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Trazodone Withdrawal & Detox

Trazodone withdrawal, while relatively rare, can occur, especially in those who misuse the drug or abruptly stop taking it. Symptoms can include anxiety, agitation, and sleep disturbances. A medically supervised tapering program is recommended for safe discontinuation.

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Trazodone is a prescription medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat major depressive disorder.[1] Like most antidepressants, trazodone can cause physical dependence. Quit abruptly, and you can experience symptoms like anxiety and agitation.[1]

A trazodone taper program can help you quit using the drug safely and comfortably. If you’ve mixed this antidepressant with other drugs (like opioids), you may need a detox program instead.

What Is Trazodone Withdrawal?

Trazodone is an antidepressant medication that alters serotonin levels within the brain.[2] People with major depressive disorder take the drug every day, and in time, they can develop physical dependence. Quit abruptly, and you will experience withdrawal. 

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While antidepressants can be useful for those struggling with depression, they can also be abused. People abuse trazodone because it boosts serotonin within the brain. Some people experience a rush or high due to serotonin buildup and keep using the drug to keep the good feelings going. 

Some people take very high doses of drugs like trazodone, crushing their pills and snorting or injecting them.[3] People who abuse trazodone regularly may also experience withdrawal when they quit.

Key Facts

Key Facts

  • Trazodone has a half-life of 10 to 12 hours, so most of the drug is removed from the body within about 40 hours.[4] Withdrawal symptoms can appear during this time frame. 
  • Common trazodone withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, agitation, and sleep disturbances.[1]
  • Antidepressant withdrawal symptoms tend to last for several weeks.[5]
  • FDA documents say people shouldn’t quit trazodone cold turkey but should taper their doses instead.[1]

Causes of Trazodone Withdrawal: Why Does It Happen?

Antidepressants like trazodone alter chemicals used by critical brain cells. Take them repeatedly, and you can develop physical dependence. 

Your brain cells no longer function properly without the drug. Quit abruptly, and those cells malfunction and prompt withdrawal symptoms. 

The primary cause of withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting trazodone is reduced serotonin.[2] Generally, the body and brain can correct this issue, but there is often an adjustment period, especially for individuals who have used trazodone for a prolonged period.

Common Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms 

The FDA says abrupt discontinuation of trazodone leads to just three symptoms: anxiety, agitation, and sleep disturbances.[1] But researchers say some people experience more significant problems when they quit antidepressants.

Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (ADS) is associated with several symptoms, including both physical and psychological changes.[5]

Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome Symptoms 

Physical Mental 
Flu-like symptoms Vivid dreams
DizzinessNightmares
Blurry vision Anxiety 
Ringing in the ears Agitation 
Stiff muscles Panic 
Abdominal pain Depression 
Chills Suicidal thoughts 
Headache Confusion 

Factors That Affect Withdrawal 

Withdrawal symptoms and their severity can vary significantly from person to person. Researchers say some factors increase the chance of a difficult withdrawal process. 

Risk of strong antidepressant withdrawal symptoms include the following:[6]

  • Longer duration of use
  • Higher dose 
  • Past experience of drug use 

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.

Trazodone Withdrawal Timeline 

Antidepressant withdrawal time frames vary dramatically. Researchers say that symptoms typically begin within a few days and last for a few weeks.[5]

Based on this research, we can assume that a typical withdrawal timeline looks like this:[5] 

Trazodone Withdrawal Timeline

Within about 48 hoursSymptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and sleep disturbances begin. 
Within the first two weeksSymptoms begin to fade. 
After four weeks Symptoms are manageable 

Detoxing From Trazodone 

Documents approved by the FDA suggest that a cold-turkey quitting process isn’t wise.[1] Stopping use abruptly can trigger withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, they’re strong enough to tempt you to return to drugs. 

A drug taper is a safer choice.[1] Your doctor develops a schedule based on your current drug dose. Periodically, the amount you take gets smaller. In time, you’re taking none at all. If you develop uncomfortable symptoms, your taper is moving too quickly. 

If you’ve used other drugs alongside trazodone (like opioids or cocaine), you may need more than a medication taper. A structured drug detox program can help you quit using these other substances while you stop antidepressants too. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Trazodone Withdrawal & Detox

We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about trazodone withdrawal here. 

How long does trazodone withdrawal last?

Trazodone withdrawal typically lasts for a few weeks.[5]. A taper program might take longer but is safer and less uncomfortable.

Can you quit trazodone cold turkey?

You should not quit trazodone cold turkey. Doing so can lead to very strong symptoms. Sometimes, that discomfort leads to drug relapse. 

Will stopping trazodone cause withdrawal? 

If you quit the drug abruptly after using it for long periods, trazodone can cause withdrawal symptoms. 

What causes trazodone withdrawal?

Physical dependence, caused by ongoing trazodone use, causes withdrawal. Brain cells become accustomed to the drug and malfunction without it. Symptoms last until brain cells begin functioning normally, and that can take a long time. 

Updated January 19, 2024
Resources
  1. Trazodone prescribing information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published January 2014. Accessed November 6, 2023.
  2. Trazodone. Shin J, Saadabadi A. StatPearls. Published July 10, 2022. Accessed November 6, 2023.
  3. Abuse and misuse of antidepressants. Sullivan M, Evans E. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation. 2014;5:107.
  4. Antidepressant properties of trazodone. Bryant SG, Ereshefsky L. Clinical Pharmacology. 1982;1(5):406-417.
  5. Withdrawal symptoms after selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor discontinuation: A systematic review. Fava G, Gatti A, Belaise C, et al. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 2015;84(2):72–81.
  6. Estimating Risk of Antidepressant Withdrawal from a Review of Published Data. Horowitz MA, Framer A, Hengartner MP, Sørensen A, Taylor D. CNS Drugs. 2023;37(2):143-157.
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