Does trazodone help with alcohol withdrawal? (+15 symptoms)

In this article, we will explore the role of trazodone in managing symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. We will also discuss the research findings that demonstrate the effectiveness of trazodone in addressing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, we will discuss other management tips and medications that can be utilized for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal.

Does trazodone help with alcohol withdrawal?

Yes, trazodone does help with alcohol withdrawal. It is effective in managing various symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, including anxiety, depression, restlessness, and alcohol cravings.

However, it is imperative to use trazodone under the supervision of healthcare professionals. Moreover, maintaining a supportive and understanding environment is crucial during the alcohol withdrawal period.

Generally, trazodone is an antidepressant medication, that is commonly employed in managing diverse health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic pain (1).

What is the dosage of trazodone for managing alcohol withdrawal?

Research findings suggest that utilizing trazodone at a daily dosage of 50 mg can be effective in managing diverse symptoms of alcohol withdrawal (2). However, the dosage can be increased up to 600 mg daily to achieve therapeutic benefits in some individuals (3). 

A study demonstrated the efficacy of trazodone at this lower dosage for addressing these symptoms in individuals over a 16-week period. The results indicate that trazodone can be successfully employed in the management of symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal at this dosage (2).

What does research suggest?

Research findings indicate that trazodone can effectively alleviate symptoms such as insomnia, alcohol cravings, anxiety, and irritability associated with alcohol withdrawal.

In a comprehensive research study, a daily dosage of 600 mg of trazodone was administered to a patient with chronic alcohol addiction. The symptoms, following alcohol cessation, notably improved after a few weeks of trazodone treatment, showcasing the medication’s effectiveness in managing alcohol withdrawal symptoms (3).

In a separate study, the use of trazodone at a daily dosage of 150 mg proved beneficial in addressing sleep disturbances experienced by individuals following alcohol discontinuation. This not only reduced sleep latency and insomnia but also alleviated anxiety and low mood in these patients (5).

What are the symtoms of alcohol withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal may occur due to the sudden discontinuation of alcohol after prolonged consumption. Symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal may include:

  • agitation
  • aggression
  • anxiety
  • restlessness
  • nausea
  • irritability
  • depression
  • hallucinations
  • sedation
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • lightheadedness
  • insomnia
  • palpitations

It’s important to note that the intensity and frequency of these symptoms may vary from one individual to another, depending on their physical and mental health status. Chronic alcohol users are prone to experience severe withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol.

How to prevent alcohol withdrawal? 

Preventing alcohol withdrawal is a complex process, particularly for individuals with chronic alcohol use.  Instead of an abrupt cessation, a gradual reduction in alcohol intake emerges as a key strategy to mitigate the risks associated with withdrawal syndrome, encompassing a variety of symptoms. 

For those considering alcohol withdrawal, consulting with healthcare professionals is crucial. They can evaluate the individual’s condition and devise a personalized tapering plan to meet their specific requirements.  In certain instances, medical practitioners may prescribe medications to assist in managing withdrawal symptoms including trazodone.

A fundamental aspect of alcohol withdrawal prevention involves adopting a healthy lifestyle including maintaining a balanced diet, staying adequately hydrated, and engaging in regular exercise. These practices have demonstrated effectiveness in improving mood and reducing stress, which are factors that may intensify during and after alcohol withdrawal.

Additionally, sustaining a healthy lifestyle significantly contributes to overall mental and emotional well-being, creating a supportive environment for individuals facing the challenges of alcohol withdrawal.

What other medications can help with alcohol withdrawal?

While trazodone is effective in alleviating various symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, it is not the first-line medication commonly employed for managing these symptoms. Other medications, such as benzodiazepines, are more commonly utilized for addressing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Additionally, naltrexone aids in reducing cravings to prevent relapse, whereas disulfiram discourages drinking by inducing an aversive reaction to alcohol consumption.

Other medications that can be employed in the management of alcohol withdrawal may include the following (4): 

  • olanzapine
  • diazepam
  • haloperidol   
  • acamprosate
  • valproic acid 
  • clonidine
  • chlordiazepoxide

In my opinion, these medications are designed to alleviate specific symptoms related to alcohol withdrawal. However, the decision on which medication to use should be based on the individual’s symptoms, overall health status, and medical history of a patient.

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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:


Janiri L, Hadjichristos A, Buonanno A, Rago R, Mannelli P, de Risio S. Adjuvant trazodone in the treatment of alcoholism: an open study. Alcohol Alcohol. 1998 Jul-Aug;33(4):362-5. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.alcalc.a008405. PMID: 9719394.


Borras L, de Timary P, Constant EL, Huguelet P, Eytan A. Successful treatment of alcohol withdrawal with trazodone. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2006 Nov;39(6):232. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-951385. PMID: 17124647.


Tiglao SM, Meisenheimer ES, Oh RC. Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome: Outpatient Management. Am Fam Physician. 2021 Sep 1;104(3):253-262. PMID: 34523874.


Friedmann PD, Rose JS, Swift R, Stout RL, Millman RP, Stein MD. Trazodone for sleep disturbance after alcohol detoxification: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2008 Sep;32(9):1652-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2008.00742.x. Epub 2008 Jul 8. PMID: 18616688; PMCID: PMC2567128.

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