Trazodone is an antidepressant that works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain, according to MedlinePlus.
Antidepressants can go a long way in helping people with depression live more productive and happy lives. Different kinds of antidepressants are available on the market.
You can obtain trazodone with a prescription. It is sold as either a standard tablet or an extended-release tablet. Users should aim to take it at the same time every day for best results. It is usual for people to take low doses of trazodone initially and for doctors to increase the dosage as time goes by. A two-week adjustment period is standard with trazodone, and you should keep taking it even if you do not feel any changes.
This medication is meant to control your symptoms, but it does not cure depression.
Like most antidepressants, you should stop taking trazodone only with the help of your doctor.
Trazodone increases the amounts of serotonin in your brain to balance brain chemistry. It is called a serotonin modulator for this reason.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) that plays a part in your appetite, mood, libido, and sleep. Trazodone is meant to balance levels of serotonin to control your mood and make you feel better. The New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) says that trazodone is occasionally used to help people who have difficulty sleeping after they begin methadone treatments. It is used off-label for this purpose. Even so, OASAS states that trazodone’s ability to assist with sedation is not well-known.
An August 2014 paper from Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation mentions that misuse of antidepressants such as trazodone is not common, but it can happen. Most people who abuse antidepressants tend to have other mood or substance use disorders.
The paper mentioned that people report misusing antidepressants because they can cause changes in their mental state when used in high doses. Users in the study also admitted to injecting or snorting their antidepressants to feel the effects faster.
The good news is that most people do not misuse antidepressants such as trazodone, but the study suggested that doctors screen for antidepressants when determining a patient’s problematic use of substances.
More research is needed on the misuse of trazodone specifically because it is not as popular as other antidepressants. More can be understood about its use and misuse by looking at how all antidepressants are increasing in popularity in the United States.
In a 2011 report, Harvard Medical School found that between 1988 and 1994, and between 2005 and 2008, the use of antidepressants in the United States shot up by 400 percent.
A 2017 CBS News report found that consumption of antidepressants in the U.S. increased 65 percent between 1999 and 2014, signifying continued increases in use. The report highlighted a few factors that can help us understand antidepressant use and possible misuse.
CBS News also highlighted a few reasons why people may be more likely to use antidepressants today than in the past.
A 2016 report from Reuters also revealed that childhood trauma could have an impact on how adults respond to antidepressants. Child neglect or abuse could make antidepressants 1.6 times less effective on adults who require this course of treatment.
People who are depressed are 63 percent more likely to report abuse, per Reuters. Twenty-eight percent of adults who are not clinically depressed were expected to report abuse.
Reuters mentioned that information is limited because adults were expected to remember details from their childhood.
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Antidepressants do not necessarily cause cravings the way other drugs do, but that does not mean you can stop taking them suddenly. Talk to your doctor if you want to stop taking this medication because it could cause symptoms of withdrawal. You may experience anxiety, agitation, or changes to your sleeping patterns if you stop taking the drug suddenly.
Withdrawal occurs when you stop taking something your body has gotten used to, as mentioned by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation. If you take trazodone, you may become psychologically or physically dependent on it.
This makes sense considering that trazodone works by changing the chemical balance in your brain and increasing serotonin levels. Suddenly ceasing trazodone use will cause a shift in your levels of serotonin that could cause physical symptoms, such as agitation, anxiety, or changes to your sleep quality.
Many people who want to quit using antidepressants are not addicted. When you quit an antidepressant, withdrawal is often called discontinuation syndrome instead.
Taking an antidepressant for at least six weeks is known to cause physical symptoms in at least 20 percent of people who quit taking antidepressants.
Misuse of trazodone has not been well documented, but misuse of antidepressants, in general, is known to occur.
Not everyone who wants to quit using trazodone exhibits dependency or signs of misuse.
Instead, they may want to stop because trazodone is known to make people’s mental responses change, especially if they are over the age of 24.
As you adjust to trazodone, you may have increasing thoughts of self-harm or suicidal ideation, and you want to quit using the medication to make these thoughts stop.
Trazodone can assist people who have been diagnosed with depression, but it has its pros and cons.
Should you decide to quit taking trazodone, do not to try to stop using on your own. Consult with your physician first and work together to find a better medication.