Trazodone and Alcohol

Table of Contents


Trazodone is a prescription medication indicated for the management of MDD (major depressive disorder) and, in some scenarios, insomnia. While generally considered safe and effective, trazodone can still be subject to misuse, potentially leading to addiction or dependency. Those who fail to take this medication as directed expose themselves to the risk of encountering withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation, or even overdosing.

This guide addresses issues that include:

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  • What is trazadone?
  • Is trazodone a controlled substance?
  • Can you drink alcohol with trazodone?
  • Can you mix trazodone and alcohol under any circumstances?
  • What happens when you mix trazodone and alcohol?
  • How long should you wait to take trazodone after drinking?
  • How to connect with dual diagnosis treatment in Southern California.

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone is an antidepressant that is marketed under various brand names like Desyrel, Dividose, and Oleptro in the United States. The medication is mainly prescribed to treat the symptoms of major depressive disorder, both with and without accompanying anxiety. Beyond its conventional use, medical practitioners occasionally prescribe trazodone off-label to manage insomnia and alcohol dependence.

Categorized as a member of the SARI (serotonin antagonists and reuptake inhibitors) class of antidepressants, trazodone is known as a serotonin modulator because its mechanism of action revolves around serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood stabilization. Insufficient serotonin levels are linked to conditions like depression and other mental disorders. SARIs operate by engaging serotonin receptors – especially the 5-HT2A receptor – impeding the reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This intervention promotes increased availability of these neurotransmitters, enabling streamlined neurotransmission. This augmented serotonin activity contributes to a more balanced mental state, ideal for addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Healthcare providers often prescribe trazodone over barbiturates due to its reduced addiction potential and milder side effects.

Trazodone is manufactured in tablet forms ranging from 25mg to 300mg, intended for oral consumption. Standard dosing commences at 150mg per day, with adjustments in increments of 50mg contingent upon patient response. Administration with food is recommended, and caution is advised if a patient has used a MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) within the past two weeks. Trazodone has a generally favorable safety profile, underscored by research attesting to its effectiveness in tackling depression and insomnia. That said, there are inherent risks to the medication, including potential misuse, dependency, withdrawal, and overdose. If prescribed trazodone, take the medication only as directed to minimize the risk of addiction and maximize its therapeutic benefits.

an image of a glass of alcohol, representing the dangers of mixing trazodone and alcohol

Trazodone Interactions with Alcohol

Mixing trazodone and alcohol can intensity sedative effects, leading to extreme drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. As an SARI, trazodone increases serotonergic activity in the CNS (central nervous system) by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin in the brain and acting as an antagonist on certain serotonin receptors. This process enhances mood regulation and has therapeutic implications in various conditions.

Alcohol, by contrast, is a CNS depressant that targets different neurotransmitter systems, especially GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), responsible for calming and sedative effects. The combination of trazodone and alcohol amplifies the effects of both substances, potentially resulting in increased intoxication, sedation, impaired judgment, and even loss of consciousness.

Beyond this, the trazodone alcohol interaction poses risks beyond immediate side effects. The concurrent long-term use of both substances can lead to physical dependence, withdrawal, and even potential overdose. This combination should be avoided due to the potential for enhanced sedation, cognitive impairment, and mood swings, along with the risk of worsening the symptoms like insomnia that trazodone is meant to treat.

Trazodone and Alcohol Death

Mixing trazodone and alcohol raises the risk of fatal overdose. This can heighten intoxication levels, provoking extreme drowsiness, excessive sedation, and increased chances of overdose when either substance is consumed in excessive amounts. This interaction arises from the combined depressant effects of both substances on the central nervous system, culminating in severe sedative symptoms and cognitive impairment.

Additionally, long-term use of trazodone in conjunction with alcohol carries the potential for physical dependence and withdrawal upon discontinuation, further highlighting the gravity of this interaction.

an image of someone who got help for trazadone and alcohol at California Detox

Get Dual Diagnosis Treatment at California Detox

If you or a loved one is facing physical dependence or a diagnosable addiction to prescription medications, alcohol, or illicit drugs, California Detox in Laguna Beach provides a range of treatment programs tailored to your needs. Our supervised medical detox program offers a smooth transition to inpatient rehab, with access to medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

At California Detox, our dual diagnosis treatment programs are designed to address both substance abuse and mental health concerns. We offer individualized treatment that combines evidence-based interventions and holistic therapies for a comprehensive approach to addiction recovery. Our comprehensive services include medication-assisted treatment, group and individual counseling, psychotherapy (including CBT and DBT), family therapy, holistic therapies, and aftercare support.

 For those dealing with a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and a mental health disorder, our programs can effectively address both aspects of your condition. Our dual diagnosis treatment program focuses on providing specialized care that recognizes the interconnected nature of addiction and mental health. By combining evidence-based therapies and personalized assessment, we ensure that both your substance abuse and mental health needs are thoroughly addressed.

Our goal is to guide you through a transformative recovery journey. Reach out to our admissions team at 949.694.8305 for immediate assistance and take the first step towards reclaiming your life from addiction and achieving lasting well-being.


You should not mix trazodone with alcohol or any other addictive substance. Mixing trazodone with substances like alcohol can intensify intoxication, triggering extreme drowsiness and carrying the risk of overdose and death when either are consumed in excessive amounts. Long-term use of both substances can also lead to physical dependence and withdrawal.
It is not recommended to take trazodone after consuming alcohol, even if it’s just 2 glasses of wine. Alcohol can increase the CNS side effects of trazodone – drowsiness, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating, for instance. Combining trazodone with alcohol can lead to increased intoxication, sedation, confusion, impaired judgment, and other adverse effects.


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