Snorting Trazadone

While the country battles high-profile epidemics of narcotic and amphetamine abuse, ignoring the more rare and niche drugs of abuse remains dangerous. Trazodone, a prescription serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor, is one of many antidepressant medications on the market. A worrying record of case studies points to deep misunderstandings about its abuse potential.

A growing number of stories point to a rise in people abusing trazodone, specifically by crushing and snorting or smoking it for more intense effects or modifying the high associated with other drugs of abuse.

Due to its deserved credibility in mental healthcare, the real dangers of trazodone addiction are complicated and can be challenging to spot. However, if the signs of substance abuse are there, specialist treatment can help identify and resolve the causes of physiological and psychological addiction and set your health back on track.

A disclaimer first: The vast majority of people who use prescription medications are not people who abuse prescription medications. Antidepressant medications and anxiety medications can be life-changing when well-formulated to a client’s needs and taken according to clear, supervised doctor’s instructions, and stigmatizing conversation about mental health does no one any good. However, understanding the signs of physical dependence and dangers of substance use disorders associated with various prescription medications is critical to ensuring that everyone’s mental healthcare is what it needs to be: sustainable, consensual, and informed.

What is Trazodone

Trazodone is a prescription medication initially developed to treat major depressive disorder effectively but has now been found to help treat various anxiety and sleep disorders. The generic drug trazodone may also be recognized by one of its prescription brand names:

  • Desyrel
  • Desyrel Devidose
  • Oleptro
  • Trazodone D

A serotonin antagonist and serotonin reuptake inhibitor, trazodone works to increase the concentration of calming neurotransmitters in the brain and spinal cord. It produces the antidepressant’s moderate sedative effects, stabilizing energy levels and reducing anxiety.

Prescription Medication Abuse – Isn’t Trazadone a “Safe” Drug?

Trazodone does not create a euphoric high when taken as instructed by a medical professional. Relative to prescription painkillers or more potent sedatives such as benzodiazepines, this drug has less potential for abuse. Addiction stemming from managed trazodone use is a relatively rare phenomenon.

All psychoactive substances have the potential for abuse when improperly used. Due to their safer reputation, trazodone may be easier to access for individuals looking for a recreational sedative than another illicit drug. The moment someone begins to experiment with their prescription medications, particularly taking trazodone in high doses or in alternate ways (especially insufflation or “snorting,” a method that deliberately achieves more intense sedating effects), they can develop substance use disorder, withdrawal, and even overdose.

In short, while cases of trazodone addiction and substance abuse are rare, they are dangerous when they surface. The scattered case studies that have looked into trazodone snorting habits suggest that more attention should be focused on this type of antidepressant medication abuse.

Individuals who take trazodone and their families or other close contacts should know the warning signs and the dangers of abusing this prescription drug.

Dangers of Trazodone Abuse

Recreational use of trazodone constitutes trazodone abuse; however, snorting trazodone is notably risky and puts the user at higher risk of potentially dangerous conditions in the short- and long-term.

Signs of Trazodone Overdose:

When you snort trazodone, you are drastically increasing the concentration of serotonin in the brain far beyond what a regular prescription would release at once. This is more true if you have increased your dosage for nonmedical reasons, significantly increasing the possibility of experiencing a dangerous overdose.

Trazadone overdoses are still in the process of being studied, but research has identified several groups of symptoms:

  1. Gastrointestinal damage, signs of which include the onset of:
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps
  • Severe nausea
  1. Respiratory depression (i.e., the significant slowing of breath rate) can result in dangerous cerebral hypoxia – low oxygen levels in the brain.
  2. Cardiovascular irregularities include swings in blood pressure, heartbeat arrhythmia, and heightened risk of stroke and heart attack.
  3. Loss of coordination, sudden unconsciousness, or significant drowsiness put the individual at risk of vehicle accident, fall, and injury.

The individual is at higher risk when trazodone is being abused in combination with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, narcotics, or benzodiazepines. Doing so can result in life-threatening conditions such as severe respiratory depression, seizures, and coma.

If you have any reason to suspect that you or someone around you is experiencing a trazodone overdose, call 9-11 or contact local emergency personnel immediately. Snorting trazodone is a new phenomenon that bears a dangerous amount of unknowns. Still, there is reason to believe that it can potentially result in organ failure and internal damage that need to be caught by immediate medical attention.

