Substance Abuse
Substance Abuse: Prescription Drugs

Trazodone: A Review of Effects and Treatment Options

Trazodone is an antidepressant. It's used to treat major depressive disorder or MMD. The drug is sold under brand names such as Desyrel and Oleptro, among many other brand names globally.

Trazodone falls in a class of medications known as serotonin antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which increase serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a substance in your brain that maintains mental balance. 

For this reason, trazodone is effective in treating anxiety, insomnia, and schizophrenia. In addition, it is commonly prescribed to people recovering from alcohol addiction to manage sleep disorders.

Trazodone can also help control abnormal, uncontrollable movements that might result from side effects of other medications.

Trazodone comes in the form of a tablet taken orally. It comes in immediate-release as well as extended-release form.

The standard dosages are 50 mg, 100 mg, and 150 mg tablets, and extended-release tablets. It should be taken once or twice daily as prescribed by your doctor.

Can trazodone get you high?

Trazodone doesn’t get you high. However, the drug can have sedative effects, which can be a cause of abuse by some people.

Trazodone can help to recover quickly from an anxiety attack. However, some people become used to the drug, causing a tolerance build-up.

This means that a person must take higher doses to get the original level of relaxation.

Although trazodone does not give a euphoric ‘high”, many people continue to abuse the drug because of its sedating effects.

People who abuse it rarely abuse it alone. They take it with other drugs like methamphetamine, alcohol, or ecstasy, among others.

Others attempt to sniff trazodone to get a high concentration very quickly. As a result, the effects of trazodone become intensified, along with the side effects and dangers.

Long-term use of trazodone can lead to dependence, which causes withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit.

People who sniff trazodone take a high concentration of the drug at once, making them more prone to addiction and dependence.

Effects of using trazodone

Trazodone may cause side effects, ranging from mild to severe.

Mild side effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stuffy nose.

Some of these common side effects will improve gradually as the body gets used to it.

Severe side effects

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Priapism (abnormally prolonged erection)
  • Fainting
  • Coma
  • Suicide thoughts
  • Painful erection that lasts longer

In addition to these side effects, regular abusers have a high risk of overdose, which can be life-threatening. In case of trazodone overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222.

Treatment options for trazodone dependence

Trazodone dependence is difficult, just like any substance abuse case. If you are addicted to trazodone, it is very important to seek medical treatment straight away. 

This helps to avoid serious or life-threatening effects or interactions with other drugs.

Since trazodone works by acting on brain chemistry, a sudden decline in consumption may cause withdrawals. These include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Chills
  • Shock-like sensations
  • Vertigo or difficulty walking
  • Trouble focusing
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts

To avoid these symptoms, you may need professional assistance in the tapering process. Tapering is the gradual decrease in your usual dose until you achieve “zero dosage.”

Trazodone Detox

Many medical centers provide detox programs to aid those who are addicted, and one way is known as a medical taper or detox.

Trazodone detox assists individuals in overcoming physical dependence on a drug gradually.

While in trazodone detox, your medical provider will help you reduce your dose gradually while managing the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms through other medications. 

Treatment options include outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment.

  • Inpatient therapy: This requires you to live in the facility while undergoing trazodone treatment.
  • Outpatient therapy: This allows you to attend your treatment on a schedule while living your normal life.


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