How does trazodone work?

Trazodone works by altering the chemical balance of serotonin in the brain. More on trazodone’s uses, side effects, and dangers here.

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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.

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.

Having troubles quitting or staying off trazodone? Detox is far safer and more successful if done under the medical supervision of doctors and nurses that look after you 24/7. Learn more about the detox and withdrawal treatment of antidepressants to be better prepared for what you can expect when you finally decide to quit trazodone for good.

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 
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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