Medical Uses and Effects of Trazodone
Trazodone is an antidepressant that increases the levels of serotonin in an individual’s brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter known for its effect on happiness and well-being. By enhancing its activity, symptoms of depression should theoretically be alleviated. Trazodone was developed as a response to the mental pain hypothesis which states that major depressive episodes can be brought on by a lower pain threshold. The drug itself aims to balance this anomaly, bringing about regular brain functions and a more positive lifestyle. In addition to treating depression, Trazodone can also be given to those suffering from anxiety, insomnia or chronic pain. It is also sold under several other brands, including Desyrel, Oleptro, Beneficat, Molipaxin, Thombran and Trittico.
Before prescribing Trazodone, a physician will have to determine whether it is safe for an individual to use it or not. Typically, those with the following ailments or disorders will have to assess whether the benefits of the Trazodone outweigh the risks before starting a prescribed course of treatment:
- Bipolar disorder
- Heart disease
- Liver or kidney disease
- A history of substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- A recent heart attack
Trazodone itself is available as a tablet in standard or extended-release forms. Dosages can vary from brand to brand, and the details of the prescription depend on the disorder being treated, the individual involved and the treatment devised by the physician. This is essential, as the drug has numerous side effects if used improperly. It also has a potential to be addictive in the right circumstances.
Trazodone Abuse and Addiction
Trazodone is the 17th-most abused drug in the USA. As both an antidepressant and a sleeping pill, the reasons for addiction are that an individual feels they simply cannot live life normally without it. This dependency can result from improper use and a lack of supervision of a patient suffering from depression, anxiety or insomnia. One reason for the drug’s addictive quality is that it Trazodone works rapidly, achieving full absorption within approximately an hour of ingestion. As such, it can seem to offer a quick fix to life’s problems and may be viewed as an easy solution for those who are clinically depressed or suffering from severe lack of sleep.
When combined with other substance dependency, Trazodone also has the potential to heighten this abuse and cause a relapse in recovering patients. This is especially true when it comes to alcohol, as the drug has been shown to increase an alcoholic’s chances of reverting back to their old ways if they are undergoing therapy. After the intake of Trazodone is ceased, an individual recovering from alcohol addiction may then fall back into misuse and dependency if they lack the proper supervision. In this case, Trazodone can cause other types of substance abuse if improperly consumed while undergoing rehabilitation.
Dangers and Side Effects of Trazodone
Trazodone abuse is a risky activity because the drug has a number of side effects which can range from mild inconveniences to severe illnesses and even death. If taken for an extended period of time, the drug can result in the following harmful symptoms:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Abdominal Pains
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Loss of Concentration or Memory
- Excessive Sweating
- Blurred Vision or Itchy Eyes
There are also a number of more severe side effects which can result from the incorrect ingestion of Trazodone. In particular, once an individual begins to take the drug, they may experience suicidal thoughts, extreme worry, panic attacks or irritability within the first few weeks. For this reason, it is important for a patient taking Trazodone to be under constant supervision from a qualified medical professional or a friend or family member.
As well as having several psychological side effects, Trazodone can also result in the following more extreme reactions:
- Increased or irregular heartbeat
- Hives or skin rash
- Difficulties with swallowing or breathing
- Swollen face, hands, ankles or legs
- Loss of coordination
- Numbness or burning in the limbs and extremities
- Priapism (painful, long-lasting erections)
As there are so many risks involved with taking Trazodone over the long-term in an unsupervised situation, it is important that anyone who is addicted to the drug be placed into rehab therapy as soon as possible. This will help them work their way to becoming free from their dependency.
Treating Trazodone Abuse
Someone who is addicted to Trazodone will need to undergo treatment in order to properly wean themselves off the drug. This is because a dependency on its effects (both physical and mental) can result in a lengthy withdrawal period in which constant medical and psychological supervision must be applied. This is especially important, as the individual may also be clinically depressed, anxious or suffering from insomnia. In these cases, there is a real reason why they are dependent on Trazodone, and an alternative must be found before any chance of recovery can be made.
During the withdrawal stages of Trazodone addiction, a patient may experience a variety of symptoms, including irritability, dizziness, nervousness, anxiety, migraines and insomnia. These will have to be treated in the right manner by a qualified professional so that the temptation to start taking the drug again is minimized. Generally speaking, reducing the dosage slowly over time is one of the most effective methods of helping someone lose their dependence on Trazodone.