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Trazodone and Alcohol

Trazodone and Alcohol

Risks of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol. Dual Diagnosis Treatment Trazadone Abuse and Alcoholism

What is Trazodone?

To better understand the effects of mixing Trazodone and alcohol, let us look at “what is Trazodone?” and “can you mix trazodone and alcohol?”. Trazodone is an FDA-approved antidepressant for treating major depressive disorders [1]. Brand names include Desyrel, Oleptro, Trittico, Molipaxin, and Trazorel. It is a prescription drug that can be used as part of combination therapy with other medications or psychotherapies or used by itself for depression treatment. Trazodone uses can also include treatment for the effects of alcohol withdrawal, anxiety treatment, medications for schizophrenia treatment, and uncontrolled movements resulting from side effects from other medications. Trazodone is not FDA-approved for sleep disorders, because of a lack of sufficient clinical data for justifying its use as a sleep aid.

Trazodone is also used for off-label treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia, and bulimia because of its serotonergic receptor antagonism and serotonin reuptake inhibiting effects. This prescription drug has also been used for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment if the first-line treatment use of SSRIs does not show efficacy. The dose of 50 mg to 200 mg of Trazodone has been demonstrated to reduce episodes of nightmares as well as improve sleep habits in studies involving PTSD patients [2].

Trazodone and Alcohol
Both Trazodone and alcohol are known to be deadly when taken in excessive amounts.

Do not use this medication if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past fourteen days. A dangerous drug interaction could happen. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, methylene blue injection, tranylcypromine, and others. Tell your doctor if you also take stimulant medicine, opioid medicine,, herbal products, or medicine for mental illnesses such as depression, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting.

Can You Mix Trazodone and Alcohol?

Drinking alcohol while taking Trazodone can be dangerous. Trazodone may amplify some of the effects of alcohol, which can lead to dangerous levels of intoxication and even overdose and death. Trazodone is in the category of SARI drugs (serotonin antagonists and reuptake inhibitors), with other members being phenylpiperazine, etoperidone, lorpiprazole, and mepiprazole. Unfortunately, a growing trend among antidepressants, particularly Trazodone users, is combining them with alcohol to create a relaxing effect.

You should not mix Trazodone and alcohol for several reasons. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that acts on the neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly GABA. GABA is an inhibitory transmitter that blocks or inhibits communication between neurons in the brain, promoting relaxation, calm, and sedation. Combining anxiety meds and alcohol can worsen the side effects of the medication.

Alcohol is one, if not the most abused substance in the world. Many are familiar with the adverse effects of alcohol intoxication, such as impairment in reaction time and judgment, poor coordination, blurred vision, and decreased alertness. Therefore, when taken together, trazodone and alcohol recreational use can lead to severe sedative symptoms and impairment because both Trazodone and alcohol are working in the brain to produce similar effects.

How Does Trazodone Work?

Trazodone works by increasing the amount of the chemical serotonin in the brain, which helps manage the symptoms of depression. It inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and blocks the histamine and alpha-1-adrenergic receptors. It also induces significant changes in 5-HT presynaptic receptor adrenoreceptors. Trazodone can also be used to treat insomnia, schizophrenia, and anxiety. Research has shown Trazodone to improve apnea and hypopnea episodes in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and the drug does not worsen hypoxemic episodes [3].

Trazodone and Alcohol
An overdose of trazodone can be fatal when it is taken with alcohol,

Trazodone administration is via the oral route. It may be taken after meals to decrease postural hypotension and lightheadedness. Trazodone may be available as immediate-release (IR) tablets, prolonged-release tablets, and in some cases, injection and oral drops solutions. It can take one to two weeks before Trazodone starts to work, but maybe four to six weeks before you feel the full benefit.

In many cases, people who have chronic pain are prescribed antidepressants and medications that control the pain itself. This is because of the effects chronic pain can have on mood and the likelihood of developing depression. Trazodone should not be used in patients with a history of heart disease or a recent heart attack. This medication can cause or worsen QT prolongation (a disorder of the heart), which can cause an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to seizures, fainting, or even death.

The Dangerous Interaction When You Mix Trazodone and Alcohol 

Trazodone has a possibility for physical dependence when consumed with alcohol. In addition to that, this deadly combination can lead to delirium, hallucinations, and seizures in extreme cases. Mixing Trazodone and alcohol can lead to severe side effects that affect a person’s overall health.

As mentioned earlier, Trazodone can amplify the effects of alcohol. Since both agents are central nervous system depressants, taking them together can be risky due to additive side effects from their drug interactions, which include:

  • Dizziness
  • Increased intoxication
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impairment in thinking and judgment
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Increased depression or anxiety

Alcohol and Insomnia

The majority of common mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD, are related to insomnia disorder, and alcohol and drug abuse disorders are not left out. However, the correlation may be complicated and bidirectional: alcohol and drug use can lead to insomnia, but sleep problems can also increase the risk of substance abuse and addiction. This relationship between alcohol and insomnia is sometimes diagnosed as a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis.

Alcohol can worsen the things Trazodone is meant to treat. If you take Trazodone for a sleep disorder, alcohol can worsen your insomnia. Drinking alcohol has been connected to poor sleep quality and short sleep duration. Not only can drinking alcohol make it more difficult for you to fall asleep despite making you feel sleepy, but it can also cause sleep disruptions. Alcohol also interferes with the important rapid-eye-movement (REM) stage of sleep.

