Does trazodone help ADHD? (+3 reasons)

In this article, we will discuss whether trazodone helps with ADHD. We will also why trazodone is used for ADHD symptoms, how trazodone helps with ADHD, and other related information. 

Does trazodone help ADHD?

Trazodone helps ADHD symptoms but does not treat it. Trazodone is commonly used to address sleep disruptions linked to ADHD. It belongs to the group of antidepressants known as serotonin antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs). 

ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric condition that appears at a young age and is characterized by the symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity (1). 

Young patients with ADHD have difficulty paying attention, concentrating, and completing tasks. They struggle with social interactions and can be easily frustrated and impulsive.

ADHD persists in adulthood although the symptoms may vary. However, ADHD patients are likely to experience sleep disturbances due to several reasons. In this situation, trazodone is used due to its sedating properties. 

Trazodone has received FDA approval for managing major depressive disorder (MDD). It is also used for sleep disturbances and insomnia due to its ability to produce sedation. It exerts a sedative effect in low doses (2). 

Why is trazodone used in ADHD?

Trazodone is commonly used alongside ADHD medications to help individuals with ADHD who struggle with sleep problems.

The link between ADHD with sleep disturbances is described below which emphasizes the need to use sleep aids like trazodone. 

Sleep and ADHD: a multifaceted relationship: 

Evidence from the literature suggests that the relationship between sleep and ADHD is complex and multifaceted. Sleep disturbance can occur as a symptom of ADHD, can lead to ADHD symptoms, or can be caused by ADHD symptoms (3).

Thus, ADHD symptoms can impair the sleep quality of the patient, or sleep disturbances contribute to exacerbation of ADHD symptoms. 25-55% of the patients with ADHD suffer from sleep issues for which trazodone can be used (3). 

This complex relationship shows the need for sedatives like trazodone to improve the quality of an ADHD patient’s life and to avoid misdiagnosis. 


87% of young patients with ADHD also suffer from another psychiatric condition. This may include obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, or autism. These conditions are also associated with sleep disturbances (3).

The sleep disturbance in ADHD is concerning because it can develop or exacerbate issues like anxiety, depression, and irritability in individuals. Trazodone is helpful for depression, anxiety, and irritability. 

Side effects of ADHD medications: 

ADHD is primarily treated with stimulant medications. The therapeutic effect of stimulant drugs promotes wakefulness and as a side effect produces sleep disturbances. Insomnia is a side effect of stimulants like methylphenidate (4). 

Thus, trazodone can be prescribed to address the sleep disturbances that occur as a side effect of stimulant medications. It can also be used for sleep disturbances that occur as a symptom of ADHD. 

How does trazodone help ADHD?

Trazodone is a SARI that interacts with different neurotransmitters. It inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and increases its concentration. It also antagonizes some serotonin receptors, histamine (H1), and alpha-1 adrenergic receptors (2).

Trazodone’s ability to influence serotonin levels is beneficial for depression and irritability, which can be potentially helpful for ADHD patients. Its primary use in ADHD is due to its sedative properties that are a result of its antagonist effects (2). 

Trazodone induces sedation at lower doses, typically starting from 25 mg. The maximum recommended dose for using trazodone for sleep issues is 100 mg. It does not produce antidepressant effects at these doses. 

Trazodone has been effective in addressing sleep disruptions among both adults and young individuals diagnosed with ADHD.

Various studies indicate that trazodone is frequently prescribed to children with ADHD to manage sleep problems and comorbidities. (5).

What are other treatment options for ADHD?

Trazodone is not the primary treatment for ADHD and it only helps with the sleep disturbances that may occur in ADHD patients. The primary treatment of ADHD is as follows (1):

Treatment with stimulant medications:

Amphetamines and methylphenidate are the main stimulant medications used to treat ADHD and are effective in 70% of the patients. They are available in different formulations and block the reuptake of dopamine (1). 

Treatment with non-stimulant medications:

Non-stimulant medications include antidepressants and alpha agonists. Antidepressants helpful in ADHD include atomoxetine, bupropion, and tricyclic antidepressants. Alpha agonists include clonidine and guanfacine (1). 

Psychosocial treatment: 

This includes psychoeducation where the patient and their family are educated about ADHD. The patients are also helped with cognitive behavioral therapy. Psychosocial treatment is highly effective when used along with medications (1). 

In my perspective, trazodone helps with ADHD as it resolves the sleep disturbances that ADHD patients may experience. Trazodone does not treat ADHD and is not included in the primary treatment of ADHD.

Sleep disturbances commonly occur in ADHD patients as a symptom or as a result of an ADHD symptom. They are also associated with other comorbidities that occur commonly in ADHD patients. They are also a side effect of ADHD medicines.

Thus, trazodone is required to improve the quality of life of ADHD patients. It produces its sedative effects in low doses by blocking different receptors. Trazodone can be used at doses of 25-100 mg for sleep issues. 

Primary treatment of ADHD includes stimulant and non-stimulant drugs and psychosocial treatment. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Magnus W, Nazir S, Anilkumar AC, et al. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. [Updated 2023 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


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


Hvolby A. Associations of sleep disturbance with ADHD: implications for treatment. Atten Defic Hyperact Disord. 2015 Mar;7(1):1-18. doi: 10.1007/s12402-014-0151-0. Epub 2014 Aug 17. PMID: 25127644; PMCID: PMC4340974.


Greydanus DE, Nazeer A, Patel DR. Psychopharmacology of ADHD in pediatrics: current advances and issues. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2009;5:171-81. doi: 10.2147/ndt.s4075. Epub 2009 Apr 8. PMID: 19557112; PMCID: PMC2695228.


Klein TA, Graves JM, Panther S. Trazodone Prescribing for Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder on Medicaid in Oregon. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2022;27(2):132-140. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-27.2.132. Epub 2022 Feb 9. PMID: 35241984; PMCID: PMC8837222.

Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site