Drug and Alcohol - Addiction Recovery

Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol: Drinking While on an SSRI Is a Bad Idea

Never Mix Trazodone & alcohol. Here's why.

Trazodone is a common SSRI that helps people live normal lives. When mixed with alcohol, it’s dangerous. Learn more about Trazodone in our blog!

Mixing Trazodone with alcohol can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Trazodone is a medication commonly used to treat depression and anxiety. Alcohol is a depressant that can cause drowsiness and impair cognitive and motor functions. When taken together, Trazodone and alcohol can enhance each other's effects, leading to excessive sedation, dizziness, and even respiratory depression.

It's important to avoid drinking alcohol while taking Trazodone and to consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication regimen. If you're taking Trazodone while drinking alcohol to excess, you might be setting yourself up for trouble ... or worse.

By the Numbers:

As per a 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 14.4 million adults aged 18 and older (5.8 percent of this age group) had alcohol use disorder (AUD). According to estimates, 88,0005 individuals die each year from alcohol-related causes, making it the third most common preventable cause of death in the US.

What Is Trazodone?

Trazodone is a medication that works in a variety of ways in the brain. Its primary mechanism of action is as a serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI).

Trazodone is prescribed under the brand names Desyrel and Oleptro.

How Does Trazodone Work?

Specifically, Trazodone blocks the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor, increasing the serotonin and norepinephrine available in the brain. Conversely, by blocking this receptor, Trazodone reduces the activity of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep.

Trazodone also inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, which prevents serotonin's reabsorption into the cells that release it. This increases the amount of serotonin in the synapse, the gap between the brain cells where communication occurs. As a result, Trazodone enhances the transmission of serotonin, which can improve mood and reduce anxiety.

Trazodone has soothing effects due to its ability to antagonize histamine H1 receptors in the brain. Histamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in regulating wakefulness and arousal. By blocking histamine receptors, Trazodone can cause drowsiness and help individuals fall asleep more easily.

Overall, Trazodone's mechanism of action involves increasing the availability of serotonin and norepinephrine while also blocking histamine receptors. This multifaceted action helps to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and promote sleep.

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Why Do People Mix Trazodone With Alcohol? 

Mixing Some people may mix Trazodone with alcohol because they believe it will enhance the medication's sedative effects and help them sleep or reduce anxiety. Others may use Trazodone as a recreational drug or achieve a sense of euphoria. Others may be receiving treatment for a mood disorder while also having an untreated substance abuse issue. This combination is known as a dual diagnosis

Mixing Trazodone with alcohol is dangerous and can lead to serious health risks, including respiratory depression, coma, and even death. Therefore, it is not recommended to mix alcohol with Trazodone as this can lead to several dangerous interactions and adverse effects. 

Mixing Trazodone with alcohol can have severe and potentially life-threatening effects on the body. Trazodone is a medication commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Alcohol is a depressant that can have soothing effects on the body.

However, when taken together, Trazodone and alcohol can intensify the sedative effects, leading to various adverse effects.

How Trazodone and Alcohol Work in the Body

Trazodone is a medication used to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It increases serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter regulating mood and behavior in the brain. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that affects several neurotransmitter systems, including GABA, dopamine, and serotonin. Therefore, when Trazodone is mixed with alcohol, it can lead to a complex interaction between the two substances, affecting the brain and behavior in several ways.

Trazodone and alcohol both work by increasing the activity of the GABA neurotransmitter system. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps to calm the brain and reduce anxiety. When Trazodone and alcohol are taken together, they can increase the effects of GABA, leading to a more significant sedative effect.

Another neurotransmitter affected by Trazodone and alcohol is dopamine. Alcohol increases dopamine release, leading to feelings of pleasure and reward. Trazodone, on the other hand, can reduce dopamine activity, leading to a blunted effect. The interaction between Trazodone and alcohol on dopamine can lead to unpredictable effects on mood and behavior, such as increased aggression or apathy.

Serotonin is a crucial neurotransmitter affected by Trazodone and alcohol. Trazodone increases serotonin activity, which helps to regulate mood and anxiety. Alcohol also affects serotonin, leading to the release of the neurotransmitter and temporarily improving mood. However, chronic alcohol use can lead to decreased serotonin activity, contributing to depression and anxiety. When Trazodone and alcohol are taken together, the effect on serotonin is complex, leading to increased and decreased activity.

The interaction between Trazodone and alcohol in the brain can also have dangerous effects. For example, the sedative effect of the two substances can lead to impaired cognitive function and motor coordination, increasing the risk of accidents or injuries. The interaction can also lead to an increased risk of a drug overdose, as both substances can depress the respiratory system and lead to respiratory failure.

In summary, the interaction between Trazodone and alcohol in the brain is complex and can affect mood, behavior, and cognitive function. Therefore, it's essential to avoid mixing these substances.

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What Are Some Side Effects of Trazodone?

