Trazodone Withdrawal and Detox

Trazodone is a prescription drug that primarily treats depression. The drug — which is sold under various brand names, including Oleptro, Desyrel and Trialodine — blocks the activity of serotonin receptors in the brain and prevents 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 disease. Relying on trazodone can result in a physical and psychological dependence on the drug, which can become dangerous. Addiction to trazodone is not uncommon for people who have been prescribed the drug to treat depression. Additionally, people often take the drug without a doctor’s prescription as a form of self-medication.

The Recovery Village can help anyone who suffers from trazodone addiction or dependence. Since reliance on this drug is often connected to a mental illness, treatment for co-occurring disorders may be required. The Recovery Village has expert medical staff with the knowledge and resources to help patients formulate separate rehabilitation plans for substance use disorders and mental illnesses. The first step, though, is undergoing withdrawal and detoxification for trazodone.

Trazodone withdrawal is the body’s readjustment process to no longer having the drug. After a consistent amount of time taking trazodone or a high dosage, the body becomes comfortable with the drug’s presence. The body becomes used to trazodone interacting with serotonin and improving a person’s mood biologically. When the drug is no longer present, the brain must re-learn how to fire off serotonin receptors on its own.

There also 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.

Following doctor’s instructions when prescribed to take trazodone is important. Not doing so can result in developing a reliance on the drug and experiencing “rebound effects,” which are severe withdrawal symptoms that are a more severe version of the issue people originally took the drug 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.

When a person suffers from withdrawal, they can experience severe discomfort and strong cravings for the drug they stopped taking. For trazodone, this comes in both the psychological and physical sense.

Knowing the signs of trazodone withdrawal is important as a person attempts to remove the substance from their system. Similar to many antidepressants, physical symptoms associated to trazodone withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Irritability

These are not all of the physical symptoms, as some people may experience additional ones depending on the severity of their addiction. If someone who is dependent on trazodone is seeking a list of all potential symptoms, they should contact a medical facility and undergo an assessment.

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

There is no exact science to how long trazodone withdrawal lasts. For some people, physical symptoms could subside in just a few days. For others, they could last weeks while cravings and psychological symptoms could last for months.

Trazodone has a half-life between five to nine hours, with an average of around seven hours. This means that the drug stays in a person’s system for approximately 42 hours after the final dose and no more than two days. However, withdrawal does not end when the drug is out of the system. Most of the physical symptoms often lessen but people may continue experiencing some in addition to intense psychological cravings for trazodone to handle their depression or suicidal thoughts.

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, including:

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

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

Trazodone Withdrawal | Trazadone Withdrawal Symptoms and Tapering
Detoxification is the medical process of removing a drug from a person’s body. This often takes a few days to safely complete and can involve a “tapering off” strategy when done under medical supervision.

Tapering off from trazodone involves slowly lowering the dosage to minimize the effects of withdrawal symptoms. This is the safer detoxification approach because it prevents severe withdrawal from trazodone and involves doctors and nurses monitoring the situation while offering the patient support.

Some people choose a cold turkey approach at home, often without any doctors or nurses monitoring the situation. This strategy is more dangerous because it involves embracing withdrawal symptoms at their highest severity without any medications to alleviate discomfort. The Recovery Village does not recommend using this strategy because it often leads to recurring use of trazodone or injury during withdrawal, including attempted suicide.

When someone who is suffering from trazodone seeks rehabilitation treatment, the first step is usually undergoing detoxification. The safest place to attempt trazodone detoxification is at a medical facility with doctors and nurses monitoring the patient’s withdrawal symptoms and medication intake.

Once someone contacts a rehab facility, an assessment will be done to determine the level of care necessary to help the client. This will allow the medical staff to plan out the next steps and intricate details of the detox process.

Once the patient is in the medical facility, they will be under the guidance of professionals who are knowledgeable of how to remove trazodone from the system. The detoxification process could take as little as a few days or as long as a few weeks.

Since each person is different, each detoxification process for trazodone often will be different. There is no one-size-fits-all way to properly remove the substance from a person’s system. One person might be fine doing a cold-turkey approach, needing very few substitute medications or just a small amount of tapering off. The next person might have a severe dependence for trazodone and require more medications and a long tapering schedule.

Certain medications are sometimes used by doctors to help patients through the trazodone detox process. These medications can perform as antidepressant substitutes to maintain a good mood and prevent depression, or as blockers of certain physical withdrawal symptoms.

Before attempting self-medication, consult a medical professional to learn why it’s best to receive treatment from a reputable detox program. Taking medication without medical assistance could result in addiction to other drugs or dangerous, even deadly, combinations. For more information about the detoxification process, visit The Recovery Village’s detox page and learn why at-home detox methods can be a risk to your health and future recovery.

Ready to start? We're here for you.

Many people suffer from trazodone addiction or misuse the antidepressant, either as part of or outside of a doctor’s prescription. If you or your loved one is currently dependent on trazodone, help is available throughout the country. There are facilities with the resources to help people recover from substance use disorder, and The Recovery Village has locations in five different states:

  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • Ohio
  • Washington

At one of The Recovery Village’s facilities, people can receive the medical treatment and attention necessary to pursue a healthier life. The first step is finding a trazodone detox center and safely removing the substance from the body, no matter how long the process takes. There are detox facilities in each state that can offer the 24-hour medical attention needed to safely tackle this major first step in the rehab process.

If you or a loved one is looking for a path to an addiction-free life, call The Recovery Village and speak to one of the knowledgeable representatives. They can map out a plan and find a detox center conveniently located to you and then follow up as you progress toward a successful recovery.

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