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Is Trazodone Addictive?

Is Trazodone Addictive?

Trazodone is an antidepressant medication that’s also known by brand names like Desyrel, Dividose, and Oleptro. It’s usually used to treat depression with and without co-occurring anxiety. Doctors may prescribe trazodone off-label to treat alcohol dependence or insomnia, as well. Today we’re looking into whether trazodone is addictive and the risks associated with trazodone abuse or recreational use.

What Does Trazodone Do?

Trazodone falls into a class of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin to improve symptoms of major depressive disorder and anxiety-like depressed mood. Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that regulates emotions, and low levels of serotonin are believed to contribute to depression and other mental health disorders.

SSRIs, like trazodone, work by blocking serotonin receptors in the brain, preventing serotonin from being reabsorbed by neurons. This allows the chemical to accumulate in the brain. This increase in serotonin regulates the preexisting chemical imbalance, improving symptoms of depression or anxiety. Trazodone can also promote sleep, so it sometimes replaces barbiturates because it’s less likely to lead to addiction.

As with any prescription medication, trazodone can also produce some unwanted side effects like:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Poor coordination
  • Decreased ability to concentrate
  • Poor memory
  • Confusion
  • Nightmares
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Dry mouth
  • Rash
  • Sweating
  • Reduced sexual desire or performance
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Tired, red, or itchy eyes
  • Ear ringing
  • Numbness, burning, or tingling in the extremities

Although trazodone is a generally safe medication to use, it also carries a risk of misuse, dependence, withdrawal, and overdose. This medication should only be taken if and as prescribed by a doctor.

Why Do People Abuse Trazodone?

Because we’re talking about its potential for addiction, an important question to ask is: can trazodone get you high? Although trazodone cannot get you high in the same way drugs as opioids or stimulants can, it can have sedative effects.

Despite the lack of euphoria in a trazodone high, the drug produces a relaxing and calming effect that users might find desirable. Trazodone abuse can occur in people to whom it’s been prescribed and in people who take it for recreational purposes.

Despite having street names like “sleepeasy,” the trazodone drug is not regularly obtained illegally or on the streets. Instead, it’s most often abused by people who have been prescribed this medication.

There are different ways that people abuse trazodone, including:

  • Crushing and snorting trazodone tablets
  • Adding crushed trazodone to marijuana and smoking it
  • Adding crushed trazodone to alcohol or taking it with alcohol
  • Taking trazodone with other depressants like benzodiazepines or opioids

The risks of antidepressant abuse become more probable when antidepressants are taken with other drugs or alcohol. As a result of abuse, the person’s tolerance to trazodone may build up, eventually creating the need for a higher dose to maintain the original high or relief from depression symptoms.

Is Trazodone Habit-Forming (Addictive)?

Trazodone is addictive or habit-forming, but not in the same way that drugs like cocaine, meth, or heroin are. Rather than an all-consuming physical addiction, a person who abuses trazodone may develop a physical dependence on it and a psychological addiction to it.

Trazodone dependence is marked by withdrawal symptoms that occur when the person reduces their dosage or ceases use completely. Alongside dependence, a person may also develop a psychological addiction to trazodone, in which they might feel they have to use it to feel normal or be happy.

However, it’s important to note that trazodone dependence is not the same thing as addiction. A person who uses antidepressant medication for longer than 6 to 8 weeks may develop a physical dependence on the drug, but this is common and does not mean they’re addicted to it.

Addiction and abuse refer to the nonmedical use of drugs or substances that can cause various consequences for the individual or lead to severe impairment. Even so, in the case where you feel as if a certain dose of trazodone or any other medication is not as effective as it was before, do not take more doses than you’ve been prescribed, as this can lead to addiction.

Trazodone Addiction Symptoms

The initial signs of trazodone addiction are usually short-term physical effects that are similar to a hangover, including dizziness, nausea, and blurred vision. If the person ignores these symptoms and continues to misuse their medication, physical dependence and addiction can occur.

Early detection is essential when identifying substance abuse, so if you or someone you know is using it, pay attention to these trazodone addiction symptoms:

  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, school, or work because of trazodone use
  • Doctor shopping or going to multiple doctors to get more trazodone prescriptions
  • Obtaining more trazodone even when it’s no longer needed
  • Faking symptoms of depression or anxiety to get trazodone prescriptions
  • Buying or stealing trazodone from friends, family, or coworkers
  • Buying trazodone illegally
  • Having to increase your trazodone dosage to feel the same effects
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when your dose of trazodone is reduced or when you aren’t using it
  • Taking trazodone with other drugs or alcohol
  • Administering trazodone in ways it’s not meant to be used, such as crushing and snorting tablets
  • Continuing to use trazodone despite negative consequences like problems at work, with relationships, at school, etc.

Trazodone Addiction Recovery

If you or someone you know is struggling with trazodone addiction, it’s important to seek prescription drug addiction treatment right away. Comprehensive care, like the rehab programs offered at our Palm Springs, California drug rehab, save lives and make it possible for people with the most severe substance use disorders to achieve healthy and sober lives.

At Banyan Palm Springs, our levels of addiction care include medically monitored detox to treat withdrawals in a safe environment, individual and group therapy to promote healing and peer support, and even family therapy to help clients and their loved ones make amends. If you or someone you care about is addicted to drugs or alcohol, today is the day to get help.

Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 to learn how our California drug treatment programs can change your life for the better.

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Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.