Trazodone is a commonly-prescribed medication belonging to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is intended to treat depression and anxiety and is also an effective sleep aid. It accomplishes this by preventing serotonin, a chemical messenger in the brain, from being reabsorbed by neurons. Serotonin is one of the vital chemicals responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. Therefore, increased serotonin levels can significantly improve a person’s mood and mitigate feelings of depression or anxiety.
SSRIs like trazodone (e.g., Desyrel and Trazodone D) have little potential for abuse, but long-term use often results in physical and psychological dependence. This condition can be problematic if a person using the medication wants to quit using it or reduce their dose.
Because the use or abuse of trazodone is usually directly associated with a mental health disorder, treatment for both issues may be required for a person trying to discontinue this medication. Although relatively uncommon, trazodone may be misused in excessive amounts in an attempt to induce or further improve sleep quality. Unfortunately, in doing so, patients may be increasing their level of dependence and the risk of experiencing adverse side effects.
When a person becomes dependent on a substance, their body will undergo a re-adjustment period upon cessation. If trazodone is used long-term and consistently, the body adapts to the drug’s presence and begins to rely on its ability to boost serotonin. If the user quits abruptly or significantly reduces the dose, the brain must re-learn how to produce serotonin without trazodone, which can take some time.
The withdrawal and detox process can include both mental/emotional and physical symptoms. These issues can be quite unpleasant and may thwart a person’s attempt to stop using trazodone. He or she may also encounter rebound effects, or a dramatic uptick in the initial symptoms for which the drug was intended to treat.
In any case, a person dependent on trazodone should not attempt to navigate the withdrawal process without medical supervision. A person who is motivated to get off trazodone should first consult the doctor who can help them make informed decisions about this possibility and their mental health care. For those with severe physical or emotional dependencies, medical detox and comprehensive addiction treatment may be necessary.
Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms
Similar to many antidepressants, symptoms related to trazodone withdrawal can include the following:
- Agitation and irritability
- Rebound depression
- Rebound anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Rebound insomnia
Some people may experience additional symptoms, depending on their level of dependence.
Trazodone Withdrawal Timeline
There is no exact withdrawal timeline that every person will experience, and in some cases, symptoms may persist for weeks or months. Effects related to a relatively mild dependence may subside in just days, while more severe problems could last much longer.
Half-life is a term that refers to the time it takes for half of the dose of a drug to be cleared from a person’s system. Trazodone has a half-life ranging between 5-9 hours, with an average of around seven hours. Unfortunately, the withdrawal process does not end when the substance has been eliminated from the body. Some physical effects will subside, but people will often continue to encounter some unwanted symptoms for an extended period.
When a person experiences withdrawal symptoms from prescription medications like trazodone, several factors can influence the duration and intensity of these effects, including the following:
- How long trazodone has been used
- Average dosage amount
- Whether trazodone was used as directed or misused
- Presence of other substances in the body
- Biological factors, including metabolic rate
There is also the matter of method of detox. Some people go the abrupt “cold turkey” route, which could lead to more severe initial withdrawal symptoms. Using a tapering off approach usually results in milder withdrawal symptoms, but the timeline is longer and may take several weeks to accomplish total cessation. A health provider can help devise a schedule to do this on an outpatient basis. Still, those who are abusing trazodone or need faster results should opt for a medical detox to help with withdrawal symptoms and provide support.
Getting Treatment for Substance Use
Trazodone addiction is relatively rare but does occasionally occur. Also, people who end up abusing this drug often do so in combination with other substances. In these cases, comprehensive treatment may be essential to facilitate the recovery process.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer detox services as well as comprehensive inpatient and partial hospitalization programs. Therapeutic services include those that are clinically proven to help individuals fully recover and sustain long-term health and wellness. These include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, experiential activities, mindfulness therapy, aftercare planning, and more.
If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please contact us today and discover how we can help!