Seroquel, also known as Quetiapine (generic), is an antipsychotic medication prescribed for the treatment of psychiatric conditions such as: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and major depressive disorder. Occasionally, Seroquel is also utilized for the treatment of insomnia and difficult-to-treat anxiety disorders. Despite the fact that this drug is helpful for many individuals with mental disorders, not everyone reacts well to Seroquel – sometimes it doesn’t work and/or causes unwanted side effects.
Among individuals who find Seroquel unhelpful or intolerable, most will end up discontinuing treatment. When Seroquel treatment is stopped, many people report severe and/or long-lasting withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be so debilitating, that patients may wonder whether they are experiencing withdrawal or a worsening of their preexisting mental disorder.
What causes Seroquel withdrawal symptoms?
Seroquel withdrawal symptoms may emerge as a result of numerous factors, however, the most common reason they occur has to do with neurotransmitters in the brain. When a person takes Seroquel for days, weeks, months, or years – neurotransmitter levels and connections change in the brain. In other words, the brain learns to accommodate the effects of Seroquel over time.
However, when Seroquel treatment ends, the brain needs time to adjust itself back to pre-Seroquel functioning. Specifically, Seroquel alters concentrations of critical neurotransmitters throughout the brain. When you stop taking it, there may be imbalances in neurotransmitters that cause withdrawal symptoms until brain chemistry readjusts itself to functioning without the drug.
Neurotransmitters most affected by Seroquel include:
Until the above-mentioned neurotransmitters recalibrate, withdrawal symptoms may be difficult to manage.
Seroquel Withdrawal Symptoms (List of Possibilities)
Once you end Seroquel treatment, there are many withdrawal symptoms that could emerge. Understand that not all withdrawal symptoms reported by former users who’ve experienced Seroquel withdrawal are documented in published research. Most medical studies are too short to fully understand the symptoms that occur during Seroquel withdrawal. Moreover, realize that if you withdraw from Seroquel, the specific symptoms you experience may be different from those experienced by another Seroquel user.
- Anger: It may seem impossible to keep your anger in check when you stop taking Seroquel. Seroquel usually has a calming effect, so when the drug is stopped, some individuals may struggle to manage negative emotions like anger.
- Appetite change: You might notice that your appetite is different after stopping Seroquel than while taking it. Seroquel can increase appetite in many users, but when the drug is stopped, appetite usually decreases back to a normal level. In some cases, appetite may even drop below normal levels.
- Anxiety: Seroquel is sometimes prescribed to help reduce anxiety among patients with anxiety disorders. When discontinued, there may be a return of anxiety or a major anxiety spike that leads to panic attacks or insomnia.
- Blood pressure change: It is important to closely monitor your blood pressure while discontinuing Seroquel. Though many people won’t notice a major change, some individuals have reported significant increases or decreases in blood pressure during withdrawal.
- Brain zaps: Some have reported experiencing a sensation that their brain is being shocked or zapped with electrical pulses after quitting Seroquel. Colloquially, these shocks are known as “brain zaps” and are probably related to changes in monoamine levels.
- Crying spells: Emotions can be stronger-than-usual during Seroquel withdrawal. These strong emotions are probably related to the fact that the drug is no longer treating symptoms, and that neurotransmitter levels are even more out of balance during withdrawal.
- Fatigue: It’s very common to experience low energy or fatigue during withdrawal from Seroquel. This low energy might make it difficult to function at school or work – or to exercise. The fatigue is usually most severe in the first few weeks of withdrawal.
- Flu-like: Certain people will report experiencing flu-like symptoms from Seroquel withdrawal. In other words, these individuals report feeling chilled, coughing, nausea, body aches, sweats, and/or vomiting.
- Headache: A symptom that’s fairly common during Seroquel withdrawal is headache. The headaches may be related to neurotransmitter levels, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, blood flow changes, and/or muscle tension.
- Hot flashes: Some individuals report sudden overwhelming sensations of heat or “hot flashes” during withdrawal. These hot flashes are probably related to hormonal and neurotransmitter changes.
- Insomnia: Seroquel can be a great medication to treat insomnia or improve sleep. However, when the drug is stopped, individuals may have a difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep until their brain chemistry readjusts.
- Irritability: It is known that Seroquel can help treat irritability, however, when a person withdraws, irritability can return. Additionally, even people without a history of irritability may become irritable during withdrawal due to neurotransmitter changes.
- Joint pain: Another common symptom that is associated with Seroquel withdrawal is joint pain. Some may experience achy joints throughout their entire body, whereas others may notice pain in specific areas like the hands, feet, knees, and/or chest.
- Memory impairment: Your memory may seem fuzzy or impaired while quitting Seroquel. In most cases, memory will probably improve within a few weeks of quitting.
- Poor concentration: It may be a struggle to concentrate while taking Seroquel, but it may be more of a struggle to maintain focus while coming off of the medication. Some have mentioned that withdrawal feels like a “haze” that gradually clears over time.
- Relapse: Symptoms of the condition for which you were taking Seroquel may reemerge during withdrawal. In other words, you may experience a symptomatic relapse because your condition is no longer being properly treated.
- Restlessness: Seroquel tends to calm internal activity and decrease likelihood of restlessness. However, when the drug is stopped, restlessness may temporarily increase. As a result, you may find yourself fidgeting or moving more than usual.
- Sensory sensitivity: It’s common to be especially sensitive to loud sounds and bright lights during withdrawal. If you’re experiencing sensory sensitivity during withdrawal, be sure to avoid any sounds or sights that you deem stressful.
- Sweating: Many people notice that they sweat excessively after quitting Seroquel. The excessive sweating may be related to hormonal shifts occurring in withdrawal. Don’t be surprised if you completely soak your bedsheets from all the sweats.
