Seroquel, a common brand name of the antipsychotic drug quetiapine, is among the most widely prescribed medications in the United States. In 2018, it was the 59th most prescribed drug in the country, used for a wide range of conditions, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and many other conditions.
While it is not generally considered to be a drug of concern among both law enforcement and public health officials, patterns of misuse have emerged in the past decade which should raise some concerns. Drug rehabs in Dallas don’t often encounter quetiapine use disorder, but it is a drug that is starting to find extensive misuse among polydrug users all over the country.
Seroquel (quetiapine) is a second-generation antipsychotic medication that was developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a replacement for older generations of drugs with more potential for abuse.
While it was primarily intended for treating schizophrenia, a relatively rare condition, since its introduction in the American market in 1997 it has found use for more and more conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. It is also commonly used for treating psychosis connected to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Notably, it has been extensively prescribed for sleep disorders, a controversial application with many critics.
Recently, there have been promising results with the use of Seroquel as part of medication-assisted therapy (MAT) for alleviating withdrawals from depressants, including from alcohol and opioids. In the prison system, it has been used to relax angry or violent inmates.
However, the misuse of Seroquel itself is also starting to become an issue, though usually only among people who already misuse other substances.
Seroquel has strong sedating properties, which has led to them being widely prescribed for conditions like insomnia, particularly when the insomnia is connected to a condition like PTSD. However, there is concern that it is being prescribed a little too freely, even when non-medication alternatives are available.
While the drug is not as commonly used recreationally as opioids, benzodiazepines, and other sedatives, it has gained a small but significant following among people who misuse multiple drugs. It’s popular enough to have a variety of street names, including Squirrel, Suzy-Q, Baby Heroin, Quell, and others.
The most common way to misuse Seroquel is by ingesting more than the medically prescribed amount. The drug, which usually comes in pill form, can also be misused in several other ways, including by crushing and snorting as well as by dissolving crushed pills into an IV solution and injecting them, usually with other drugs.
Seroquel is commonly misused as a sleep aid and as a way to change or heighten the effects of other drugs. The drug also has a calming effect that people with anxiety and other mood disorders may want. Despite the drug being used to stop hallucinations, sufficiently large doses can cause them, leading some polydrug users to experiment with high doses of the drug.
Prolonged use of the drug can lead to a quetiapine use disorder and withdrawal symptoms if the individual stops taking the drug too abruptly.
Some short-term effects of Seroquel include the following:
High doses can lead to the following effects:
Repeated use of high doses has been associated with the following:
If you suspect that you or a loved one have a problem with Seroquel, get in touch with a qualified mental health expert immediately. You can call our team at Dallas Drug Treatment Centers to learn more and find rehab centers in North Texas that can treat problems with antipsychotic medication.
The first step in treating quetiapine use disorders is medically supervised detox. Generally speaking, for Seroquel, the medical team in charge of withdrawal management will gradually taper down the patient’s dose until the individual can comfortably get off the drug. This process may take anywhere from one to two weeks.
After detox, the attending physician may recommend further rehab at an inpatient or outpatient facility. During rehab, the patient may undergo different types of therapy to help them heal and better reintegrate into society.
Because many people who get hooked on Seroquel tend to have been prescribed it for a mental health condition or tried the drug as part of polydrug use, they tend to have other issues apart from quetiapine use disorder. If the individual has a co-occurring substance use disorder or other mental health condition, these will also be treated for a more sustainable and holistic recovery.
While a growing cause for concern, Seroquel misuse is still uncommon. In cases where a person has developed a quetiapine use disorder, chances are they have other conditions as well. If you suspect you need treatment for a Seroquel problem, it’s worth considering looking for treatment specialists experienced in treating dual diagnosis cases. Our team here at Dallas Drug Treatment Centers is ready to help you find the support you need. Good luck, and be well!