Despite the fact that there are many natural ways to deal with insomnia, millions of people continue to take a variety of over-the-counter and prescriptions drugs whenever they find that they’re having sleep problems. One such prescription drug is Trazodone.
Trazodone (or Trazodone hydrochloride) is the generic name for the drug Desyrel® which is an anti-depressant which is commonly prescribed for major depressive disorders and is also sometimes used to deal with insomnia. The problem however is that the two have become dissociated and, while it is one thing to choose to prescribe Trazodone for a depressive disorder with associated insomnia, it is quite another to use the drug simply to treat insomnia in isolation.
Trazodone works in part by inhibiting the re-uptake or serotonin, which is a chemical produced naturally by the body and which plays an important role is regulating the sleep cycle. Put in simple terms, Trazodone increases the level of serotonin in the body which acts as the body’s natural sleeping pill.
Now on the surface it would seem perfectly natural to use a drug that increases the body’s own natural sleep aid to cure insomnia.
There is however a problem with using Trazodone and that is the side effects.
Side effects will clearly vary from one individual to the next but, in general, the common side effects of Trazodone are sleepiness (in this case a desired side effect), headache, congestion, stomach upset, constipation, nervousness, muscle pain, sweating, blurred vision and so the list goes on. In addition, in some men it can cause a painful and long-lasting erection, which may require emergency or even surgical treatment, with permanent damage often resulting.
In fairness the list of side effects for most drugs, including communal garden day-to-day drugs, can be frighteningly long and the truth of the matter is that most people don’t suffer any of the side effects, or at least don’t suffer them to any degree that matters. In the case of Trazodone however this is not the case when it is used to treat insomnia.
For most people Trazodone works wonderfully well in the very short-term and will certainly help them to fall asleep and also to stay asleep through the night, enjoying, in particular, a greater degree of deep sleep. It is the following morning however when the side effects tend to set in.
In many cases this means a congested nose, feelings of tiredness and grogginess (often being described as akin to a hangover) and, in some cases, a degree of unsteadiness.
Insomnia is a common problem which affects many millions of people both in the short-term as occasional or transitory insomnia and in the long-term as chronic insomnia. In most cases however drugs will only ever provide a very short-term solution and the longer-term use of drugs will invariably make matters worse, rather than better.
This said, if you do feel the need to turn to drugs in the short-term to help with the symptoms of insomnia, then choose a drug that is designed specifically for sleep problems and not Trazodone which should only ever be used to treat insomnia when that insomnia is part and parcel of a major depressive disorder.