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How does trazodone work?

How does trazodone work?

Trazodone is an antidepressant medication used to treat mood disorders. But how does trazodone affect the body and brain? Can you get high on trazodone? (no)  Does trazodone have the same effects for everyone? What are the dangers and side effects of trazodone use? We’ll explore all those questions and more in this article. And we invite your questions about trazodone at the end.

How does trazodone affect the brain and nervous system?

Trazodone works by increasing the amount of the chemical serotonin in the brain, which helps manage the symptoms of depression. Trazodone can also be used to treat schizophrenia, insomnia, and anxiety. Can you be addicted to antidepressants?  No.  Trazodone does not induce euphoria, or an extreme sense of well being that get people addicted. Plus,  it’s difficult to abuse trazodone because of its sedative effects – rather than causing a high, trazodone causes most people to simply fall asleep.

How does trazodone work in the body?

Trazodone is a central nervous system depressant which can have some of the following effects:

  • changes in appetite or weight
  • confusion
  • difficulty concentrating and remembering
  • headache or heaviness in head
  • nausea/vomiting/stomach pain
  • nightmares
  • weakness or tiredness

You’re less likely to suffer serious adverse effects if you take trazodone as directed by a doctor. Abusing a drug and taking it in higher amounts than prescribed can often lead to adverse effects.

How fast does trazodone work?

How fast trazodone works really depends on what you’re taking it for. If you’re using trazodone as a sleep aid, it takes 1-3 hours to work. However, if you’re using trazodone to treat depression, you need to take it every day for anywhere from 1-3 weeks before you’ll start experiencing noticeable effects.

How long does trazodone work?

If you’re taking trazodone for depression, trazodone will stay in your system long enough to continuously help balance your mood throughout the day. Typically, antidepressants are only taken once a day. If you’re taking trazodone for insomnia, the dose will be just enough to help you get a solid night’s sleep (6-8 hours), but it should wear off by morning to allow you to be alert.

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What makes trazodone work better?

Different brands and formulas of trazodone need to be taken differently to have the best effect. Some kinds of trazodone need to be taken with food, while others should be taken on an empy stomach. The bottom line is that you need to take trazodone exactly as your doctor has prescribed – and take it before going to bed, since it causes so much drowsiness you may have difficulty functioning if you take it during the day.

Does trazodone work for everyone?

No, trazodone isn’t right for everyone. Some people respond better to different antidepressants than others, and there’s always the possibility of a trazodone allergy or another severe adverse reaction to the medication. Further, trazodone is a good option for people with a history of addiction – while it’s possible to abuse any medication, trazodone is not considered habit-forming or addictive.

How trazodone works questions

Please leave us your questions about how trazodone works below. We try our best to respond to all legitimate queries with a personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: ToxNet: Trazodone
PubMed Health: Trazodone
DailyMed: Trazodone 

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25 Responses to “How does trazodone work?
susan
8:36 pm December 23rd, 2012

Thank you for a most informative site on depression and insomnia. Since taking Trazodone I hove found that I have become slightly more aggressive and have more courage to say what I feel. I have always been labeled a “doormat” all my life. Has anyone else experienced this effect. Thank you again, Susan

jenny
5:44 pm April 23rd, 2013

Hi, I have been suffering post acute withdrawl for 9 months now and although my anxiety and difficulty sleeping are impoving, it is very slow. I am wondering if taking trazadone will interfere with my recovery. Will the chemicals in my brain continue to improve even though I am taking trazadone? I am scared to take it as it has been very hard to get to this point now where I can hold a conversation, and also, get some sleep and I do not want to take a step backwards. I am thinking about taking 25 mg per night for sleep. Thanks!

5:20 am April 24th, 2013

Hi Jenny. Check in and speak with your prescribing doctor about your concerns. Or, you can talk with a pharmacist about the way that trazodone affects the central nervous system. You’ll need expert counsel and advice on these questions.

Dave
3:04 am July 29th, 2013

I take 150 dose for sleep nitely. It helps me sleep but have had alot of anxiety and depression during the day any suggestion

9:50 am July 29th, 2013

Hi Dave. It sounds like you might benefit from the expertise of a trained and licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. Generalize anxiety and depression can be the result of low energy, but there can also be a mix of pharmaceutical influence that’s not working for you. You’ll need an expert medical opinion to move forward.

Jenny
3:53 pm July 29th, 2013

Dave, maybe your suffering PAWS. I have been struggling with it for the past year and the anxiety has been the worst. I personally believe you can get it from quitting anti-depressants and other drugs (not just alcohol). I have gotten a fair amount better in the past year and a bit but the first 8 months were pretty awful. Hope your feeling better soon.

Laurie Hill
7:13 pm May 19th, 2014

can I take things like melotonin or gaba with Trazadone to help with the effects since it is not working quiet well enough by itself? Thank you for your response.

1:49 pm May 21st, 2014

Hello Laurie. This is a question for a medical professional such as your prescribing doctor or a pharmacist. Best of luck to you!

fagirli
9:19 am September 22nd, 2014

I’ve been taking this for a while now and it works great for sleep. The trick is to not take a whole pill or while half if you find you feel fogged when you wake up. I take a little over a half of a half of a 25mg pill and I sleep right thru the night and don’t wake up feeling funky. In the beginning I didn’t know any better and was taking a whole half or whole pill and woke up very groggy!!! But once I figured out the amount I need I’m totally fine. Every one is different. Some people might need a whole half some a half and a half of half some people maybe a crumb. I Don’t know about taking it for depression though just sleep. I’m not a doctor I only learned from taking it myself. Consult your doctor about it.

fagirli
9:21 am September 22nd, 2014

I personally wouldn’t take trazadone for sleep and another sleep aid. Doc knows best I’d ask them.

