Trazodone is a prescription medication used to treat major depressive disorder, also known as depression. There has been much debate as to whether trazodone is a narcotic or controlled substance. This is an important question because it may call the legality of trazadone into question.
Trazodone does require a prescription for use. According to the United States, however, it’s not classified as a narcotic or controlled substance. Trazadone does have potential to become addictive, but not as much as other antidepressant drugs or sleep aids.
Trazodone As A Narcotic
Narcotics is a term that can apply to both prescription and illegal drugs. Drugs in this category receive this classification because they have the potential to be addictive. Some of the most commonly abused drugs within this class are fentanyl, tramadol, and codeine.
Because trazodone is not typically seen as addictive, it’s not classified as a narcotic. Trazodone is mostly known as a general antidepressant, but can also be used a sleep aid.
Trazodone is typically prescribed for insomnia and anxiety, as well as depression.
How Trazodone Works
Trazadone works by altering the brain chemistry of patients who are prescribed the drug. It can provide relief from depression through changing the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Experts have concluded that an imbalance in brain chemicals is the primary cause of major depressive disorder.
Trazodone is effective because it stops the reuptake of serotonin within the brain. When the reuptake of serotonin is prevented, it makes more serotonin available within the brain which then elevates the patient’s mood.
In addition to treating depression, trazodone can also help to elevate a patient’s mood, appetite, or energy level. This is because trazodone has the ability to elevate the serotonin level in a person’s brain. As a result, trazodone is used to treat several other medical complications that aren’t covered under its approval by the FDA. These include agitation, insomnia, and aggression associated with dementia.
Trazodone As A Controlled Substance
A controlled substance is also a prescription medication that has the potential for abuse or addiction. Controlled substances need to be regulated by the federal government because they can cause negative side effects in a person that uses them. Being in possession of a controlled substance without a prescription is illegal. Anyone who is in possession of these substances, without a prescription from a doctor, could be subject to prosecution from state and federal law enforcement.
The FDA has passed legislation concerning controlled substances known as the Controlled Substances Act. These laws break down controlled substances into different categories.
Schedule I is the category of substances that have no medical use. Substances in this category are typically thought to be unsafe. They are the most likely to be abused and they can be highly addictive. Heroin would be an example of a Schedule I drug.
Schedule II drugs also have a high risk of being abused and causing addiction, but they do have some medical purpose. From there, each schedule of controlled substances is less risky than the last.
Although some of these substances are considered illegal, they can be efficient treatment methods for a variety of medical conditions. If you’re in possession of these medications, and they have been prescribed to you by a medical professional, you are not breaking the law.
Is Trazodone A Narcotic?
Trazodone is primarily classified as antidepressant medication. It’s considered an atypical antidepressant, and the technical term for trazodone is a serotonin modulator.
Being an atypical antidepressant means that trazodone is not chemically related to other drugs that are typically classified as antidepressants. Standard antidepressant medications are usually classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Trazodone shares nothing in common with any of the typical antidepressant medications. In fact, it’s most closely related to a substance known as nefazodone and behaves in the same way.
Being a serotonin modulator, trazodone affects the brain in a different way than traditional antidepressant medications. This type of drug was developed as a more targeted approach to brain chemistry. They were designed to accommodate the several serotonin receptor subtypes that exist in the brain. This makes trazodone effective in different ways because most SSRIs do not affect all of the brain’s serotonin receptors.
Trazodone is not classified by the FDA as a Schedule I substance. However, like any medication, it still needs to be taken with caution and there can still be risks involved. It needs to be used cautiously, and people who are prescribed the medication should only take it according to their doctor’s instructions.
Using the drug recreationally can be very dangerous. High doses of trazodone have been known to cause hallucinations. Misusing the drug, or taking too much, can result in serious health risks.
Side Effects of Trazodone
Trazodone, much like other medications used for treating depression, can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It can also increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, which may be life-threatening in some cases.
If someone taking trazodone develops serotonin syndrome, and they are taking multiple medications, they may have an increased risk of side effects such as hallucinations and agitation. This can happen due to the increased amount of serotonin available in the brain.
Severe anxiety, agitation, insomnia, and aggression are also possible while taking trazodone. A person that has been taking the medication may feel restless or feel pre-existing anxiety symptoms start to worsen.
Some of the more common side effects while taking trazodone are feeling dizzy, drowsiness, constipation, or blurred vision. These side effects will typically last a few days or a few weeks and then subside. If these symptoms don’t go away the person taking the drug should contact their doctor.
Trazodone, although it isn’t classified as a Schedule I substance, should not be taken lightly. Side effects can be serious and there is always the potential for abuse.
Drugs classified as antidepressants can be especially dangerous. If an addiction or dependence develops, it may be wise to pursue a medically supervised rehab program.
If you have any questions on where to turn, or would like more resources on possible options, contact Just Believe today.