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)
Trazodone for insomnia
I recently started taking trazodone for insomnia and since then, it has not helped me get one bit of sleep but, has effected me in a good sense if that sounds right. I have felt more alive and stress free I want to get out of bed and am like over joyed every morning and I don't know why so I am guessing its and effect of the trazodone because I don't take any other medications. any input on this??
works great if you can't sleep at all
I"ve been using trazadone for about 20 years, and I am very likely to have symptoms from any drug. However, I havent with this one. I would only sleep 1-4 hrs without it. Not getting sleep makes you more depressed! It helps me sleep and be less depressed. I am drowsy when I get up, but it's worth it. Otherwise, NO sleep. And it's so cheap! $4 for 30 pills. You must have a snack with it, or you could have a sick stomach.
Did not help with insomnia only.
I was prescribed this as an alternative to Ambien because of the restrictions that insurance companies are putting on Ambien. I took one dose and not only did I not get any sleep, I woke with a terrible "hangover" feeling. Headache, dizzy, tired and these symptoms didn't just last a few hours in the morning, but the whole day long. I effectiveness with depression, so I can't speak for it's effectiveness there, but I will never take it for insomnia again.