Depression is a condition that affects people from all walks of life, all socioeconomic backgrounds, and all races. It’s not uncommon for someone who struggles with depression to deal with an anxiety disorder as well. Nearly half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects 6.8 million adults in the United States, and women are twice as likely to be affected than men. A Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the leading cause of disability in the United States for ages 15 to 44. Major Depressive Disorders affect more than 16 million American adults 18 or older in a given year. Unfortunately, this condition is more prevalent in women than in men.
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Antidepressant medications were developed to treat problems that result from clinically significant depression and occur in mental health disorders such as the ones listed above. Similar antidepressant medications have been used to address other issues such as clinically significant anxiety, eating disorders, pain, and even to help with sleep. These medications are not considered to be controlled substances by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and they are not drugs that usually have significant abuse potential by most major mental health organizations.
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Over the years, many people who had been taking these drugs for significant periods and suddenly discontinued them complained of withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, these claims were not taken seriously by medical professionals, but they later found that these medications could actually lead to a mild form of physical dependence. What may be even crueler than symptoms of depression or anxiety is the discomfort someone can experience when sudden cessation from the drugs occur.
Since depression is a common mental illness, medications like Trazodone are prescribed to patients to help them struggling with one of these mental illnesses. Relying on Trazodone can result in physical and psychological dependence on the medication which at some point can become dangerous. Addiction and dependence on Trazodone are more common than you’d think, and those who take the drug without a doctor’s prescription as a form of self-medication are more prone to becoming addicted.
What Is Trazodone?
Trazodone is an antidepressant medication that falls into a category of serotonin antagonist reuptake inhibitor (SARI), which means it modulates the actions of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain and spinal cord. There are several different names for the medication including Desyrel. Trazodone has a different type of action from other antidepressant drugs because it produces sedation.
Due to this additional side effect, it is commonly prescribed to help people sleep, and to treat certain types of pain. It is also used to treat anxiety similarly to how Xanax is prescribed. It is not commonly used to treat major depressive disorders, but it can be if the doctor sees fit. Unfortunately, though, as we mentioned earlier, there is a chance it can cause physical dependence.
What Is Physical Dependence?
Physical dependence is the result of tolerance and withdrawal. It is possible for people to develop tolerance to a substance and not develop withdrawal, but it is unlikely for someone to develop withdrawal symptoms without tolerance. Tolerance occurs when someone acclimates to the effects of a drug, and their brain does not produce the same results as before.
The adjustments that the person’s body makes is to counteract the effects of the drug, and they find that they need to take higher doses to get the impacts once experienced.
Typically, this is not a problem for those using the substances for medical reasons, and it can be expected in most cases. It becomes a problem when people abuse drugs and take much higher amounts of the drug to get the effects they desire.
Withdrawal symptoms will occur after a person has been taking the substance for an extended period, and when their system has adjusted to account for the presence of drugs in the body. When someone stops using Trazodone, and the amount in their system begins to decline, the brain will go into a state of imbalance. Eventually, it leads to adverse and uncomfortable side effects that can be reversed when the drug is consumed.
Withdrawal Timeline and Symptoms
Antidepressants are not drugs that are typically abused. Unfortunately, it has recently been recognized that antidepressant medications can produce physical dependence when they are taken for several weeks. There is a specific name given to the type of physical dependence that results from using antidepressants drugs like Trazodone known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (ADS). It describes the withdrawal effects that happen when people use Trazodone or other medicines similar to it for more than several weeks.
Withdrawal symptoms begin at a particular time from antidepressants and can vary from person to person. Using Trazodone for long periods of time in high doses will increase the length and severity of withdrawal symptoms, and symptoms of withdrawal from the medication are similar to the pattern of other antidepressants that affect neurotransmitter serotonin.
Withdrawal symptoms from Trazodone typically begin within one to three days after stopping the drug. The symptoms will reach their peak within a week after they appear and then begin to decrease in their intensity. While no two people are the same, withdrawal symptoms are going to vary in length from one to four weeks. These symptoms that occur from Trazodone are mild in comparison to alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opioids, but the symptoms can be uncomfortable. Antidepressant medications are often weaned off slowly due to the discomfort that is often experienced.
Just like the timeline, the symptoms that Trazodone user’s experience will vary from one to another. Some of these symptoms include:
- Stomach ache
- Blurred vision
- Vivid dreams
- Brain Zaps
While the symptoms are not life-threatening, those who stop using the drug may have rebound depression. One of the real problems is suicidal thoughts and potential self-harm.
Treatment For Trazodone Withdrawal
Typically, the approach that is taken to treat withdrawal from Trazodone and other antidepressant medications is to put someone on a tapering process. Tapering is when the person is given enough of the medicine to alleviate any withdrawal symptoms that could occur. Over time, a medical specialist will adjust the dosage to allow the system to adapt to the lower levels of the drug without putting it in a state of shock. At a certain point, the drugs can be discontinued. The purpose is to make it as comfortable as possible, and doctors will not rule out other medications that address specific symptoms.
For those who need additional help, they should consider medical detoxification to help adjust to life without Trazodone. Treatment will address any other issues that may cause your depression and ensure that rebound depression does not occur. If you are currently taking Trazodone and you are concerned about withdrawal symptoms, there is help available for you or a loved one today.
Get Help For Trazodone Dependence Today
Trazodone withdrawal can be dangerous due to the suicidal thoughts that could occur. Fortunately, there are many options available to help you overcome this. You must seek professional help when it comes to dealing with substances that alter serotonin in the brain because of the depression that can occur.
Learn more about your addiction treatment options and how to overcome your dependence by calling our treatment specialists at Maryland House Detox. Call (888) 263-0631 today and take your first steps toward sobriety.