- Suicidal thoughts: In certain cases, individuals may experience suicidal thoughts while quitting Seroquel. If you and/or anyone you know ends up with suicidal thoughts during withdrawal – this should be treated as a medical emergency; seek immediate medical attention.
- Weird dreams: It is common to experience odd and/or vivid dreams in the first couple weeks of Seroquel withdrawal. Don’t be surprised if your dreams are a bit more unusual than you’re accustomed to.
- Worse depression: When quitting Seroquel, you may notice that your depression is way worse than you’re used to. The worsening depression is not only due to the fact that you’re no longer taking Seroquel (which helps manage depressive symptoms), but also related to neurotransmitter imbalances associated with withdrawal.
Note: The list of Seroquel withdrawal symptoms may be partial or incomplete. If you know of additional symptoms that occur during Seroquel withdrawal, leave a comment below.
What determines Seroquel withdrawal symptom severity?
There are several variables that may influence the severity of your Seroquel withdrawal symptoms.
- How long you used Seroquel: Longer-term users may have a more challenging time dealing with their symptoms than short-term users. For example, someone who used Seroquel for 10 years may have a much more difficult time dealing with withdrawal symptoms than a person who used Seroquel for a few weeks.
- Seroquel dosage: Anyone taking a high-dose might end up with more severe withdrawal symptoms than lower-dose users. This may be due to the fact that higher doses have a greater impact on neurochemistry than lower ones.
- Speed of withdrawal: If you suddenly stopped using Seroquel (as opposed to gradually tapering), symptoms of withdrawal may be more severe. In most cases, withdrawing quickly leads to more severe withdrawal symptoms.
- Other substances: Taking medications and supplements might make it easier to deal with certain withdrawal symptoms. For example, if a psychiatrist prescribes a medication that acts similarly to Seroquel, you may end up with no withdrawal from Seroquel at all.
- Your lifestyle: Lifestyle choices related to diet, exercise, and stress may affect withdrawal symptom severity from Seroquel. For example, someone who is constantly stressed and doesn’t eat a balanced diet may end up with more symptoms than someone who is stress free and consumes a balanced diet.
- Genetic factors: It’s possible that your genetics may result in an easier or more difficult withdrawal from Seroquel compared to others.
Best supplements to manage Seroquel withdrawal
Listed below are some supplements that are thought to help individuals dealing with Seroquel withdrawal.
Always talk to a medical professional before using any of these supplements. You need to confirm with your doctor that they are safe to take in accordance with your medical status and/or existing drug/supplement regimen.
Affiliate disclosure: The products below contain affiliate links which help this site earn money. That said, the links are to products that we think are high quality, reasonably-priced, and potentially-helpful in Risperdal withdrawal.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is one of the best supplements for decreasing stress and anxiety during withdrawal.
- Vitamin B-Complex: This supplement contains B-vitamins that can help improve sleep and reduce anxiety/stress.
- Krill oil: This supplement contains omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA) which may help restore normal neurotransmitter levels at a faster pace.
- Curcumin: This is a supplement that helps reduce inflammation within the body. It may help reduce joint pain and neuroinflammation during withdrawal.
- Melatonin: This is a supplement might be helpful for some who have a difficult time sleeping during Seroquel withdrawal.
- L-tryptophan: If you’re low on serotonin, this supplement can help restore your levels.
- L-tyrosine: If you’re low on dopamine, this supplement can help increase levels.
What’s the best way to withdraw from Seroquel?
There’s no perfect way to withdraw from Seroquel. Some people will have success with a relatively quick withdrawal, whereas others will need to withdraw over a longer-term to minimize unwanted withdrawal symptoms.
- Psychiatric supervision: You should only withdraw from Seroquel with psychiatric supervision and/or support. It is not recommended to stop using Seroquel on your own without first talking to your doctor.
- Tapering slowly: Some claim that withdrawal symptoms are reduced if Seroquel dosage is tapered gradually. The best rate for tapering is said to be 10% per month. In other words, the dosage of Seroquel is reduced by 10% of the previous month’s dose until the user reaches zero.
- Healthy lifestyle: Trying to live as healthy as possible by getting enough sleep, eating right, lowering stress, socializing, and getting some physical exercise may help reduce withdrawal symptoms.
- Medications and supplements: Taking certain medications and supplements (like the ones listed above) may help during Seroquel withdrawal. That said, these should only be used with approval and/or endorsement from a medical doctor.
How long does Seroquel withdrawal last?
The length of Seroquel withdrawal will be largely subject to individual variation. Most medical professionals suggest that withdrawal symptoms should end within 3 to 12 weeks. However, many patients insist that symptoms have remained beyond 12 weeks.
Long-lasting withdrawal symptoms may be related to abrupt discontinuation of Seroquel – rather than tapering. In most cases, former Seroquel users will start noticing significantly fewer withdrawal symptoms after just 1-2 months of being off the drug. Nevertheless, you should know that the recovery from withdrawal symptoms is generally gradual with bumps along the way.
Have you experienced Seroquel withdrawal?
If you’ve ever withdrawn from Seroquel, leave a comment below documenting your experience. By commenting, you’ll help others who are going through withdrawal to realize that they aren’t alone. If you’re unsure about what to write, we’ve compiled some questions that you may want to answer so that people understand your situation.
- Why did you quit Seroquel?
- How fast did you withdraw from Seroquel?
- How long had you been taking Seroquel?
- What dosage of Seroquel did you use before withdrawing?
- For what condition did you take Seroquel?
- What symptoms have you experienced during withdrawal?
- Have you found anything helpful for reducing withdrawal symptoms?
- Are you sure your symptoms are from withdrawal or could they be from your mental illness?