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Seroquel (Quetiapine) Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Last Updated on September 17, 2022 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Seroquel withdrawal (quetiapine) may be part of a comprehensive treatment program using proven protocols for improved mental health naturally. Seroquel is a commonly prescribed antipsychotic medication used in the treatment of schizophrenia, and mania or depressive episodes of bipolar conditions. As is the case for most psychoactive medications, using Seroquel for several months or longer may lead to physical dependence.

If you or a loved one needs help to navigate Seroquel (quetiapine) withdrawal, this article provides useful information including details about Seroquel (quetiapine) withdrawal symptoms, treatment, withdrawal timeline, and resources for recovery.

What Is Seroquel?

Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic drug available as a tablet or extended-release tablet. Its generic name is quetiapine. Seroquel is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat schizophrenia and acute manic episodes, and as an adjunctive treatment for major depressive disorder.1

Aside from the FDA-approved guidelines, many off-label uses for Seroquel have developed such as for insomnia, PTSD, OCD, substance abuse and addiction, delirium, anxiety, depression (especially in those who have stopped seeing benefits from SSRIs), and personality disorders.2 We find a lot of people take Seroquel specifically as a sleep aid, usually at a low dose of 25-150 mg.

There have been reported uses of Seroquel by crushing and snorting, or used intravenously, sometimes in combination with cocaine.

Is Seroquel Addictive?

While it’s only available by prescription, quetiapine is not on the federal list of controlled substances. In general, it’s not considered addictive. However, a 2013 clinical study conducted on experimental rats by Chinese researchers found clear evidence that quetiapine has the potential to cause psychological dependence in animals.3

In addition, a number of individuals have self-reported a belief that they have become addicted to Seroquel, which is known on the street as “Susie-Q” or “quell.” 4

Seroquel (Quetiapine) Side Effects

Common side effects of Seroquel
There can be a wide range of side effects from this medication, from mild to moderate to severe. Not everyone experiences identical side effects of substance use, such as those listed here. Always discuss changes that occur while on Seroquel with your prescribing physician. The following is not a conclusive list of side effects; if you’re experiencing other reactions to Seroquel, consult your doctor or a medical professional.5

Common side effects could include:
  • Vertigo/dizziness
  • Abnormal physical weakness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight gain
  • Drowsiness/fatigue
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Low sodium levels
  • Nightmares
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Sleepwalking, sleep-driving, etc.*
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tachycardia (elevated heart rate at rest)

Less common, but more severe adverse effects should be carefully monitored and could include suicidality (ideation and behavior; especially noted in younger patients under age 25), tardive dyskinesia, tachycardia, movement disorders, involuntary repeating movements, tremors, cataracts in eyes, slowed heartbeat, sleep apnea, diabetes, abnormal liver function or liver failure, seizures, stroke (especially in elderly patients), pancreatitis, amnesia, hepatitis, and rarely, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome.

  • Sleepwalking or other normal activities during sleep — sleep-driving, sleep shopping, sleep-texting, etc. — of which the person has no memory can also occur.
  • High blood sugar, possibly extreme and associated with diabetic acidosis, coma, or death, has also been reported in patients treated with Seroquel.

Seroquel (Quetiapine) Withdrawal Symptoms

Stopping Seroquel abruptly will frequently evoke a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, generally referred to as Seroquel (Quetiapine) Discontinuation Syndrome.8 If the decision to come off Seroquel is made, stopping should never be done abruptly unless to avert a life-threatening reaction such as NMS. Always seek medical oversight and guidance for safety.

Even when slowly tapering off of the drug, there can still be some significant Seroquel withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms might be more severe if the patient took the medication for a very long time, and at high dosages. Our Seroquel tapering page goes into the nuances of tapering strategies based upon the duration of use. A list of just some of the reported Seroquel withdrawal symptoms follows.Common symptoms of Seroquel withdrawal

Seroquel withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Suicidal ideation or behavior
  • Seroquel Withdrawal Rebound Psychosis
  • Rebound mania
  • Psychotic symptoms that did not exist prior to taking antipsychotics
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersensitivity to light, sound, temperature, all sensory perceptions
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Racing heart, tachycardia, hypertension
  • Unusual mood swings that can change rapidly
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Loss of concentration
  • Depression
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dysphoric unease with life
  • Some limited reports of withdrawal dyskinesia

Abrupt or fast Seroquel withdrawal can cause a rebound psychosis. Ample caution and patience for a slow withdrawal are warranted.

