Xanax Vs. Trazodone: What’s The Difference?

Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed medications. It offers benefits for people with anxiety and panic disorders but isn’t intended for long-term use. Many people seek alternatives to Xanax, like the antidepressant trazodone.

Trazodone (sometimes known by the brand name Desyrel) and Xanax (generic name alprazolam) are prescription drugs that are used in the behavioral and mental health fields.

Xanax falls within a drug class known as benzodiazepines (benzos), while trazodone is a serotonin modulator and antidepressant medication.

Due to Xanax’s addictive qualities, many people with anxiety disorders and their healthcare providers seek alternatives for long-term treatment.

Xanax alternatives include other benzos, trazodone and other antidepressants, over-the-counter medications, and natural remedies, such as St. John’s Wort or other supplements.

What Are Xanax And Desyrel Used To Treat?

Xanax’s primary use is as a treatment for anxiety disorders. It helps people who experience high levels of anxiety or panic attacks return to a baseline level of calm.

Sometimes, Xanax is prescribed off-label for insomnia. Trazodone is often used as a long-term sleep aid, and it is also prescribed for major depressive disorder and anxiety.

Trazodone has some off-label uses, such as for substance use disorders and Alzheimer’s. Off-label means that it is not a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use.

How Are Alprazolam And Trazodone Different?

Trazodone and alprazolam are used to treat similar conditions but are very different medications. Xanax is best for short-term use while taking trazodone is safe in the long term.

Benzodiazepines Vs. Antidepressants

Benzodiazepines work by affecting the central nervous system (CNS) through a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Anxiety is thought to be caused by the overfiring of neurons in the brain, and benzos directly affect this by slowing down brain activity.

Trazodone belongs to a class of medications known as serotonin antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs), which raise serotonin levels in the brain.

Serotonin is a chemical responsible for regulating mood, sleep patterns, and emotions, all of which are often disrupted by mental illness.

Trazodone Vs. Xanax: How Do They Make You Feel?

Benzos usually cause much stronger physical effects than antidepressants. The effects of Xanax are quicker and include sedation through a calm, hypnotic, and relaxed feeling.

The effects of antidepressants like trazodone may not be felt for several weeks, and they’re much more subtle. This includes a gradual decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Trazodone can induce fatigue and sleepiness when used at slightly higher doses for insomnia, but this is one of the only notable physical effects.

Risks Of Xanax Abuse

Benzodiazepines can be addictive if they are used improperly or for too long. Their effects can be mildly euphoric at higher doses, leading many people to use them recreationally.

Even when used as prescribed, benzos can lead to physical dependence after only one to two weeks. Tapering off Xanax can make stopping the use of the drug safer.

Trazodone is not a habit-forming medication, although people may experience mild withdrawal symptoms like irritability or disrupted sleep when they stop taking it.

Trazodone And Alprazolam Similarities

Trazodone and alprazolam can be beneficial for people who haven’t had any luck with other anxiety or depression medications.

Both medications have proven efficacy at reducing panic attacks and relieving the worst symptoms of anxiety and depression.

While neither was designed specifically for insomnia, medical professionals sometimes prescribe them as sleeping pills.

Possible Side Effects Of Trazodone And Xanax

Xanax and trazodone each have their own common and rare side effects. Some of these overlap with each other.

Side Effects Of Trazodone

The most prevalent side effects of trazodone are headaches, fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, and nausea, although several others may occur.

Some additional side effects of trazodone include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • weight gain or loss
  • muscle aches
  • dry mouth
  • weird or bad taste in the mouth
  • congestion
  • constipation
  • changes to libido

Side Effects Of Xanax

Xanax has mild and serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms that can happen after abruptly quitting use. How severe these are will vary from person to person.

A few of the side effects of Xanax include:

  • drowsiness
  • slurred speech
  • low blood pressure
  • memory problems
  • poor coordination
  • difficulty concentrating
  • blurred vision
  • constipation
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • muscle tremors or twitches

Some Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be:

  • insomnia
  • feeling sad or empty
  • poor memory
  • rebound anxiety
  • flu-like symptoms

Can You Take Trazodone With Xanax?

Xanax and trazodone work on different parts of the brain, so you could potentially take them both at once. However, this may increase your risk of experiencing negative side effects.

Since it takes several weeks for trazodone’s effects to kick in, your doctor may prescribe benzos like Xanax as a temporary anti-anxiety solution until then.

Possible Side Effects Of Using Both

The most common side effects from mixing Desyrel and Xanax include dizziness, confusion, difficulty with coordination, and trouble concentrating or focusing.

Polysubstance Abuse

Mixing either Xanax or trazodone with other substances like alcohol, opioids, or barbiturates may be a sign of polysubstance abuse, which can be dangerous and even deadly.

This form of substance abuse occurs when someone is addicted to more than one type of drug. They may mix substances to get one or several desired effects, such as a prolonged high.

When Xanax is combined with other CNS depressants (e.g., alcohol, opioids, etc.), a person may experience severe respiratory depression that can lead to brain damage or a coma.

If someone on trazodone takes another substance that acts on serotonin, such as MDMA, it can lead to serotonin syndrome. This may result in seizures, unconsciousness, or death.

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

The most serious withdrawal symptoms from Xanax or trazodone will be experienced by people taking high doses or people who have taken Xanax for longer than six months.

Stopping Xanax abruptly can lead to serious physical and mental health problems, so it’s crucial to taper off or go through a drug detox program with medical advice and support.

Seek help immediately if you experience:

  • delirium or psychosis
  • seizures
  • suicidal thoughts
  • hallucinations
  • heart palpitations

Getting Help With A Xanax Addiction

If you believe that you or a loved one are struggling with a trazodone or Xanax addiction, there are many treatment options available for recovery.

Spring Hill Recovery Center offers addiction treatment programs that are personalized to your needs. Our treatment center is located in a natural, peaceful setting to aid your healing.

To learn more about the steps to recovery, call our helpline today to speak with a care specialist.

  1. Healthline – Trazodone for Anxiety: Is It Effective? https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/trazodone-for-anxiety
  2. Mayo Clinic – Serotonin Syndrome https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/serotonin-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20354758

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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