Alcohol and Depression

If you are taking Trazodone to treat depression, alcohol can worsen your mood. Alcohol and depression are often linked in a couple of different ways. It is common to see abuse of alcohol and depression go hand in hand. These co-occurring disorders in individuals struggling with alcoholism and depression feed off one the other. Some individuals with low moods drink alcohol to try to relieve their depressive symptoms. Alcohol’s impact on brain chemistry can increase the risk of depression. Because suicide and self-harm are more common in those who struggle with drinking, it is important to be careful about drinking alcohol if you have a history of low mood.

Short-Term Effects of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol

Headaches

Headaches are usually experienced by individuals with a strong dependency on Trazodone and alcohol. The onset of headache is caused by the inflammation within the vessels that regulates blood flow to the brain and modulates the transmission of pain signals.

Blurred Vision

Combining Trazodone and alcohol can slow the communication between the brain and the eyes, leading to blurred vision. This interaction is interrupted by the way the eye muscles work together, which causes vision changes.

Trazodone and Alcohol
Although Trazodone overdose is less common, it can happen when you mix alcohol and the drug.

Nausea

Consuming Trazodone and alcohol can result in nausea. If a person decides to quit drinking or stops taking Trazodone, nausea is one of the recurring withdrawal symptoms they experience.

Fatigue

Alcohol damages your mental health by suppressing the central nervous system (CNS). A mixture of Trazodone and alcohol further exacerbates your symptoms by making people feel tired and sleepy.

Constipation

Frequent users of Trazodone and alcohol feel constipated most of the time. Constipation happens when your gastrointestinal system is not used to the presence of both Trazodone and alcohol the way your other parts of the body are used to. 

Long-Term Side Effects of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol

Hypotension

Impairment of vasoconstriction caused by combining Trazodone and alcohol often leads to hypotension. In addition, the different chemical composition of Trazodone causes the blood pressure to lower, which is reverse for alcohol consumption. However, different chemical properties of both Trazodone and alcohol cause blood pressure to reach exceedingly low levels, which causes the person to feel dizzy and weak.

Seizures

The risk of seizures is usually high when you have two or more alcoholic beverages. However, this risk increases up to ten folds when Trazodone is combined with alcohol. Since consuming Trazodone and alcohol leads to intoxication, this can eventually result in seizures.

Damage to Central Nervous System

Reward pathways responsible for elevating your mood are primarily affected when you bring alcohol into the equation while using Trazodone. Mixing Trazodone with alcohol causes structural changes in the brain.

Impaired Memory

A decrease in brain functioning and neural activity occurs when you combine Trazodone with alcohol. If this combination is continued over a longer period, it can produce an array of cognitive impairments. 

Mixing Trazodone and alcohol can destroy brain cells responsible for cognition and memory. This destruction happens at a fast pace which is faster than the aging process. Increased rate of brain cell decay results in impaired memory and, in some cases dementia.

Coma

Toxic effect of combing Trazodone and alcohol results in a comatose state. This state happens when patients mix Trazodone and alcohol as the desired effect of their administration or due to idiopathic reactions.

Excessive consumption of alcohol and Trazodone slows brain function due to a lack of blood flow to the brain. This can be dangerous if the patient does not recover from it.. In addition to these side effects, liver damage, insomnia, respiratory problems, and changes in cognitive function are also experienced by patients.

Trazodone and Alcohol Withdrawal

Long-term use of alcohol and Trazodone can also lead to the development of physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Trazodone withdrawal symptoms can include agitation, anxiety, and sleep problems. Instead of quitting cold turkey, people on the medication are advised to be tapered or gradually weaned off under the care of a physician.

The severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome can be quite serious and can include symptoms such as alcohol-induced insomnia, nausea, increased body temperature, sweating, anxiety, rapid pulse, and vomiting, as well as more severe complications such as hallucinations or alcohol-induced psychosis, and delirium, agitation, and seizures. Left unmanaged, alcohol withdrawal can even be life-threatening due to the possibility of grand mal seizures.

Individuals who have become dependent on alcohol and Trazodone may need medically-supervised detox and withdrawal management —either as part of a standalone program or at the start of a rehabilitation program. Medical-supervised detox programs are staffed with healthcare professionals who can monitor the individual’s recovery during the withdrawal process and provide therapeutic interventions when needed.

Trazodone and Alcohol
An overdose of trazodone can be fatal when it is taken with alcohol

Taking Trazodone for Alcohol Withdrawal

Trazodone is often prescribed for insomnia that can occur during alcohol withdrawal. Taking the drug under medical supervision for alcohol withdrawal syndrome may, therefore, be helpful. Trazodone is one of the most commonly prescribed hypnotic medications in patients with sleep disturbances in alcohol recovery. A recent study concluded that treating insomnia with trazodone in patients with alcohol dependence might impede improvements in alcohol consumption and lead to increased drinking when trazodone is stopped [4].

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Trazadone Abuse and Alcoholism

Alcohol is the most abused addictive substance in America, as more than 17 million people in the United States are considered to suffer from addiction to alcohol. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) [5], publishes that over 1.5 million American adults were considered to be currently abusing a prescription drug.

Mixing Trazodone and alcohol magnifies the side effects of both and may promote more use of both. A wide variety of options are available to help the person stop taking Trazadone and alcohol and avoid serious side effects from polysubstance abuse. Many Trazodone users respond well to residential rehab programs. 

If you are experiencing Trazadone and alcohol addiction, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional. 

Medically-Assisted Detox

Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of Adderall and alcohol withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.

Psychotherapy 

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

 If you or a loved one are struggling with long-term drug abuse and a co-occurring mental health condition such as depression, contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. We Level Up can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

Trazodone and Alcohol
Detox involves getting rid of any traces of trazodone and alcohol in the body.

 

Sources:

[1] NIH – https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a681038.html

[2] [3] – NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470560/

[4] NCBI – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21999497/