Does trazodone calm you down? (+3 factors)

In this article, we will discover whether trazodone can calm you down or not. We will see the differences and similarities between trazodone from other calming medications. We will further dig into the ways to utilize trazodone to induce calmness.

 Does trazodone calm you down?

Yes, trazodone can calm you down. Trazodone is primarily used as an antidepressant medication but it can be used to induce calmness in some patients.

Trazodone belongs to the serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor class of antidepressants. Trazodone is approved by the FDA for the treatment of major depressive disorder. It is also used off-label for treating insomnia, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and substance abuse (1). 

Trazodone is prescribed for insomnia due to its sedating and calming properties. Trazodone acts via the serotonergic mechanism in the brain which results in calming and soothing effects. 

However, these calming and relaxing effects of trazodone may vary from person to person and may affect different patients varyingly. Discuss the role of trazodone as a calming medication for your health condition with your healthcare provider.

How does trazodone help to calm you down?

Trazodone can give calming and soothing effects based on its mechanism of action. Following are some basic mechanisms by which trazodone alters the brain chemistry and exerts calming effects in the brain (1):

Serotonin modulation

Trazodone does not contain serotonin in its composition rather it acts primarily on the serotonergic system. It possesses the tendency to alter serotonin levels in the brain resulting in relaxed and calm behavior. 

Trazodone also enhances the levels of serotonin in the brain by blocking its reuptake in the synaptic cleft which results in increased activity of serotonin leading to improved mood. 

Histamine blockade

Trazodone possesses anti-histaminergic properties. Due to this property, trazodone has sedative activity. By blocking histamine, trazodone interferes with the wake cycle resulting in sedation and sleepiness.

Alpha-1 adrenoceptor blockade

Trazodone also blocks the alpha-1 adrenergic receptors which are involved in the fight or flight response. By blocking these receptors, trazodone tends to exert sedative and calming properties.

What factors contribute to the calming effects of trazodone?

The following factors may help in exerting calming effects while on trazodone:

  • Neurotransmitter modulation- Trazodone alters the levels of serotonin, histamine, and norepinephrine levels in the brain. These neurotransmitters are involved in various mechanisms including the regulation of mood and sleep/wake cycle. 


  • Sedative properties- Due to the altered level of neurotransmitters, trazodone possesses sedative effects on the brain. Due to these sedative properties, trazodone is not preferred to take in the morning as it may cause daytime drowsiness in patients. 


  • Individual variation- Different patients react differently to medication. Some patients may face severe sedation due to trazodone while others may not. 

What are the potential side effects of trazodone?

Some potential side effects of trazodone include (2):

  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle pain
  • Nightmares
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Dry mouth
  • Rash 
  • Sexual effects on men and women

However, not all patients taking trazodone may suffer from these side effects. Individual response to medications may vary and similarly, some patients taking trazodone suffer from such side effects while others do not. 

What to do if trazodone does not calm you down?

If trazodone fails to calm you down, then you must seek medical help. Consult your doctor and get yourself properly assessed.

If trazodone is not helping to calm you down, then your doctor may suggest an alternative antidepressant medication to alleviate your symptoms. 

Your doctor may suggest you include other modes of therapy such as behavioral therapies, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and physical exercises which also help calm your mind and relieve stress. 

In the end, I would recommend you follow your doctor’s prescription. Always follow and take trazodone regularly at the given time, dosage, and frequency to avoid complications. 

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Shin JJ, Saadabadi A. Trazodone. [Updated 2022 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


AHFS Patient Medication Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.; c2019. Trazodone; [updated 2020 Jun 24; reviewed 2018 Jul 5; cited 2020 Jul 1]; [about 5 p.]. Available from:

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