Drug Use

What is Trazodone?

Can a Person in Recovery Use it?

Mood disorders and addiction often go hand-in-hand, making recovery a complex process. Some people who suffer from depression turn to alcohol and drugs to self-medicate, and others who are addicted to drugs can experience one or more symptoms of a mental health disorder. If you or a loved one have a mental health or substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders, the prescription drug Trazodone may offer some relief.

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone is a prescription antidepressant medication, available under the brand names Desyrel and Oleptro, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for managing and treating a major depressive disorder and depression. Classified as a serotonin modulator, Trazodone works by helping to restore the balance of serotonin in the brain.

Trazodone increases levels of serotonin which can help patients sleep better, improve their moods, and decrease anxiety. As a result, doctors sometimes prescribe the medicine off-label for uses not approved by the FDA, including anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use recovery.

The Benefits of Trazodone for Substance Use Recovery

Addiction recovery specialists may use Trazodone as part of a treatment plan for drug or alcohol dependence in patients experiencing withdrawal symptoms. When used as part of medication-assisted treatment, doctors can better manage the patients’ withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, nausea, and cravings.

Managing insomnia, the most common withdrawal symptom among patients trying to recover from alcohol addiction, is critical in allowing the body to rest and recover, minimizing the risk of a relapse. Some patients ended up in recovery because they became addicted to alcohol after turning to it as a sleep aid. The sedative effect of trazodone helps give patients relief from sleepless nights, allowing them to focus more on their recovery.

For patients suffering from co-occurring disorders, such as depression and drug or alcohol addiction, Trazodone is beneficial for treating the conditions simultaneously. When used under proper medical supervision, Trazodone can increase energy levels while decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety.

Is Trazodone a Narcotic?

No. Narcotics are opioid pain relievers prescribed for severe pain not relieved by other types of painkillers. Opioids can be addictive due to their powerful pain relief and for producing a feeling of euphoria. Trazodone is not an opioid.

Is Trazodone Addictive?

Since Trazodone is not a narcotic, it is not deemed addictive. Trazodone is often a long-term treatment option, and patients can safely take medicine for extended periods. However, patients can develop a physical dependence on the drug resulting in withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop taking it. They should contact their doctor before halting use.

Potential Side Effects of Trazodone

Patients taking Trazodone could experience mild to serious side effects. Common adverse effects include blurred vision, changes in blood pressure, constipation, drowsiness, dry mouth, lightheadedness, and tiredness.

Patients should contact their healthcare provider if they experience worsening of the above side effects or develop any of the following serious side effects:

  • Chest, jaw, or left arm pain, or other symptoms of a heart attack

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Seizures

  • Shortness of breath

  • Slurred speech

Patients should not take Trazodone with antidepressants in the monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug classes, such as phenelzine and fluoxetine. Combining different types of antidepressants or taking high doses of Trazodone can lead to serotonin syndrome, a dangerous condition caused by a build-up of high levels of serotonin in the body.

Adolescents taking Trazodone may be at an increased risk of suicidal thoughts. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should advise their doctors before taking any prescription drugs or dietary supplements.

Anyone taking Trazodone should closely follow their prescriber’s instructions.

Is it Okay to take Trazodone Every Night?

Trazodone is a prescription drug and should only be taken under medical supervision. Patients should follow the medical advice of their prescriber.

Recovery and Trazodone

If you are recovering from a substance use disorder, talk to an addiction specialist or your doctor to find out if Trazodone can benefit you.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, Caron can help. Contact us today to learn about our treatment programs.

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