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Mixing Alcohol and Trazodone

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Substance use disorders continue to rise throughout the United States. In 2021, approximately 46.3 million individuals met the diagnostic criteria and were diagnosed with a substance use disorder. (1) Alcohol is a substance that heavily contributes to the substance use health crisis and is misused by individuals of all ages and backgrounds. In 2021, approximately 28.6 million individuals, ages 18 years of age and older, were diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. (2) That same year, approximately 894,000 individuals, ages 12 to 17, were diagnosed with alcohol use disorder. (3) With such high prevalence rates, some individuals may not be aware that mixing alcohol with other medications, such as antidepressants, can lead to serious adverse effects. If an individual is prescribed an antidepressant, such as Trazodone, it may be difficult to cut back or stop alcohol use if they engage in it chronically.

At Guardian Recovery, we offer psychoeducation and evidence-based treatment options for those experiencing alcohol and other substance use disorders. Utilizing therapeutic interventions, we can help those experiencing substance use disorders develop the necessary coping techniques needed for long-term sobriety. Offering dual diagnosis treatment for those experiencing substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive treatment options all in one place. Contact us to receive more information and to start your recovery journey today.

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What Is Trazodone?

Trazodone is an antidepressant that is used to help treat major depressive disorder. (4) Trazodone may also be used off-label to help treat other conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, schizophrenia, bulimia, Alzheimer’s disease, and fibromyalgia. (5) Trazodone belongs to the drug class known as serotonin receptor antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs). (6) Trazodone can help improve an individual’s mood, appetite, and energy levels. Additionally, Trazodone can help decrease symptoms of anxiety and insomnia that are associated with depression. (7) Trazodone should be taken after an individual eats a meal or a snack. It can take up to 2 weeks before Trazodone improves an individual’s symptoms. Trazodone should only be taken as prescribed by a doctor. (8)

Common Side Effects of Trazodone Use

There are side effects that are commonly associated with Trazdone use. In order to alleviate any severe side effects that may occur due to Trazodone use, individuals must discuss with their medical provider if they have a family history of bipolar disorder, mania, or hypomania.

Common side effects associated with Trazodone use include: (9)

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stuffy nose

More serious side effects can occur when taking Trazodone. These may include: (10)

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Unusual thoughts or behavior
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

Contact your doctor if you are experiencing serious side effects, or symptoms of serotonin syndrome, after taking Trazodone.

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include: (11)

  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Fast heart rate
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Diarrhea

Is It Safe to Drink Alcohol While Taking Trazodone?

It is important that if an individual is taking Trazodone, they do not drink alcohol. Drinking alcohol while taking Trazodone is not safe and can lead to an overdose and premature death.

How Do Alcohol & Trazodone Interact in the Brain?

Alcohol is a depressant, or a medication that slows down the central nervous system. Alcohol also interferes with how the brain communicates with pathways, altering the way that the brain works. (12) Trazodone works by helping restore the balance of the natural chemicals within the brain. (13) It may be counterproductive to combine these two substances as they interact with and affect the brain differently. Combining alcohol and Trazdone can increase the effects that Trazodone has on the nervous system. (14)

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Adverse Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol & Trazodone

Alcohol and Trazodone do interact with one another, leading to unwanted side effects.

Adverse side effects associated with mixing alcohol and Trazodone include: (15)

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impairments in thinking
  • Impairments in judgment
  • COnfusion
  • Fainting
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Increased depression or anxiety

Depending on why an individual is taking Trazodone, combining it with alcohol can worsen symptoms of insomnia. One reason for this is due to the fact that drinking has been linked to decreased sleep quality and shorter durations of sleep. (16)

Can Combining Trazodone & Alcohol Be Fatal?

Combining alcohol and Trazodone can be fatal and it is important not to mix the two in order to avoid any dangerous outcomes.

Dangers & Potential Risks of Mixing Alcohol & Antidepressants

There are some potential dangers that can occur when mixing alcohol with antidepressants. Since research has found that there is a link between alcohol and depression, combining alcohol and Traozodne can worsen one’s mood. (17) This can be counterproductive if you are taking Trazodone for depression treatment. Mixing alcohol and antidepressants can also lead to polysubstance use, or an individual being addicted to multiple substances at one time.

What Are the Potential Risks of Overdose & Addiction?

Mixing Trazodone and alcohol can lead to an overdose that can be fatal. More research is needed in order to determine the exact statistics of overdose and addiction rates regarding combined alcohol and Trazodone use.

Signs and symptoms associated with an overdose caused by mixing alcohol and Trazodone include: (18)

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Painful or prolonged penile erections
  • Rapid and pounding heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Slow or stopped breathing

How Long Should You Wait After Taking Trazodone to Consume Alcohol?

There is not a specific timeframe that has been determined regarding how long an individual should wait to consume alcohol following Trazodone use. The amount of time that it takes for the body to eliminate a substance from the body depends on different factors, such as a person’s weight, height, age, and general health. The average rate that it takes for alcohol to be metabolized by the body is approximately one drink per hour. (19) Trazodone has a half-life of 10 to 12 hours, meaning that it takes approximately 12 hours for half of a Trazodone dose to be eliminated from the body. (20) Generally, it is best to avoid alcohol if taking an antidepressant such as Trazodone.

Dangers of Abruptly Stopping Alcohol Use

With the potential for various adverse side effects, some individuals may choose to stop all alcohol use while taking Trazodone. For those who engage in alcohol use regularly, daily, or chronically, stopping abruptly can be dangerous, and even fatal. It is recommended that those experiencing alcohol use disorder attend a treatment program that includes medical detox so that alcohol use can be stopped in a safe and supervised environment. At Guardian Recovery, we offer alcohol specific detoxification services and medication associated treatment to help reduce any negative withdrawal symptoms that may occur.

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If you suspect that you or someone you love are finding it difficult to control, cut back, or stop alcohol use, alcohol use disorder may be at play. At Guardian Recovery, we can offer you a complimentary psychological assessment to determine if there is a presence of a substance use disorder, and to help determine which treatment options would be best for your specific treatment needs. One of our Treatment Advisors is ready to speak with you and help guide you through our easy and simple admissions process. A free, no obligation insurance benefits check can be provided upon your request in order to determine which of our treatment options is covered by your health insurance plan. Contact us today to start your road to recovery.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2023/01/04/samhsa-announces-national-survey-drug-use-health-results-detailing-mental-illness-substance-use-levels-2021.html
  2. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohol-topics/alcohol-facts-and-statistics/alcohol-use-disorder-aud-united-states-age-groups-and-demographic-characteristics
  3. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohol-topics/alcohol-facts-and-statistics/alcohol-use-disorder-aud-united-states-age-groups-and-demographic-characteristics
  4. https://www.drugs.com/trazodone.html
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693429/
  6. https://www.drugs.com/trazodone.html
  7. https://www.drugs.com/trazodone.html
  8. https://www.drugs.com/trazodone.html
  9. https://www.drugs.com/trazodone.html
  10. https://www.drugs.com/trazodone.html
  11. https://www.drugs.com/trazodone.html
  12. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/alcohol-and-brain-overview
  13. https://www.drugs.com/trazodone.html
  14. https://www.drugs.com/food-interactions/trazodone.html
  15. https://www.drugs.com/food-interactions/trazodone.html
  16. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/nutrition/alcohol-and-sleep
  17. https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/problems-disorders/alcohol-and-depression
  18. https://www.drugs.com/trazodone.html
  19. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-alcohol-stay-in-your-system
  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6764164/

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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