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Trazodone: Uses, Effects, Signs & Warnings

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Trazodone is a prescription medication that is commonly used to treat depression. It can also be prescribed for other purposes such as insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks. Trazodone has been in use since the early 1980s, and it is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. It works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.1

Trazodone is one of the most commonly used antidepressants for treating anxiety and panic disorders. Trazodone is not recommended for use in children or adolescents, as studies have shown a high risk for them to develop suicidal tendencies.2,3

The potential for abuse of Trazodone is relatively low. However, if someone takes too much of this medication, they may experience Trazodone overdose symptoms such as dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and confusion. In extreme cases, a Trazodone overdose may lead to seizures and difficulty breathing.3

What Is Trazodone?

Trazodone is an antidepressant medication belonging to the class of serotonin modulators. It is used to treat major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. Trazodone works by helping to restore the balance of a certain natural chemical (serotonin) in the brain.3  

Doctors usually prescribe Trazodone for anxiety, insomnia and major depressive disorder. Trazodone works by binding to specific receptors in the brain that help regulate mood, sleeping patterns, and anxiety levels.3

Trazodone for anxiety or sleep disorders is available in tablet form for oral consumption. Despite its effectiveness in managing its symptoms, Trazodone does not cure depression.3

Can You Overdose on Trazodone?

Patients suffering from insomnia often take Trazodone for sleep-related problems . At present, no antidote therapy exists for the toxic effects of Trazodone.4

While Trazodone is generally considered to be safe, it is possible to overdose on the medication. Trazodone side effects if a patient overdoses on the medication may include:3 

  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Painful erection that does not go away

In severe cases, a Trazodone overdose may lead to a fatal arrhythmia and life-threatening electrophysiological heart abnormality, even in patients without previous cardiac comorbidities. In this case, keeping patients monitored and providing them with support is crucial to their survival.4

If you believe you or someone else may have overdosed on Trazodone, it is important to seek medical help immediately.3 

How Safe Is Trazodone?

Trazodone is generally considered to be a safe medication. However, as with all medications, there are potential risks and side effects associated with its use. The most common Trazodone side effects are nausea, vomiting and drowsiness. Other common side effects include headache, dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, and dizziness.3

While Trazodone side effects are generally mild and temporary, more serious side effects have been reported. These include chest pain, priapism (prolonged and painful erection), shortness of breath, fainting and seizure. If you experience any of these side effects, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.3

Trazodone may also interact with other medications that you are taking. Therefore, it is important to tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. Be sure to also let your healthcare provider know if you have any other medical conditions, as this may affect how Trazodone should be used.3

Is Trazodone Addictive?

Trazodone is unlikely to cause habit forming or addiction. This makes it an attractive treatment option for those who are seeking help for conditions like insomnia or anxiety. However, as with any medication, it is important to speak with a doctor before starting Trazodone to make sure it is the right choice for you.5

What are the Most Common Trazodone Side Effects?

Trazodone side effects may vary and some patients may or may not experience them. Some people may experience only mild side effects, while others may experience more severe side effects. The most common side effects of Trazodone include:3

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight gain
  • Blurred vision

More serious side effects of Trazodone include:3

  • Seizures
  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • Fainting or near-fainting spells
  • Hallucinations or delusions (seeing or hearing things that are not there)
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding

If you experience any of these side effects, it is important to contact your doctor immediately.

Trazodone can also interact with other medications and substances. It is important to tell your doctor about all of the medications and supplements you are taking before starting Trazodone. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as vitamins, herbs, and other supplements.3

Some of the most common drug interactions with Trazodone include:3

  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Lithium
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)

It is also important to avoid drinking alcohol while taking Trazodone, as this can increase the risk of side effects. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking Trazodone. There is some evidence that Trazodone may be harmful to a developing fetus, and it is not known if the drug passes into breast milk.3

What Are The Long Term Side Effects Of Trazodone?

The long-term Trazodone side effects are not well known. Trazodone is an antidepressant that is used to treat major depressive disorder. It is also sometimes used to treat other conditions, such as anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks.1

Several studies have shown a correlation between using Trazodone for sleep-related issues and short-term memory impairment, as well as a negative effect on cognition, verbal learning, and arm muscle endurance. Patients using Trazodone for anxiety or other issues should be wary of these motor and cognitive impairments in long-term use.6

What are the Most Common Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms?

As with any medication, it is possible to experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping Trazodone use, especially if therapy is discontinued abruptly. Trazodone withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:3

  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Anxiety.
  • Confusion.
  • Agitation.
  • Trouble falling asleep.
  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Seizures.
  • Sweating.
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear).

It is important to consult with a physician before stopping Trazodone use, as withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Symptoms typically peak within two days of discontinuing the medication and may last for up to two weeks. In some cases, seizures have been reported in those who abruptly stop taking Trazodone. Therefore, gradually decreasing Trazodone dosage is essential in preventing withdrawal symptoms.7

How Long Do Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Trazodone withdrawal symptoms can last for a couple of weeks, but they will gradually improve over time. In most cases the symptoms peak within two days of discontinuing treatment, although they may appear weeks later. However, some people may experience symptoms for longer periods of time.7,8 

In general, studies have shown that physiological SSRI dependence may occur in 4 weeks, the same time it takes to develop the risk of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome. These symptoms may last a few weeks, which may be caused by acute withdrawal during the readaptation of the drug’s target receptor.8

Treatment Options for Trazodone Abuse

Treatment for Trazodone addiction or withdrawal symptoms typically begins with detoxification, followed by inpatient or outpatient treatment, and then continued care and support. 

Detoxification, or detox, is the first step in most treatment plans. Detox helps patients deal with Trazodone withdrawal symptoms, helps the body rid itself of the drug and can be done safely under medical supervision.9

Inpatient treatment involves staying at a facility for a period of time, typically 30 to 90 days. During inpatient treatment, you will receive around-the-clock care from medical and mental health professionals. This type of treatment is often beneficial for those with more severe addictions or who have been using Trazodone for anxiety for a long period of time.9

Outpatient treatment involves attending scheduled counseling and therapy sessions at a facility, but you will not stay overnight. Outpatient treatment is often a good option for those who have less severe addictions or who have strong support systems at home.9

Therapy is an important part of treatment for Trazodone abuse and addiction, especially if Trazodone is used with other prescription drugs. Therapy can help you understand the root causes of your addiction and how to avoid triggers in the future. It can also provide you with tools to deal with stress and cravings.9

After completing detox, inpatient, or outpatient treatment, it is important to continue care and support to prevent relapse. There are many options for continued care, including 12-step programs, sober living homes, and outpatient counseling.9

If you or someone you love is struggling with Trazodone abuse, help is available. There are treatment options available that can help you overcome your addiction and live a sober, healthy life.9

Getting Help For Trazodone Abuse

When it comes to getting help for Trazodone abuse, there are a few different options available. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to this medication, you can reach out to a prescription drug abuse hotline. There, you can obtain information about nearest treatment centers that offer help with Trazodone addiction, check for available payment options, and verify if your insurance will cover the treatment.

If you are not able to afford treatment or do not have insurance, there are still many ways to get help for Trazodone abuse. There are free online support groups available, as well as faith-based organizations that may be able to offer financial assistance. Friends and family members can also be a great resource of support during this difficult time.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to Trazodone, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. With the right treatment, individuals can overcome their addiction and lead healthy and productive lives.

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The editorial staff of Projectknow.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
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