Trazodone is an antidepressant medication that is prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. While most people experience few or no side effects when taking trazodone, there are some potential side effects that may occur.

Common Trazodone Side Effects

Common side effects of trazodone include:

Drowsiness

Dry mouth

Burred vision

Constipation

Dizziness

Serious Side Effects of Trazodone

Serious side effects of trazodone include:

Low blood pressure

Increased heart rate

Irregular heartbeat

Suicidal thoughts

If you experience any side effects while taking trazodone, contact your doctor or seek medical attention immediately. It is important to take the medication as prescribed by your doctor and follow instructions for use carefully. Do not stop taking the medication without talking to your doctor first. If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it, but do not double up on doses.

When taking trazodone, it is important to avoid activities that require alertness such as driving or operating machinery until you know how the medication affects you.

What Are Some Side Effects of Alcohol

Easily the most popular recreational drug in the world, alcohol also comes with side effects.

Common Side Effects of Alcohol

Common alcohol side effects include:

  • Loss of coordination

  • Slurred speech

  • Impaired judgment

  • Drowsiness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Headache

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

  • Skin flushing

Serious Side Effects of Alcohol Consumption

Long-term, heavy consumption of alcohol can cause serious health issues. These include:

  • Liver disease

  • Heart disease

  • Brain damage

  • Cancer

  • Pancreatitis

  • Seizures and blackouts

  • Psychosis and paranoia

Alcohol can also make existing medical conditions worse, including depression, diabetes, hypertension, and gout. If you are taking trazodone and drinking alcohol, it is important to talk to your doctor about the potential side effects of combining these two substances.

It is also important to note that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking trazodone. If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, speak with a mental health professional as soon as possible.

Effects of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol

  • Increased sedation: When Trazodone and alcohol are taken together, they can increase the sedative effects on the body. This can lead to extreme drowsiness, confusion, and disorientation.

  • Impaired cognitive function: Trazodone and alcohol can impair cognitive function, making it challenging to think, speak, or even walk normally. This can lead to accidents, falls, and other injuries.

  • Respiratory depression: When Trazodone and alcohol are taken together, they can suppress the respiratory system, making breathing difficult. This can lead to a range of complications, including pneumonia, lung infections, and respiratory failure.

  • Increased risk of overdose: Taking Trazodone and alcohol together can increase the risk of overdose. Overdose can lead to coma, seizures, and even death.

  • Worsened depression and anxiety: Trazodone is commonly used to treat depression and anxiety. However, when taken with alcohol, it can worsen these conditions, leading to increased feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety.

  • Liver damage: Trazodone and alcohol affect the liver, leading to liver damage over time. The liver is responsible for filtering toxins from the body, which can lead to various complications when overwhelmed.

In conclusion, mixing Trazodone and alcohol can have serious and potentially life-threatening effects on the body. It is important to avoid alcohol when taking Trazodone and to speak to a healthcare professional if you are experiencing any adverse effects. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to Trazodone and alcohol, it is essential to seek professional help as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

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Do People Abuse Trazodone?

Yes, people can abuse trazodone. Trazodone is not a narcotic or controlled substance, but its sedative effects have led some people to misuse the drug. Abusing trazodone can lead to overdose and other serious side effects, including death.

It is important to take trazodone as prescribed by your doctor and not to change your dose or stop taking the medication without speaking with a doctor first. If you feel that you may be abusing trazodone, speak to your doctor or mental health professional. They can help you find healthier coping strategies and treatments for depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

It is also important to recognize the signs of addiction in yourself or others. These can include cravings for trazodone, increased tolerance to the medication, and changes in behavior or mood when not on the drug. If you recognize these signs of addiction, seek professional help as soon as possible.

What About Trazodone Withdrawal?

Trazodone withdrawal occurs when someone stops taking trazodone abruptly. This can lead to physical and psychological side effects such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headaches, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It is important to speak with your doctor if you are considering stopping trazodone or reducing your dose. They can help you manage withdrawal symptoms and make sure that the process is done safely.

It is also important to note that trazodone can cause rebound depression when stopped too quickly. This means that the symptoms of depression may become worse after stopping the medication. It is important to speak with your doctor if you are considering stopping or reducing your dose of trazodone so they can help you find strategies to manage your mental health without the medication.

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Dealing with Trazodone & Alcohol Addiction

Recovering from trazodone and alcohol addiction is challenging, but it is possible with the right approach and support. However, addiction to these substances can have serious health consequences, including overdose and other medical problems. Here are some practical steps to recover from trazodone and alcohol addiction.

  • Seek professional help: The first step in recovering from trazodone and alcohol addiction is seeking professional help for addiction. Speak to a qualified addiction specialist who can provide an assessment and recommend a personalized treatment plan. Treatment options may include detox, rehab, and counseling. Working with a professional who monitors your progress and adjusts the treatment plan as needed is essential.

