Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by
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We are familiar with far better and safer alternative solutions than a lifetime spent taking antidepressant prescription drugs.
Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by
We are familiar with far better and safer alternative solutions than a lifetime spent taking antidepressant prescription drugs.
Alternative to Meds Center specializes in providing the types of treatment that are designed to help a person transition to a drug-free and symptom-free daily life. Trazodone is frequently prescribed off-label to treat insomnia, OCD, anxiety disorders, pain, bulimia, and even to mitigate the side effects of other medications. That is a partial list of off-label uses for trazodone. Trazodone is only FDA-approved for the treatment of depression.7
According to a 2017 study on the effects of antidepressants for treating insomnia, the results showed that while trazodone was more effective than some other antidepressants at improving sleep, it may lead to other problems such as oversedation, REM sleep behavior disorder, and others.6
Trazodone can bring on a condition called priapism, (persistent, painful penile erection) requiring urgent surgery to save the organ.26
At lower doses, Trazodone acts as a hypnotic, and at higher doses, as an antidepressant by blocking the serotonin pathway. As noted on the FDA label, Trazodone has been given a black box suicide warning and can also induce the potentially lethal condition called serotonin syndrome, so these risks can be quite dangerous.26,27 As far as other drugs that may be recommended as “alternative choices,” they have just as high a risk of being ineffective and causing adverse or unwanted side effects. Some doctors who are not aware of better alternatives may even suggest electroconvulsive therapy. There are safer trazodone alternatives that do not carry such risks, and some of these will be discussed in more detail as you continue reading.2,3,4
At Alternative to Meds Center, we aim to address each person’s unique profile and the symptoms they wish to be rid of with a customized holistic trazodone tapering and alternatives program to achieve maximum relief of symptoms, without side effects from the treatment.
Thankfully, there are many different forms of counseling and genres of psychotherapy. These include exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, life coaching, talk therapy, spiritual counseling, and many others. Many forms of psychotherapy can help individuals with depression. For example, talk therapy is a common trazodone alternative that can help depressed patients better understand their depression. Coping methods as well as learning how to resolve problems can involve meaningfully expressing feelings and emotions with their talk therapist. Many persons have found that talking out their feelings and participating in similar therapies are very helpful trazodone alternatives. The following information may help better understand some of the various types of talk therapy.
CBT: Cognitive-behavioral therapy is described as a practical and effective therapy for treating depression, according to Embling’s 2002 study that reported significant improvements in depression scores. With guidance, a person can become more aware of negative thought patterns or behavior patterns, which can then be evaluated and re-fashioned towards more positive experiences.8
DBT ( Dialectic Behavior Therapy ): A form of CBT that focuses on becoming more aware of one’s emotions, and troubling emotional responses to situations or others in one’s life. Dialectic refers to a discussion, especially one that can inspect or illuminate contradictions or illogic, and discover new ways to view old problems. By discovering new strategies one can avoid repeating negative patterns of the past. A study on older adults receiving DBT found a significant difference in sustained remission compared to those on medication alone.9
Exposure therapy: Sometimes called ERP or exposure with response prevention, the technique is based on a theory that one can learn to disengage or “unlearn” previous patterns by desensitizing or softening the usual anxiety spikes one has associated with certain triggers. According to a 2015 research study out of the Netherlands, the majority of this work is done outside of a formal session in the form of homework assignments. Another study suggests that willingness on the part of the client is the best predictor of success using this form of treatment.10,11
Clapp et al’s study on the “Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis.” reports that toxin-induced inflammation causes mood disturbance to occur. We also note the findings of Stephen Genuis’ research that toxicant exposure is the largely overlooked elephant in the room when it comes to causes of mental illness and disorders in our modern-day epidemic of mental health concerns. In our clinical experience at Alternative to Meds Center, we have seen much success after toxin removal using chelation, sauna detox, nebulized glutathione, and other methods of toxin removal.12,13
A wealth of research findings have laid out a clearly-lit pathway to improving mental health by correcting the diet so that neglected nutritional deficiencies and imbalances are not able to induce or intensify and prolong symptoms such as depression. The simple act of taking daily supplements of vital nutrients and amino acids can result in a profound reduction in psychiatric symptoms.14-16,22,23
According to an exhaustive study to measure which foods provide the most nutrient-dense source of those elements which relate to the prevention and treatment of depressive disorders, the following supplements are recommended: folate, iron, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, (EPA & DHA), magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamin B1, B6, B12, vitamin C, and zinc.22
These nutrients are found most concentrated in foods such as animal organ meats, shellfish and seafood, green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, and peppers. The diet can also be boosted for these nutrients with food-based supplements. According to Sarris et al’s research paper published in the Lancet, Nutritional Psychiatry has begun to focus directly on these principles for improvements in holistic mental health treatment.23
One of the best-known but possibly most under-used therapies for depression and anxiety is physical exercise. Clinical trials show that cognitive function also improves when the body is exercised regularly. Benefits have also been reported for improving self-esteem and social withdrawal.17,18
Another perhaps under-appreciated therapy for depression and other unwanted symptoms comes in the form of light therapies. Researchers Kent et al in their Journal of Environmental Health study published in 2009, concluded that shortened exposure to sunlight directly correlated to SAD-related symptoms of depression, and also reduced cognitive function in depressed persons. Michael Termin’s clinical research on treating non-seasonal major depressive disorders, and bipolar depression with light therapy is also quite fascinating. A research study by Golden et al found that light therapy significantly improved symptoms of mood disorders, most observably where drugs were not part of the treatment. Research is active and continues to document promising results from this exciting alternative treatment for depression and other symptoms.19,20,25
Acupuncture has been shown as effective as medication in 3 out of 10 studies, and more effective than medication in 7 of 10 studies, in treating depression according to Dong et al in their exceptionally thorough 2017 systematic review.21
If you are taking this drug and wish to stop taking it and decide to learn more about how to implement alternatives to trazodone, it is advised to consult with a doctor first as discontinuation may cause trazodone withdrawal symptoms. While they likely can help you reduce medication safely, they may not know very much about non-drug-based alternatives to trazodone.
