Squirrel, Susie Q, Q-ball, Baby Heroin, and Quell. These are the street names for an atypical antipsychotic drug called Seroquel. Any prescription drug with a laundry list of street names is likely a recreational drug of abuse, and Seroquel is no exception. Originally developed to treat mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia, Seroquel has evolved into a popular substance of abuse.
What is Seroquel?
The drug Seroquel, or quetiapine, is composed primarily of fumaric acid salt. The purpose for prescribing the drug to the targeted patients suffering from a serious mood disorder is to increase the dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. The increase of these “feel good” chemicals can result in fewer depressive episodes or mood swings in the patients they are intended to help. Seroquel is prescribed in 70 different countries and generates sales of about $4.5 billion. When prescribed for mental health disorders, Seroquel is often used for the patient’s lifetime.
The potential for abuse is high, mostly due to the sedative and hallucinogenic effects of the drug. Seroquel can be misused as a means of self-medicating an anxiety disorder or other mental health condition, as well as abused on the street by individuals who combine the drug with other substances, such as cocaine and heroin. Recreational users may crush the drug and snort it, or mix it into a water-based solution and shoot it intravenously.
Demographic of Seroquel Abusers
Seroquel abuse has been identified as significant within prison populations and among military personnel. In correctional facilities, Seroquel is often administered to agitated inmates as a way to sedate them, including minors in juvenile institutions. In the military, where a staggering number struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Seroquel is often prescribed in treatment for the mental health disorder. Seroquel is just one of the prescription drugs abused among members of the armed forces, where nearly 55,000 prescriptions for Seroqel were written in 2011 and were implicated in the deaths of several veterans.
Recreational abuse of Seroquel is predominately associated with young adult males with an extensive history of polysubstance abuse, or the combining of multiple substances of abuse. Seroquel is abused on the street in all three forms, through oral, intravenous, and intranasal routes. Eventually, clearly identifiable Seroquel addiction symptoms will emerge as tolerance builds and abuse of the drug escalates.
Signs of Addiction
When someone using drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications begin to need more and more of the substance in order to attain the desired effects, they may be in the early stages of addiction. There are some general signs and symptoms of addiction that can be applied across the board to all substances that are used with the goal of obtaining an altered state. These signs may include:
- You have developed a tolerance to the substance and need to increase the amount of the drug or alcohol to experience the former effects
- You obsess over thoughts of using the drug, obtaining it, having enough of a supply
- You stop participating in the activities, recreational events, or hobbies you once enjoyed
- You begin to avoid friends and family and begin isolating yourself
- You continue to use the substance, even in light of the mounting negative consequences that result
- You want to stop using the substance but cannot quit
- You experience withdrawal symptoms if you do attempt to quit
Specific Seroquel Addiction Symptoms
Alongside the above signs of addiction or addictive behavior are some specific symptoms that indicate someone has a Seroquel addiction. The most common Seroquel addiction symptoms include:
- Dizziness. When the individual begins increasing dosage of Seroquel due to tolerance to the drugs effects ramping up, they may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when getting up too quickly.
- Somnolence. Somnolence, or being in a near-sleep state, is one of the effects of this drug. This sedative effect is very attractive to recreational drug users, so Seroquel is a favored substance. Used with cocaine or heroin, this effect is enhanced further.
- Weight gain. One of the side effects of Seroquel is increased appetite. Someone who is abusing this drug may experience a desire to eat more and as a result gain weight.
- Secretive behavior. Seroquel abuse can dovetail with other drugs of abuse, resulting in strange, secretive behavior as the individual attempts to hide the polysubstance abuse or the Seroquel addiction.
Treatment for Seroquel Abuse and Addiction
Comprehensive treatment for Seroquel addiction will begin with the detox process. Detox and withdrawal from antipsychotic drugs like Seroquel is a highly unpleasant process and requires a medical detox where medical personnel can monitor one throughout the detox. These detox professionals will then treat the withdrawal symptoms, making the client as comfortable as possible. Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Heart palpitations, Migraine headaches
- Sensitivity to light and sound
After detox is successfully completed, the client will then enter the active treatment phase of recovery for overcoming addictive behaviors. The process of learning how to shed the disordered thinking patterns that have resulted in self-destructive behaviors and deepening chemical addiction is accomplished through behavioral therapy models, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Individual and group therapy, combined with other treatment elements, such as 12-step programs, addiction education, holistic therapies, and family therapy, will help the individual establish healthy new thought and behavior patterns that will lead to a fulfilling life in recovery.
The Treatment Specialist Locates Programs that Treat Seroquel Addiction
The Treatment Specialist offers free assistance in locating treatment programs for individuals exhibiting Seroquel addiction symptoms. With a long history of expertise in the mental health and addiction fields, The Treatment Specialist is trained to help identify the type of program that would best suit you or your loved one, and then provide free guidance. The compassionate specialists will treat you with respect and dignity, offering the support you need to get help overcoming a Seroquel addiction. The Treatment Specialist also conducts a free insurance benefit review, so you will know up front exactly what your plan covers. For more information about how we can help, please contact The Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.