Trazodone Withdrawal Symptoms And Detox Duration

Last Updated: January 11, 2022

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Trazodone is a serotonin modulator that comes with different brand names such as Desyrel and Olpetro. As this drug is useful and effective for the treatment of major depressive disorder and insomnia during alcohol detoxification or recovery, it can also cause withdrawal effects. According to a study, this discontinuation syndrome can be dangerous as it can increase the heart rate by up to 128 beats per minute. However, take note that from person to person, Desyrel withdrawal symptoms can vary. This is also true for the Trazodone withdrawal duration. Because of this, users should know what they might experience before they stop the drug and how they can manage the process.

What Is Trazodone Withdrawal

Withdrawal refers to the body’s response to the sudden absence or decrease in the dose of a drug, and, according to the FDA, Trazodone withdrawal is possible. So, is Desyrel habit forming? In most patients, this does not cause addiction, but physical dependence on the drug is still very much possible, as well as Desyrel adverse reactions in some patients. When this occurs, it can trigger a variety of symptoms that are unpleasant for the user, and in some cases may be dangerous.

Symptoms Of Trazodone Withdrawal

There are various reasons why a user might need to stop using Desyrel, from combating addiction to switching drugs after the drug stops working, especially during alcohol detoxification. No matter the reason for stopping the use of this substance, anyone who does stands the risk of experiencing Trazodone withdrawal symptoms. Desyrel discontinuation syndrome effects tend to be mild, but that is not always the case.

Some Common Physical Signs And Symptoms Of Trazodone Withdrawal Include:

  • Lethargy
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Changes in weight
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Seizure
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Insomnia
  • Tingling in the extremities

According to the study of medical doctors from Canada, around 20% of people who use antidepressants, including Desyrel experience discontinuation syndrome, and, aside from the physical symptoms listed above, psychological symptoms of Trazodone withdrawal may also appear.

Some of These Include the Following:

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Severe depressive symptoms

Take note that none of these signs and symptoms are pleasant. However, some are riskier than others. For example, one of the Trazodone withdrawal symptoms is weight loss. In someone taking the drug to deal with bulimia, this is problematic. But if experienced by someone who suffered from Desyrel and weight gain without needing to increase their body mass, it could be welcomed.

Amongst those taking the medication correctly and under the supervision of a doctor, those using Desyrel for depression treatment stand to experience the most painful symptoms. This is because discontinuation syndrome symptoms from Desyrel often mimic those of depression. Combined with the fact that depression symptoms may return once the substance is discontinued, these patients need to be carefully monitored when they stop using the drug. With that said, anyone who is stopping use should contact medical help or consider a rehab center to manage the recovery safely or avoid other health dangers.

A woman holds Trazodone pills in her hand.

Desyrel Withdrawal Timeline

How long does Trazodone withdrawal last? According to medical doctors from Italy, there are numerous variables that can impact the timeline. These include the level of dependence on the drug, the doses consumed, and how quickly a given person’s body processes the medication. For example, people who suddenly stop using Desyrel after taking it for 8 weeks are at a higher risk of developing discontinuation syndrome. Furthermore, the half-life for the drug is short, coming in at around seven hours. So, within 48 hours of the last dose taken, the drug will have cleared the user’s system (note: Desyrel does show up on drug tests for longer).

Discontinuation syndrome can begin as soon as the user skips a dose they would usually have taken. If the user is going to experience discontinuation syndrome, it should start within three days of stopping use. From there, how long Trazodone withdrawal symptoms last will be anywhere from one to four weeks, with the earlier days having the most severe symptoms. A typical timeline for the medication is as follows:

  • Days 1-3: The first signs emerge
  • Days 4-5: The most intense symptoms are felt
  • Days 6-7: The intensity of the symptoms begins to fade
  • Weeks 1-4: Symptoms persist but steadily weaken until they are gone

People often use their antidepressants when they feel that they are experiencing discontinuation syndrome symptoms. However, doing this will only cause additional health dangers. For this reason, if a patient feels like he or she is experiencing Trazodone withdrawal, it is advised to contact immediate medical help from a professional doctor.