If you are seeking trazodone alternatives because of the side effects and other problems related to antidepressant drugs, consider a consultation with a holistic rehab center such as Alternative to Meds Center in Sedona. Also consider a holistic, alternative, natural, or integrative doctor. Look for healthcare providers who carry the same medical licenses as traditional doctors. Though they can prescribe antidepressant drugs, they prefer to use their medical knowledge in different ways.1
Some of the alternative therapies an alternative doctor may recommend as alternative treatments for depression include acupuncture, vitamins and supplements, physical therapy, herbal nutritional therapy, dietary changes, and other healing complementary therapies. Many therapies can be learned and practiced in your own home, such as meditation and yoga. When using trazodone alternatives for insomnia or alternatives for depression, several therapies may work better if combined into a daily or regular regimen. Individuals seeking depression alternatives are advised to consult with a doctor and/or talk therapist of their choice who can help them to create a successful alternative treatment plan. Look for acupuncturists, massage therapists, and other professionals in your area.
When people have been prescribed antidepressant medications, it is usually before there has been any investigation to identify what is actually causing and contributing to their depression.2
A serotonin deficiency is typically what is blamed for the cause of depression. A much more lengthy conversation may show other factors could be involved. What if the person has impaired adrenals or low thyroid function? Perhaps they have an accumulation of neurotoxins from the environment such as toxic heavy metals that greatly impair and slow down energy metabolism. Testing can reveal much to help track down more complete answers that do lead to true recovery. If the person has a diet that is poor in essential minerals and other nutrients, then their CNS and brain may not be able to create what’s needed for healthy functioning. We are incredibly unique as individuals. There can never be a one-size-fits-all answer for such problems.
We may forget that the very same assaults of a poor diet that our body suffers from, can also negatively impact how we feel, and how much energy is available. Another factor to carefully consider is someone enduring a lifestyle that is simply unfulfilling, and they need a more supportive surrounding to make a change. These are only a sampling of the various factors that can contribute to a depressed state. The important thing is to investigate until the root causes can be identified and thus resolved safely. They will be uniquely yours, and the solutions will likewise need to be tailored to your uniqueness.
We at Alternative to Meds Center are committed to discovering the medical, psychological, and biophysical reasons why a person is struggling with depression, anxiety, or an inability to sleep. Our program includes lab tests, which inform how best to help normalize neurochemistry through natural substances, as well as shedding the lifetime accumulation of toxins to enable neurochemistry rehabilitation. Trazodone treatment programs at Alternative to Meds Center focus on safe medication withdrawal methods, targeted nutrition therapy, IV treatments, massage therapy, yoga, peer support, neurotoxin removal, personal training, exercise, neurotransmitter rehabilitation, Equine therapy, art therapy, and many more holistic protocols. All of these therapies are provided as stepping stones to overcome depression, reducing or eliminating the need for medication. We invite your call, so you can talk to us and receive a more comprehensive understanding of how a variety of natural trazodone alternatives can help you or a loved one to overcome lingering and troubling symptoms, and achieve natural mental health.
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3. Shin JJ, Saadabadi A. Trazodone. [Updated 2022 May 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470560/ [cited 2022 June 14]
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5. Everitt H, Baldwin DS, Stuart B, Lipinska G, Mayers A, Malizia AL, Manson CC, Wilson S. “Antidepressants for insomnia in adults.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 May 14;5(5):CD010753. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010753.pub2. PMID: 29761479; PMCID: PMC6494576. [cited 2022 June 14]
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Originally Published Nov 5, 2019 by Lyle Murphy Published Nov 5, 2019
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.
Lyle Murphy is the founder of the Alternative to Meds Center, a licensed residential program that helps people overcome dependence on psychiatric medication and addiction issues using holistic and psychotherapeutic methods.