One of the most difficult points in the journey to sobriety is going through withdrawal. Withdrawal is a side effect when quitting any addictive substance, and Trazodone, an prescription medication, can cause withdrawal symptoms. A trazodone withdrawal generally occurs when someone has been regularly abusing the drug, and the symptoms can be severe. Understanding the effects of a withdrawal can help you better manage symptoms and seek help.
What is Trazodone?
Trazodone has relatively little perceived value for recreational purposes, but can still be addictive. It is a prescription medication given to patients suffering with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Classified as a Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitor (SARI), it prevents serotonin from being reabsorbed into the neurons, thus creating an abundance in the brain. Colloquially known as the “happy chemical,” serotonin is speculated to improve your mood when it is released naturally.
However, trazodone cannot effectively make someone feel happy on its own. Antidepressants work to manage symptoms rather than treat the underlying mental health issues. One of the ways trazodone achieves this is by providing a sedative effect to the patient. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that some people use it to treat insomnia. The mixture of sedation and relief can make the drug somewhat addictive. It does not cause a euphoric high; rather, the effect is more akin to Xanax or other benzodiazepines.
What is Withdrawal?
Withdrawal is the adjustment period following the immediate cessation of drug use. The body can experience negative symptoms when adjusting to not having a certain chemical or drug in its system. In the case of trazodone, the body will need to adjust to the sudden decrease in the brain’s serotonin levels. Withdrawal can have an emotional and physical impact, and its severity depends on a person’s history of abuse with the drug as well as the type of drug itself.
Different drugs come with different withdrawal timelines. For example, heroin withdrawal can last anywhere from 8 hours to 10 days. It is not known exactly how long trazodone withdrawals last. However, symptoms can begin hours after stopping and can continue for days or even weeks. Some symptoms of a trazodone withdrawal include:
- Mood swings
- Blurred vision
Given that trazodone is mainly used to treat depression and insomnia, patients will likely experience those symptoms first.
Trazodone Withdrawal Management
There are ways to lessen the negative experience of withdrawals. Some users may choose to go “cold turkey,” where they suddenly stop taking the drug. While this may seem like an effective method, it can actually make your withdrawal symptoms worse. Keep in mind that the body is very adaptive in nature. Part of having an addiction is the process of your brain and body developing a tolerance for a certain stimuli – where it essentially gets used to having that substance. Quitting can cause a shock to the body – like the feeling of going outside on a cold day after being indoors.
One way to mitigate this shock is by gradually tapering your exposure to the stimulus. The same is true in reverse. Tapering your drug use will make the withdrawals less severe. For example, if you are used to taking 10mg of trazodone every day, it can help to take only 9mg the next day and so on. This is not necessarily a linear progression, and every body responds differently.
This is why it can be so important to seek medical help. A professionally trained individual can help you create a plan which minimizes the effects of a withdrawal.
How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your System?
Trazodone has a half life of 5-13 hours. A substance’s half life is an indication of how long it will take for the ingested dosage to effectively reduce to half of its original amount. For example, if you take 10mg of trazodone, it will take approximately 5-13 hours for that to effectively become 5mg. While this does provide some insight as to how fast the drug will leave your body, it does not represent how long it can be detected via drug testing. Trazodone drug tests are quite rare. However, trazodone can be flagged as a false positive for MDMA with EMIT urine tests.
Getting Help During a Trazodone Withdrawal
Withdrawals can be a very painful process which can make reaching sobriety quite difficult. However, it is important to keep the long-term picture in mind. Initial withdrawal symptoms are usually confined to a few weeks at most (though you may eventually deal with longer-term withdrawal symptoms such as cravings). As we mentioned, it is best to get professional supervision when attempting to stop substance abuse of any kind. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today so that we can help you begin your journey to sobriety, together.