Vicky
10:49 pm November 7th, 2014

wow. very interesting. im on 100mg at night. hoping It Will work for me as im already on prozac, diazipam. i Was also on Atarax that for some reason i Had an awful reaction to. good luck To All and i Wish u All the best.

Lindsay
3:38 am November 22nd, 2014

I am on methadone for opiate addiction. I am also on trazadone for sleep. Will trazadone cause my methadone to not work properly ?

4:26 pm November 24th, 2014

Hi Lindsay. I’m not aware of such interaction between Thrazodone and Methadone. But, you still need to be carefull. If taken in sufficient quantity, these two medications can cause central nervous system depression and slowed breathing.

bridgett
8:43 pm January 17th, 2015

Can u take trazodone for ADD

4:16 pm January 20th, 2015

Hi Bridgett. Trazodone is not primarily prescribed for ADD. They say it helps sleep, although many users disagree, and doctors also prescribe it for depression. It also slightly raises serotonin levels and that can affect ADD, but it’s not a medicine that would greatly help or treat the condition.

saurabh kunal
12:30 am March 24th, 2015

I was prescribed trazodone after anxiety attack and sleep disorder.Does trazodone help in restoring the sleep pattern back

Gemma
12:40 am March 24th, 2015

Hi, I’ve suffer from Fibromyalgia with depression & widespread aches & pains for years. The pain is worse if I don’t sleep well. My GP (who has just retired but knew me best in the practice) had me on Trazodone 100mgs for 7 months which really helped my depression but not my sleep so I ended up in a lot of pain. He then advised me to take 200mgs(which I did for about 2 months) but my sleep did not improve so I returned to the 100mgs. Eventually my sleep got so bad that I did my own research and asked him to put me on Mirtazapine 15mgs. That worked really well so I’ve been on both for 4 months now and feel great. My question is will I have to stay on these drugs forever? The Mirtazapine has made me gain over a stone in weight whilst the Trazodone on its own made me lose my appetite and therefore some weight. I’d like to lose weight but continue to feel and sleep as well as I am now but I fear I may need to be on something to keep me in balance. I was on Amitriptyline for years but gained 2 stone and came off it due to side effects. Any ideas.

Elizabeth
4:37 am April 20th, 2015

I suffered from severe insomnia after I went into menopause. I also have restless leg syndrome. Trazodone helps both. I don’t know how, but I’m thankful it does. I’ve been on 100 mg trazodone for almost 20 years with no side effects.

Danny
2:48 pm May 3rd, 2015

I have been sober for 3 yrs now. I’ve had serious sleep issues ever since. I work nights(bartending). Been on sleep medication for 4 months now. Temazepam at first. Now Trazedone for 17 days now. My recent doctor visit he told me 3mg melatonin 2hrs before bed and then 100mg Trazedone at bedtime. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. When I get home really late it doesn’t work at all. I stayed up all night Fri and Sat. It’s like a love hate relationship. Maybe I should start taking Trazedone 2 hrs before instead of 10 minutes before. Any advice or input would be appreciated. Also, I always wondered something. Does my past addiction to alcohol have anything to do with my problems with these medications? Every night when I go to bed I get real nervous and scared b/c I don’t know if this will be a night where I sleep or stay up all night? Thanks

Danny
2:54 pm May 3rd, 2015

Does trazedone for insomnia have a “window”? I’ve heard that you have to take when you actually get into bed. If you’re not in bed then you miss you’re “window”? But then again, some say it could take 1-3 hrs. How do you actually take it?

Gemma
8:32 pm May 4th, 2015

Hi Danny,
I tend to take Trazodone at 10pm every night. I head off to bed at about 10.45 and usually within 30 minutes I’m asleep. I also take Mirtrazapine 15mgs at the same time. Recently I’ve not had that woozy feeling of falling asleep and have had some broken sleep so I’m wondering if my body has got too used to these meds. I’ve been on Trazodone for a year and added in Mirtrazapine in November 2014 as even 200mgs of Trazodone was not helping me sleep.So my advice would be to take them at a set time every night an hour before you go to bed. Apparently Trazodone works best if taken with food or at least a glass of milk to help it absorb into the bloodstream quickly. Good luck. G

Gemma
8:32 pm May 4th, 2015

Hi Danny,
I tend to take Trazodone at 10pm every night. I head off to bed at about 10.45 and usually within 30 minutes I’m asleep. I also take Mirtrazapine 15mgs at the same time. Recently I’ve not had that woozy feeling of falling asleep and have had some broken sleep so I’m wondering if my body has got too used to these meds. I’ve been on Trazodone for a year and added in Mirtrazapine in November 2014 as even 200mgs of Trazodone was not helping me sleep.So my advice would be to take them at a set time every night an hour before you go to bed. Apparently Trazodone works best if taken with food or at least a glass of milk to help it absorb into the bloodstream quickly. Good luck. G

Fagirli
4:11 am May 7th, 2015

I take it when I’m about to go to sleep. But sometimes I don’t fall a sleep for an hour or two after I’m in bed and I still sleep right thru the night.

Mcooks
10:10 pm July 2nd, 2015

I need to know EXACTLY how Trazodone works, please. The description in the article is very generic. Please describe EXACTLY how the Trazodone increases Serotonin. Does it block the reuptake, like an SSRI? Does it cause the body to produce more serotonin? Does it increase the serotonin receptors? Please be more specific. Thank you.

4:16 pm July 3rd, 2015

Hi Mcooks. That’s a very good question. Trazodone prevents serotonin from being reabsorbed back into the nerve cells in the brain. It also has the ability to mimic the mood-enhancing effect of serotonin and slightly enhance the release of noradrenaline from thee nerve cells in the brain. I hope this answers your question.

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