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Trying to come off seroquel w.o psych approval

I've been on seroquel 500mg for 3 years now. Over those years ive gained a lot of weight and ive been constipated the entire time despite trying numerous laxatives.

Anyway, the seroquel was originally prescribed for sleep. My body keeps getting immune to the seroquel and my psych keeps increasing it. I'm at the point where I am not sleeping at all, 5/6 nights a week!

The last time i tried to taper off seroquel, omg the insomnia! I am going to my family doctor because my psych doesnt seem to care that its not working. I was thinking of asking him to taper me off seroquel while starting me on another drug like olanzopine. That way hopefully I can sleep.

I also need to get back on an antidepressant. I have tried NUMEROUS that havent worked for me. Does anyone recommend a good one (w.o the side effect of impotency). I havent tried abilify
5 Responses
480448 tn?1426952138
What's your actual diagnosis?

You're listing mostly anti-psychotic medications.  Seroquel and Abilify are both atypical anti-psychotics, that would typically be Rx'ed for condtions like schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder.  

Abilify is sometimes used as an adjunct medication along WITH an anti-depressant, but usually only to increase the effectiveness of the anti-depressant a person is already taking, not usually as a stand alone med for depression or anxiety.  

Seroquel IS sometimes prescribed for insomnia, but there are lots of other (better IMO) options, not to mention, most times, ANY medication taken for insomnia should be on a limited or very short term basis, as long term, use of a sleep aid only exacerbated insomnia in the long run.

If your doctor isn't listening to your concerns, then find one who will.  Definitely do not take matters into your own hands, or trust a family doctor to be able to appropriately handle these kinds of meds.  You definitely need to have a psychiatrist manage these meds.

Let us know how it's going!
Avatar universal
My diagnosis is anxiety/depression. I had one doc diagnose me as bipolar but  she only observed me for 2 weeks. Seroquel is the only thing that helped me sleep. My insomnia is chronic so i cant just be on a sleep aid short term. I tried zopiclone but it didnt help me.

Every antidepressant ive tried so far has made my anxiety and insomnia worse. My anxiety is what keeps me awake
480448 tn?1426952138
Thanks for the clarification.  It's definitely important that you have an accurate diagnosis, because while some meds will treat various disorders, the wrong med can and will make matters worse if a person is misdiagnosed.  It sounds like perhaps finding a new doc isn't such a bad idea.

What antidepressants have you tried and how long did you take them?

I too have had chronic insomnia pretty much my entire adult life, but eventually found that there ARE effective ways to improve the quantity and quality of sleep.  Don't get me wrong, most nights I still struggle to an extent (especially with STAYING asleep) but I've made some strides after making a much bigger effort to change some things.  A lot of people don't realize that they sabotage their own sleep with really bad habits (raises hand, lol).  You may be surprised to find out that your baseline sleep isn't as bad as you think it is, although you've been taking a sleep aid long enough that it wouldn't even be possible to properly assess your sleep at this point....not until you would give yourself a chance to try some things AFTER adjusting to not taking a med anymore.  Have you ever had any sleep studies done, out of curiosity?  

Just for starters, I'll post for you some info I've saved for people having trouble with sleep.  It all seems like common sense stuff (which it is), but honestly, not a lot of people give trying this stuff consistently for a long period of time a fair shake.  If you make a concerted effort to REALLY get into a consistent bedtime/nighttime routine, I think you will be amazed at how much your sleep improves on its own.  Obviously, to take the sleep aid out of the picture now WILL certainly cause some nasty rebound insomnia, which is tough to deal with, but if you're properly tapered, try to be patient with the process, you may be surprised at how well you will do.  You can use the tips even if you're still taking a med for sleep (obviously).  Insomnia is one of those things that meds end up making worse in the long run unfortunately.  It takes a mild to moderate insomniac and turns him/her into a vampire!  ;0)

Here are some tips to help with your sleep:

1.  Avoid any and all stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, energy drinks, etc) as much as possible, especially within 4+ hours of bedtime.

2.  Exercise is a great way to induce sleep, as it releases natural endorphins.  Even a brisk evening walk will help.  Your exercise should be an hour or more before your bedtime..you don't want to exercise right before bed.

