How Effective Is Trazodone for Anxiety?

Trazodone is an antidepressant that is said to be highly effective for treating anxiety.
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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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Trazodone for anxiety is said to be very effective, often leading to significant improvement in anxiety symptoms within the first two to six weeks of treatment. Patients suffering from anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or panic disorder, have been known to benefit from using trazodone to treat anxiety. Many experts believe symptoms of anxiety are common in those with depressive disorders, and that those with anxiety disorders may be more prone to periods of depression. Trazodone, which is considered an antidepressant, is typically categorized as a serotonin antagonist and re-uptake inhibitor (SARI). Its mechanism is believed to be somewhat similar to the mechanism of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressant drugs sometimes used to treat anxiety disorders.

Medical professionals believe depression and anxiety may both be related to chemical imbalances in the brain, specifically to an imbalance in serotonin. Experts believe individuals with too little serotonin in their brains are more vulnerable to depression and anxiety disorders. People with depression often suffer from crippling levels of anxiety and vice versa, a circumstance which, experts believe, validates the possibility of a link between the two disorders.

Trazodone is believed to help treat anxiety and depression by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. The drug can also have sedative effects, so trazodone for anxiety is often prescribed in cases where accompanying insomnia is severe. Small doses of the drug are sometimes recommended to treat insomnia alone in those suffering from an anxiety disorder.

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Standard dosages of trazodone for anxiety usually start at around 150 mg per day. Patients are sometimes advised to split this daily dose into several doses taken throughout the day. The medication is usually administered orally in the form of a tablet. Patients are typically advised to take trazodone for anxiety with a small amount of food, and to avoid the use of alcohol while taking the drug, since alcohol can enhance the drug's sedative effects.

Most patients will need to be closely monitored by a physician for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment with trazodone for anxiety. Dosages are often adjusted to meet the patient's individual needs. 150 mg per day may not be enough for some patients, while it may be too much for others.

It usually takes about two weeks for the effects of trazodone to become apparent. The standard dose is typically then increased by 50 mg every three days or so until the patient begins to feel its effects. If the dosage is too high, it can be reduced on this ratio to suit the patient's needs. Use of the drug should not generally be stopped without medical supervision, since this can cause withdrawal symptoms in many patients.

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Discuss this Article

fBoyle
Post 5

@lmays-- I'm experiencing the same thing. Trazodone works like a sedative for me. I take it before bed and it knocks me out in half an hour. I don't wake up till morning and I have a hard time waking up. I've also experienced sleep paralysis a few times since I was put on the medication, which I think shows that it has strong sedative effects.

I would recommend it for people with general anxiety who also have sleep problems. If you don't have sleep problems, then you probably don't need this.

ddljohn
Post 4

@fify-- Trazodone helped me sleep too but it did not help with my anxiety at all. It just made me tired and very hungry.

I took the medication for six months, slowly increasing my dose with the supervision of my doctor. I kept hoping that it would start working for my anxiety but it never did. Yes, I did sleep better. I used to wake up at night a lot before and with trazodone, I was sleeping throughout the night. But I still had anxiety during the day and I gained so much weight. I think there are better medications out there for anxiety symptoms. I'm on an SSRI right now which is working much better.

fify
Post 3

I'm not sure about how well trazodone works for all types of anxiety, but it works well for me. My main problem was insomnia and trazodone helps me sleep. I also feel calmer and happier during the day.

Dramacat5
Post 2

I was once prescribed trazodone for sleep but found that it made me sleep so soundly, I had trouble waking the next morning. Also, since I suffer from depression, I need an energizing medication and finally landed on Wellbutrin. I have taken it for years and have had great success with it, although I know several people who tried it and didn't like it at all.

Slashenden
Post 1

Treatment for anxiety is trial and error. While trazodone may work well for some, it may not work at all or may cause side effects that are unacceptable to others. There are many medications on the market for anxiety and depression. You will never know what works best for you until you try them. Be aware that some of the side effects of these medications will wear off after a couple of weeks and it is important to give each medication a full month to determine whether or not it is working for you.

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