15 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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According to the National Institute of Health, 64% of adults with depressive symptoms or disorders are at high risk of developing Coronary artery disease. With a growing number of problems, this percentage is gradually increasing. As the number of depressive disorders is increasing, pharmaceutical companies are developing drugs to help people cope with symptoms of depression and other mood disorders.

Hand holding a bag of pink pills.

One of the drugs which have shown positive results not only in treating depression but also in improving mood, energy levels, and appetite is Trazodone.  

Trazodone is a powerful antidepressant prescribed for patients with a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters causes depression especially major depressive disorder. Although Trazodone is prescribed for depression, mental health professionals also prescribe Trazodone to treat insomnia.

In addition to depression, Trazodone is recommended for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, panic attacks, and anxiety. Although sold under many brand names, Trazodone is marketed by pharmaceutical companies under its trade name Oleptro.

Since Trazodone is a ‘Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitor (SARI)’, doctors do not consider Oleptro addictive. However, Trazodone can reach the point of drug abuse if the person taking the prescription feels ‘normal’. 

As a long-term medication, Oleptro is not inherently dangerous but answers questions like ‘is Trazodone addictive?’ This is debatable since many people using Trazodone do not crave the drug.

To better understand the effects of mixing Oleptro and alcohol, let us look at ‘what is Trazodone?’ and ‘is mixing Trazodone and alcohol a dangerous combination? 

Trazodone belongs to a class of antidepressants known as ‘Serotonin Antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitor (SARI)‘. Although recommended to treat a major depressive disorder, doctors prescribe Oleptro off-label to treat insomnia as well as alcohol dependence.

Lamictal and Alcohol

Serotonin regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. Low levels of serotonin cause depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. Trazodone works by blocking the brain’s neurons from using serotonin, allowing serotonin to facilitate a strong connection between nerve cells.

Availability of serotonin in the required amount results in a balanced and healthy brain, thereby reducing mental disorders that cause mood swings, anxiety, and depression. 

Recommended Dose 

Oleptro is available in tablet, and extended-release tablets form for oral ingestion. Doctors usually recommend a dose of 150 mg daily, which may be increased depending on the patient’s age and response to the treatment.

Since Trazodone is intended to be a part of daily medication routine, it is usually taken two or more times a day with a meal or light snack. Extended-release tablets are taken on an empty stomach before bedtime once a day. 

It usually takes two weeks or longer to feel the full benefits of Trazodone. If you feel sleepy, you can take Oleptro at bedtime to help you sleep properly. However, if your doctor has recommended a large dose, you can split and take it twice daily

You should be aware that skipping or doubling up on a dose can cause a huge imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain that can ultimately lead to severe mood swings and anxiety.

Due to different chemical compositions, Trazodone has a low risk of possible drug abuse. However, drug abusers are willing to take one step ahead and mix Trazodone and alcohol to relieve stress. 

Factors to keep in mind when using Trazodone

Keeping in mind the possibility of drug abuse, people with a history of substance misuse are liable to mix Oleptro and alcohol. Because alcohol has a calming effect on the central nervous system, which provides relief, people tend to mix Trazodone with alcohol to relieve physical and mental stress.

As a general rule, mixing alcohol and Trazodone is a bad idea. Alcohol can impact your well-being even if you have one drink. So when a person ignores the health risks and consumes Trazodone and alcohol together, it can affect your body in a way that is different than what you expected.

One of the biggest misconceptions heavy drinkers have is that even one drink will not impact their health while using Trazodone. It is important to understand that alcohol can increase side effects associated with Oleptro that resolve on their own if you are taking Trazodone independently.

People don’t realize that this temporary relief renders the effect of Trazodone which was originally used to treat depressive symptoms and elevate energy levels.

Though the mechanism of action is not fully understood, Trazodone acts by inhibiting serotonin reuptake and blocking histamine receptors. Many experts believe that chemical imbalance arises from interactions among the brain’s four primary neurotransmitters Dopamine, Histamine, Acetylcholine, and Norepinephrine. 

