It’s another sleepless night. You keep tossing and turning on your bed, trying to get that much-needed sleep, but you’re unsuccessful. You peek at the window outside and you see that the first rays of sunlight are already trying to creep into your day. You’re tired…you’re grumpy…and you desperately need some help to get some shut eye.
Like every normal person living in 2020, you swipe up to your browser and try to find what you’re looking for. Sleeping pills? Herbal tea? Ahhh… how about trazodone?
Trazodone has been used by many people to treat sleep disorders including insomnia. If you go to a doctor and consult about your sleep problems, there’s also a great chance that you’re going to be prescribed this drug. However, while trazodone is a popular sleep aid, it was not originally created for this purpose.
Developed in the 1960s, trazodone was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1981 as an antidepressant drug. Yes, you read that right. Trazodone is not FDA-approved for insomnia, rather, it was approved to treat depression. Doctors, however, can still prescribe trazodone legally for off-label uses and this includes treatment for sleep issues, mania, and anxiety.
So, you might be wondering… why is trazodone being prescribed for insomnia? One of the most common side effects of taking trazodone is drowsiness. It may take 1 to 3 hours before the effect kicks in so it is normally recommended to take the drug at least 30 minutes to one hour before going to bed.
There are also a number of studies that support that trazodone can help with sleep. A 2017 study, for instance, concluded that trazodone is useful in treating insomnia. Another study conducted in 2018 reported that the use of trazodone could improve some measures of sleep quality.
Another reason why medical professionals prefer to prescribe trazodone is because it is said to be safer to use for a longer time compared to other sleeping pills, which you can normally only use for not longer than two weeks. Trazodone is reportedly safe to take longer than two weeks.
People using trazodone for sleep issues are often recommended to start with a low dose of 25mg or half a 50mg tablet. They are then advised to increase the dose to 100mg if necessary.
Are there any side effects for taking trazodone?
Like any other drug out there, trazodone has numerous side effects, some more common than others. Aside from feeling sleepy, some common side effects include dizziness, confusion, diarrhea, coordination problems, blurred vision, headache, fatigue, dry mouth, constipation, light-headedness, nausea, muscle pain, rapid heart rate, palpitations, nervousness, weight changes, skin reactions, and tremors.
There are also more serious side effects associated with the use of trazodone including increased depression, seizures, mania, hallucinations, priapism or painful penile erection, anemia, fainting, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Another alarming side effect of trazodone, especially among young adults, is having suicidal thoughts.
There have been reports of trazodone overdose especially when the drug is used in combination with alcohol or other drugs like benzodiazepines.
Yes or No? Using trazodone for sleep
Like other sleeping aids, trazodone is a drug that should only be used with a legitimate prescription from a medical professional. Even after being prescribed the drug, you should not take the drug to form a “habit”; it should only be taken in serious cases so that you will not be mentally dependent on taking trazodone. Be very cautious about giving trazodone to young adults because of the serious mental health effects of the drug.
Because trazodone is considered as a safe and non-addictive drug, some people may think that using these pills as a recreational drug will not present much harm. However, taking trazodone or any other prescription medication not intended for their original use or outside the advice of a doctor can be very dangerous.
People using drugs recreationally often do so in combination with alcohol or other drug cocktails. This is because trazodone alone does not really produce a euphoric high. Mixing trazodone with other substances can lead to overdose and can even be deadly.
Buying trazodone without a prescription like buying drugs from social media also makes you vulnerable to getting counterfeit drugs. These fake drugs are often cut or mixed with dangerous substances like fentanyl.
If you are having sleep problems, exhaust all natural means first before taking trazodone. Some helpful ways include:
- Increase your physical activity by exercising
- Don’t overeat right before going to bed so skip that midnight snack
- Take a warm bath or shower before going to bed
- Practice meditation techniques
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Lighthouse Treatment today.