  • Develop a support system: A strong support system can be invaluable during addiction recovery. Connect with support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, where you can share your struggles and successes with others who understand. Build relationships with people who are supportive of your recovery and avoid those who may trigger substance abuse.

  • Identify triggers and coping mechanisms: Identifying triggers and developing healthy coping mechanisms is an important part of addiction recovery. Triggers can be situations, people, or emotions that make you want to use Trazodone and alcohol. Healthy coping mechanisms can help you manage these triggers without resorting to substance abuse. This can include things like exercise, meditation, or spending time with supportive friends and family.

  • Make positive lifestyle changes: Making positive lifestyle changes can support your recovery and improve your overall well-being. This can include eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities you enjoy. These positive changes can help you stay motivated and reduce your dependence on Trazodone and alcohol.

  • Practice self-care: Self-care is an essential part of addiction recovery. It involves taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. This can include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, engaging in activities you enjoy, and seeking support from loved ones. In addition, practicing self-care can help you manage stress and improve your overall well-being.

  • Stay motivated: Recovery from trazodone and alcohol addiction is a journey that takes time and effort to succeed. It is important to stay motivated and focused on your goals. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem, and don't be discouraged by setbacks. Remember that every day is a new opportunity to progress and move closer to your recovery goal.

In conclusion, recovering from trazodone and alcohol addiction requires a multifaceted approach. Seeking professional help, developing a support system, identifying triggers and coping mechanisms, making positive lifestyle changes, practicing self-care, and staying motivated are all essential steps in recovery.

Ultimately, you can overcome addiction and reclaim your life with patience, determination, and support.

Treatment of Trazodone and Alcohol Addiction

Trazodone and alcohol addiction can have serious physical and psychological consequences, and it is essential to seek professional treatment to overcome the addiction. Treatment for trazodone and alcohol addiction typically involves a combination of medication, therapy, and support.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a common approach to treating addiction to Trazodone and alcohol. The medications used in MAT are designed to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, which can improve the chances of achieving and maintaining sobriety. The following medications are commonly used to treat addiction to Trazodone and alcohol:

  • Acamprosate: Acamprosate is a medication that helps reduce alcohol cravings and can help individuals stay sober. It is typically used in combination with behavioral therapy.

  • Disulfiram: Disulfiram is a medication that creates an aversion to alcohol by causing unpleasant physical reactions, such as nausea and headache, when alcohol is consumed. It is typically used in combination with behavioral therapy.

  • Naltrexone: Naltrexone is a medication that helps reduce alcohol cravings and the pleasurable effects of alcohol. It is typically used in combination with behavioral therapy.

For trazodone addiction, gradual tapering or switching to an alternative medication may be recommended under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Behavioral therapies are also important in treating addiction to Trazodone and alcohol. These therapies aim to help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to addiction. The following are examples of behavioral therapies that may be used in the treatment of addiction to Trazodone and alcohol:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that lead to addiction.

  • Motivational interviewing: Motivational interviewing helps individuals increase their motivation to change their behavior and become more committed to treatment.

  • Family therapy: Family therapy involves family members in the treatment process and can help to improve communication and reduce stress in the family.

  • Support groups: Joining a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, can provide individuals with a supportive environment and help them stay motivated in their recovery.

In addition to medication and therapy, lifestyle changes are also crucial in treating addiction to Trazodone and alcohol. The following are some lifestyle changes that can support recovery:

  • Regular exercise: Exercise can help reduce stress and improve mood, which can help individuals stay motivated in their recovery.

  • Healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet can provide the body with the nutrients it needs to support recovery and improve overall health.

  • Adequate sleep: Getting enough sleep can help improve mood and reduce stress, improving the chances of achieving and maintaining sobriety.

  • Stress reduction techniques: Learning techniques like mindfulness meditation or yoga can help individuals cope with stress and reduce the risk of relapse.

In conclusion, treating addiction to Trazodone and alcohol typically involves a combination of medication, therapy, and support. Seeking help from a healthcare professional or addiction specialist is the first step in recovery.

Get Treatment for Trazodone Abuse & Alcohol Abuse at The Edge Treatment Center

The Edge Treatment Center is an outpatient drug rehab providing comprehensive care for individuals struggling with trazodone and alcohol addiction. Our highly trained professionals understand the complexities of addiction and are dedicated to helping individuals achieve lasting recovery.

Our drug rehab offers a range of evidence-based treatment options tailored to meet each individual's unique needs. We'll start by helping you find an effective drug detox center. When you're ready to enter our care, we'll make sure you have everything you need to build a life free from alcohol abuse and prescription drug abuse.

At our center, we understand that recovery is a lifelong process, and we provide ongoing support through aftercare programs. They offer a safe and supportive community for individuals to continue their recovery and maintain sobriety.

Our treatment center is a safe and supportive environment where individuals can receive comprehensive care for trazodone and alcohol addiction. We are committed to helping individuals achieve lasting recovery and lead fulfilling lives. Want to learn more? Reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

Addiction Recovery

February 21, 2023