Trazodone is a medication that can result in dependence, causing withdrawal symptoms that include antidepressant discontinuation syndrome.
Trazodone withdrawal can also result in depression and anxiety when use is stopped suddenly and abruptly. To avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, individuals may wean off the drug gradually in lieu of quitting suddenly.
What Is Trazodone Withdrawal?
Trazodone withdrawal is a reaction that occurs in the body and brain due to changes that occur over the course of using trazodone for an extended or prolonged period of time. The brain and body get used to the effects of trazodone and can develop dependence over time.
Trazodone alters serotonin receptors in the brain. Stopping the drug suddenly can result in a variety of side effects as the body and brain adjust to their normal levels of activity.
Causes of Trazodone Withdrawal
The primary cause of withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting trazodone is a reduction in serotonin. Generally, the body and brain are able to correct this issue on their own, but there is often an adjustment period, especially for individuals who have used trazodone for a prolonged period of time.
Withdrawal symptoms do not always mean that the person is addicted to trazodone. Withdrawal is a normal reaction when physical and/or psychological dependence occurs, which can happen with a variety of medications. However, trazodone affects the brain and the body in ways that can be felt for months or even years after discontinuing use.
Common Symptoms Associated With Trazodone Withdrawal
Experiencing withdrawal from any drug can be an uncomfortable experience, and this is true for trazodone withdrawal. Symptoms can be thought of in terms of physical and psychological.
Physical symptoms associated with trazodone withdrawal include the following:
- Mobility issues
- Body aches
- Muscle pain
Psychological symptoms associated with trazodone withdrawal include the following:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Suicidal ideation
- Trouble holding concentration
- Mood swings and overall irritability
- Social detachment or depersonalization
Factors That Influence Withdrawal Symptom Intensity
Trazodone is a medication taken for a variety of disorders, such as major depressive disorder, certain types of anxiety disorders, and difficulties with sleep. Withdrawal symptoms can vary greatly from person to person and may be related to the underlying condition the medication was originally prescribed to treat.
Taking trazodone for a longer period of time will affect withdrawal symptom severity as well as the length of time withdrawal symptoms are experienced. The dose amount also influences dependence, which can affect withdrawal symptom severity as well as the duration of withdrawal.
Age and physical and mental health at the time of quitting trazodone will further affect the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Those with negative lifestyle habits, a deficient diet, and poor physical and mental health may experience more severe withdrawal symptoms than generally healthy individuals.
How Long Does Trazodone Withdrawal Last?
The specific withdrawal timeline is going to vary significantly from person to person. Although there is no definite timeline associated with withdrawal, typical withdrawal symptoms will begin to show about one to three days after discontinuing trazodone.
Peak withdrawal symptoms will usually appear around the one-week mark, and they will generally decrease in intensity from that point. However, intense withdrawal symptoms may be experienced for up to two to three weeks for some people.
Generally, trazodone withdrawal lasts anywhere from one week to a full month or longer, depending on the individual and the circumstances surrounding their use of this drug. Withdrawal symptoms from other substances, such as alcohol, opioid painkillers, and even benzodiazepines, tend to be more severe than those associated with trazodone.
Trazodone Withdrawal Timeline
If you’re thinking about quitting trazodone, it’s beneficial to have a realistic idea of how long withdrawal symptoms will typically last.
The First 24-48 Hours
After quitting trazodone, withdrawal symptoms will generally begin within 24 to 48 hours. Initial withdrawal symptoms are often experienced for one to three days among individuals who have developed a tolerance to (and dependence on) trazodone.
The First Week
Withdrawal symptoms after quitting trazodone will start to peak around the one-week mark. This means that symptoms will generally be the most severe during this time frame.
After 4 Weeks
After about a month, trazodone withdrawal symptoms will have subsided for the most part, and individuals will likely be back to normal function. If the individual abused or misused trazodone, especially in combination with other drugs like benzodiazepines and opioids, certain withdrawal symptoms may last months or even years after discontinuing use.
Long-lasting side effects include symptoms like depression, anxiety, drug cravings, and other psychological symptoms.
Detoxing From Trazodone
Consult with your doctor before quitting trazodone abruptly.
Since trazodone is considered an effective multifunctional antidepressant, it is less often abused than other prescribed medications, such as benzodiazepines and opioids. However, there is still a potential for abuse that comes with trazodone, especially if it is used outside prescribed guidelines.
Your doctor may recommend that you wean off trazodone gradually to avoid uncomfortable side effects. This generally involves gradually tapering your dose over a period of weeks to months. If you begin to develop uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, your doctor may adjust your dose or the overall schedule.
It is not recommended to quit trazodone cold turkey unless instructed to do so by a medical professional who has knowledge of your health profile and medical history.
Generally, it can take anywhere from four to eight weeks to go from a normal dose of trazodone to zero, depending on the length of use and the daily prescribed dosage. If trazodone was being used in combination with other substances or medications, a structured rehabilitation program is usually the best course of action.
In treatment, you’ll learn how to cope with triggers for substance abuse, and you’ll gain skills to build a better life in recovery. Reach out for that help today.
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- Trazodone: A Multifunctional Antidepressant. Evaluation of Its Properties and Real-World Use. (June 2021). Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics.