The following was posted back in 2009 but a new review (see below) caused us to re-publish this post in 2012. It's an important question: WHO should be in charge of your health? You or the 'experts'? All opinions are most welcome.
There are many natural ways of dealing with insomnia, but millions of Americans persist in taking harmful over-the-counter and prescription drugs when they have problems sleeping. One common prescription drug used to treat insomnia is Trazodone and many desperate people combine Trazodone and insomnia in a desperate attempt to gain the restorative rest that they need.
Trazodone is a sedative and antidepressant, which means it usually causes drowsiness when taken. Indeed, drowsiness is one the most common side effects of this drug. It is commonly prescribed to treat depression and is also sometimes applied to help with insomnia.
The problem is that depression and insomnia are not always both present in the patient that takes Trazodone. While it is one thing to prescribe Trazodone for depression with associated insomnia, it is harmful to use this drug to treat insomnia alone.
How does Trazodone work to help insomniacs? To put it simply, Trazodone increases the level of serotonin in your body, and serotonin is known as the body’s natural sleeping pill.
It seems perfectly natural to use a drug that increases the body’s own natural sleep aid to cure insomnia. But the problem with Trazodone arises when you experience its hazardous side effects.
Side Effects of Trazodone & The Cost Of Trazodone Withdrawal
Obviously the side effects vary for each person, but generally, the most common ones can include:
restlessness or the inability to sit still
suicidal thoughts and behavior
a painful erection that does not go away
hostility or aggression
The list goes on and on.
I’m sure you know that the list of side effects for most drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter, is often frighteningly lengthy. In many cases, most people don’t experience the side effects, at least not to any degree that matters.
This is not the case for Trazodone when it is used to treat insomnia.
The next day, most people have reported feeling tired and unsteady, and they usually experience confusion and anxiety. Insomnia is reaching epidemic proportions in America, but in most cases, drugs only serve as a short-term solution. Using drugs long-term as a treatment for insomnia invariably makes matters worse rather than better.
If you feel that you must use drugs as you struggle with insomnia, do not choose Trazodone. Instead, try one of the medications that are designed specifically to treat sleep disorders. Trazodone and insomnia are a dangerous mix and should only be used to treat insomnia when it is a symptom of a major depressive disorder.
I would like to reply to the review below … the reviewer says I am not a doctor and that is true. But here is one of the most dangerous myths in our culture – the idea that ONLY doctors can know anything about health and drugs. Did you know that one of the leading causes of death in the US is doctor error!
Instead, 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care (some repeatedly) and over 63 percent of the injuries could have been prevented. In nearly 2.5 percent of these cases, the problems caused or contributed to a person's death. In another 3 percent, patients suffered from permanent injury, while over 8 percent experienced life-threatening issues, such as severe bleeding during surgery. In all there were over 25 injuries per 100 admissions! (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/04/death-by-medicine-an-update.aspx)
Let's talk more about Trazodone. The truth is that ALL drugs have side efficts. Drugs.com lists the following side effects for Trazodone:
Blurred vision; constipation; decreased sexual desire or ability; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; headache; lightheadedness when sitting up or standing; muscle aches or pains; nausea; nervousness; stomach pain; stuffy nose; tiredness.
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Trazodone:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, tarry, or bloody stools; bloody or dark urine; chest pain; decreased coordination; fainting; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; irregular heartbeat; new or worsening agitation, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, restlessness, trouble sleeping, or inability to sit still; prolonged, inappropriate, or painful erections; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness or tiredness; shortness of breath; speech problems; suicidal thoughts or actions; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; symptoms of low blood sodium levels (eg, confusion, persistent headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, unsteadiness, sluggishness, personality changes); tremor; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual weight changes; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; yellowing of the eyes or skin.
It further states: "This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur." And there's much more. (http://www.drugs.com/sfx/trazodone-side-effects.html) This is not some harmless little pill that we should casually pop in our mouths.
Whether any of you use Trazodone is certainly up to you and I am the last person who would ever judge others for their choices. Insomnia is a dreadful affiliction and we become desperate for some sleep. My only goal is to provide information for our readers to use.
I suspect that the reviewer below is either a member of the medical profession or someone who has used Trazodone herself and wishes to justify her choice. That is certainly unnecessary. Our medical choices are our business alone. However, the "You're not a doctor so your information isn't valid" argument is old and tired and I totally reject it. It's your body and no one is better qualified than you to decide upon its care.
Should drugs ever be used? Of course they should. There are times when they are powerful and necessary. However, they should be used very sparingly and with extreme caution. The existence of the so-called 'super bugs' is proof enough that we are too free with these substances. (Sydney Johnston)
Only anti-depressant that works for me!
I've basically tried them all with horrible side effects... had a smart doctor put me on Trazodone and it didn't take a week before I pulled out of my depression, I'm talking deep dark depression and suicidal thought type depression. I've always self medicated with alcohol, but that always ruins my life, so I have to go sober up and get back on my Trazodone. And a good night sleep goes a very long way in making the world look and feel better the next day.
I went off my Trazodone when I got laid off and didn't have health insurance, then I started drinking again, only to get depressed and suicidal. Ended up in a psych unit for a week as a guinea pig for the docs... it was a nightmare... when I finally went home, I threw away the anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, and a bunch of other meds and got back on my Trazodone and stayed sober. Life is definately much, much better. I'll never get off this med, just one pill at night takes care of my insomnia and wards off my depression.
I have only been on this for a month, but it's really helped! I was hospitalized for depression and anxiety prior to taking it, and adding it to my other meds has worked wonders. Not only do I finally sleep the whole night- which I desperately needed for my mental health- but I wake up far more positive than before. Rather than a feeling of dread in starting my day, I just get going. It does leave me a little groggy until I get up and move a little, but I rather be groggy than having a panic attack.
I am sure it's not for everyone. Part of treating these disorders is finding what is right for the individual. I have had follow ups every two weeks, which I think is the responsible thing for a dr to do in this situation.
I started in 100mg when in the hospital, but found it that dosage pretty much put me in a coma for half the day. The dr gave me 50 after I complained of this, and it's much better. A few nights this last week I did not take it before sleeping. I was still able to get to sleep, but did not have the same "happy" feeling the next morning.
Again, it's not for everyone, and maybe it's not right just for insomnia, I don't know, but for the panic and depression it's really helpful.
Helped me a lot
I see a lot of you badmouthing the pill, but as a person diagnosed with severe anxiety (I would have an anxiety attack about thinking about having an anxiety attack) and having insomnia, and before this I was an alcoholic self medicating myself to shut my mind down do I could sleep (I was drinking almost a liter of vodka a night for 7 years, and still functioning and getting promotions at work so something still had to give because my vitals were horible, with a BP of 190/120 at the age of 29). I did go into treatment where one of the drugs they put me on was trazodone with prozac and another antidepressant. I have been feeling much better, I agree with one person that it has gotten harder to wake up and get out of bed, but once I'm out of bed I'm ready to go. I have been on the medications without any use of any illegal drugs or alcohol for a year and a half and can say that I would be dead if I wasn't on my meds. PS: my vitals have fully recovered over the year.