Trazodone Addiction and Abuse

Learn about the signs, side effects, and treatment options for trazodone addiction.

What Is Trazodone?

Trazodone Addiction
Trazodone is a serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI). While SARIs are similar to SSRIs, they do not have identical chemical compositions. SARIs like trazodone are beneficial for patients experiencing a significant decrease in mood, problems with sleep patterns, or difficulty concentrating.

Trazodone is an antidepressant medication that treats major depressive disorder, anxiety, and combinations of anxiety and depression. Trazodone is typically only prescribed when no other medications have been effective for a patient’s depression due to its risk of dependency.1

It can take up to two weeks of regular use before trazodone takes effect and up to six weeks before the full benefit is received. In addition, trazodone is only prescribed to patients over the age of eighteen. This is largely due to the effect that antidepressants have on young people, as they sometimes cause suicidal thoughts. Although trazodone is not a narcotic, trazodone addiction is still possible when taken improperly.

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How Is Trazodone Different From Other "Sleeping Pill" Drugs?

Trazodone is not a narcotic nor a sleeping pill. Although one of trazodone’s most common side effects is drowsiness, it should not be used as a sleep aid—the FDA has not approved it as a medication for insomnia.2 Additionally, trazodone addiction is more likely to occur in people who misuse the medication as a sleep aid.

How Common Is Trazodone Addiction?

Trazodone has a black box warning, alerting patients and doctors to serious side effects and possible drug interactions. This is the most serious drug warning that the FDA gives. Although trazodone is traditionally considered non-addictive and non-habit forming, trazodone addiction is still possible.
Trazodone abuse most commonly occurs when a person begins using the medication as a sleep aid rather than as an SSRI—its intended use. Trazodone overdose symptoms and withdrawal from trazodone can be extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening.3

Signs of Trazodone Addiction

Here are common signs of trazodone addiction to consider and look out for:

  • Secretive behavior
  • Buying or stealing trazodone
  • Faking symptoms to get trazodone
  • Neglecting personal responsibilities
  • Obtaining trazodone from a drug dealer
  • Getting trazodone without a prescription
  • Distancing themselves from friends and family members
Trazodone addiction can be more difficult to identify than other, more obvious types of addiction. This is because a trazodone high may not cause a person to act erratically.

Withdrawal Symptoms When Not Using Trazodone

Trazodone withdrawal occurs when a person suddenly stops taking it after long-term repeated use. Therefore, it is never a good idea to immediately quit taking SSRIs, and they should always be weaned off with the supervision of a medical professional.

Trazodone withdrawal symptoms can be severe and may worsen symptoms of depression. Some of the most common trazodone withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
The longer a person takes trazodone, the worse the withdrawal symptoms. This is because the brain becomes dependent on the medication to function. Usually, a person is gradually weaned off of trazodone over a period of two to four weeks.

Side Effects and Risks of Trazodone Abuse and Addiction

When used improperly, such as snorting or injecting, it is more likely that a person will take a much higher dosage than they should, creating a temporary trazodone high. This trazodone high is also possible when ingesting the pills orally in high dosages.
Trazodone withdrawal symptoms will appear within the first day that a person has stopped taking the medication. The withdrawal symptoms (as mentioned above) may increase in severity until they peak between three and five days. Typically, trazodone withdrawal symptoms will mimic the symptoms of a bad flu.
Trazodone’s most common side effects of addiction and abuse include:
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Digestive issues
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Confusion or memory issues
  • Dry mouth or bad taste in mouth

Severe Side Effects

These symptoms may occur in those using the medication as prescribed, but the risk of these side effects is low when used properly.4
There are also more severe side effects that are possible, including:
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Priapism
  • Chest pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Fainting, unconsciousness, or coma
  • Accelerated or irregular heartbeat
  • Night terrors or persistent nightmares
These side effects are consistent with a condition called serotonin syndrome or serotonin toxicity, and a person’s chances of experiencing them increase when trazodone is mixed with other medications containing SSRIs.

Treatment Options for Trazodone Addiction

Trazodone addiction

There are many treatment options for addiction. For medications like trazodone, it is recommended that medical detox be performed by a medical professional. Stopping trazodone or any other antidepressant medication “cold turkey” is not recommended as it can increase depressive symptoms in addition to the other side effects listed above.

Medical detox through a drug rehab or inpatient program should be the first option for patients struggling with trazodone addiction. Medical professionals at treatment facilities help manage withdrawal symptoms and provide patients with resources after leaving the facility.

Aftercare Programs

Once detox has been completed, it is recommended that patients attend group meetings or participate in a sober living program to learn valuable coping mechanisms to help them stay sober and reduce the possibility of a relapse.

Treatment With Concise Recovery

Trazodone withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant and can be extremely difficult to manage without the help of a rehab facility or detox center. We want to help you avoid some of the more serious withdrawal symptoms, such as rapid mood swings, shock-like sensations, extreme fatigue, vertigo, and cognitive difficulties.

At Concise Recovery, we make detox and recovery as comfortable as possible. Additionally, we want to ensure that you have the education and information you need to stay sober once you have recovered. So, we offer a variety of treatment and aftercare programs to help you live a clean and healthy life.

Get help today for trazodone addiction, and let us help you receive the healing you deserve. Reach out to our team today to learn about our treatment options and how we can help you overcome your trazodone addiction.