Over 2 million people aged 12 years and older use antidepressants. And today, prescription drug abuse is on the rise. But, what makes people use antidepressants nonmedically? Moreover, what turns a prescription drug into an addictive substance?

Trazodone is an example of an antidepressant with a high potential for abuse and addiction. What is Trazodone, and how does it lead to addiction? 

Read on to learn the answers to these and other questions you may have about this drug. At Addiction Treatment Services, we can help you find proper treatment for someone you love who is struggling with Trazodone abuse.

What Is Trazodone? 

Trazodone is an FDA approved prescription drug used to treat depression. It can also treat insomnia, anxiety disorders, and panic attacks. Usually, the medication comes in the form of a pill that is taken orally.

Trazodone, like any antidepressant, works to balance the following neurotransmitters: 

  • Serotonin 
  • Dopamine 
  • Acetylcholine
  • Norepinephrine

Each of these brain chemicals stimulates the nerves responsible for happiness, euphoria, and normal mood function. When these neurotransmitters are unbalanced, a person can experience intense bouts of insomnia and depression.

The development of these and other symptoms may result in a doctor prescribing Trazodone. However, in many cases, depressed patients go on to abuse their Trazodone prescriptions.

This antidepressant elicits feelings of happiness, alleviation, and sleepiness. Often, people who use this or similar prescriptions may abuse it to increase those feelings. This, of course, can lead to addiction.

Trazodone Abuse and Addiction 

Trazodone abuse and addiction can present themselves in several ways. Here are some of the most notable red flags that a loved one may have a problem. 

Oversleeping 

Upon taking Trazodone, users begin sleeping more often. This results from Trazodone’s regulation of the mood chemical Serotonin. If you notice that your loved one sleeps more often after first receiving their prescription, don’t be alarmed. 

But, if their oversleeping habits occur long after initially receiving the prescription, this might be a sign of Trazodone abuse. 

Requesting Higher Dosages

When someone you love begins taking Trazodone, they receive a beginning dosage. This dosage dictates how much of the drug your loved one should ingest. It also indicates the strength of the drug’s effects. 

It’s important to remember that prescription drug abuse doesn’t always begin on purpose. In fact, most people who abuse their prescription drugs do so in response to a rise in their tolerance of the drugs.

In other words, when someone takes a prescription drug for long enough, the effects diminish. Naturally, patients want the same relief from their symptoms they got upon their first prescription. So, doctors respond by raising the dosages.

However, if you notice that your loved one keeps asking for higher dosages, this is also a red flag for Trazodone abuse or addiction. Your loved one may be going through withdrawal. 

Non-Oral Ingesting 

People who abuse prescription drugs may ingest them in ways other than intended. For example, Trazodone abusers may prefer snorting the pills after crushing them into a powder. By snorting drugs like Trazodone, the effects occur faster, and drug delivery time speeds up. 

Watch out for these early warning signs: 

  • There is pill residue left behind anywhere
  • Your loved one wipes their nose frequently or erratically
  • You notice bills, papers, or other devices fashioned into tools for snorting substances

In cases of antidepressant abuse, routes of administration like injection or liquified ingesting are highly unlikely. 

Amplified Intake 

It’s not uncommon for prescription abusers to pair their drug with another substance to amplify the drug’s effects. Some users combine Trazodone with other prescription drugs, while others like to take it with alcohol or illegal drugs.

Alternatively, some users combine their Trazodone with coffee, Ritalin, and other stimulants.

If your loved one does any of these things, this is yet another red flag of Trazodone abuse. 

The Risks of Trazodone Abuse and Addiction 

Trazodone addiction has two kinds of side effects: those listed in the side effect warning label of the prescription, and sudden withdrawal symptoms. Here’s how each compares. 

Side Effects

Trazodone lists the following potential side effects: 

  • Anemia
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Weight Loss
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing

When someone you know abuses Trazodone, they risk all of the symptoms listed above. Still, these side effects depend on the dosage and other variables such as patient weight, age, and diagnosis.

When someone ingests more than their prescribed dosage, their immune system and brain don’t know how to react. This results in a higher likelihood of the side effects listed above.

Withdrawal Symptoms 

Antidepressant withdrawal is different than withdrawal from other drugs like opiates or stimulants. In fact, withdrawal from prescriptions like Trazodone can exacerbate the mood disorder symptoms that it treats in the first place. 

For instance, if someone abuses Trazodone and then stops using it entirely, that person’s Serotonin levels will drop substantially. This happens because the brain depends on the antidepressant to reuptake Serotonin. 

The same thing applies to sleep and anxiety. If your loved one abuses Trazodone and then quits, it may result in mood swings, anxiety attacks, and insomnia

Quitting a substance and addressing addiction requires more than merely giving up the drug; it requires proper treatment with help from qualified professionals. 

Trazodone Addiction Treatment 

The best way to overcome an antidepressant addiction is through rehab. Here are a few options for treatment. 

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment, or residential rehab, combines therapy and drug counseling. These two avenues explore the driving forces behind addiction and how those in recovery can regulate their impulses. 

Patients stay at campus facilities during inpatient treatment. These safe spaces provide substance abuse education, detox, and specialized treatment. 

Outpatient Treatment 

This form of treatment relies on nonresidential drug education and prevention. In other words, patients don’t live at the treatment facility. Instead, they schedule their treatment sessions and work with counselors to learn sober life skills. 

Outpatient treatment may be better for those who need rehab, but not residential care. 

The Road to Recovery 

With the information you learned in this article, you can help improve the lives of the ones you love.

If you or someone you care about suffers from Trazodone addiction, then don’t wait. Call Addiction Treatment Services today for more information about treatment options and insurance coverage.