Trazodone, although commonly prescribed for sleep, does not mean its a sleeping pill. The intended purpose for Trazodone was as an antidepressant but it was found in the clinical trials that the antidepressant qualities were limited yet it appeared to help with insomnia. People can start taking Trazodone having no idea its an antidepressant that can lead to a discontinuation syndrome (withdrawals). If you have become addicted to Trazodone, are weaning off Trazodone, or are even just curious about it, keep reading.
Trazodone Is Actually an Antidepressant
This means that it was created to prevent or decrease depression. However, after being tested and researched, professionals found that it didn’t work well as an antidepressant.
Sleep Was a Side Effect
What researchers did see, however, was that users were getting calmed and appeared to have an improvement in sleep. Trazodone then became known as an ‘off label’ drug for sleep issues because of the effect it had on users' ability to sleep. However, ultimately, it is not meant to be a sleeping pill and being an antidepressant, Trazodone does have a discontinuation syndrome and therefore must be tapered slowly.
How Does Trazodone Work?
Trazodone upregulates serotonin, the natural mood stabilizer in your body, while blocking other chemicals in the brain that negatively interact with it. This causes users to feel more tired and relaxed which is why Trazodone is more commonly used as a sleep aid.
Problems with Trazodone For Benzodiazepine Users
One of the common issues is for patients taking benzodiazepines that then add Trazodone. They usually start taking Trazodone once the effects of the benzodiazepines stop working. This does two things.
- It creates a greater dependency on multiple drugs.
- It begins to alter both serotonin and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (otherwise known as GABA). This rewires the brain and impacts other interactions within the body. With both Serotonin and GABA altered, its common to have an increase in symptoms.
Taking Trazodone with Benzodiazepines contributes to more complicated issues known as polypharmacy, where side effects from each independent drug is amplified when they are combined.
Overall, Trazodone is not just an antidepressant. It has addictive qualities to it. Users need to be educated about its actual purpose and how it alters the body long-term. Although Trazodone is not as addictive as benzodiazepines, users still have to taper off Trazodone. Some may even have trouble getting off of it as they go through Trazodone withdrawal.
If you have found yourself addicted to Trazodone or other benzodiazepines or both, there is help.
Do not worry. Weaning off Trazodone or other benzodiazepines can be done in a way that is not only safe, but comfortable and successful. With the help of addiction professionals, such as the ones at Point of Return, you can achieve lasting results and overcome the challenges you face.
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*The program outlined in Point of Return is not meant to substitute your doctor, instead it is to be utilized with your physician to help you with your drug withdrawal process and with his or her consent and support throughout.
*This program is not meant to cure or prevent any disease or illness.
*Because prescription medications can cause severe withdrawal reactions, do not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician. The decision to taper any medication should be discussed with your doctor and done with their consent and support throughout.