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Trazodone Tapering

Trazodone Tapering

This entry was posted in Antidepressant on by .

Last Updated on January 15, 2021 by Carol Gillette

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

 
Alternative to Meds Center knows how important it is to seek competent medical oversight & guidance to maneuver Trazodone tapering in an exacting, slow and gentle way.

Side effects and reactions when discontinuing antidepressants such as Trazodone, even after indisputable evidence regarding these complications, still tend to be largely misunderstood and ignored by the same people who prescribe these drugs.

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Why is Trazodone Tapering So Difficult?

Why tapering Trazodone is so difficult is not completely understood. SARI drugs alter/manipulate certain brain chemicals and how neurochemistry functions. (See below for more info on the mechanics of SARI drugs.)

It is thought that these changes create a severe backlash as the drug-impaired CNS and brain chemistry attempt to regulate. There were possibly pre-drug conditions that were overlooked as well, that still need to be resolved.

These reactions can be hard to tolerate, unless proper preparations have occurred, and it helps if the person knows what to expect during the drug titration process.

When to Taper Off Trazodone

trazodone crisisIn the midst of a crisis requiring medication, the last thing on someone’s mind is how they are ever going to be able to taper off the medication. In the rush of desperately seeking help for symptoms of depression, a person does not always have the time or opportunity to even research their diagnosis. Nor will a person question the prescription that has been recommended, or take time to understand the nature of the drug(s) so prescribed. It is only later that a person might reach a point where getting off their medication seems the best option. That is a good time to research the drug they are taking, how it functions, how it changes brain chemistry, and to get a better understanding of what type of support would be needed to assist the transition to drug-free.

In theory, two main scenarios precede considering Trazodone titration. The first is where the treatment was very successful, and the prescribing physician recommends a gradual Trazodone cessation because the patient is now well.

Far more commonly, the second situation finds the treatment has not provided the relief that was sought, and any perceived benefits are being canceled out by adverse side effects. Tapering Trazodone may present a challenge because of particularly harsh reactions that may emerge while weaning off the drug. The situation can resemble quite a medical puzzle. For safety reasons, it is wisest to seek competent medical oversight and guidance to maneuver through the Trazodone tapering process.

Stopping Trazodone Should Be Done Very Slowly

getting off trazodoneA Japanese study from 1994 followed a number of patients stopping Trazodone and the difficulties they encountered during the process.

The researchers point to a possible rebound effect of certain neurochemicals when the drug is being discontinued. They found that even a gradual Trazodone titration could still produce considerable adverse reactions. These medical researchers concluded that patients should begin tapering Trazodone VERY slowly to mitigate and maybe even prevent these reactions as much as possible.1

But time is not the only factor that can contribute to a successful Trazodone tapering program.

Alternative to Meds Center’s Trazodone Tapering Program

Getting off Trazodone or any drug can present certain difficulties as the body begins to adjust back to a non-medicated state. Understanding as much as we can about the mechanics of how antidepressants affect and change neurochemistry, and what to expect while trying to quit Trazodone is vital. One desires that their Trazodone tapering will be as safe and as comfortable as possible.

An important and very popular aspect of the programs offered at Alternative to Meds Center is the educational component. Clients are given the opportunity to learn more about what can help enhance healthy brain chemistry and start to improve overall CNS efficiency. Clients are also given tools to help maintain and improve healthy body functions through dietary and lifestyle changes, and how to better understand the mechanisms of a healthy microbiome and how that relates to brain health. better sleep, and other topics of interest.

The Many Tools of Recovery at Alternative to Meds Center

gut microbiome brain connectionOnce the benefits of clearing toxins from the body are well understood it becomes a logical choice because it can support the repair of robust neurochemicals naturally. Education will expand the client’s understanding of what toxins are, exactly, and how they can negatively impact health, and so much more. Using these informational tools, clients can become more confident and able to manage and care for their own health and well-being and may be less likely to feel they must rely on drugs for relief. Stopping Trazodone doesn’t have to be so intimidating, once the client has acquired the many tools with which one can begin to overcome such difficulties. Clients who have not found success in trying to quit Trazodone before now can start to experience the kind of confident, compassionate care that ensures the successful outcome they have been seeking.

Educating a person more about healthy neurochemistry and maintenance of a healthy microbiome before approaching the problems of how to get off Trazodone is a bit like showing someone how to drive, in a side by side partnership with the student, before handing the keys entirely over.

