How to Taper off Trazodone

Oleptro, Desyrel, or the more common Trazodone, are all names given to a specific antidepressant medication. As its title implies, the drug is used to treat depressive states, as well as anxiety disorders, and disrupted sleep habits. Trazodone is an effective alternate pill regimen compared to other sedative-like medicines.

Trazodone is what is referred to by scientists as a serotonin antagonist and uptake inhibitor. But, this is quite the mouthful — most just call these medicines SARIs for short. So, what exactly does a SARI do? Put simply, it promotes and enables healthy chemical levels in the nervous system. It corrects serotonin imbalances, too. This makes Trazodone particularly effective at targeting the root causes and symptoms of depression, from an inability to sleep or eat to even anxiety.

SARI drugs are not benzodiazepines. The medicine is often included in the ranks of Xanax and Valium, but this is actually a case of mistaken identity. SARIs act upon the brain in a different way. Many scientists conclude that it is missing addictive qualities — which is certainly not the case for benzodiazepines.

While Trazodone may lack a chemical mechanism to trigger dependence, this is not to say some individuals do not struggle with it in their lives. More often than not, issues relating to Trazodone stem from a patient or recreational user growing accustomed to the pacifying nature of the drug. For someone suffering from mental health disorders, the thought of forgoing Trazodone can be a frightening one. No one wishes to make themselves vulnerable to mental anguish. Over time, users cannot see themselves without Trazodone. A Trazodone taper seeks to change that.

Overcoming Trazodone use can be difficult. However, there are many rehabilitation resources well within reach. Medical centers across the United States offer detoxification programs to begin the journey toward recovery. 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.

Trazodone Taper | How to Taper Off Trazodone
An individual looking to taper off Trazodone has a lot on their plate — worrying about withdrawing shouldn’t be one of these things weighing them down. Fortunately, tapers are devised to take withdrawals out of the picture. How exactly? With time.

That’s right, tapers are dependent on the factor of time, and how the body is able to naturally utilize it to its benefit. Everyone knows that a cut will heal, but they may not know that recovering from Trazodone use works much in the same way. 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 method shuts off the body’s access to Trazodone completely. This is 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.

For the sake of argument, if cold turkey were the chosen method, there are a number of withdrawal symptoms one would endure. Such side effects include anger, anxiety, crying, chest or abdominal pain, dissociation, disorientation, depression, migraines, fatigue, lack of sleep, mood swings, weakness, nausea or vomiting, sweating and suicidal thoughts.  

Beyond wondering about the withdrawal, most individuals contemplating a detox question how to taper off Trazodone. The simple answer: incrementally.

Each patient will usually receive a consultation from professionals and physicians to help craft a unique tapering schedule. All of these schedules are tailor-made to fit everyone’s individual needs just right. From here, it all 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 10 percent reduction of dosage until no more Trazodone remains in the system. For example, if a person were ingesting 200 mg per day — half of the maximum daily amount — they would taper down to 180 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 onset withdrawal symptoms, this may be a sign that the taper is occurring too rapidly and should be dialed back. Slow and steady is the truism of Trazodone tapers.

When enough time has passed, a user will find that they have adapted to life without Trazodone. Still, mental health issues are a wicked problem, one that 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, a rehab facility like The Recovery Village may help. With locations throughout the country and expert staff members, The Recovery Village can help you live a life free from drugs and alcohol. Call 352.771.2700 today to learn more.

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.