Dangers of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol

Dangers of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol
Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Joshua Yager M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Joshua Yager M.D.

Dr. Joshua Yager is an Atlanta native, board-certified family practice physician who is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of his community.

Table of Contents

Trazodone, a widely used antidepressant in the SSRI category, significantly improves quality of life for many. However, combining it with alcohol poses serious risks. Discover the hazards of mixing trazodone and alcohol in our detailed blog post.

What Happens When You Take Trazodone and Alcohol Together?

Combining trazodone, a medication also known by brand names like Lopetro and Desyrel, with alcohol can lead to dangerous outcomes. Trazodone, a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI), is primarily prescribed for major depressive disorder. While its solo use for depression has decreased, trazodone is often combined with other antidepressants to manage depression-related conditions and is also used off-label for insomnia. Despite its benefits, the practice of mixing trazodone with alcohol for enhanced sedative effects is risky.

Side Effects of Mixing Trazodone and Alcohol

Mixing trazodone with alcohol can intensify the adverse effects typically seen with each, making it important to recognize the dangers of such interactions. The compounded side effects can include:

  • Deepened Sedation
  • Diminished Judgment and Motor Skills
  • Heightened Depression Symptoms
  • Slowed Breathing
  • Heart and Blood Pressure Changes
  • Stomach Upset

The intensity of these reactions can vary based on the trazodone dose, how much alcohol is ingested, and personal sensitivity to these substances. For safety and effectiveness, it’s advised to steer clear of mixing trazodone with alcohol.

What Is Trazodone?

Trazodone is a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI), enhancing serotonin levels in the brain to aid mood improvement in depression. It inhibits the 5HT2a serotonin receptor and blocks serotonin transporter proteins, preventing serotonin reabsorption and promoting its accumulation. At lower doses, it supports sleep without sedation or tolerance risks. For antidepressant effects, doses range from 150 mg to 600 mg. However, trazodone may cause side effects like:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Priapism
  • Fainting
  • Rapid heartbeat

Moreover, trazodone can lead to serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal condition if serotonin accumulates excessively, causing hallucinations, agitation, nausea, and more. Mixing trazodone with other depressants or antidepressants heightens this risk. Always follow the prescribed dosage and consult a doctor if adverse effects occur.

Why Do People Mix Trazodone With Alcohol?

People may mix trazodone with alcohol to amplify the drug’s calming effects, aiming to improve sleep or lessen anxiety. Some use trazodone recreationally for its euphoric potential or manage mood disorders alongside unresolved substance abuse issues, a situation often referred to as a dual diagnosis. However, combining trazodone with alcohol poses significant health dangers, including respiratory depression, coma, and even death. Such a mix is strongly discouraged due to the risk of dangerous interactions and negative outcomes. Trazodone is prescribed for depression, anxiety, and insomnia, while alcohol acts as a depressant. Together, they can excessively enhance sedative properties, leading to harmful consequences.

Can You Take Trazodone with Alcohol?

It is highly advised against taking trazodone with alcohol. Alcohol functions as a depressant on the central nervous system, influencing a variety of brain systems and neurotransmitters, notably GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces neuronal communication, leading to relaxation and sedation. Given the widespread use and known negative impacts of alcohol, including impaired judgment, coordination, and alertness, combining it with trazodone can result in dangerously enhanced sedative effects and impairment. This is because both substances act in the brain to produce overlapping effects.

Trazodone & Alcohol Overdose

Mixing trazodone with alcohol raises the danger of an overdose significantly, posing serious risks to your health.

  • Trazodone overdose: Exceeding the recommended dosage can cause a trazodone overdose, with symptoms that may include intense drowsiness, confusion, accelerated heart rate, low blood pressure, seizures, or unconsciousness. Such a situation demands urgent medical intervention.
  • Alcohol overdose (alcohol poisoning): Overindulging in alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning, a potentially fatal condition. Symptoms often include confusion, vomiting, seizures, irregular breathing, hypothermia, and unconsciousness. Emergency medical help is crucial if alcohol poisoning is suspected.

The combined effects of trazodone and alcohol enhance the chances of overdosing on either substance. Trazodone’s sedative properties may conceal the symptoms of alcohol intoxication, potentially leading to unintentional overconsumption of alcohol and subsequent alcohol poisoning.

For your safety, it’s crucial to avoid combining trazodone and alcohol. In cases of severe symptoms or overdose from mixing these substances, immediate emergency assistance is essential.

Prompt medical intervention is critical in overdose situations or suspected alcohol poisoning. Always consult a healthcare provider for advice and support regarding trazodone or alcohol use to safeguard your health and well-being.

Is Trazodone and Alcohol Death Possible?

Mixing trazodone with alcohol can potentially lead to fatal outcomes. While specific instances of death directly attributed to the combined overdose of trazodone and alcohol may not be extensively documented, the inherent dangers of overdosing on either substance alone suggest that such a combination could be lethal.

Trazodone, when consumed in excessively high doses, can severely depress the central nervous system, affecting heart rate, breathing, and brain function. Abuse of trazodone can also trigger serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal condition. Similarly, excessive alcohol consumption can result in alcohol poisoning, significantly depressing the central nervous system, and impairing breathing and heart function.

These conditions can be life-threatening. Given the serious risks associated with the overdose of either substance, individuals prescribed trazodone or those who consume alcohol should be highly cautious of the potential overdose dangers each substance presents.

Get Treatment for Alcohol and Trazodone Addiction at Hope Harbor Wellness

Hope Harbor Wellness offers specialized assistance for those grappling with trazodone and alcohol addiction. Our drug rehab in Atlanta, GA, is equipped to tackle both substance dependencies along with any accompanying mental health challenges.

We collaborate with reputable medical detox centers to ensure a safe and effective start to the recovery journey, providing the foundation needed for successful treatment. Following detoxification, individuals are introduced to our extensive outpatient program, tailored to meet their specific needs through a supportive and caring environment.

Our approach to trazodone and alcohol addiction treatment encompasses a wide range of evidence-based practices including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), various forms of psychotherapy, group and individual counseling, family therapy, holistic treatments, and comprehensive aftercare support. Our goal is to offer a personalized and holistic recovery experience, focusing on achieving and maintaining sobriety.

At Hope Harbor Wellness, we are committed to guiding you from the throes of trazodone and alcohol addiction towards a path of sustainable recovery. For more details on our programs or to start the admissions process, please call us at 678-672-6731.

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