The Importance of Testing and Removal of Neurotoxins

tapering off trazodoneClients are checked over before beginning their Trazodone tapering regimen and are shown the results of various testing that is done. These tests provide a snapshot of existing accumulations of neurotoxins, chemical residues, industrial pollutants in specific detail, and much more. These neurotoxins can be gently removed from the body using various methods such as low-temperature sauna, bentonite clay, mineral baths, nebulized glutathione, ionic foot baths, and other gentle methods. Neurotoxin removal can be a wonderful enhancement so that stopping Trazodone will be less prone to harsh side effects that may otherwise present where the person’s neurochemistry was compromised or overburdened.

Many other therapies are provided during the process of stopping Trazodone which can actually help to speed up the process and help reduce or even eliminate discomforts.

Trazodone is an SARI-Type Medication – What Does That Mean?

serotonin deficiencyTrazodone is classed as an SARI antidepressant. The letters stand for serotonin, agonist, reuptake, inhibitor. SARI drugs are thought to be very similar to SSRI drugs, the serotonin reuptake inhibitor type antidepressants. Despite the details suggested by these classifications, no-one seems to have a definitive answer to exactly how these various SARI or SSRI drugs work. In theory, there is an effect that Trazodone produces that causes certain natural chemicals to remain suspended along the CNS, that is, within the synaptic cleft, instead of being re-absorbed and used later. These serotonin molecules (and possibly others) are suspended or blocked from being absorbed. So they begin to pool or build-up. It is thought that this build-up can chemically lift the depression, or cause drowsiness or cause other reactions that may occur.

However, in time, it is believed that these molecules eventually degrade and become inert. They are lost. Since Trazodone or any other drug does not create serotonin or any other neurochemical, it is probable that this blockage can ultimately create a deficit. The drug would create a shortage of the very chemicals that were theoretically needed to reduce the person’s symptoms. This theory seems congruent with a person who may begin to find that these drugs “aren’t working anymore.” or the person’s depression has worsened, or other unusual side effects begin to appear that can overshadow any positive results from the drug therapy.

Trazodone and Insomnia

trazodone insomniaMore prescriptions of Trazodone are actually written for insomnia than for depression.5 Where Trazodone was prescribed for insomnia the person’s insomnia might re-emerge, possibly more troublesome than it was before the drug was started. There are published research findings which as of this writing do not recommend Trazodone for chronic insomnia.2 Thankfully, there are non-drug-based ways used at Alternative to Meds Center designed to improve sleep. If a person was prescribed Trazodone for insomnia, now may be the time to consider other non-toxic methods to resolve sleep issues.4 Alternative to Meds specializes in these types of treatments.

Nutrition/Diet: Important While Getting Off Trazodone?

clean nutritionIt is well established that diet can have a lot to do with symptoms of depression, and is a powerful tool to use in treatment.3

To assist the body to rebuild a robust neurochemistry, diet can be one of the most powerful of recovery tools. Using organic, nutrient-rich foods, and dietary guidelines designed to correct certain deficiencies that a client’s testing may have indicated, diet can be important in successfully weaning off Trazodone and doing it as comfortably and gently as possible.

Certain conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, headaches, addiction, and others can be eased with dietary and targeted nutritional support. Where indicated, food allergy and other allergy testing can be revelatory and can benefit the client greatly. A clean diet includes foods that are mostly organic, free from pesticides, free from preservatives, contain no sugar and refined carbs, and full of bioavailable nutrients. Supporting the gut (microbiome) with fermented foods and other supplements is vital as well.

Trazodone Tapering Help

In summary, the Alternative to Meds Center programs take a holistic approach seeking to address all areas that can improve health and especially to support healthy neurochemistry.

Please contact us at Alternative to Meds Center and find out more about how the goal of achieving natural mental health has been built in at the core of our safe and gentle inpatient Trazodone tapering programs.


1. Otani K et al., “Mechanisms of the development of trazodone withdrawal symptoms” NIMH, 1994 US National Library of Medicine [cited 2020 Aug 28]

2. Sateia MJ et al., “Clinical Practice Guideline for the Pharmacologic Treatment of Chronic Insomnia in Adults: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline” 15 Year Anniversary Edition of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2017 Feb 15 [cited 2020 Aug 28]

3. Berk M MD, Jacka FN PhD “Diet and Depression – From Confirmation to Implementation” editorial, JAMA, 2019 Mar 5, [cited 2020 Aug 28]

4. Edlund M J, “Is Trazodone the New Brain Wonder Drug?” Psychology Today [Internet] 2017 Apr 22 [cited 2020 Aug 28]

5. Jaffer K Y, Chang T, et al., “Trazodone for Insomnia: A Systemic Review.” Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience [Internet] 2017 Jul-Aug [cited 2020 Aug 28]



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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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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