Trazodone misuse can lead to a host of side effects, including life-threatening medical complications and overdose. Here’s what you should know about the drug itself and its risk for dependency. 

What Is Trazodone?

Trazodone is a prescription antidepressant medication used primarily in the treatment of major depressive disorder and anxiety. It is also considered a safe and effective off-label treatment for insomnia, although there is little research on the long-term use of trazodone for sleep.      

Trazodone works by restoring the balance of serotonin & other chemicals in the brain to increase energy, improve mood, increase appetite, and decrease anxiety or insomnia related to depression.

Since trazodone has the potential for side effects, your doctor may start you at a low dose and increase the dosage over time to reduce your risk. Some people may be more sensitive to side effects than others, so it is important to take trazodone with caution.

Side Effects of Trazodone

The most common side effects of trazodone include: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stuffy nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Weight changes
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle aches

While other side effects of trazodone are less common, they are also more serious and may require medical attention.

You should contact your doctor if you experience the following side effects while taking trazodone:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
  • Tremors
  • Nightmares. 

Rarely, trazodone can cause life-threatening complications that require immediate medical attention. These include chest or jaw pain, fainting, irregular heartbeat, eye pain or swelling, seizures, widened pupils, vision changes, or overdose.

Trazodone Risks and Warnings

In addition to the potential side effects listed above, trazodone could cause an allergic reaction. It may cause severe dizziness when combined with alcohol or marijuana, and all drug interactions should be avoided while taking it. Individuals who are using trazodone should not drive or complete any other tasks that require full vision until its effects have passed.

If you plan to stop taking trazodone, talk to your doctor first. Although the side effects are typically mild, there is a risk of withdrawal symptoms if you abruptly discontinue your use. There is also a risk of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, which can cause flu-like symptoms, nausea, insomnia (with nightmares), balance issues (including dizziness, vertigo, and lightheadedness), and sensory disturbances. 

Is Trazodone Addictive?

Trazodone carries a low risk of dependency or addiction, but it is possible to become dependent if you’ve used trazodone for at least 6-8 weeks. Additionally, the risk of addiction is higher among people who use trazodone for non-medical purposes. For example, some people may snort this medication to increase its sedating effects, leading to prolonged abuse and potential dependence.

Here are some signs that someone may be abusing trazodone or another prescription medication:

  • They make erratic doctor appointments
  • They suddenly request dosage increases
  • They frequently request prescription refills
  • They display indifference toward health concerns & side effects
  • They cannot maintain responsibilities at work, school, or home

Treatment Options for Trazodone Abuse

When a person is suffering from co-occurring conditions, like a substance use disorder and depression, they may be more likely to misuse trazodone and develop a dependency; in these cases, specialized treatment in a dual diagnosis facility is often the first step in overcoming the cyclical relationship between addiction and mental illness.  

Dual-diagnosis facilities provide integrated, simultaneous treatment for addiction and co-occurring psychiatric disorders, giving people the best chance for lasting recovery. 

To learn more about trazodone addiction and dual-diagnosis treatment options at STR Behavioral Health in Pennsylvania, contact us today at 866-944-1969