What is Seroquel?
Seroquel is the brand name of quetiapine, an antipsychotic drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  to treat schizophrenia, major depression disorder, and bipolar disorder. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe this medication for insomnia or anxiety. It works to rebalance serotonin and dopamine to improve a person’s mood, behavior, and thinking. This drug comes in a tablet form that is meant to be ingested orally. Seroquel has two formulations: IR (immediate release) and XR (extended-release).
Seroquel is not a controlled substance, but there is still a risk of abuse or addiction. It is important to understand how this drug can affect people, especially if someone is taking it improperly. There are reports of misuse of the drug by crushing and snorting the tablets, injecting the medication, or combining it with cocaine and injecting the mixture.
Withdrawal is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms that occur as a result of a substance abruptly leaving your body. The symptoms are unique to the substance but may be similar to the withdrawal symptoms of other substances in the same class.
Seroquel has the active ingredient quetiapine and is most often administered as an antipsychotic. Seroquel exerts several effects on the human central nervous system. Quitting Seroquel abruptly may lead to serious health issues by affecting the distribution of major neurotransmitters in the brain. Seroquel withdrawal symptoms can be extreme and pose a risk to wellbeing.
Some people may experience different withdrawal levels from this drug due to particular health conditions. The concern with Seroquel withdrawal is that many individuals try to get off the drug without proper information or consultation with a medical professional. There are significant risks connected with stopping Seroquel abruptly, especially for those who may be using very high doses of this medication. There are several options to Quetiapine treatment discontinuation to ensure the patient safely gets off the drug with minimal to no side effects.
Seroquel Withdrawal Side Effects
Seroquel withdrawal side effects include:
- Itchy red skin
- Shortness of breath
- Inflamed stomach
- High anxiety
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Difficulty in seeing
- Kidney problems
- Low libido
- Low appetite
- Frequent urination
Neurological Seroquel Withdrawal Symptoms
Dizziness, headache, and irritability commonly occur during Seroquel withdrawal. Neurological brain chemicals typically can work together with antipsychotic and antidepressant prescription drugs, reducing symptoms of mental illness. An abrupt withdrawal from taking this medication can disrupt this balance. Potassium and sodium, for instance, maintain chemical and electrical reactions in the brain and affect all brain and organ functions. Therefore, imbalances can also cause:
- Even death if uncorrected
Gastrointestinal Seroquel Withdrawal Symptoms
Seroquel withdrawal can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Seroquel disrupts serotonin levels in the brain that control intestinal and stomach reflexes. The resulting imbalances in these reflexes and irritation to the stomach lining may cause pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting . Abrupt chemical changes in the brain can also produce dizziness, which in itself can cause nausea or vomiting. Diarrhea is another Seroquel withdrawal symptom. Disruption of delicate intestinal balances can irritate the intestines, and diarrhea is the body’s attempt to cleanse itself of these irritants.
Mood or Behavior Changes due to Seroquel Withdrawal
People with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia demand close monitoring during treatment with antidepressant and antipsychotic medications. Someone with severe mental illness may abruptly stop taking medication due to thought and perception disruptions. Caregivers should immediately notify a treating physician if they notice changes in mood or behavior in patients they suspect may have stopped taking their medication. Seroquel maintains its antipsychotic effects even when a patient misses one or two doses; to maintain its efficacy. However, patients should take Seroquel as prescribed.
How to Deal with Seroquel Withdrawal?
Seroquel is a prescription drug that is generally not considered to have much addictive potential or risk of dependence. However, it has been reported before, and as time moves on, more and more cases of addiction to Quetiapine are documented . The Seroquel withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable enough to push them back into using the drug, even if it is no longer medically needed.
Quitting the medication can be hard because it is potent and affects major central nervous system (brain and spinal column) functions. The regulation of neurotransmitters and histamine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels is greatly affected. Therefore, it can be dangerous when a person decides to stop Seroquel cold turkey. It is even more dangerous if one has been using this drug with other substances such as alcohol or other medications, which are likely to increase the effect of the medicine, and can lead to overdose.
