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Trazodone & Alcohol: Risks, Interactions & Safety Measures

Trazodone and alcohol should not be mixed. While the substances don’t necessarily combine in a way that’s extremely dangerous, alcohol can still have enough of an effect on your treatment (and a number of risks on its own) that you typically should avoid while taking trazodone. 

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Two of the biggest risks while using both substances are severe confusion and drowsiness. If you do take both substances, which experts don’t recommend, avoid performing activities that may need quick reaction times or a high level of dexterity.

What Happens When You Mix Trazodone & Alcohol?

On its own, trazodone helps to increase the amount of serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain. These two neurochemicals are important in regulating mood. Low levels of these neurochemicals can lead to depression.[1] 

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and it can interfere with the intended purpose of trazodone. In addition to a number of other effects, it can affect a person’s ability to think clearly and to achieve a stable, healthy mood.[2]

Experts generally recommend against mixing these drugs. Trazodone can be an important part of mood regulation for someone who is experiencing depression. Alcohol can throw a person’s emotional balance off and interfere with the treatment of their mental health symptoms. Alcohol is a recreational drug with significant abuse and addiction potential, and it also interferes with trazodone and other drugs’ ability to work correctly.

How severely alcohol will affect a person on trazodone will vary depending on their specific circumstances, such as how much they drink, how regularly they drink, and the severity of their depression. However, experts typically recommend a person just outright avoid mixing the drugs. It’s the safest practice and helps ensure your medication works as intended.

Likely Side Effects

On its own, trazodone can make a user feel sleepy, especially for the first few days. Used as prescribed, it can help regulate mood, reducing a person’s anxiety and helping them to relax. This often means a person can sleep better when on trazodone.[1] 

Unfortunately, alcohol has the potential to limit trazodone’s wanted effects and emphasize its unwanted effects. Drinking alcohol before bed has been shown to reduce a person’s quality of sleep. Alcohol can also make a person feel more sleepy. This means taking these drugs together may make a person feel severely drowsy, and if they do sleep, they experience a sleep that isn’t very restful.[2] 

Alcohol can also affect mood. While it can cause a temporary sense of euphoria, long-term abuse of alcohol can cause a variety of serious mental health problems, including addiction.[2]

Potential Dangers of Mixing Trazodone & Alcohol

There are a variety of dangers a person should be aware of before mixing trazodone and alcohol, including these:

Excessive Confusion

The National Capital Poison Center lists severe confusion as one of the primary reasons a person should avoid taking trazodone and alcohol.[3] A person’s ability to act logically and think coherently can be radically reduced when taking these drugs together, especially if taking one or both in a high dose.

Excessive Somnolence (Severe Drowsiness)

Both alcohol and trazodone can cause a person to feel drowsy. When combined, a person may become so drowsy that they struggle to stay awake even when sleeping, which could be extremely dangerous, such as driving or operating heavy machinery (which a person shouldn’t do while under the effects of alcohol regardless). 

This has the potential to be fairly debilitating. It can stop a person from performing important activities in their day-to-day life, which could lead to problems at work, school, or in their social life.[3]

Reduced Treatment Efficacy

As has been touched on earlier, trazodone is often an important component of mental health treatment. It is an antidepressant. When combined with talk treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, it can do a great deal to improve many people’s quality of life and allow them to gain control over their depression. 

Alcohol can interfere with this type of treatment, especially if a person is routinely drinking heavy amounts of alcohol as a way to try and reduce negative feelings they’re having. While unfortunately relatively common, this is often a practice that reduces a person’s overall mental health and can result in severe drug abuse and addiction. 


A notable risk of any significant alcohol use, even if a person isn’t taking trazodone, alcohol has significant addiction potential. While the drug is legal for adults to purchase, it is actually more dangerous than many more tightly regulated substances. 

If a person doesn’t carefully regulate their drinking, alcohol use can lead to physical and psychological dependence, where a person may feel they need to drink and experience quite severe symptoms if they suddenly stop drinking.[4] If this occurs, a person will often need addiction treatment in order to regain control over their drinking.[5]

Updated March 8, 2024
  1. Common questions about trazodone. UK NHS. Published March 9, 2022. Accessed February 22, 2024.
  2. Alcohol’s effects on the body. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Accessed February 22, 2024.
  3. Trazodone: Indications, warnings, side effects, interactions, and overdose. National Capital Poison Control.  Accessed February 22, 2024.
  4. Becker HC. Alcohol dependence, withdrawal, and relapse. Alcohol Research & Health: The Journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 2008;31(4):348-361.
  5. Witkiewitz K, Litten RZ, Leggio L. Advances in the science and treatment of alcohol use disorder. Science Advances. 2019;5(9):eaax4043.
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