Can You OD on Trazadone: 6 Important Facts

Trazodone has been integral to psychiatric and sleep medicine for decades, relieving many individuals struggling with mental health. Its therapeutic benefits revolve around its ability to alleviate symptoms of depression and aid with sleep disorders. However, you may have questions like “Is it safe?” and “Can you OD on Trazadone?”

While it is generally safe and effective when used as prescribed, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with its use. Although less common than other substances, trazodone addiction is possible and requires caution.

At GateHouse Treatment, we stay current with all addiction and treatment trends. To succeed in our mission to provide the highest quality care, we provide all the information necessary to understand the facets and risks of drug addiction. In this article, we will explore the history of trazodone, its medical applications, and potential dangers to shed light on trazodone addiction.

1. History of Trazodone

Trazodone was first developed in Italy in the 1960s and introduced as an antidepressant medication in the 1970s. Initially, medical professionals thought it functioned primarily as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), enhancing serotonin levels in the brain. However, further research revealed that trazodone acts as a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI), modulating serotonin and other neurotransmitters.

Trazodone blocks specific receptors in the brain that are influenced by serotonin, a chemical that affects mood and other processes in the body. By blocking these receptors, trazodone can have a modulating effect on serotonin activity, which helps to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

When brain cells communicate, they release chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin. After releasing serotonin, the sending neuron can reabsorb it, which decreases its availability. Trazodone also prevents the reabsorption of serotonin, allowing it to stay in the space between neurons for longer. This process helps enhance neuron communication, improving mood and reducing symptoms.

In summary, trazodone keeps serotonin levels higher in the brain. This process helps to regulate mood, alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, and improve sleep.

2. Medical Uses of Trazodone

Doctors primarily prescribe trazodone for two medical purposes:

  • Treatment of Depression: Trazodone is traditionally for individuals experiencing major depressive disorder when other antidepressant medications have proven ineffective or caused adverse side effects.
  • Management of Sleep Disorders: One of the notable off-label uses of trazodone is treating insomnia. Due to its sedative properties, it is frequently prescribed to individuals struggling with sleep disturbances, promoting a more restful and sustained sleep cycle.

3. Risks of Taking Trazodone

While trazodone is generally considered safe for most patients when taken as prescribed, there are some risks associated with its use. These include:

  • Common Side Effects: Like many medications, trazodone can produce side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and constipation. These effects are usually temporary and diminish as the body adjusts to the medication.
  • Serotonin Syndrome: In rare cases, trazodone can cause serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. Serotonin syndrome occurs when there is an excess accumulation of serotonin in the brain, resulting in symptoms such as agitation, confusion, rapid heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, and high body temperature. If any of these symptoms arise, individuals should seek immediate medical attention.
  • Priapism: Another infrequent but severe side effect of trazodone is priapism, a prolonged and painful erection unrelated to sexual stimulation. Priapism requires prompt medical intervention to prevent long-term damage to the penis.

4. Can You Get Addicted to Trazodone

Trazodone addiction is a complex issue that requires careful consideration. While trazodone itself does not have a significant potential for addiction compared to substances like opioids or benzodiazepines, it is not entirely free of abuse potential. Some individuals may develop a psychological dependence on the medication due to its sedating effects or seek to enhance its euphoric effects by taking larger doses.

5. How Trazodone Addiction Works:

As discussed above, trazodone affects the brain’s neurotransmitter systems by increasing serotonin levels and blocking specific receptors. Over time, as the body becomes accustomed to the drug, it may develop a tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects. This tolerance and psychological factors can contribute to addiction, such as feeling unable to sleep or remaining calm without it. Additionally, abruptly discontinuing trazodone after prolonged use can lead to withdrawal symptoms, reinforcing the need for continued use.

6. Can You OD on Trazodone?

While it is possible to overdose on trazodone, it is relatively rare. Trazodone overdose typically occurs when an individual takes significantly higher doses than prescribed. The real risk is combining it with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids.

Trazodone, alcohol, and opioids all depress the central nervous system. Together, they can enhance these effects, leading to excessive sedation, drowsiness, confusion, impaired coordination, slowed breathing, and even coma. The increased CNS depression can be life-threatening, especially in cases of overdose.

Combining these drugs can lead to severe respiratory depression, where breathing becomes slow, shallow, or even stops altogether. This lack of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs can be fatal. Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness, slow or irregular heartbeat, fainting, and difficulty breathing, while in extreme cases, it can lead to coma or even death.

If you are prescribed trazodone, it’s essential to inform your doctor about any other medications or substances you are using to ensure your safety and well-being.

GateHouse Treatment and Addiction

We understand that addiction can be a tough challenge to recover from. Gatehouse Treatment provides various services to help individuals overcome substance abuse and reclaim their lives. We know addiction is a complex issue and offer comprehensive and personalized care to address each person’s needs. We aim to treat everyone holistically, as a person, and not a set of symptoms.

We offer outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization treatment alongside innovative methods like Biofeedback. Addiction recovery can be a lifelong process, so alumni programs will support you even after leaving our care.

Call (855) 448-3588 or reach out through our website to schedule one of the most necessary conversations you can have on the road to health. 

GateHouse Treatment Editorial Staff
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