Trazodone for anxiety & depression.

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Is trazodone (desyrel) right for you?

There are many different types of depression medications, and it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. At Brightside, we’re here to help. Our providers are knowledgeable about each type of medication for depression and specialize in finding the best fit for your individual needs. As part of your treatment, your provider may recommend an antidepressant called trazodone to help you feel better.

Trazodone is a commonly used medication that’s often well tolerated and effective for the treatment of symptoms related to depression, including depression-related anxiety and insomnia. Below, we offer some helpful information about trazodone so you can work with your provider to determine if it’s right for you and make an informed decision about your care.

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Mimi Winsberg, MD

Chief Medical Officer
Stanford-trained Psychiatrist with 25 years of practice

Get a trazodone prescription and ongoing anxiety & depression care for only $95 / month.


What’s included in a Brightside Medication Membership:

  • Ongoing support from an expert psychiatric provider
  • Unlimited daily messaging & video follow-ups
  • Free monthly medication delivery
  • Regular progress tracking
Start now and get $50 off your first month of treatment.

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Getting started is simple.

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Step 1

Fill out our free mental health assessment.

Start with a clinically-proven set of questions to shed light on how you’re feeling. We’ll help you understand your symptoms, then recommend the best treatment plan for you–including medication, therapy, or both.

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Step 2

Connect with your provider for a personalized treatment plan.

Get matched with an expert provider for an online video consultation. Share how you’re feeling and then decide on next steps–together.

If prescribed, your medication will be delivered to your door monthly.

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Step 3

Make progress and start feeling better.

Stay in touch with with unlimited messaging, plus monthly video sessions with your Therapist and unlimited video consults with your Psychiatric Provider.

Then measure your progress with regular check-ins to monitor your symptoms and make adjustments until your treatment is right for you.

Everything you need to know about trazodone

What is trazodone, and how does it work?

Trazodone, commonly sold under the brand name Desyrel, is a type of antidepressant known as a serotonin modulator. Specifically, it boosts levels of serotonin—a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, in your brain that affects your mood.

Trazodone maintains healthy levels of serotonin in your brain, creating feelings of well-being, making you feel better, and improving symptoms of depression.

Trazodone is an oral medication and comes in regular and extended-release forms.

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What conditions does trazodone treat?

At Brightside, our psychiatric providers specialize in personalizing treatment for each person. We give you personal attention and expert advice you can count on—and explain all your options and use our expertise to find the medication that’s right for you. It’s important to make sure you understand how medications work and what to expect so that your treatment is worry-free.

If your Brightside provider prescribes trazodone, they will explain how it’s used as a treatment for depression and associated anxiety or sleep problems.

Trazodone may also be used in adults to treat general insomnia.

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What symptoms can trazodone help treat?

If you have depression, trazodone can help to improve your mood. It can also help with:

  • Anxious feelings
  • Appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Low energy levels
  • Sleep changes

Making sense of different medications, their uses, benefits, and side effects can be challenging. That’s where we can help. Brightside providers have an in-depth knowledge of the strengths and drawbacks of each medication. You’ll get all the information you need to make an informed choice about your treatment.

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Will trazodone work for me?

At Brightside, we can help you in finding the right treatment to help you feel better. Many different factors influence how you respond to medication. We understand that you may have questions about taking a new medication and whether it will help you. You’re not alone—many patients have similar questions.

With trazodone, you’ll know in a relatively short time if it is working for you. The medication generally starts to take effect within one to two weeks. You’ll likely feel its full benefits within six weeks.

Before starting a new medication like trazodone, it’s important to get a comprehensive health assessment from a provider who understands your health history. You should only take trazodone if a physician or other qualified psychiatric provider prescribed it for you.

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How long do people generally take trazodone?

Before you start taking trazodone, you may have some questions about how long you’ll need to take this medication. The length of time you need to take trazodone will depend on your diagnosis and specific symptoms. Your provider may prescribe this medication for six months or more.

We understand you want to feel better right away, but it’s essential to give the medication time to take effect—each person is different. Your provider may need to switch doses or change or add medications to give you the best results. Remember, your Brightside provider will work with you to determine what course of treatment is best for your specific needs.

