseling or therapy. A physician will be able to determine the best way to proceed — while keeping trazodone out of the equation once and for all.
If you need help tapering off of trazodone or other substances, The Recovery Village is here for you. With locations throughout the country and expert staff members, we can help you live a life free from drugs and alcohol. Contact us today to learn more.
Shin, Justin; Saadabadi, Abdolreza. “Trazodone.” StatPearls, February 28, 2020. Accessed May 31, 2020.
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.