Drug and Alcohol

Seroquel Abuse: What Is Seroquel and How Does It Work?

Seroquel Abuse: What is Seroquel and How Does it Work?

Seroquel is a medication which helps many live normal lives. Seroquel abuse is a dangerous form of prescription drug abuse. Learn more in our blog.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

January 7, 2023

Prescription drug abuse means consuming medicine in doses other than the medical practitioner's prescribed way. Seroquel (Quetiapine) is an atypical antipsychotic drug approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat patients with psychotic disorders.

However, extreme off-label retail and misuse of this prescription drug often lead to a drug overdose. Here is a write-up detailing Seroquel overdose, the associated risk factors, and the possible treatment methods.

What Is Seroquel Abuse and Addiction?

Seroquel or Quetiapine effectively treats depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia and is considered a second-generation antipsychotic drug. These drugs can be therapeutic for individuals when they use them as prescribed. This drug works by affecting dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, both of which play a significant role in behavior patterns and mood. As the dopamine and serotonin levels enhance through Seroquel, it improves the individual's mood, controlling their emotions.

However, psychiatric medications have a strong chance of drug abuse and drug addiction if misused.

What Are the Effects of Seroquel Drug Abuse?

With over-usage, the effects of Seroquel can be more substantial and create specific unwanted side effects which are harmful to the body. These includes:

Extreme Seizures

A complication caused due to Seroquel drug overdose, an individual will experience convulsions, muscle stiffness, twitching, and difficulty breathing due to this drug abuse. Additionally, they might experience hypercapnia, where excessive carbon dioxide is in the blood, causing difficulty breathing.


Individuals will have extreme feelings of pleasure combined with drowsiness due to the sedation. This will be followed by clumsiness and weakness, where the person will lack the energy to perform daily activities.

Loss of Consciousness

This is an extremely dangerous symptom where the person might not be in the proper sense to express their feelings. They might also become unconscious due to prolonged usage of the drug causing Seroquel drug overdose.

Orthostatic Hypertension: A Form of Low Blood Pressure

Seroquel drug overdose has a higher chance of dropping blood pressure thus causing orthostatic hypertension. Due to the effects of drug abuse, blood pressure rises, narrowing the arteries supplying blood to the heart. As a result, it increases heart rate, causes arrhythmias or irregular heart rhythms, and can damage the heart muscles.

Sudden Weight Gain

Increased appetite and weight gain are other primary symptoms of a drug overdose, as it affects an individual's body's metabolism. This leads the body to burn calories at a slow rate which results in gaining weight.


Drug and alcohol abuse leads to extreme indigestion and constipation as it causes vomiting and diarrhea. It can also cause stomach pain or discomfort in the abdomen as soon as one consumes the drug.

Nasal Congestion

According to studies, Seroquel drug overdose can lead to nasal congestion as it causes a vasoactive effect in the nose. As a result, it inflames the nasal tissues and constricts the blood vessels causing congestion and difficulty breathing.

Apart from all these symptoms mentioned above, such use of drugs inappropriately leads to additional issues such as headaches, excessive body aches, breast enlargement in men, missed or irregular menstrual cycles in women, nipple discharge, coma, and even death.

Although the signs of drug abuse might vary from one individual to another, in some instances, even the slightest overdose can lead to severe effects. Additionally, there are certain times when an individual cannot recognize the overdose in their system and continues taking the drug until complications arise.

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Risk Factors that Cause Seroquel Overdose

While the risk factors of drug abuse vary from one person to another, most of them are common. These include the following:

  • Mental Illness: As per research, people who have mental illnesses like bipolar disorder tend to indulge in Seroquel drug overdose. As the symptoms of bipolar disorder reduce with Seroquel consumption, people often wish to self-medicate, believing it will give better and faster results.

  • Trauma: A significant reason triggering drug abuse problems is trauma caused due to a particular incident in life. Since Seroquel is used to treat depression, a certain event can cause depression in a person allowing them to use the drug more than needed.

  • Environment: A major reason people indulge in teen drug abuse is because of the environment one is surrounded by. If a person is always amidst a negative environment triggering extreme depression or other mental illnesses, they are bound to indulge in Seroquel drug overdose.

  • Genetics: According to studies, when picking up any addiction, be it drug, alcohol, marijuana, or drug, biology plays a pivotal role. Therefore, if any member of a family or the entire family has any mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, they tend to self-medicate causing drug overdose.

  • Consumption With Other Substances: According to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Seroquel is abused independently. However, an individual also takes it by combining it with cocaine by crushing the Seroquel into a powder and snorting it through the nose.

  • Prescription Drug Misuse: Consuming Seroquel excessively than prescribed by a physician is a sign of prescription drug misuse. It causes serious complications when consumed with alcohol.

  • Mixing With Other Drugs: Consuming Seroquel with other medications raises the side effects of those drugs. These include medications such as Benzodiazepines, muscle relaxants, pain medications, sedatives, etc., which can increase heart rhythm and cause sudden death.

  • Mixing With Alcohol: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns people not to consume alcohol while using Seroquel. This is because the combined effect will lead to increased risks and complications, including damaging motoring functions.

Although the above are the risks that can trigger Seroquel drug overdose, certain triggers contribute to relapse. It can be a place or a person, an event, or an incident, or even any object!

Triggers of Seroquel Drug Overdose and How to Avoid Them

People can handle their drug abuse-related issues better when they know the instances that trigger such abuses. Some of the common ones include:

Mental or Physical Illness

  • Trigger: A person diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia is treated with Seroquel. When the patient knows about the medication, they tend to misuse it as a form of self-medication whenever there is an episode. When this combines with chronic physical pain, it leads to Seroquel abuse.