Most importantly, we recommend that you keep taking your medication until your provider says it’s time to stop—even after you start to feel better.

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How effective is trazodone?

Studies have shown that antidepressants relieve symptoms of depression about 40-60% of the time, and additional treatments (such as therapy and lifestyle improvements) on top of medication often lead to the best outcomes.

To get the best results with medication, it’s important to consistently measure progress during treatment. This is known as Measurement Based Care, and it’s the approach we use at Brightside. It’s common to adjust the dose and/or medication when starting antidepressants until you find just the right fit.

You should know that trazodone has been used to successfully treat depression in adults for decades. However, research has linked trazodone to orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure upon standing) in older adults. Still, trazodone may be a good option for patients who have not responded well to other types of antidepressants.

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Does trazodone change my personality?

Many people worry that antidepressants will alter their personality or change who they are. As long as you’re taking the right dosage, trazodone will not change your personality or blunt your emotions. Actually, it will help you feel like yourself again by improving your mood, reducing your anxiety, and helping you let go of worries.

Just remember that your symptoms won’t improve overnight. Keep taking your medication as prescribed—even when you start to feel better—and talk to your Brightside provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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Are there side effects associated with trazodone?

When prescribing any medication, our providers work to make sure you experience as few side effects as possible.

It’s important to understand that trazodone may be slightly more likely to cause unwanted, temporary side effects when compared to other antidepressants. As a result, providers may prescribe trazodone for patients who have not had success with other antidepressants.

Side effects from trazodone are usually temporary, but talk to your provider if any of these symptoms become severe or don’t go away:

  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Changes in sex drive or ability
  • Concentration changes or memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Coordination changes
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling unsteady when walking
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Nervousness
  • Nightmares 
  • Numbness, burning or tingling in the arms, legs, hands, or feet
  • Rash
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Sweating
  • Tired, red, or itchy eyes
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Weight changes or changes in appetite

In rare cases, trazodone can also cause severe side effects. Contact your provider if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting 
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding

Do not take trazodone if you take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine, or isocarboxazid. MAOIs are often prescribed to treat depression, Parkinson’s disease, or bipolar disorder. Combining an MAOI with trazodone can lead to a severe reaction, including confusion, high blood pressure, and tremor.

At Brightside, your health and safety are our highest priorities. We make sure you get individual attention and guidance to make sure you feel your best.

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Does trazodone have withdrawal symptoms?

Antidepressants are not physiologically or psychologically addictive, but they can cause a discontinuation syndrome if stopped abruptly.

The discontinuation syndrome is a consequence of abruptly stopping certain types of antidepressants and can cause a range of symptoms. These are the most common symptoms of discontinuation syndrome:

  • Feeling anxious
  • Feelings of vertigo
  • Odd sensory symptoms, such as tingling feelings in the skin or what some people describe as a “zapping” sensation in the brain
  • Trouble sleeping

Make sure to talk to your provider before stopping or changing how you take your medication so they can create a plan that gives your body enough time to adjust. This will keep you feeling well and prevent symptoms from returning.

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Can I take trazodone during pregnancy or while nursing?

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are nursing, please talk to your provider before starting or making any changes to a medication. For some, the benefits of staying on an antidepressant during pregnancy can outweigh the potential risks.

Some laboratory studies suggest trazodone could cause problems with early brain development. 

Trazodone does pass into breast milk. Talk to your healthcare provider about your breastfeeding questions.

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Is trazodone addictive?

Trazodone is generally considered non-addictive and is not habit-forming. However, it’s important to remember that you may still experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly. If you have concerns about taking this medication, your Brightside provider is here to give you answers. Your health and safety are our highest priority.

What does the FDA say about trazodone?

You can view the FDA black box warning for trazodone here. If you have questions about whether the black box warning for trazodone applies to you, please talk to your provider.

Conditions we treat with trazodone

Brightside Psychiatric Providers prescribe trazodone alongside other medicines to treat conditions including:
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