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Trazodone Addiction

This entry was posted in Addiction on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on June 8, 2022 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

At Alternative to Meds Center, we know there are other solutions besides living your life medicated or developing trazodone addiction or dependency.13 We can help.

Signs of Trazodone Addiction include:
  • The drug is used to get high, feel elation, or experience euphoria or other drug-liking effects
  • To feel the dissociative effects of elevated serotonin
  • Using more often, for longer periods than prescribed, or at higher doses than prescribed
  • Drug-craving, strong urge, compulsion to use the drug
  • The drug is taken to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • A desire to cut down or control the use of the drug
  • Concealing the amount taken from the prescriber, family, or associates
  • Requesting early refills on the prescription
  • Indifference to side effects
  • Recurring loss of time at work or school or ignored social obligations due to drug use
  • Giving up normal recreational or other activities

How Can Trazodone Addiction or Dependence Develop?

A 2018 survey of 1829 antidepressant users showed that 27% of them felt they were addicted to their antidepressant drugs.15 Trazodone is the generic name for an antidepressant, previously sold under the brand names Desyrel©, and Oleptro©. Trazodone is now available only in the generic version. Trazodone was approved by the FDA solely for major depressive disorder. However, its main use is not as an antidepressant. Trazodone has transitioned into a common off-label treatment for insomnia, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, and many other off-label uses. Initial doses (25-50 mg a day), are often increased (100-300 mg) due to waning or unsatisfactory efficacy. The clinical effects of trazodone in treating MDD are understudied, according to research published in the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Comparative Effectiveness Reviews.1

Drug tolerance and dependence can develop with insomnia, for example, where a user feels compelled to increase the dosage to get the knock-out effect so they can get some sleep. This is distinct from pleasure-seeking behavior, associated with the term addiction. However, both addiction and dependence share a common characteristic and that is that when you stop taking the drug, withdrawal symptoms can occur.

As tolerance develops, discontinuation may lead to withdrawal symptoms. At the Alternative to Meds Center, clients often tell us they feel as though they were not properly warned of side effects, not informed of potential trazodone dependence or trazodone addiction, and were not prepared for trazodone withdrawal symptoms when stopping the drug. These topics will be discussed in more detail below.

Signs of Needing Trazodone Addiction or Dependence Help

trazodone addiction helpIf you feel you have an antidepressant addiction and want to withdraw from your medication it is highly advisable to consult a doctor or qualified rehab center for help. One may not have been informed or prepared for the possible side effects that can arise from stopping trazodone. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings may be difficult to manage without assistance.

Some people become aware of their dependency if they miss a dose or their prescription runs out, often only then realizing how dependent on Trazodone they have become. Hours after skipping, missing, forgetting, or reducing a dose of this antidepressant, individuals have commonly reported such symptoms as dry mouth, vomiting, nausea, headache, brain zaps, severe chest pain, impaired speech, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, discomfort, a feeling of illness, cravings, and many other uncomfortable symptoms. Long-term use and higher dosage than prescribed are more likely to develop into trazodone addiction and dependence risks. Finding trazodone addiction help can assist individuals in overcoming these problems.

How To Recognize Trazodone Addiction or Dependence?

If stopping the drug makes you feel sick and you crave the drug to make you feel better that is a sign of trazodone addiction or dependence. Tolerance is the need to increase the dose to get the same initial effects and is another sign of trazodone addiction. If you feel you have to take the drug every day to maintain feelings of well-being that is also a sign of dependence/addiction. If you don’t take the drug, the feelings of well-being may disappear, or insomnia may intensify, and since the body has become physically dependent upon the drug; it may be difficult to function properly without it. Trazodone addiction and dependence share these characteristics. Can you recognize these signs? That is a good first step.

What Causes Symptoms Like Insomnia, Anxiety, or Depression?

Depression

root cause of depressionThere are many potential causes of depression, none of which are a deficiency in medication. Well before opting for prescription drugs, or during the process of trazodone addiction recovery, one can investigate where the root cause may be.

Unfortunately, due to time pressures and other factors, antidepressant medications are usually prescribed after a brief doctor visit and prior to there being any investigative efforts to find out what the actual cause might be. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed after a traumatic loss or some other event that truly knocked them flat. Sadly, after long-term use, they can possibly now be struggling with antidepressant addiction issues as well as still struggling with the original trauma — symptoms that the drugs never fully fixed. Alternative to Meds Center focuses on the underlying reasons that are contributing to a person’s depressed state as a fundamental part of their treatment program.

