What Happens When You Take Trazodone and Alcohol Together?
- Trazodone is approved for depression but is often used off-label to treat sleep disturbances during alcohol recovery.
- Trazodone affects your levels of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for your experience of both cheerfulness and wakefulness.
- Alcohol depresses your central nervous system by activating your GABA receptors.
- Combining trazodone and alcohol can make you drowsy yet unable to sleep restfully. The sedative effect of each gets intensified.
- If you have an alcohol use disorder, seek compassionate treatment immediately.
Both Trazodone and alcohol may make you drowsy and are sometimes taken together to increase their effectiveness as a sleep aid. Even though alcohol also makes you drowsy, it actually disrupts restful sleep patterns. Taking trazodone and alcohol together does not guarantee better sleep, but it can increase the chance of potentially dangerous side effects like respiratory depression.
Trazodone is primarily classified as a SARI (Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitor). The hormone serotonin is responsible for feelings of cheerfulness and positivity but also for wakefulness. Trazodone primarily blocks certain serotonin receptors and inhibits serotonin reuptake, affecting mood and sleep.
Research suggests that even though it’s effective as a sleep aid, Trazodone might impede improvements in alcohol consumption for people in alcohol recovery.
What Happens When You Take Trazadone?
Trazodone is available primarily as an oral administration medicine. It comes in immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (ER) tablets, oral drops, and injectable solutions.
Trazodone inhibits serotonin reuptake and acts as an antagonist on the 5-HT2A receptors, among other effects. This has a twofold effect:
- Serotonin can’t be reabsorbed into the cells that release it, and more serotonin fills the synapses between neurons. This means your mood and any generalized anxiety could improve.
The overall activity of arousal hormones in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, will decrease, which will have a hypnotic effect.
- Trazodone is not approved for use by the FDA to treat insomnia. However, research has shown that the 100mg dosage is most effective in improving sleep.
Since it was designed to treat major depression rather than insomnia due to alcohol recovery, there is not extensive research into trazodone’s effect on sobriety for those recovering from alcohol addiction.
The most common side effects of trazodone are headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and drowsiness. Other risks include dry mouth, low blood pressure, fast and chaotic heartbeats, prolonged penile erection, visual hallucinations, and increased suicidal thoughts. While many side effects may resolve upon discontinuing trazodone, it is not guaranteed that all adverse effects will cease, and some may require medical attention.
Alcohol is a fermented drink where yeast converts sugar into ethanol. Alcohol is a known human carcinogen, and even moderate drinking carries many negative health effects.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It initially presents as a stimulant, but it always ends as a depressant. Initially, people who drink alcohol experience a rush of dopamine followed by a depression of their neuronal excitability.
Ethanol binds to GABA receptors in the brain and enhances the inhibitory effects of GABA, but it does not necessarily increase the production of hormones responsible for healthy inhibitions. In turn, this leads to drowsiness.
However, even though alcohol can make you sleepy, it disrupts healthy sleep patterns so that your sleep will be less restful.
Side Effects of Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol has numerous side effects, but some of the most obvious are:
- Slow reflexes
- Poor judgment
- Slurred speech
- Accidental injury
Alcohol impairs your judgment, and this quality can intensify the negative aspects of its many side effects. If you use alcohol in a dangerous environment, such as operating a motor vehicle, the negative consequences of alcohol’s side effects, like slowed reflexes and poor judgment, are multiplied.
There are two main drawbacks to drinking alcohol while taking trazodone.
While you may be taking trazodone to improve your sleep, the effects of alcohol could be disrupting restful sleep patterns. Furthermore, drinking alcohol to help you go to sleep could complicate your recovery from alcohol use disorder.
Both alcohol and trazodone have a depressant-like effect, but they act differently on neurotransmitters. Alcohol primarily enhances the inhibitory effects of GABA and inhibits the excitatory effects of glutamate, while trazodone primarily acts on serotonin and other neurotransmitters related to arousal. Taking a combination of the two will multiply the effects of sedation that accompany either one. Sedation itself is accompanied by respiratory depression, and if your breathing rate gets low enough, it could be dangerous.
Respiratory depression could lead to unconsciousness, coma, or even death.
For reasons we do not entirely understand, Trazodone might impede improvements in alcohol consumption during recovery. In one double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the group given trazodone had less improvement in the proportion of abstinent days and more alcoholic drinks per day than the control group once the medication was concluded.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) can rob you of your sleep, but more importantly, it can rob you of your freedom. Take back your freedom by seeking qualified addiction treatment for AUD today.