  • How to Avoid: A caregiver must also keep the medications out of an individual's reach, so they do not become too addictive.

Overconfidence During Recovery

  • Trigger: Recovering from any illness requires time and patience and is a long process. Therefore, during this drug abuse treatment, if one believes that one can take the medication whenever one wishes and it will not make any difference, it is a trigger to relapse.

  • How to Avoid: One must seek help in rehab centers, where they teach people to control their urge to relapse. They will also teach addicts to be patient and seek professional help whenever an urge arises.

Anxiety and Stress

  • Trigger: Individuals suffering from excessive stress, depression, and anxiety due to mental illnesses feel irritated. To help themselves during such situations, they start consuming Seroquel more than the dosage prescribed, leading to Seroquel overdose.

  • How to Avoid: Staying away from stressful situations and depressing thoughts, people, and places is the only way to control anxiety attacks.

Trigger: One of the significant triggers of drug abuse is when the addicted person interacts with the same people, visits the same place, or involves in the same incidents that had led them to abuse. This induces anxious and negative thoughts, triggering mental issues and causing Seroquel drug overdose.

How to Avoid: Trying to avoid such people, places, and events that can instigate such incidents is a wise decision to help drug abuse prevention.

Shifts in Mood

  • Trigger: Certain instances/episodes or negative feelings in a person having bipolar disorder can compel an individual to consume a higher dose of Seroquel. Certain cases have been found where extreme mood shifts have led to so much overdosage that the person has attempted suicide.

  • How to Avoid: Practicing meditation and yoga is a wonderful way to release negative feelings. Also, during severe episodes consulting a medical practitioner will be beneficial to recover from drug abuse.

Celebrations and Special Occasions

  • Trigger: Certain occasions, such as anniversaries, birthdays, etc., can trigger mental health issues. During the repetition of such occasions, a person feels highly energetic and excited as they memorize the day. It is then that they self-medicate.

  • How to Avoid: A caregiver is ideal for handling a person during such cases. As a caregiver is aware of the symptoms and relapse of the addict, they will know how to handle such instances.

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How to Understand the Symptoms of Seroquel Abuse

There are several behavioral warning signs of Seroquel abuse anise. These include:

Recognizing Seroquel Overdose in Yourself:

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when Seroquel is not used

  • Constant urge to use this drug repeatedly

  • Inability to quit using the drug despite experiencing several adverse effects

  • Stealing money or opting for extreme extents to get the medicine

  • Self-medicating and increasing the dosage over time and without prescription

  • Requiring additional drugs to create pleasure effects

Identifying Seroquel Abuse in Others:

  • Missing school or work frequently

  • Notable performance drop in school or work

  • Requesting money frequently without any reason

  • Sudden weight loss or gain, lack of energy, motivation in life

  • Withdrawing oneself from loved ones

  • Lack of interest in looking good, fun activities, or grooming oneself

When such symptoms are frequent, one must consider rehab for drug abuse if the person is diagnosed with Seroquel abuse.

3 Ways to Treat Seroquel Drug Abuse

Treatments of drug abuse of Seroquel are provided below.

  • Rehab Center: Individuals with mental illnesses and addiction must seek a proper rehab center. Ideal rehabs treat individuals with five significant treatment phases and include them in exciting and fun activities such as – trekking, beach yoga, visiting fairs and parks, etc.

  • Exercise: Regularly practicing yoga releases endorphins or happy hormones that fight against stress. Therefore, this reduces negative thoughts and feelings naturally.

  • Creativity: Involving oneself in creative jobs such as painting, writing, singing, etc., is a beautiful approach to fighting drug addiction and abuse. Since the mind sways to a positive aspect, it reduces the urges to substance use.

Apart from the above excellent treatments for drug abuse, individuals can also practice yoga or meditation as it effectively balances the mind and body. This allows the person to gain confidence and slowly progress towards positive aspects of life.

However, now that individuals have an idea about Seroquel abuse and its impact, one should follow the above measures to fight back.

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The Edge Treatment Center Treats Prescription Drug Abuse & Seroquel Abuse

At The Edge Treatment Center, we believe in the power of good relationships and have many resources for family members and friends. We offer group therapy, education, and consistent contact throughout treatment. Substance use disorder affects everyone close to the client, and it often causes a strain on relationships. If you or a loved one is struggling, contact The Edge Treatment Center today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What must one look for in a rehab center?

If one is seeking a rehab or a drug abuse treatment center, it is necessary to get information about the location, the treatment plans it covers, the number of successful stories, and whether they have dual treatment programs or other necessities.

Can a balanced and healthy life help one to fight against drug abuse?

Of course, yes, a balanced life is always a practical approach that helps in fighting any negative aspect of life, including drug abuse. Addicts receiving proper drug abuse counseling can recover quickly.

What happens when someone abruptly stops taking Seroquel?

Abruptly stopping Seroquel can trigger quetiapine withdrawal symptoms and risk of Seroquel overdose. Therefore, it is ideal to consult a doctor when such instances occur. Also, one must not stop taking the medication until prescribed by the doctor.

Is a caregiver important in the journey of recovery from such drug abuse?

Absolutely, a caregiver plays a selfless role in the recovery journey of a patient who is under treatment. Recovery from drug abuse is possible through the utmost care and love that a caregiver provides to a person.

What are the different treatment phases ideal rehab centers follow to treat addicts?

An ideal rehab center will follow five phases of a recovery program. This includes – detoxification, residential, partial hospitalization programs (PHP), intensive outpatient (IOP), and outpatient (OP) programs, respectively.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.