Clinical studies have shown that Oleptro is as effective as other classes of drugs. Trazodone is better tolerated than second-generation selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are strongly associated with anxiety, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction. 

Due to its unique property, Trazodone prevents insomnia and anxiety that usually occur with SSRI treatments.  

Mechanism of Action 

Trazodone inhibits neurons from using serotonin which makes serotonin available for strong connections between the nerve cells. Ultimately this leads to an improvement in mood and overall well-being. 

A recent study showed that Trazodone reduced the release of inflammatory mediators and normalized nutritional and metabolic support during neuronal inflammation associated with major depression.

Since the mechanism of action is not fully understood, Trazodone is used illegally. Thus, the likelihood of drug abuse is high even though Oleptro is not a habit-forming drug.

One of the common methods of Trazodone abuse has been associated with combining both Oleptro and alcohol. Alcohol achieves its primary effect by decreasing the effect of excitatory neurotransmitters and enhancing the effect of inhibitory neurotransmitters. This results in a calm or sedative effect, which increases up to tenfold when combined with Trazodone.

When Trazodone is taken as a prescribed medication, it is not associated with rewarding euphoric high, unlike many other drugs. However, patients seeking relief from mental disorders are often skeptical about the use of Trazodone.

Experts believe the answer to the frequently asked question ‘is Trazodone addictive?’ is ambiguous. However, if a person wants to feel ‘normal’ or experiences withdrawal symptoms without it, they have become dependent. It is very easy for people with a history of drug abuse to become addicted to Trazodone.

In most cases, when some people using Oleptro feel that their symptoms cannot be controlled with just the prescribed medication, they find ways of managing symptoms. The most frequently used method to ‘cope’ with the symptoms is by mixing Trazodone and alcohol. 

The Dangers of Mixing Solpadeine and Alcohol

The answer to your question ‘is trazodone addictive?’ in this scenario is Yes. Doctors are aware of health complications resulting from consuming alcohol and Oleptro. That is why before prescribing the drug, your doctor will list warnings of drug abuse. 

Trazodone users need to understand that both Trazodone and alcohol are central nervous system (CNS) depressants with addictive side effects due to their drug interactions.

Drinking has been linked to short sleep duration and poor-quality sleep

Despite feeling sleepy, drinking can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. The important stage of the sleep cycle that keeps your brain healthy, the rapid eye movement or REM sleep, is also affected by drinking alcohol.

Sleep quality decrease by 24 % when moderate amounts of alcohol are consumed (One serving per day for women or two servings per day for men).

Since the potential for Trazodone drug abuse is very low compared to other mood-altering drugs like opioids. There has been no indication that users are more likely to either engage in drug-seeking behavior or experience extreme cravings. 

Note: A review of antidepressant drug abuse conducted in 2014 found no published case that indicated any Trazodone drug abuse. 

However, mixing Trazodone and alcohol can have serious repercussions like an increased level of intoxication that results in extreme drowsiness. Drowsiness impairs your ability to perform day-to-day tasks, increases the risk of falls and injuries, affects your decision-making abilities.

We already know the side effects of mixing Oleptro and alcohol. However, some people refuse to understand the extent of this deadly combination’s side effects on their lives. So to clear up this confusion, Let’s find out what happens when you mix Trazodone and alcohol.

The Side Effects of Mixing Ambien and Alcohol

When you combine Trazodone and alcohol, both substances, due to different nature of use, fight against each other, which results in unpredictable and dangerous side effects in different users. Changes in heartbeat or heart rhythm are experienced when Oleptro is mixed with any alcohol having grapefruit.

As discussed earlier, Trazodone has a possibility for physical dependence when consumed with alcohol. In addition to that, this deadly combination can lead to delirium, hallucinations, and seizures in extreme cases.