3.  Try to avoid eating a heavy meal close to bedtime.  If you're hungry, stick to a light snack an hour or more before bed.  Avoid ALL fluids 3 (or more if you can) hours before bed.  Nothing worse than finally getting to bed and have mother nature wake you up!

4.  Stick to a consistent bedtime and a consistent bedtime routine.  Even on days when you don't FEEL tired at your bedtime, try to stick to your routine...that conditions your body and brain.  Pick a reasonable time.  If you work 3-11:30 and get home at 12, a reasonable time isn't 12:30, as you would need time to unwind after getting home.

5.  Create an environment conducive to sleep and relaxation.  Your bedroom and bed should be an inviting place that you look forward to retiring to.  Keep the room clean and clutter free, keep dust levels down.  Keep your bedding washed with clean or fresh smelling scents.  Choose comfy, non-binding clean smelling PJs.  ALL of our 5 senses affect our mood, and also our sleep.  If you have a quiet room, but your sheets smell like feet (lol), that won't be very relaxing.  Keep the room DARK.  Keep weather in mind.  In the summer, you would only need a light sheet or blanket, in the winter, heavier blankets are necessary to keep you comfy.  Again, back to the senses...if you create a bed that keeps you too hot or too cold, that will interfere with your sleep.  Keep a glass or bottle of water at your bedside, in case you awaken with that dry mouth and need for a drink.  This way you don't have to get out of bed to get something to drink.  Light soothing music or white noise machines for LOW (not blaring) background noise can be helpful.  Try to avoid using TV as a background noise, as our brains are still working while asleep, and the things you hear from the TV could affect your anxiety levels and even dreams.  Basically, sleeping with sounds of "The Chainsaw Massacre" in the background won't lead to happy thoughts.  ;0)  A warm bath or shower is great before bed...dry your hair.  Never go to bed with wet hair.  NOT comfy!

6.  Ignore the urge to get out of bed.  Even when you're feeling frustrated, try to remain in bed, reposition yourself, adjust your sheets, read a book if you are not falling asleep, but the more up and down you do, the harder it is to get and stay asleep it is.  The same goes for nighttime awakening.  If you DO fall asleep and wake up in the middle of the night, ignore the urge to get out of bed...again, reposition yourself, adjust the sheets, and try to go back to sleep.  When you get up out of bed, you're waking yourself more.  If you stay lying in bed, you are not as awake.  If nature calls...go to the BR, and get right back to bed..no snacking, no smoke breaks (I'm bad at this...lol).  Those things are murder for sleep.  Get up...go potty, right back to bed.

7.  When you DO manage to finally start on a consistent routine, you'll find things that help and hurt your sleep.  Take note of them and adjust your regimen as needed.  Sleep patterns will change, and life happens, so sometimes, adjustments need to be made. Consistency is TRULY the key..I cannot stress that enough.

8.  Listen to your body.  For a while, while your sleep is lousy, you will feel tired at odd times of the day.  Your body is telling you it needs rest, so heed the wanring...take a nap.  Lie down on the sofa, and catch a 1 hour (or less) nap.  Don't nap for hours at a time, that will interfere with your nighttime sleep.  An hour is the perfect amount of time for a refresher.  Also, don't nap in bed.  Once you're conditioned, your bed should be for nighttime sleeping only.  

Hope these tips help some...I know these are the things I do that help me get some decent sleep.  It's not always foolproof, but it works pretty well.  Please be patient for a while too...your body is getting back to normal, and that takes some time.  If you are going days without any sleep, definitely see your doctor.  Sleep depivation is a whole other ballgame, it can be dangerous.

Best to you...sweet dreams!

Avatar universal
Thank you for your advice, i will def follow this. However Ive gone the past 5 days with no sleep, i even got into 2 car accidents on the same day! I can't concentrate at all. I'm going to try to see a different doctor, do you have any suggestions for a different sleep aid then seroquel or zopiclone?

Or should I just get off sleep aids and practice your routine. Im 24 years old and this has affected me since childhood
480448 tn?1426952138
Oh geez!  That's definitely NOT good!  Going 5 full days without sleep?  You need to talk to your doc ASAP, and you should NOT be driving, cooking, anything that requires focus and concentration!  Be careful!  :0(
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