Drug abuse is an ongoing challenge for us as a nation, and every day more and more lives are affected, altered, and even destroyed by some form of addiction. This addiction can be to nearly any substance, from alcohol to crystal meth and heroin, and can often even encompasses legal prescription drugs legitimately prescribed to an individual.

While all street drugs and illicit substances are always dangerous, knowing that they are dangerous allows most people to stay away from them. However, in some situations, we are given a sense of thinking something is harmless when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In many cases, medications that are prescribed can have significant side effects or addiction potential.

One of the medications that are prescribed to tens of millions of Americans every year that can have dangerous side effects is Trazodone. Trazodone is a medication approved to help those suffering from depression, which was also sold under brand names Trialodine, Oleptro, and Desyrel. While it is an antidepressant, it is also sometimes used to mitigate the symptoms associated with insomnia or agitation. 

Trazodone is not classified by the DEA as a federally controlled substance, even though it is possible to become physically dependent on it. Taking Trazodone changes how your brain produces and interacts with neurotransmitters and other compounds. If taken for a significant length of time the brain will become dependent on its effects, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms. 

While it is difficult to estimate Trazodone abuse at large, it is often abused by those living with polysubstance use disorder, or those that like to mix drugs in general. Trazodone works by helping the body to rebalance the serotonin levels in the body, which is a similar mechanism that is used by 

Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Since Trazodone is often used to manage depression, there is little thought given to the dependence it will generate. This applied, even more, when it is being taken over long periods. The severely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can occur are often unavoidable due to the cyclical nature of the trap of addiction, and quickly become the main incentive to keep using Trazodone.

These symptoms are almost guaranteed if an individual has been prescribed Trazodone and has been taking it regularly for some time. Trying to quit suddenly, or cold turkey, can not only be uncomfortable or painful, but it may even be dangerous to your overall health. Working with addiction professionals can make sure that the detox and withdrawal stage go smoothly, and that medical help is available if anything becomes too distressing.

Those individuals that will be no longer taking Trazodone are likely to experience several withdrawal symptoms, which may include:

  • Disruption of normal sleep cycles
  • Pain or weakness in the muscles
  • General fatigue and tiredness
  • Headache or stomach ache
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and even severe disorientation
  • Uncontrollable sweating
  • The feeling of electrical jolts or shocks in the brain
  • Emotional instability and irritability
  • Anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation
  • Feelings of tightness in the chest

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Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline of Trazodone

The withdrawal timeline for each individual will not only depend on a wide variety of medical history factors but also their addiction profile and current history. Since Trazodone has a slightly longer half-life than other drugs, this means it takes a much longer time for it to sufficiently exit the body.

The half-life for a drug is how long it takes for half of that drug to be metabolized and removed by the body. In general, any drug will need about 5 half-lives. The half-life for Trazodone is between 5 and 9 hours for the drug, depending on the user. This means that for some individuals, their bodies may be able to remove the Trazodone as quickly as just 20-25 hours. For some others, there may be significant Trazodone levels in the body for as long as 45-50 hours.

Once the level of Trazodone in an individual’s body drops to a specified range the body, after having been consistently maintained, will frequently begin to feel withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms as well as their severity will often vary depending on the addiction history and can range from uncomfortable and inconvenient to painful and even dangerous. 

Factors That Will Influence The Trazodone Withdrawal Severity

  • Frequency Of Dosing – The frequency with which an individual used Trazodone before seeking treatment will be highly influential in their detox and withdrawal stage. Those with a history of frequent use will often find that they have trained their bodies to expect the drug in order to function normally. This can create additional challenges to the withdrawal process, as symptoms can begin to set in far quicker than those who dosed more infrequently.
  • Dosage Prior To Quitting – The average dosage at the time of quitting can also help to estimate the potential difficulty with the Trazodone withdrawal process. Those that used larger doses are more likely to experience not only a wider variety of withdrawal symptoms, but those symptoms are more likely to be severe or more intense. Individuals that used smaller doses are only likely to experience a limited set of symptoms, and the severity level should be very manageable.
  • Physical Characteristics – The physical attributes of the individual in recovery will also have a more central role than just about anything else when it comes to the ease of the withdrawal and detox process. Those with higher body mass are likely to find that the symptoms become more dilute, while those with less mass overall may have a bit more trouble as the symptoms hit them a little harder.
  • Metabolic Profile – Since a large portion of how your body responds to medication is going to be based on your metabolism, it will also play a large role in Trazodone withdrawals. Users that have a much faster metabolic rate are far more likely to experience a shorter and less intense detox process as their body breaks down and flushes out the drug faster. 
  • Medical Factors – The medical history but also the current medical health condition of the individual can weigh incredibly heavily on the eventual detox task. Someone with a long history of medical challenges should brace for a difficult withdrawal and potential medical complications. The same would apply to anyone living with any co-occurring conditions, as these would complicate the recovery in all but the rarest situations. AdobeStock 372165334 1024x683
  • Method Of Cessation – This is something that many people do not consider, but by checking with your doctor or health care professional you may be able to avoid some additional symptoms. Those that quit cold turkey are often found to experience far more symptoms at a much greater intensity than those that taper off. Users that work with an addiction professional to taper down their use over a week or two are usually able to detox in a much more comfortable way.
  • Polysubstance Use Disorder – If the individual has had a history of addiction, using multiple drugs at once, or even being diagnosed with polysubstance use disorder can complicate the withdrawals to a significant degree. Additional drugs can create not only additional withdrawal risks but risks of additional and unrelated medical complications. If the individual is combining Trazodone with a hard drug like heroin, or even legal drugs like alcohol, there could be much more serious interactions or effects that medical staff will be on the lookout for.

How To Manage Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Even though Trazodone isn’t a federally controlled substance it can still present a significant threat of dependence and addiction. Additionally, if you or someone you care for is having a problem with Trazodone they may be finding it incredibly hard to talk about. If someone isn’t comfortable talking about something they won’t be comfortable asking for help with it. The first step to managing Trazodone withdrawal symptoms is to talk to someone confidentially and begin creating a personalized treatment plan. 

Working with a professional addiction treatment facility is going to be the safest and most comfortable method to starting a lasting recovery. By working with a team of experienced professionals and counselors the individual seeking recovery will be able to have transparency into each step of the journey. 

In some cases, the detox and withdrawal portion can be completed faster or with increased comfort by using medication to assist the process. Though this is often reserved for severe cases with a high risk of complication, your care team will be equipped to explore and discuss all treatment options with you. This way you are fully informed of everything that is happening and are able to maintain the highest level of comfort with your treatment plan. 

Not only can the detox and withdrawal stage be completed under medical supervision, but afterward the individual will have access to countless resources designed to help them in building lifelong recovery. By understanding their own motivations behind their addiction and the triggers that cause them to want to use, those in recovery can be much more successful in their sobriety.