Nutrition, exercise, lifestyle choices, and many other factors can play a role in mood and enhancing well-being. For example, low-level melatonin production at night is associated with major depressive disorder and other conditions. Testing, plus a modified diet and supplementation to reverse the deficiency could be considered in such a case.8

Insomnia

what causes insomniaInsomnia is widespread, estimated to affect somewhere around 30-40% of the world’s population, including all racial and ethnic groupings of people.3,4

For the inquisitive mind, statistics can show trends that may help understand what can contribute to a problem. For example, women suffering from PMS, military personnel others suffering from PTSD, those who suffer frequent heartburn, factory workers, and people who fly frequently through multiple time zones and especially in an eastern direction, tend to suffer higher levels of sleep disruptions.5

Diet and daily habits can also have a profound effect on one’s quality of sleep. A review of studies published in the 2012 Journal of Nutrition Research on the effects of diet choices on sleep showed that irregularly scheduled meals, eating high amounts of refined carbs, and consuming few vegetables daily were associated with poor sleep. The review also concluded that consuming foods that support the synthesis of melatonin naturally in the body, was associated with increased sleep quality.7 Melatonin is often called the sleep hormone and is enhanced in response to darkness.8 In fact, melatonin production is suppressed in the presence of sunlight or other sources of light, so keeping the sleeping area in darkness is recommended. Caffeine should be avoided as it also suppresses the availability of melatonin. One can choose tomatoes, barley, oats, grapes, walnuts, rice as examples of foods that can provide higher concentrations of melatonin.

For chronic insomnia sufferers, it may be more beneficial to do a deep dive into other potential contributing factors, than to continue to rely on drugs that do not cure the problem and may even cause other problems, such as trazodone addiction and dependence. For example, the Journal of the American Family Physician published their findings in 2012 that relaxation exercises, cognitive behavioral counseling, improving sleep hygiene — think comfortable mattress & pillow, good ventilation, removing light sources and electronics from the bedroom, etc. — and a wide variety of other nonpharmacological therapies successfully achieved improved sleep.6

Anxiety

what causes anxietyA diagnosis of anxiety is the most common diagnosis of the modern world, statistically speaking. But a diagnosis of anxiety and a prescription is not necessarily the solution one was hoping for. From a holistic standpoint, many contributing factors could have been overlooked in desperation to find relief. Certain food groups, for example, are associated with symptoms such as anxiety, and a modified diet may be a more constructive path to consider. For example, refined grains, lack of fruits and vegetables, and alcohol consumption are all associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety, according to research published in the European Journal of Nutrition.9

Toxic exposure is also a known culprit for mood disorders, as explained in a fascinating study out of China on the anxiety-like behavior of zebrafish after lead exposure.10 In fact, toxic exposure is commonly misdiagnosed as mental illness, according to research published in the 2013 Journal of Psychiatric Clinicians of North America. Toxic load in the body can be tested for and removed safely, without prescription medication.11

One may also wish to consider options such as mindfulness meditation, exercise regimens including walking, jogging, stretching, yoga, QiGong, as well as counseling, deep breathing exercises and other learned relaxation techniques, all of which have shown efficacy for reduction of anxiety and related symptoms.12

Battling anxiety might mean a lifestyle makeover, detoxing from not only chemical exposures but from toxic relationships and environments. Adding positives to one’s lifestyle can have a synergistic effect on mood, energy level, productivity, and personal satisfaction. Don’t believe there is no other solution than a “fake fix” that might lead instead to trazodone addiction or dependence.

Holistic Trazodone Addiction or Dependence Treatment at Alternative to Meds Center

alternative to meds center sedona arizonaAt Alternative to Meds Center, we have been helping people find authentic, holistic solutions to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other undesirable conditions and we’ve been doing it for well over 15 years, with great success. The reason for our success is that the foundation of our programs is based on looking for root causes, and addressing what is isolated as a contributing factor. We help a person gently reduce and even eliminate medication, while concurrently improving the positives in mental health and well-being. Our programs employ lab testing to identify underlying causes of why a medication was ever prescribed in the first place. Perhaps testing and removal of neurotoxins, was never done, and your vitamin and mineral deficiencies were overlooked in the past. In a friendly and supportive in-patient setting, our clients enjoy peer support, massage therapy, IV+NAD therapy, safe and gentle medication withdrawal methods, amino therapies, nutritional therapy, yoga, Qi Gong classes, outdoor exercise, personal life coaching, cognitive behavioral counseling, nebulized glutathione treatments, and many other therapies. Please contact us for more information on how our program may benefit you or your loved one to effectively treat unwanted symptoms and not only recover from trazodone addiction or dependence, but discover a brand new pathway to natural mental health that will be sustainable for the rest of your life.


