Depression and other mental disorders such as anxieties can cause many discomforts. You may often feel worthless, remain irritated for long and may lose your appetite. In most cases, depressed people tend to sleep less or may have an irregular sleeping pattern. Drugs belonging to a genre called antidepressants are often prescribed for treating depression and anxieties. Trazodone is a popular drug in this genre; its use is however restricted for acute levels of depression. But, can you use trazodone to regulate sleep cycles? It is a wise thing to know more on this prior to commencing your medication plan.

One may tend to get depressed when unpleasant things happen in life. It may be a loss of a loved one or a divorce; studies reveal that loss of one’s job as well as being addicted to substances may also cause depression. In fact, there is a strong association between substance abuse and mental illnesses. Doctors prescribe antidepressant drugs; such drugs mostly belong to two broad categories namely – selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting drugs (SSRIs) and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibiting drugs (SNRIs). In this milieu, a drug known as trazodone is also commonly used. This drug – though is quite similar to SSRI drugs – has a few distinctive properties. Hence, it is labelled under a separate class of drugs known as serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibiting drug.

How does trazodone work?

Use of trazodone is mainly for the treatment of acute spells of depression as well as anxieties. This med works to retain the right balance of brain chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine, etc. Of these, serotonin is considered as a very important neurotransmitter substance. Presence of the right amount of this chemical is important to make you remain calm. The rightful level of such transmitting substances is known to boost your moods and to make you eat well. Users of trazodone are also known to sleep normally.

Use of trazodone to sleep well

This med has the needful approval from the food and drug administration (FDA) for treating depression. Among the common side effects this drug induces, sleepiness or being drowsy fares at the top of the list. This is one of the reasons why trazodone is never taken along with intoxicants such as alcohol. Trazodone makes you quite dizzy and thus helps you sleep soon. It actually works well for people living with depression; they are known to sleep badly and may be living with insomnia or other sleep related disorders.

When taken at lower dosage forms – this drug can make you sleep all through the night. The good news is – you are unlikely to witness tolerance; as a result, you may not feel sleepy or tired during your wake cycles / daytime. This drug has a lean half-life period of less than 5 hours. Owing to its leaner half-life, this drug is discharged soon from your system. The biggest advantage is – the drug is never abused unlike other sleep-inducing pills. Hence, trazodone is relatively safe to take as compared to other sleeping meds. It is also a reason why this med is not categorized under the list of controlled chemicals or substances.

Trazodone is used for treating both primary level as well as secondary level of sleeplessness (i.e., insomnia). This drug is also much cheaper than other meds available under the genre of sleeping tablets. The generic form of this drug is one of the causes for its affordable price level. You are however advised to stay aware of the side effects / undesired discomforts this med may cause. Such discomforts include migraines / headaches, hallucinations, upset of stomach, abdominal pains, nausea or vomiting, painful muscles and / or cramping of muscles. These side effects may last only for a shorter span of time. These may cease to show up once your body gets used to the key chemicals of this med. If you notice one or more of these side effects to persist for long, talk to our treating doctor without much delay.

This med may not trigger any major discomforts or acute side effects. However, an excessive intake may lead to accumulation of brain chemicals (such as serotonin or norepinephrine) in your central nervous system as well as brain. In medical parlance – such extra availability of neuro-transmitting chemicals is called serotonin toxicity. You can identify excessive availability of serotonin, norepinephrine or other transmitters by characteristic symptoms. A toxic condition can show up as respiratory troubles (wheezing or other breathing difficulties), shaking or other flu-like signs including an increase in body temperature. Also, if you are still finding it difficult to fall asleep (or eat properly), you need to consult with your treating physician at the earliest possible time.

This med is labelled as a category C med; this means, it is used among pregnant women only when the benefits are more than risks or side effects of trazodone. Category C drugs – in general – are not completely safe for pregnant women. If a women who is pregnant is displaying severe spells of depression, and if other therapies yield lesser (than intended) results – trazodone is prescribed in such cases. It is a good practice to talk to your caregiving team about the risks – especially to the mother and to her fetus.

Those who are planning to get pregnant must talk to their doctor and use contraceptives to avoid unplanned pregnancies. Your doctor may recommend a few non-hormone based birth control techniques such as vaginal rings, skin patches, etc. People who are consuming drugs for treating breathing problems, hepatic disorders (like cirrhosis of the liver or inflammation), a few cardiac ailments (or a recent heart attack), must make your physician aware of meds taken to manage such conditions. Also, people who are using monoamine oxidase inhibitors are advised to provide a gap of at least 14 days from the date of stopping to consume trazodone.

In sum, trazodone can make you sleep when taken in smaller dosage forms. The active chemicals of this med have a half-life of about 5 hours. Owing to this, it is never misused / abused. However, those who find it difficult to sleep (i.e., those living with episodes of insomnia) are advised to talk to your treating doctor without much delay.


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