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Why Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol Is Not A Good Idea

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Graphic showing side effects of mixing trazodone and alcohol

Trazodone is an FDA-approved serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI). Trazodone is believed to enhance serotonergic activity in the central nervous system. This is done by blocking the neuronal reuptake of serotonin and acting as an antagonist on the 5HT2A subset of serotonin receptors. 

Certain types of antidepressants are considered to lessen the symptoms of depression and major depressive disorder by boosting serotonin activity in the brain. Trazodone is also widely used off-label to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, substance abuse, Alzheimer’s disease, bulimia, schizophrenia, and fibromyalgia.

Although trazodone is rarely used alone to treat depressive symptoms, it has a reputation for working effectively in conjunction with other antidepressants for the treatment of co-occurring disorders. Unfortunately, a growing trend among antidepressant medication users is to combine them with alcohol in order to get a sedative or calming effect. Today, we will look into the effects of trazodone and alcohol use to determine if this combination is safe.

Can You Mix Trazodone and Alcohol?

In short, no, alcohol should not be mixed with trazodone for various reasons. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that acts on several brain systems and neurotransmitters, including GABA. GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, inhibits or blocks neuronal transmission, promoting calm, relaxation, and drowsiness.

Alcohol is one of the most abused substances in the United States, and many are aware of the adverse effects of alcohol intoxication, such as impaired judgment and response time, blurred vision, poor coordination, and reduced attentiveness. Therefore, recreational use of trazodone with alcohol can result in strong sedative symptoms and impairment since both substances induce similar effects in the brain.

Effects of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol

Owing to the fact that both substances depress the central nervous system, trazodone and alcohol interaction might be dangerous due to their additive sedative effects. One will boost the effects of the other, resulting in an even greater reaction than if trazodone or alcohol were taken separately.

Negative side effects of the mixture of trazodone and alcohol include:

  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Increased intoxication
  • Mood swings
  • Impaired judgment
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Increased depression or anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Serotonin syndrome

Additionally, alcohol can inhibit the effectiveness of trazodone, aggravating the conditions it is intended to treat. If you take trazodone for insomnia, for example, drinking might worsen your symptoms. Although heavy drinking is related to heavy sleep, it is also connected with poor sleep quality and shorter sleep durations. Additionally, drinking might make it more difficult to fall asleep despite feeling sleepy, as it disrupts the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep.

In addition, if you are using trazodone for depression, alcohol might exacerbate your mood and cause a chemical imbalance in the brain. Self-harm and suicide are also more common among alcoholics; thus, people with depression or those who use antidepressants such as trazodone should abstain from drinking.

If you or a family member experience any of above mentioned serious side effects, contact medical professionals for immediate medical attention or call 911 immediately for an emergency.

Is a Trazodone and Alcohol Death Possible?

Some data exists regarding the likelihood of death if excessive trazodone is combined with heavy alcohol use. However, excessive amounts of both trazodone and alcohol are known to be deadly.

Extremely high dosages of trazodone can cause central nervous system depression, heart rhythm issues, and a potentially deadly condition known as serotonin syndrome. Similarly, alcohol poisoning can depress the central nervous system, resulting in respiratory difficulties.

Even though there are few studies on the possibility of death from alcohol and trazodone overdose, you should be cautious due to the individual overdose risks associated with each substance.

Treatment for Trazodone and Alcohol Addiction

If you are battling trazodone and alcohol addiction, there is a treatment available for you. If your doctor prescribes trazodone to address depression or sleeplessness, an alcohol use disorder may negatively impact your mental health. At The Haven Detox, we can assist you in overcoming your alcohol addiction and treating your trazodone abuse.

Detoxification Program

The initial phase of treatment for trazodone and alcohol abuse is medical detox. You will experience both physical and behavioral alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and we will treat both. Alcohol withdrawal may be fatal; thus, it is crucial that you enroll in our alcohol detoxification program so that we can assure you tolerate the detox process in the best possible manner.

Symptoms associated with behavioral alcohol withdrawal include anxiety, hallucinations, irritability, confusion, restlessness, and agitation. As your body realizes it is no longer receiving alcohol, it causes you to become unable to concentrate, and you begin to experience anxiety. Behavioral withdrawal symptoms can make it hard for you to go to work, school, or take care of your family.

Additionally, you might have physically distressing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Seizures might lead you to have delirium tremens. The symptoms include fever, severe tremors, irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, sweating, a fast heart rate, and confusion. You may also experience gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea and vomiting.

Dual Diagnosis

Treatment for an alcohol and trazodone use problem begins with detoxification, and after that, patients will either move to an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. After completing the detoxification program, you will need to treat the psychological dependence on substances, which may make it just as difficult to abstain from your substance of choice as the physical withdrawal symptoms.

Very likely, in addition to your substance use disorder, you also have a mental health disorder. In the United States, 7.7 million people concurrently suffer from mental health and substance abuse issues. If you have a mental health condition, this complicates your situation since you may be engaging in drug abuse to self-medicate your mental health disorder. At The Haven Detox, we can diagnose and treat both conditions simultaneously.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you drink alcohol if you take trazodone?

Consuming alcohol while taking trazodone is dangerous. Some effects of alcohol may be amplified by trazodone, leading to severe degrees of intoxication and even death. Additionally, the combination might cause drowsiness, which can result in accidents and falls. Furthermore, drinking can worsen anxiety and depression. Long-term use of trazodone plus alcohol might lead to physical dependency and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

What should you not mix with trazodone?

When used with certain medicines, trazodone may lead to a serious condition known as serotonin syndrome. Buspirone (Buspar®), fentanyl (Abstral®, Duragesic®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), tryptophan, St. John’s wort, and certain pain or migraine medications (e.g., sumatriptan, tramadol, Frova®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Zomig®) should not be taken with trazodone.

How long should I take trazodone before bed?

Drowsiness is one of the most common side effects of trazodone. It may take one to three hours for the effect to kick in; thus, it is generally advised to take the trazodone at least 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.

Can you get high off trazodone?

Yes, it is possible to get high on trazodone. It may not be the same euphoric high as marijuana or illegal drugs, but the intense drowsiness caused by excessive dosages of trazodone may be exactly what some individuals seek.

The sedative effects of trazodone contribute to its intoxicating effects. This drug might produce drowsiness and even sleepiness when used in high dosages. Some individuals may find these effects pleasurable and use the medication for recreational purposes.

Because the effects of this medication vary from person to person, it is difficult to predict exactly what side effects you may have. However, increasing your dose purposely to obtain this effect might be harmful. It can have grave consequences.

Be Yourself Again at The Haven Detox

If you battle with both trazodone and alcohol, you may feel helpless and overwhelmed. Especially if you use trazodone to improve your mood or sleep, it can be difficult to manage mental health with substance abuse, but The Haven can provide professional help.

Our health care providers and medical staff at The Haven Detox are trained to assist individuals in safely quitting drugs and alcohol while teaching them the vital life skills to maintain a sober life. As an addiction treatment and detox center, we provide medically assisted withdrawal treatment and individual and group therapy options in a comfortable inpatient setting where patients can learn to identify relapse triggers, manage cravings, and establish a routine conducive to their recovery.

Contact us at (844) 933-4145 for professional medical advice or to learn more about our addiction treatment services.