1. Ioannidis JP. Effectiveness of antidepressants: an evidence myth constructed from a thousand randomized trials? Philos Ethics Humanit Med. 2008 May 27;3:14. doi: 10.1186/1747-5341-3-14. PMID: 18505564; PMCID: PMC2412901. [cited 2022 June 7]

2. Shin JJ, Saadabadi A. Trazodone. [Updated 2021 Aug 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470560/  [cited 2022 June 7]

3. Roth T. Insomnia: definition, prevalence, etiology, and consequences. J Clin Sleep Med. 2007;3(5 Suppl):S7-S10. [cited 2022 June 7]

4. Dosman JA, Karunanayake CP, Fenton M, Ramsden VR, Skomro R, Kirychuk S, Rennie DC, Seeseequasis J, Bird C, McMullin K, Russell BP, Koehncke N, Smith-Windsor T, King M, Abonyi S, Pahwa P. Prevalence of Insomnia in Two Saskatchewan First Nation Communities. Clocks Sleep. 2021 Jan 28;3(1):98-114. doi: 10.3390/clockssleep3010007. PMID: 33525338; PMCID: PMC7931024. [cited 2022 June 7]

5. Suni E, Truong K, Sleep Statistics [internet] published Mar 11, 2022 by The Sleep Foundation [cited 2022 June 7]

6. Maness DL, Khan M. Nonpharmacologic Management of Chronic Insomnia. Am Fam Physician. 2015 Dec 15;92(12):1058-64. PMID: 26760592. [cited 2022 June 7]

7. Peuhkuri K, Sihvola N, Korpela R. Diet promotes sleep duration and quality. Nutr Res. 2012 May;32(5):309-19. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.03.009. Epub 2012 Apr 25. PMID: 22652369. [cited 2022 June 7]

8. Tordjman S, Chokron S, Delorme R, et al. Melatonin: Pharmacology, Functions and Therapeutic BenefitsCurr Neuropharmacol. 2017;15(3):434-443. doi:10.2174/1570159X14666161228122115 [cited 2022 June 7]

9. Gibson-Smith D, Bot M, Brouwer IA, Visser M, Giltay EJ, Penninx BWJH. Association of food groups with depression and anxiety disorders. Eur J Nutr. 2020 Mar;59(2):767-778. doi: 10.1007/s00394-019-01943-4. Epub 2019 Apr 3. PMID: 30945032; PMCID: PMC7058560. [cited 2022 June 7]

10. Zheng XJ, Wang T, Tian Y, Hu ZQ, Shang N. [Research on anxiety-like neurobehavior of zebrafish caused by lead exposure and its mechanism]. Zhonghua Lao Dong Wei Sheng Zhi Ye Bing Za Zhi. 2021 Jun 20;39(6):407-411. Chinese. doi: 10.3760/cma.j.cn121094-20210119-00035. PMID: 34218554. [cited 2022 June 7]

11. Barry JD, Wills BK. Neurotoxic emergencies. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2013 Jun;36(2):219-44. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2013.02.003. Epub 2013 Apr 11. PMID: 23688689.[cited 2022 June 7]

12. Servant D. Traitement non médicamenteux des troubles anxieux [Non-pharmacological treatment for anxiety disorders]. Rev Prat. 2019 Nov;69(9):985-987. French. PMID: 32237617. [cited 2022 June 7]

13. Evans EA, Sullivan MA. Abuse and misuse of antidepressantsSubst Abuse Rehabil. 2014;5:107-120. Published 2014 Aug 14. doi:10.2147/SAR.S37917 [cited June 7]

14. Haddad P. Do antidepressants have any potential to cause addiction? J Psychopharmacol. 1999;13(3):300-7. doi: 10.1177/026988119901300321. PMID: 10512092. [cited 2022 June 7]

15. Read J, Cartwright C, Gibson K. How many of 1829 antidepressant users report withdrawal effects or addiction? Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2018 Dec;27(6):1805-1815. doi: 10.1111/inm.12488. Epub 2018 Jun 5. PMID: 29873165. [cited 2022 June 7]


Originally Published by Diane Ridaeus Published Nov 4, 2019


This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Trazodone Addiction
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