Factors Affecting Trazodone Withdrawal Duration

When it comes to discontinuation syndrome duration, there are many factors that affect this timeline. It does not mean that when a patient starts to stop using the drug, the regular timeline will follow. Some of these factors that affect duration include the following:

  • Method of withdrawal– The method a person uses to stop taking the drug can impact how long discontinuation syndrome from Desyrel will last. This means that those who quit cold turkey may tend to feel the most severe symptoms but may shave a few days off the overall timeline. On the other hand, those who opt for tapering their dose and whose doctor has a plan for switching to another medication may barely notice symptoms of discontinuation syndrome, though the process could take longer than going cold turkey.
  • Person factors– Biological or personal factors of the patient may also affect the discontinuation syndrome duration. For example, patients with anxiety and previous drug addiction and abuse issues tend to have a longer withdrawal duration compared to those without this condition.
  • Dosage consumed before starting withdrawal– People who consume larger amounts of this medication before starting their withdrawal are more likely to experience a severe and longer duration of discontinuation syndrome.
  • Frequency and length of time of Trazodone use – According to the study of medical doctors from the USA, patients who use Desyrel frequently and decide to stop its use may experience not just a longer timeline but also severe discontinuation syndromes.

It is important to note that if the user is taking the medication with another substance, the withdrawal process and timeline becomes unpredictable. For example, Trazodone alcohol withdrawal. Desyrel is used for the treatment of sleep disturbance during recovery through alcohol addiction and abuse. However, when alcohol and Desyrel are combined together, there would be a long, severe, and deadly process of Trazodone alcohol withdrawal. Anyone who consumed alcohol and Desyrel together should contact medical assistance to prevent dangerous health events.

How To Prevent Desyrel Discontinuation Syndrome

The best way to prevent Trazodone withdrawal is by taking the medication in accordance with the instructions of a medical doctor. Aside from this, there is no surefire way to prevent discontinuation syndrome. However, there are steps users can take that will make it less likely that symptoms will manifest.

These include:

  • According to the study of medical doctors from the United States, co-administration of drugs can increase the risk of discontinuation syndrome. For this reason, selecting another medicine which does not have dangerous interactions with Trazodone can help in preventing Desyrel discontinuation syndrome.
  • According to the Center for Abuse Substance Treatment, doing things to stay healthy and active, such as hydrating well, eating nutritious foods, and exercising can help prevent Desyrel discontinuation syndrome.
  • Attending regular therapy sessions to address the mental aspects that can arise from withdrawal, such as cravings and anxiety, or considering a rehab center. According to the study of medical professionals, support groups can help not just in preventing discontinuation syndrome but also be effective in preventing future drug addiction activities.
  • Taking part in a supervised detox program tailored to getting off drugs that alter serotonin levels. The best Trazodone detox process will be discussed in the latter part of this article.

Take note that, even if the user does everything right, they may still have to experience the Trazodone withdrawal and the effects that come with it. So, for patients who are having a hard time dealing with the proper use of the drug, it is advised to contact and consider professional intervention as soon as possible to alleviate this discontinuation syndrome.

A girl is sitting on the ground and watching at Trazodone pills.

Best Method for Stopping Trazodone Safely

The best method for stopping Trazodone, or any other drug that can cause discontinuation syndrome, is by tapering the dose. Doing this tapering must be done together with a medical doctor as this professional will be able to reduce the dose of the drug according to what your body can take. According to medical doctors from Australia, the minimum discontinuation period for antidepressant drugs including Trazodone is 4 weeks, and this can be modified depending on the patient’s current health conditions.

In another study, according to medical doctors from Japan, there is a possibility of withdrawal rebound after using Desyrel. For this reason, Trazodone must be tapered off at a very slow rate. In addition to this, according to the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry, tapering the dose for months can reduce this relapse.

Trazodone Detox Process

Trazodone detox is when a patient works with medical staff to safely cleanse their body off the drug and the lingering effects of its use. At its most basic, this can involve nothing more than a tapering schedule, diet, and an exercise regimen. According to the Journal of Pharmacy and Clinical Pharmacology, the chosen tapering schedule will depend on how long the user has been taking the medication, the doses taken, and how they were using it. In some cases, the tapering schedule is just one month from start to finish. In others, it can last several months. After this patients may add exercising and joining encounter groups for additional support.

In cases of Desyrel overdose or when the user is experiencing severe discontinuation syndrome, the detox process must be more controlled. When this happens, the detox process will occur in a residential treatment facility. There, drugs that treat discontinuation syndrome symptoms, drug abuse, and addiction can be used at the same time tapering is taking place. The staff will closely monitor vital signs to make sure the patient is safe throughout the process. Once the worst part of the discontinuation syndrome process is over, the patient can then switch to outpatient treatment for the rest of their detox.

Anyone who wants to stop taking Trazodone and wishes to avoid harsh discontinuation syndrome symptoms should work with drug abuse medical professionals. While it is possible to stop use by going cold turkey, it is not advisable. A drug rehab center can offer the assistance needed to get clean without feeling miserable. While in rehab, a personalized approach to a patient’s needs and a more coherent treatment course during recovery will be provided.

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Published on: April 1st, 2019

Updated on: January 11th, 2022

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.