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Trazodone Withdrawal And Detox Symptoms

Dr. Ted Bender, Ph.D., LCDC

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ted Bender, Ph.D., LCDC

April 19, 2019

Common trazodone withdrawal symptoms are anxiety, depression, and insomnia. More severe symptoms include erratic mood swings and suicidal thoughts. Medical supervision and tapering can help individuals safely detox from trazodone.

Trazodone (Desyrel, Oleptro) is a prescription antidepressant also used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and schizophrenia.

It is considered to be safe when used as prescribed and has a low risk of physical dependence or addiction. However, people who abuse trazodone may begin to rely on it to help them relax, sleep, or feel happier.

Even people who take trazodone as recommended can become tolerant to it after several weeks, meaning their body will adjust to it and need a higher dose to feel the same effect. If someone suddenly stops taking trazodone, they may experience symptoms of discontinuation, or withdrawal.

Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms

As a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI), trazodone affects the brain’s regulation of serotonin, a chemical that improves mood and relaxation.

After someone takes trazodone for a while, their brain adapts to the drug’s effects and may not regulate serotonin levels as effectively on its own. When they stop taking trazodone, the brain needs to readjust.

This adjustment period may involve withdrawal symptoms that are similar to what trazodone is meant to treat, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Other psychological withdrawal symptoms from trazodone include:

  • agitation
  • irritability
  • restlessness
  • disorientation
  • depersonalization
  • mood swings
  • suicidal thoughts

Trazodone withdrawal can also cause physical withdrawal symptoms, which may be:

  • dizziness
  • itching
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • faintness
  • muscle weakness
  • chest tightness

Trazodone Withdrawal Timeline

Trazodone has a half-life of five to nine hours, meaning it takes this long for half of the drug to leave someone’s bloodstream. Early withdrawal symptoms generally start around this time (an average of seven hours from the last dose).

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In most cases, it takes just over 1.5 days for trazodone to be completely expelled from the body. This is usually when the most severe stage of withdrawal starts, called acute withdrawal. This phase may last for a few days to several weeks.

Factors that influence the trazodone withdrawal timeline include:

  • how much trazodone the person was taking
  • how long they were taking it
  • how fast their metabolism is
  • whether they took other drugs along with trazodone
  • personal factors, including age, weight, and genetics

The length and severity of trazodone withdrawal can also be affected by tapering.

Tapering Off Trazodone

Most doctors will create a tapering schedule for drugs like trazodone that consists of gradual decreases in dosage over several weeks.

How much the dose is reduced and how often can differ between individuals. For example, a person taking a high dose of trazodone may have a tapering schedule that involves smaller reductions over a longer period than someone taking a low dose.

The goal of tapering is to reduce or avoid withdrawal symptoms. While this makes it easier for many people to stop taking trazodone, it can make the withdrawal process longer. However, withdrawal symptoms drive many people to take more trazodone for relief, requiring them to restart the process.

Tapering should never be attempted without a doctor’s guidance. It is difficult for an individual to determine the appropriate dose reduction for themselves. If they decrease their dosage too much, they may experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Also, if they begin tapering and decide to go back to their original dose, their body may not be able to handle such a high amount and could have a severe adverse reaction.

Detoxing From Trazodone

Detoxing from trazodone can be done safely through a medically supervised detox program. These programs take place in an inpatient setting and help people who have abused trazodone and may be dependent on it.

Medically supervised detox provides medical support as a person clears their body of trazodone, keeping them stabilized as they experience withdrawal symptoms.

Tapering is often part of the detox process, as are IV fluids and medication that eases discomfort. Counseling and experiential therapies may be offered during detox as well.

Treatment For Trazodone Abuse

After detox, an individual who has abused trazodone may benefit from an inpatient rehab program. These programs offer a safe community where people struggling with substance abuse and addiction can work together toward recovery.

Treatment consists of various therapies—such as counseling, behavioral therapy, art, and exercise—that encourage healthier lives. Inpatient care aims to replace negative thoughts and behaviors with positive habits that prevent relapse long after treatment has ended.

Mental Health Daily - Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms + Duration

U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Trazodone

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