Since Trazodone is a long-term medication, doctors recommend Oleptro for short-term use depending on the improvement in symptoms. Hence from the discussion, we can conclude an answer to the previously asked question ‘is mixing Trazodone with alcohol a dangerous combination? The answer to this question is Yes.

We have mentioned earlier how mixing Trazodone and alcohol can lead to severe side effects that affect a person’s overall health. It is important to understand the nature of these side effects so that you can keep an eye on any possible risks of drug and alcohol abuse.

Mentioned below are some short-term and long-term side effects of mixing alcohol and Trazodone that adversely impact your well-being.

Short-Term Side Effects of Mixing Trazodone with Alcohol

Mixing Oleptro and alcohol can cause patients to feel dizzy and sleepy. Other short-term side effects include:

  • Blurred Vision

Mixing alcohol and Trazodone can slow the communication between the eyes and brain that leads to blurred vision. This interaction is interrupted by the way the eye muscles work together, which causes vision changes.

  • Headaches

Headaches are often experienced by patients with a strong dependency on alcohol and Trazodone. The onset of headache is due to the inflammation (caused by consuming Trazodone and alcohol repeatedly) within the vessels that regulates blood flow to the brain and modulates the transmission of pain signals.

  • Nausea

Consuming Oleptro and alcohol can result in nausea. If a person decides to quit drinking or stops taking Trazodone, nausea is one of the recurring symptoms they experience.

  • Constipation

Frequent users of alcohol and Trazodone feel constipated most of the time. Constipation occurs when your gastrointestinal system is not used to the presence of both Oleptro and alcohol the way your other parts of the body are used to. 

This results in infrequent bowel movements or bowel movements that are hard to pass.

  • Fatigue

Alcohol damages your mental health by suppressing the central nervous system. A mixture of Trazodone and alcohol further aggravates your symptoms by making people feel sleepy and tired.

This impacts your health as well as your daily routine. You are unable to concentrate and perform even simple tasks.

Additional to these symptoms, fever, sweating, impaired judgment, delayed response time, and agitation is also experienced.

Long-Term Side Effects of Mixing Trazodone with Alcohol

Long-term side effects of mixing Trazodone with alcohol can result from consuming Oleptro and alcohol together to improve one’s mood. Some long-term side effects are listed to help you better understand:

  • Seizures

The risk of seizures is usually high when you have two or more alcoholic beverages. However, this risk increases up to ten folds when Trazodone is mixed with alcohol. Since consuming Oleptro and alcohol leads to intoxication without the consumer’s notice, this can eventually result in seizures.

  • Hypotension

Impairment of vasoconstriction due to mixing alcohol and Trazodone ultimately leads to hypotension. Different chemical composition of Oleptro causes the blood pressure to lower down, which is reverse for alcohol consumption.

However, different chemical properties of both Trazodone and alcohol cause blood pressure to reach exceedingly low levels, which causes patients to feel weak and dizzy.

  • Impaired Memory

A decrease in neural activity and brain functioning occurs when you combine Trazodone with alcohol. If this combination is continued over a prolonged period, it can produce an array of cognitive impairments. 

Mixing Trazodone and alcohol can destroy brain cells responsible for memory and cognition. This destruction occurs at a rapid pace which is faster than the aging process. Increased rate of brain cell decay results in impaired memory and in some cases dementia.

  • Damage to Central Nervous System

Reward pathways responsible for elevating your mood are primarily affected when you bring alcohol into the equation while using Trazodone. Mixing Oleptro with alcohol causes structural changes in the brain.

Note: Structural changes lead to alterations in chemical patterns in the brain that keep the brain healthy and help avoid stress

Combining Oleptro and alcohol for a long time drastically impacts your brain, resulting in an increased incidence of different types of mental disorders and diseases.

  • Coma

Toxic effect of mixing Trazodone with alcohol results in a comatose state. This state occurs when patients combine Oleptro and alcohol as the desired effect of their administration or due to idiopathic reactions.