Long-term Effects of Trazodone Abuse

Snorting trazodone over a prolonged period can result in complications in the upper respiratory tract, including congestion, runny nose, bleeding, and septum perforation. Other complications are the result of high sedative doses in the body and include:

  • Persistent gastrointestinal issues
  • Burning sensations
  • Muscular pain
  • Issues with coordination
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog/confusion
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Lethargy
  • Suicidal ideation

When you abuse trazodone for a long time, you may also begin to develop withdrawal symptoms in periods where you attempt to discontinue use alone or cannot access the drug. It is also possible to be using trazodone typically and still experience this – a condition diagnosable as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Quitting without medical support while experiencing withdrawal symptoms puts you at greater risk of relapse and overdose – reach out to an addiction treatment facility or professional before cessation if this condition describes you.

Warning Signs of Trazodone Abuse

Trazodone has potential for abuse, but it is also a prescription medication with a valuable purpose. It’s understandable to feel uncertain about whether the behavior of someone you know suggests they abuse trazodone. The most important thing you can do before deciding to have “the talk” is get educated on the warning signs of antidepressant abuse.

Signs of a High

Because trazodone has mild effects when used correctly to treat conditions like anxiety or major depressive disorders, the first and most obvious sign that use has expanded to nonmedical reasons is witnessing the short-term side-effects of a high.

This may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Instability
  • “come-down” or “hungover” sensations after use

Interpersonal Signs

Substance use disorders can consume a person’s life, and the behavior and personality changes that accompany the onset of drug abuse bleed into home life, work, and social settings. If you’re concerned someone close to you abuses trazodone, keep an eye out for the following changes:

  • Neglect of physical appearance
  • Sudden shifts in appetite and weight
  • Losing interest in responsibilities, both in the personal and work-related sphere.
  • Sudden moodiness – symptoms of swinging in and out of withdrawal
  • Notable irregularities in sleep pattern and wakefulness

Prescription Behavior

Individuals snorting trazodone are likely to be using far more of this prescription drug than the doctor ordered. If someone’s habits around their trazodone prescription have changed drastically or become more secretive, you’re observing a warning sign of substance use disorder. Keep an eye out for:

  • Lying about insomnia, depression, or anxiety symptoms to access trazodone.
  • Offering to buy or attempting to steal trazodone from family members or friends.
  • Visiting more than one doctor for a trazodone prescription
  • Making many prescription attempts
  • Obtaining or planning ways to access trazodone after treatment has resolved
  • Obtaining trazodone through illicit means or seeking it online
  • Avoiding questions about prescription details, including when they take their medication or how high their dosage is.

Risk Factors for Trazodone Abuse

The risk factors for snorting trazodone follow the same pattern as the abuse of other prescription medications. According to NIDA, these general patterns are:

  • If you are taking prescription medication for a genuine medical reason and are following the supervised guidance of a medical professional, it is unlikely that you will develop problematic use.
  • If you use a drug for a nonmedical reason (e.g., recreational sedation), you are more likely to develop a substance use disorder.
  • As an antidepressant medication, Trazodone is most likely to be a “secondary drug of abuse.” In other words, it is more likely to be abused alongside other psychoactive substances in what we call “polydrug use.” Because of this, people who already exhibit some substance abuse behaviors are more likely to develop a trazodone addiction than those who do not.

Clinical Support for Addiction to Prescription Medications

Trazadone is a medication that people trust to help, and it can be a crushing experience to realize someone you know has begun to abuse it. Understand that you can reach out for support, and doing so will not cast you back into the mire of untreated anxiety or depression.

NPAC is a Florida-based professional treatment provider specializing in recovery plans that treat addiction in ways informed by and uphold holistic mental health.

Treatment options at our center include:

  • Comprehensive therapy
  • 1-1 counseling with an addiction specialist
  • Throughout the treatment process
  • Medical detox

Call us at 772-281-5051 to speak to a certified addiction professional about options that consider your mental and physical health from every side. We can start your journey to wellness today.

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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner

Facilitator

As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns

Clinician

Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
 
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine