Seroquel, also known as quetiapine in its generic form, is an antipsychotic medicine whose primary function is to treat mental health disorders such as bipolar and schizophrenia. When combined with an antidepressant, Seroquel is also used to treat depression. Although it’s not a drug that is widely abused in the general population, Seroquel is popular among prison inmates, earning the nickname “jailhouse heroin.”
Seroquel is a second-generation antipsychotic that produces a strong sedative effect. The reason it is abused so much in prisons is that it relaxes inmates and produces a calmer, more carefree state of mind. Seroquel, known by users as quell, snoozeberries or Susie-Q, has produced unprecedented drug-seeking behavior in the prison population. Inmates have faked psychotic symptoms just to get the drug’s anti-anxiety and calming effects. When combined with methadone, a powerful and dangerous painkiller, it produces euphoria. Those who take illicit stimulants such as cocaine — or even legal drugs such as amphetamines — sometimes use Seroquel to reduce anxiety while coming down off the drug. On other occasions, people combine cocaine with Seroquel to produce a dangerous mix called a “q-ball.” The result is a growing population of people who are addicted to Seroquel and need addiction treatment.
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Facts About Seroquel Side Effects
Although Seroquel has shown effectiveness as part of a combination treatment for legitimate issues, there are a variety of adverse side effects, even in those who take the drug precisely as directed while under the watchful care of a qualified physician.
Unpleasant regular-use side effects include:
- Weight gain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Drowsiness and worsened motor functioning.
- Dry mouth
The makers of the drug AstraZeneca have been in hot water for these reasons. The Food and Drug Administration accused AstraZeneca of “false or misleading” information regarding the potential health risks for “off-label” purposes. Off-label means although the drug is designed to treat bipolar and schizophrenia, many prescriptions have been written for other health issues, such as insomnia. The claims are that the risks and side effects associated with the drug are one – not relayed to the user and two – are not worth it. Although one’s insomnia may be helped, the other large list of adverse effects ends up being worse for the patient. Lawsuits in 2010 led to the company paying more than $1 billion in settlements.
Data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System found 20,000 cases where Seroquel or quetiapine the primary or secondary drug linked with adverse reactions, including death. A total of 1,754 deaths linked the drugs as the primary suspect and in 2,309 deaths Seroquel or its generic quetiapine was a secondary suspect. A majority – 93 percent – were the result of off-label prescribing. Many of these off-labeling prescriptions were for insomnia and sleep disorders.
The Washington Post was provided data by SERMO, a social network for physicians, that revealed 764 non-psychiatrists said they had prescribed Seroquel or quetiapine and 84 percent did so for off-label purposes.
Users commonly suffer from higher blood pressure, pulse and blood cholesterol. Once healthy people have gained considerable amounts of weight and developed type II Diabetes. In many cases, Seroquel worsens intellectual functioning, predominately in the elderly who suffer with dementia.
Because Seroquel and other quetiapine drugs produce a strong psychological dependence, tapering off slowly with the help of a qualified addiction professional is highly recommended.
After longtime use, even slowly lowering the dosage is incredibly difficult. Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms follow.
Seroquel Withdrawal Symptoms
- Problems with concentration
- Dizziness/light-headedness and nausea/vomiting
- Feeling lethargic
- Excessive heart rate, heart palpitations
- Hypersensitivity – to sights and sounds
- Mood swings
- Visual disturbances (blurred vision)
By far the most dangerous withdrawal effect is that the user may experience suicidal thoughts and severe depression after stopping use. The reason for this is that after stopping the drug, the neurotransmitter levels are out of balance. It is also possible to experience hallucinations and delusions.
If you are beginning to experience any of these withdrawal symptoms, it’s time to get professional help. Our staff are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about Seroquel addiction and the treatment process.
Seroquel Addiction Symptoms and Side Effects
Without professional help, people struggling with Seroquel addiction who attempt to quit alone are at serious risk of suffering acute withdrawal syndrome and relapse.
Common signs of Seroquel addiction and abuse include:
- Feeling exhausted or extremely sedated sometimes while depressed and anxious at other times
- Combining Seroquel with another substance to achieve a stronger high
- Lying about losing prescriptions in order to obtain more of the drug
- Seeing more than one doctor to get more than one prescription
- Lying about how much is being used
- Problems with finances, relationships, work or the law
- Lack of interest in activities that used to bring joy or fulfillment
- Attempting to quit but unable to do so
If you or a loved one is showing the signs of addiction above, it’s time to find out about getting help from 12 Keys Rehab.
Beat Seroquel Addiction at 12 Keys Rehab
If you or your loved one is ready to quit using Seroquel but are afraid of withdrawal and relapse, 12 Keys Rehab can help. You’ll begin treatment with medically assisted detox, then engage in a comprehensive holistic recovery plan that is designed specifically around your individual needs. During treatment, you’ll learn to understand what addiction is and what the underlying reasons are for you. If you are struggling with a mental health disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder, we are going to address this as well. Many of our patients are suppressing traumatic events in their life and turning to substances to numb the pain. Integrated treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders provides the best overall outcomes for patients and reduces the chance of relapse.
If you’re a family member of a person struggling with addiction, you’ll be involved the entire way, too. Addiction is a disease that touches the lives of everyone around the addict. We understand the strong feelings that family members are bearing and that it’s tough to communicate to your loved one. Our counselors are here to help mend the bonds broken by destructive behavior and to teach healthy ways of communicating as the loved one moves forward in recovery.
From learning how to avoid dangerous substance abuse triggers and managing intense cravings to rediscovering the joy of living life sober, our caring and committed staff can help.
Break free from the bonds of Seroquel addiction starting today and find your path to freedom at 12 Keys Rehab. Our admissions team is standing by, waiting for your call. They will walk you through the admissions process and help you understand your insurance benefits. Contact us today.