Excessive consumption of alcohol and Trazodone slows brain function due to lack of blood flow to the brain. This can be dangerous if the patient does not recover from it 

Additional to these side effects, insomnia, liver damage, Changes in cognitive function, respiratory problems are also experienced by patients.

Mixing Trazodone and alcohol can cause extreme drowsiness leading to severe and life-threatening incidents. Due to their intoxicating nature, these two substances affect the respiratory and the nervous system when taken in large doses or repeatedly.

The result of combing Oleptro and alcohol can cause serotonin syndrome. Excessive serotonin can prove fatal for the brain to tolerate, which is one of the biggest reasons for death from alcohol and Trazodone.

In most cases, death from alcohol and Oleptro is due to the effect of alcohol while you are taking Trazodone. As mentioned earlier, Trazodone itself has no link to drug abuse or any side effects; however, adding alcohol prevents Oleptro from acting accordingly.

Cause of Trazodone and Alcohol Death

People seeking presumed ‘high’ forget the consequences of mixing Oleptro and alcohol and indulge themselves excessively. This eventually results in the patient not taking caution and hence end up being dead. 

Lack of insufficient data on the potential of Trazodone drug abuse leads people to believe that it is safe to consume even one drink while using Oleptro. This misconception not only has serious repercussions on your health but also impacts the lives of you and those around you.

Alcohol and Trazodone death often occurs when people taking Oleptro feel their symptoms are not relieved by the drug. This is especially due to pain and drowsiness experienced after taking Trazodone. 

Oleptro users need to understand that these symptoms are usual when taking any prescribed drug. Within a week of taking this drug, symptoms either resolve on their own or are manageable.

However, to find relief, people look for options that will provide them with immediate results. Since alcohol depresses the nervous system, people combine Trazodone with alcohol in an excess amount which causes intoxication resulting in death in most cases.

Trazodone overdose is a rare occurrence; however, the risk of overdose increases when Oleptro and alcohol are mixed. Due to the high level of intoxicating elements, Trazodone exaggerates some effects of alcohol, resulting in overdose.

Using Trazodone for a prolonged period can result in physical dependence and symptoms that have serious consequences on your health. Once a person using alcohol and Trazodone has developed a strong tolerance, it can be difficult to taper off Trazodone. 

This causes symptoms of withdrawal that interfere with your sleep and appetite. People who are prone to overdose on alcohol and Trazodone do not consult the doctor before consuming Trazodone beyond the recommended dose.

People around you don’t realize that you might be at risk of overdose when it’s too late. Often people on the road to overdose do not exhibit any symptoms that indicate drug abuse. It is important to keep an eye out for the side effects of an overdose. 

One of the common ways you can easily overdose is by increasing the dose from 150 mg to 600 mg. Specific dosage combined with any form of depressant can constitute an overdose.

That is why doctors recommend avoiding alcohol when taking Oleptro because, as mentioned above, Trazodone and alcohol make a poor combination.

If you have trouble pointing out someone on the verge of overdose, there are some symptoms of overdose that can help you save someone’s life.  

These include:

  • Labored Breathing
  • Chest pain or irregular heartbeat
  • Tremors

Understanding the dangers and side effects of mixing Trazodone and alcohol can help you save someone from an overdose. It is important to keep a check on how you or your loved one might be on the pathway to a fatal overdose. 

Trazodone is an antidepressant solely used to treat depression, anxiety, and various types of mental disorders. With a growing number of daily problems, it is crucial to find ways to tackle these issues and help people manage symptoms associated with different mental disorders.

Prescribing antidepressants can be an easy way out of your problems; however, some people using Trazodone over a prolonged period feel they cannot function without Oleptro. It is an escape route for them. This is an indication of possible drug abuse. 

To achieve sedative effects, users mix Trazodone with alcohol to alleviate stress. What people don’t realize is that this combination impacts your well-being negatively in the long run.

So if you feel your loved one is indulging in this deadly combination, you immediately need to seek help. Various forms of therapy combine with support groups can help save your loved one from the shackles of drug abuse. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Get help building the life of your loved one today.



The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


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