Trazodone is a generic prescription drug that primarily treats depression. It’s commonly sold under brand names including Oleptro, Desyrel and Trialodine. The drug works by blocking the activity of serotonin receptors in the brain and preventing serotonin from being reabsorbed by neurons. This effectively increases the amount of serotonin in the brain, improving a person’s mood and regulating sadness. Like other types of serotonin inhibitors, trazodone can be used to treat anxiety and insomnia along with depression.

Since depression is a common mental illness, trazodone is often prescribed to patients suffering from this disorder. Addiction is extremely rare, as trazodone is usually not addictive. However, physical dependence is common after long-term trazodone use.

The first step in treatment for trazodone addiction usually involves entering trazodone detoxification and overcoming the withdrawal process. Since reliance on this drug is often connected to a mental health diagnosis, treatment for co-occurring disorders may also be required.

What Is Trazodone Withdrawal?

Trazodone withdrawal is the body’s process of readjusting to the absence of a drug in its system. After a consistent amount of time taking trazodone, the body adjusts to the presence of the drug. The body becomes used to trazodone interacting with serotonin and improving a person’s mood biologically. 

There are physical withdrawal symptoms that people often experience after discontinuing regular dosage of trazodone. The body often feels ill readjusting after the change in routine, and this feeling can be challenging for people attempting trazodone rehabilitation.

When prescribed trazodone, following the doctor’s instructions is important. Not doing so can result in developing a reliance on the drug and experiencing “rebound effects.” These are severe withdrawal symptoms that are a more severe version of the issue the drugs are supposed to treat.

Attempting to manage withdrawal symptoms without medical supervision can be dangerous. Seeking help from a reputable medical facility is one of the most effective ways to take on the challenge of drug withdrawal. Doctors and nurses can safely remove the drug from a person’s system while mitigating some of the uncomfortable symptoms that come from trazodone withdrawal.

Trazodone Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

When a person suffers from withdrawal, they can experience severe discomfort and strong cravings for the drug they stopped taking. For trazodone, withdrawals are physical.

Knowing the signs of trazodone withdrawal is important for people attempting to remove the substance from their system. Similar to many antidepressants, physical symptoms associated with trazodone withdrawal include:

  • vomiting
  • drowsiness
  • changes in heartbeat
  • seizures
  • difficulty breathing

These are not all of the physical symptoms; some people may experience additional ones. Speak to your doctor if you are dependent on trazodone and wish to know all the potential symptoms.

Since trazodone is prescribed to treat certain mental illnesses, there are adverse effects that can happen due to abruptly stopping use. People who suffer from depression and take trazodone for treatment may feel severe depression during withdrawal. The same is true for anxiety, insomnia or mood changes, which are additional psychological withdrawal symptoms of trazodone dependence.

Trazodone Withdrawal Timeline

Everyone experiences trazodone withdrawal symptoms differently. For some people, physical symptoms could subside in just a few days. For others, they could last weeks or longer.

Trazodone has a half-life between five to nine hours. This means that the drug stays in a person’s system for approximately 35 hours after the final dose. However, withdrawal does not end when the drug is out of the system. Most of the physical symptoms lessen, but people may continue experiencing some symptoms for weeks.

When people experience withdrawal from antidepressant medications such as trazodone, there are various factors that influence the duration of withdrawal and the intensity of symptoms. These include:

  • How long a person has been taking trazodone
  • Dosage amount prior to starting withdrawal
  • Individual characteristics

Another factor is the method of detoxification. Some people elect the “cold turkey” approach, which could result in more severe withdrawal symptoms but may take a shorter amount of time. The “tapering off” approach usually involves less severe withdrawal symptoms, but the timeline is stretched out over a few days or weeks.

If you or someone you love is struggling with trazadone use or a co-occurring mental health disorder, The Recovery Village can help. Contact us today to learn about treatment plans that can work well for your situation.

  • Sources

    MedLinePlus.gov. “Trazodone.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, April 15, 2017. Accessed June 2, 2020. 

    PubChem. “Trazodone.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, August 2015. Accessed June 2, 2020.

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.