Trazodone Abuse & Addiction: What You Should Know
clock_iconFebruary 26, 2021 clock_icon4 min read

Developed in Italy in the 1960s before being approved to treat depression by the FDA in 1981, Trazodone is a fairly common antidepressant although it has become a relevant and viable medication for other ailments like difficulty sleeping. It's possible you’ve heard of Trazodone or one of its numerous brand names, including Desyrel, Desyrel, Dividose, and Oleptro.

Trazodone is a type of drug known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which means it shares the same classification as Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac, and Paxil, among numerous others. As its typification suggests, Trazodone affects neurochemical levels in the brain, particularly serotonin, a neurotransmitter most known for regulating our emotions. By preventing the uptake of serotonin in brain cells, Trazodone increases the amount of serotonin in the brain, providing relief from depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even physical pain to a small extent.

Abuse of antidepressants like Trazodone is very uncommon compared to other prescription drugs, such as painkillers. However, that's not to say that abuse doesn't happen. In fact, abuse of and addiction to Trazodone can (and certainly does) occur.

Can You Get Addicted to Trazodone?

Yes, Trazodone is addictive even though the drug is not classified as a narcotic or controlled substance. Someone who continues to take Trazodone when the drug causes physical or psychological problems is clearly addicted to Trazodone. Withdrawal symptoms can be serious and indicate physical dependence and addiction.

Trazodone abuse tends to occur when someone who enjoys the sedative effect of Trazodone “shops around” for a prescription, takes someone else’s prescription, or takes higher doses of Trazodone than prescribed. Higher doses lead to higher tolerance, increasing the risk of severe side effects and overdosing.

Trazodone should only be taken at proper doses under a physician’s supervision. Doctors recommend tapering off use of Trazodone to prevent a deficiency of serotonin activity and minimize the severity of withdrawal symptoms, which can include:

  • Rapid mood swings
  • Shock-like sensations
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Lack of concentration
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Side Effects of Trazodone Addiction

As with any prescription medication, Trazodone can cause side effects, especially when your doctor’s instructions are not followed.

Trazodone can be dangerous when taken in high doses or with another antidepressant. This can lead to serotonin syndrome, which is an elevated level of serotonin in the body. Mild side effects of serotonin syndrome include shivering and diarrhea, while more severe side effects include muscle rigidity and seizures.

Other side effects of Trazodone include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Sweating
  • Swelling
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Congestion
  • Dry mouth

More severe side effects include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Painful, prolonged erection of the penis or clitoris (priapism)
  • Heart rhythm disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults

Trazodone abuse can also lead to long-term behavioral disorders that aren’t obvious right away. For example, someone who has been addicted to Trazodone for a long time might have difficulty speaking and carrying on a conversation. Mood swings and unpredictable behavior can also result from Trazadone addiction.

When side effects of Trazodone are ignored, this is a clear warning sign of addiction that will likely require professional treatment.

West Valley Detox Can Help You Stop Using Trazodone

While Trazodone is generally safe, there are serious risks and side effects when someone becomes addicted. Medical detox is typically recommended for the treatment of Trazodone addiction.

If you or someone you know is addicted to Trazodone, West Valley Detox can help. Our medical detox program is fully inclusive and ensures that you receive the necessary support to stop using Trazodone safely and successfully. For more information, contact West Valley Detox or schedule a free consultation today.

West Valley Detox Treatment, Rehabilitation, Tarzana, CA
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