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Signs & Symptoms of Trazodone Abuse

Trazodone abuse involves increased use, risky behaviors, and symptoms like sweating or tremors. Dangers include heart issues and potential overdose, especially with other substances. Addiction signs include social withdrawal and inability to stop use. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe.

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Although trazodone is considered to have less potential for abuse than other prescription medications, it is still sometimes misused. This involves using the medication more frequently or in higher doses than prescribed, or combining the medications with other substances.

Keep reading to learn what to watch out for when it comes to trazodone abuse as well as the dangers that come along with abuse.

Common Signs & Symptoms of Trazodone Abuse

There are a few indications that a person may be abusing trazodone, including behavioral symptoms as well as physical and psychological symptoms. 

Behavioral Symptoms 

Behavioral symptoms of trazodone abuse include the following:

  • Engaging in risky behavior to misuse the drug
  • Taking trazodone more frequently than prescribed
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Forging prescriptions to get more
  • Doctor shopping to obtain multiple prescriptions
  • Expressing a desire to quit misuse but not being able to

Physical Symptoms 

Individuals who are abusing trazodone may exhibit the following physical symptoms:

  • Poor mobility or coordination
  • Sweating
  • Nosebleeds
  • Abnormally long erections
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Stomachaches
  • Body aches
  • Muscle weakness

Psychological Symptoms 

Psychological symptoms of trazodone abuse may include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation

What Are the Dangers of Trazodone Abuse?

There are certain risks associated with taking any medication, and these risks are compounded when the medication is misused. Dangers of misusing trazodone, especially when the drug is used at high doses or in conjunction with other drugs, include the following:

  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory issues
  • Coma

Although it is considered rare to overdose on trazodone or any antidepressant, it is still possible. Overdose is more likely when trazodone is combined with other substances of abuse, like opioids, alcohol, or benzodiazepines.

How to Recognize Trazodone Addiction

Most people who take trazodone aren’t abusing the medication. Antidepressants are usually taken as prescribed to treat a legitimate mental health issue. 

People who abuse trazodone may be using the drug without a prescription or using it outside the bounds of their prescription. If someone you know is taking trazodone without a diagnosis and prescription from a doctor, it is likely abuse. 

Here are some other signs of trazodone addiction:

  • Less engagement in social activities
  • Difficulty keeping up with work or school responsibilities 
  • Out-of-character behaviors
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Noticeable mood swings
  • A desire to stop misusing trazodone but an inability to successfully stop

Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Antidepressants can trigger physical dependence after a period of prolonged use. Withdrawal symptoms occur when discontinuing use, and this is sometimes known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome

The longer a person uses trazodone, the more likely it is that withdrawal symptoms will occur when quitting this drug. Once use stops, there is a transition period where the body and brain readjust to normal levels of activity, and this is typically when withdrawal symptoms occur.

Withdrawal symptoms will generally start to set in within 24 to 48 hours of stopping use, and they tend to peak around the one-week mark. Withdrawal symptoms can end up lasting for a month or longer when the individual is seriously dependent on trazodone. 

Withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Mood swings
  • Hyperarousal
  • Poor mobility
  • Chills
  • Suicidal ideation

Serious withdrawal symptoms should be reported to a medical professional immediately. Since withdrawal from trazodone can often be an uncomfortable experience and quitting cold turkey on your own is ill-advised, detox in a medical setting is considered the safest and most effective way to stop using trazodone while experiencing the least amount of danger and discomfort possible. 

How to Handle Trazodone Overdose

If you know someone has overdosed on trazodone, get the person help as soon as possible. Call 911 or go to an emergency room. In most cases, supportive care will be given as the drug processes out of the body.

If trazodone was taken in conjunction with other drugs, treatment may focus on those other substances. For example, naloxone will be given to immediately reverse an opioid overdose if opioids were also taken.

Updated April 30, 2024
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