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Dangers of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol

 In alcohol abuse, Drugs or Alcohol Abuse

Trazodone is a medication commonly prescribed in the United States. It is FDA-approved to treat depression but is often used off-label for issues like insomnia. If you are prescribed trazodone, you may wonder, can you take trazodone with alcohol? Knowing the risks and dangers of taking trazodone and alcohol together is important before you drink.

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone is a serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI). It works by helping restore serotonin balance in the brain. It can help improve mood, appetite, and energy levels while decreasing symptoms of depression such as anxiety and insomnia.

Although trazodone is an antidepressant, it may have depressant effects on the central nervous system(CNS). Some off-label uses for trazodone include insomnia, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, substance use disorder, and fibromyalgia.

Trazodone’s side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Fatigue
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Constipation blurred visio

Rare and severe side effects include:

  • Suicide risk
  • Serotonin syndrome – a severe reaction that may include hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, and coma
  • Increased risk of bleeding especially when mixed with NSAIDs or other anticoagulants
  • Irregular heart rhythms and risk of sudden death
  • Low sodium levels
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Motor impairment

If you are having thoughts of suicide or experiencing any severe side effects of trazodone, seek medical care immediately.

Can You Become Addicted to Trazodone?

Trazodone is a medication you take long-term. While taking trazodone for months or even years is considered safe, long-term use may result in dependence. If you do not feel normal without it or start to have withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take it, you are dependent on the medication.

Symptoms of trazodone withdrawal include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vertigo or balance issues
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Chills
  • Shock-like sensations
  • Suicidal thoughts

Experts debate whether antidepressants such as trazodone are addictive since you typically do not crave these types of medications. However, long-term use may lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, it is important to seek medical advice when you want to stop trazodone.

What Happens When You Mix Trazodone with Other Substances?

Trazodone can interact with other substances such as alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepine. Mixing trazodone and these substances can lead to severe respiratory depression. Respiratory depression causes a lack of oxygen in the brain and may lead to permanent brain damage.

If you are prescribed trazodone, it is important to tell your doctor about any other medications or drugs you take. This includes vitamins, herbs, and supplements.

Dangers of Mixing Trazadone and Alcohol

Alcohol is an addictive central nervous depressant. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration(SAMHSA), in 2020, 138.5 million people were current alcohol users, and almost 18 million were heavy drinkers.

If you are a current drinker and are prescribed trazodone, you should know the risks of mixing trazodone and alcohol. Whether you have a drink on Fridays or you drink a 12-pack a day, the effects of mixing the two can be dangerous.

Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol Can Amplify the Effects

Both trazodone and alcohol are CNS depressants. If you take trazodone with alcohol, it not only increases their effects it also amplifies their side effects, including increasing,

  • Intoxication
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment and thinking
  • Concentration issues
  • Fainting
  • Mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety

Alcohol May Worsen the Symptoms Trazodone is Treating

Do you take trazodone for insomnia? Did you know alcohol can worsen insomnia? Alcohol is linked to poor sleep quality and shorter durations of sleep. It can make it harder to fall asleep although you feel sleepy. Alcohol also interferes with the REM or rapid-eye-movement stage of sleep.

With Depression, Can You Take Trazodone with Alcohol?

If you struggle with depression and take trazodone, drinking alcohol can negatively affect your mood. Unfortunately, many people with depression self-medicate to cope with their symptoms. However, the effects of alcohol on the brain can increase depression.

Alcohol also increases the risk of self-harm and suicide, so if you struggle with depression, you should avoid taking trazodone with alcohol.

Can You Overdose on Trazodone?

While uncommon, a trazodone overdose is possible. However, trazodone overdose is different from what you would expect. Trazodone doesn’t produce a “high” that would make it used recreationally, so people who overdose are typically prescribed the medication.

There is no actual dosage that causes an overdose since people either accidentally overdose or intentionally take more than prescribed to inflict self-harm. Most overdoses are due to mixing trazodone with other substances. Taking trazodone with alcohol is the most dangerous and can lead to a fatal overdose.

Signs of a trazodone overdose include:

  • Respiratory depression – lungs do not properly expand and contract, breathing may stop for a moment or entirely
  • Central nervous system – drowsiness, headache, dizziness, seizures, and coma
  • Cardiovascular system – irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, chest pain, faint pulse

Signs of Trazodone and Alcohol Addiction

The first signs of trazodone and alcohol addiction are typically short-term effects like dizziness, nausea, and blurred vision. It can worsen if you ignore these signs and do not get help for early addiction.

Signs of trazodone and alcohol addiction include:

  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, and home
  • Doctor shopping
  • Continuing to use trazodone even though you don’t need it
  • Faking symptoms of depression or insomnia to get a prescription
  • Obtaining trazodone illegally or buying from a friend
  • Increasing the dose to achieve the same effects
  • Taking the medication other than prescribed
  • Continuing to use it despite the negative results

If you can’t get through your day without trazodone and alcohol or start going through withdrawal, if you skip a dose or don’t have a drink, you are on your way to developing an addiction. Seeking help now can minimize the long-term effects of trazodone and alcohol and stops the risk of trazodone overdose.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

Treating trazodone and alcohol addiction should be done simultaneously. Treatment should be evidence-based, multifaceted, and personalized to meet your needs because of the strain that addiction to trazodone and alcohol puts on the central nervous system.

Additionally, treatment should always be monitored by medical professionals. Alcohol addiction generally starts with a detox program continuing with psychotherapy, group therapy, and a 12-step program.

However, trazodone addiction is less intense and typically treated with psychotherapy and group therapy. Addiction treatment should also include any co-occurring mental health disorders to minimize the risk of relapse.

Little Creek Can Help You or a Loved One Recover

Are you or a loved one struggling with an addiction to trazodone and alcohol? At Little Creek Lodge, we provide inpatient and outpatient treatment personalized to help you reach and maintain lasting recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options.

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