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tapering off trazodone

Trazodone Tapering

The Alternative to Meds Center believes it is wise to seek competent medical oversight & guidance to maneuver through the trazodone tapering process in an exacting, slow and gentle way.

In the rush of desperately seeking help for symptoms of depression, a person does not always have the opportunity to research their diagnosis, or the drugs that may have been prescribed for treatment, or what the best options are for trazodone tapering once a course of trazodone treatment concludes.

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

The second is where the treatment has not provided the relief that was sought, and sometimes, any perceived benefits are being canceled out by adverse side effects. Tapering trazodone may present a challenge because of possible harsh side effects, coupled with potential side effects that may emerge during withdrawal from trazodone. The situation can resemble quite a medical puzzle. Often it is wisest to seek competent medical oversight and guidance to maneuver through the trazodone tapering process.

A Japanese study from 1994 followed a number of patients stopping trazodone and the difficulties they encountered during the process of trying to quit trazodone. The researchers found that a gradual trazodone cessation could still produce adverse reactions which made withdrawal from trazodone difficult. 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 can affect neurochemistry, and what to expect while trying to quit trazodone is vital for administering trazodone tapering as safely and as comfortably as possible.

An important and very popular aspect of the programs offered at the 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.

Once the benefits of clearing toxins from the body are well understood it becomes a logical choice because it can support 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 confidence and success 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.

Clients are checked over before beginning their trazodone tapering regimen and are shown the results of various testing that is done. These tests can show the client 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, 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 tapering

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

Trazodone 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 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. Serotonin (and possibly other) molecules are suspended or blocked and begin to pool or build-up. It is thought that this build-up can chemically lift the depression. Over time, it is believed that these molecules eventually degrade. These molecules become inert. They are lost. Since trazodone or any other drug does not create serotonin, it is possible that this manipulation of natural brain chemicals can ultimately create a deficit. If this were the case, it 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

Where trazodone was prescribed for insomnia, for instance, 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 other ways used at the Alternative to Meds Center designed to improve sleep that are not drug-based treatments. If a person was prescribed trazodone for insomnia, now may be the time to consider other treatment options.

Is Diet Important While Getting Off Trazodone?

It 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 administering how to get off trazodone as comfortably and gently as possible.

Certain conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, headaches, addiction, and others can be eased with dietary support. Where indicated, food or 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, and full of nutrients.

Trazodone Withdrawal Help

The Alternative to Meds Center programs take a holistic approach, in other words, seeks to address all areas that can improve health and especially to support healthy neurochemistry. Please contact us at the 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, Tanaka O, Kaneko S, Ishida M, Yasui N, Fukashima Y,  “Mechanisms of the development of trazodone withdrawal symptoms“, NIMH  [INTERNET] 1994 [cited June 5, 2020]

  2. Clinical Practice Guideline for the Pharmacologic Treatment fo Chronic Insomnia in Adults: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline“, Researchgate [INTERNET] February 2017  [cited June 5, 2020]

  3. Iacobucci G,  “Diet and Depression – From Confirmation to Implementation“,  JAMA [INTERNET[ Mar 5, 2019 [cited June 5, 2020]


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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