There are compassionate treatment centers that offer robust rehab programs and evidence-based therapies catered specifically to your individual needs, history, and lifestyle. One such treatment center is Recovery Unplugged.
With addiction treatment centers in Texas, Florida, Virginia, and Tennessee, Recovery Unplugged is within reasonable commuting distance of millions of Americans. They have an expert care team who wants to restore what addiction took away: Your ability to hope and heal.
Call their admissions today to see what they can do for you.
No matter how hopeless things may seem, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your addiction is not the end. You can choose to put an end to your addiction right now by seeking an accredited treatment facility that has the experience and expertise to handle your recovery with compassion, tact, dignity, purpose, and wisdom.
Don’t spend another second not in control of your life. You are precious. Contact someone you trust who can help you start the recovery journey.
Frequently Asked Questions About Trazadone and Alcohol
Does Trazodone Show Up on a Drug Test?
Yes. Trazodone can produce false positives in a urine test for amphetamine and methamphetamine. Laboratories must be aware of this possible interference when interpreting the results of any drug test.
Does Trazodone Make Hangovers Worse?
No research has been performed on what effect trazodone has on hangovers. What is certain is that trazodone is not an approved way to treat hangovers.
Hangovers are an adverse side effect of excessive alcohol consumption. The most effective treatment to prevent excessive alcohol consumption is to address alcohol use disorder with both medical and behavioral interventions.
Does Trazodone Make You Tired?
Yes. Trazodone primarily acts as a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor. It does not necessarily decrease the overall activity of serotonin but rather modifies its signaling. It may induce drowsiness through its complex interactions with various neurotransmitters, including serotonin. It achieves this hypnotic effect by impairing your sleep-dependent cortical plasticity.
We take our music-focused treatment for addiction very seriously, so we are going to hold our content to the same precision standards. Recovery Unplugged’s editorial process involves our editing safeguard and our ideals. Read our Editorial Process.
 Shin, J., & Saadabadi, A. (n.d.). Trazodone – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470560/
 Friedmann, P., Rose, J., Swift, R., Stout, R., Millman, R., & Stein, M. (n.d.). Trazodone For Sleep Disturbance After Alcohol Detoxification: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2567128/
 Alcohol and cancer risk fact sheet. National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet
DW;, H. R. V. J. (n.d.). Stimulant and sedative effects of alcohol. Current topics in behavioral neurosciences. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21560041/
 Davies, M. (n.d.). The role of Gaba receptors in mediating the effects of alcohol in the central nervous system. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC165791/
 Park, S.-Y., Oh, M.-K., Lee, B.-S., Kim, H.-G., Lee, W.-J., Lee, J.-H., Lim, J.-T., & Kim, J.-Y. (n.d.). The effects of alcohol on quality of sleep. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4666864/
 How alcohol affects your health. healthdirect. (n.d.). https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-alcohol-affects-your-health
 Baron, J., Griggs, D., Nixon, A., Long, W., & Flood, J. (n.d.). The trazodone metabolite meta-chlorophenylpiperazine can cause false-positive urine amphetamine immunoassay results. Journal of analytical toxicology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21740694/
 Aton, S. J., Seibt, J., Dumoulin, M. C., Coleman, T., Shiraishi, M., & Frank, M. G. (n.d.). The sedating antidepressant trazodone impairs sleep-dependent cortical plasticity. PLOS ONE. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0006078
- Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Centers
- Fort Lauderdale Drug Rehab
- West Palm Beach Drug Rehab
- Alcohol & Drug Rehab in Nashville, TN
- Virginia Drug & Alcohol Rehab
- Rehabs in Florida
- Tennessee Drug Rehab
- Rehabs in Washington, DC
- Am I an Addict?
- Helping You Detox Off Drugs and Alcohol
- Our Residential Treatment Program
- Our Inpatient Drug Treatment Program
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program
- Partial Hospitalization Program
- Medication Assisted Treatment Program (MAT)
- Our Music-Assisted Treatment
- Faith Based Recovery Programs
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy
- Resource for Knowing What Drugs Smell Like
- 5 Children's Books That Discuss Drugs and Alcohol
- How Do Drugs and Alcohol Affect Your Sex Life?
- HBO Series Euphoria Follows Woman Suffering from Drug Addiction
- Suboxone - Is it Obsolete?
- Rebuilding Relationships After Addiction
- A Guide to What Drugs Look Like and How to Identify Them by Appearance
- Do You Have A Sports Addiction?
- The Lasting Scars of Self-Harm
- The Best Composers to Listen to While Healing
- This One Time, I went to Rehab in Mexico
- Alcohol and Job Loss: Getting Help before Getting Fired
- How Long Does Valium Withdrawal Last?