Here Are Some Tips That Can Be Helpful For Seroquel Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Increase the acidity of urine to expedite the excretion of drug metabolites from the system.
- As difficult as it may be at that period, exercises are highly effective and can boost metabolism.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and to improve the detox process.
- Eat healthy balanced diets.
- Ask a doctor for recommended supplements that can revitalize the system and help with the overall process.
Seroquel Withdrawal Timeline
Seroquel withdrawal can be categorized into three main types based on when the phases are likely to occur following abrupt interruption of use.
New Seroquel withdrawal symptoms generally set in around one to four days after a person’s last usage of the prescription drug or other psychotropic medications.
New Seroquel withdrawal symptoms can include sleep disturbances, nausea, abdominal pain, and other symptoms mentioned above. The intensity of the Seroquel withdrawal symptoms depends on the individual, the length of time the drug was used, and the dosage.
These new Seroquel withdrawal symptoms are short-lasting and reversible. Generally, the person is mostly recovered within a week. However, some symptoms may persist, perhaps with less intensity, for up to six weeks.
Rebound withdrawal symptoms can also emerge within the one to four-day period. However, these Seroquel withdrawal symptoms may not actually be “withdrawal,” but a rebound or re-emergence of the underlying symptoms the medication was treating.
Sometimes, the rebound symptoms are more severe than the original symptoms present. Understanding the rebound effect explains why certain drugs, particularly those that have a quick and intense effect on the nervous system, are very addictive.
One of the ironies of Seroquel addiction is that the rebound effect causes the person taking Seroquel to experience the very same effects they were hoping to escape through drug use.
Persistent Post-Withdrawal Disorder
The persistent post-withdrawal disorder is when the Seroquel withdrawal symptoms persist past the six-week mark.
Treatment for Seroquel Addiction
In some individuals, drug addiction results from an underlying mental health issue. In others, addiction develops first, and mental health symptoms arise later. Sometimes, mental health symptoms may be worsened by drug abuse.
Although there is no single cause for addiction, a mental health issue may increase the likelihood of developing an addiction and vice versa.
An individual suffering from an addiction will experience a range of withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. This is known as the detox period, and it may last a few days or a couple of weeks. These withdrawal symptoms can be harmful, uncomfortable, and even life-threatening, and medically-assisted detox at a rehab center is recommended. Individuals who enter a medical detox facility can withdraw from the substance safely in a secure and comfortable setting.
Inpatient treatment lasts anywhere from 21 days to several months. It’s a sensible treatment option for individuals battling severe cases of substance abuse and addiction. Clients will be monitored 24/7 by a team of medical professionals who understand addiction and its underlying issues. Clients will live on-site and attend a wide range of activities, including:
- 12-step meetings
- One-on-one therapy sessions
- Group therapy sessions
There’s a broad array of inpatient centers to choose from, ranging from those that use the 12-step method to those that offer a more holistic approach. However, all types of centers have the same focus, and that is to help the patient learn healthier habits, attitudes, and behaviors.
Before leaving the treatment facility, clients are encouraged to work with therapists and counselors to develop an aftercare plan. An aftercare plan aims to help patients maintain their sobriety, find purpose in life, and create healthy relationships with themselves, friends, and family.
Although each individual receives an individualized plan, some standard components of a typical aftercare treatment plan include:
- Ongoing counseling
- Family therapy
- Participation in a 12-step or alternative support group
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Educational assistance
- Legal assistance
- Maintenance medication
- Relapse prevention programming
People who are suffering from an addiction and a mental health problem should seek treatment for a co-occurring disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this type of treatment can:
- Lower the relapse rate
- Reduce the number of suicide attempts
- Lead to long-term sobriety
Many inpatient rehab centers offer dual diagnosis treatment where individuals receive all the medical, therapeutic, and holistic care they need to heal mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If someone struggles with Seroquel addiction because of its intense and often dangerous Seroquel withdrawal, that person needs to consider inpatient drug rehab. We Level Up NJ addiction specialists are standing by to help.
 FDA – https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2006/020639s026lbl.pdf
 NIH– https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=0584dda8-bc3c-48fe-1a90-79608f78e8a0
 NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459145/
 NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4716733/