Depression is a psychological disorder that impacts millions of individuals worldwide.
To manage this condition, many people rely on prescribed medications, such as Trazodone, a tetracyclic antidepressant.
Trazodone, sold under brand names such as Oleptro and Desyrel, is a SARI (serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor) that has received FDA approval to treat major depressive disorder.
As a SARI, Trazodone works by preventing the excessive reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, thereby allowing this neurotransmitter to accumulate and improve a person’s mood.
As such, many people often use it in conjunction with other antidepressants to manage various disorders that coexist with depression such as:
Side Effects of Trazodone
Like any drug, Trazodone is not devoid of side effects. While some side effects are relatively common and mild, others can be severe and require immediate medical attention. Common side effects include:
- Sedation or sleepiness
- Dry mouth
- Lack of coordination
- Blurred vision
More severe side effects, especially in the long term include:
- Risk of suicide
- Serotonin syndrome (a potentially fatal reaction that can cause hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, and coma)
- Increased bleeding risk, especially when used with NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) or other anticoagulants
- Irregular heart rhythms and risk of sudden death
- Low sodium levels in the blood (hyponatremia)
- Priapism (a painful, long-lasting erection)
- Cognitive and motor impairment
That said, this trend of self-medication has seen some mix trazodone with alcohol. Both substances are central nervous system depressants and when combined can result in additive sedative effects, increasing the risk of intoxication and even overdose. So, what are the potential ramifications of this combination?
The Potential for Abuse: Trazodone and Alcohol
The combination of Trazodone and alcohol can lead to amplified effects of both substances. This can result in greater levels of intoxication, extreme drowsiness, and even overdose or death.
In some cases, alcohol can interfere with the therapeutic effectiveness of Trazodone, aggravating the conditions it is prescribed to treat. So, you’ll find that someone using Trazodone for insomnia will have exacerbated sleep problems. To worsen matters, alcohol is associated with poor sleep quality and shorter sleep duration.
Trazodone and Alcohol Overdose: A Deadly Possibility
Trazodone overdoses are not common, but the risk of a potentially fatal overdose becomes high when combined with alcohol. Both substances can lead to central nervous system depression, triggering issues with one’s heart rate, breathing, and cognition.
Excessive consumption of either substance can lead to conditions such as serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when serotonin levels become too high) and alcohol poisoning, either of which can lead to loss of life.
In Conclusion: Finding Treatment
If you or someone you care about is struggling with Trazodone and alcohol abuse, professional help can help you break the habit before it’s too late. Checking into a dual diagnosis program can help treat both the substance abuse disorder as well as any underlying mental health conditions.
The dangers of combining Trazodone and alcohol are too great to ignore, so remember that your health and well-being are worth more than a momentary high.