Everyone has a different set of withdrawal symptoms, and in that way, there is no one-size-fits-all description.

However, the most consistent symptoms we have seen at Alternative to Meds Center are:

  • Seroquel Withdrawal Rebound Psychosis
  • Rebound mania
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite

Suddenly not sleeping, not eating, and acting manic when enduring Seroquel withdrawal is a sure sign that things are most likely going too fast and that the rate of withdrawal needs to be slowed down.

There are instances where people without prior psychotic symptoms experienced withdrawal psychosis when stopping neuroleptics such as Seroquel.

Seroquel Withdrawal Timeline

Seroquel withdrawal symptoms are different for everyone. Withdrawal can be broken into three phases: new withdrawal, rebound withdrawal, and Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.

Phase 1: New Withdrawal

Studies indicate that most withdrawal symptoms occur during the first four weeks of stopping antipsychotic drugs.8 They often start one to four days after discontinuing medication and last up to six weeks, sometimes lessening during that period. Symptoms associated with cessation of quetiapine can include interruptions in sleep and insomnia, paresthesia (burning or prickling sensations), nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, hypertension (high blood pressure), an increased heart rate, agitation, anxiety, sweating, anorexia, and myalgia. Though rare, movement disorders can emerge upon abrupt withdrawal of neuroleptic medications. Restlessness or hyperkinesia may last longer, sometimes months.6,7,25

Phase 2: Rebound Withdrawal

Rebound withdrawal can occur concurrently with or last beyond the new withdrawal phase.8 The symptoms exhibited in rebound withdrawal are understudied and can vary greatly from individual to individual. It may not always be clear unless a comprehensive patient history is available whether symptoms are newly emerging as a result of drug withdrawal, or whether pre-medication symptoms are recurring. Research has suggested that the symptoms in rebound withdrawal are frequently more severe than symptoms experienced pre-medication.23

Phase 3: Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a term used to describe withdrawal symptoms that can persist weeks or even months after discontinuing certain drugs.9 PAWS is thought to occur because virtually all drugs can cause physiologic and neuroadaptive changes. During drug use, the brain and CNS adapt to accommodate changes in available neurotransmitters. When you discontinue the drug, neurotransmitters can change again, increasing excitability or causing other reactions.

Symptoms can include things like irritability, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, difficulty maintaining social relationships, pessimism, disturbed sleep patterns, and greater sensitivity to stress.9

How Long Does Seroquel Stay in Your System?

The half-life of Seroquel is six hours. Theoretically, it takes approximately six hours to clear 50 percent of the active drug from your system after you stop taking it and 24 to 48 hours to completely clear it after cessation.10

However, the body adapts to the presence of medications. The longer Seroquel is taken, the more adaptations are likely to develop. As a result, it may take considerably longer for your body to recalibrate back to pre-medication states and reverse the antipsychotic-induced dopamine supersensitivity or other neuroadaptive changes.

Changing neuroadaptive states, often called “Seroquel withdrawal syndrome,” can continue to plague patients for weeks, months, or even years. A precisely calibrated diet and supplement regimen can be designed to provide the essential neurotransmitter precursors needed to repair and normalize, and possibly shorten these after-effects.
How to cope with Seroquel withdrawal

Is It Safe To Quit Seroquel Cold Turkey?

Stopping Seroquel should rarely be done abruptly. In the vast majority of cases, antipsychotic withdrawal should be extremely gradual and attended with as much support as possible, including medical supervision, to help ease the person through to a successful outcome.

Abrupt cessation should only occur in rare cases where life-threatening reactions to the drug need to be controlled, such as NMS (neuroleptic malignant syndrome).5

Based on 15 years of experience, we suggest that Seroquel withdrawal be done with our team of health professionals in an inpatient setting to help navigate the complexities that may occur.

Does Seroquel Work Long-Term?

We are unable to find research demonstrating the long-term efficacy of antipsychotics like Seroquel.11 While Seroquel has an impressive ability to quickly thwart a psychotic event, and may even be life-saving in certain cases, the long-term use efficacy remains questionable.

Martin Harrow and colleagues recently published a study in the Feb 2021 edition of Psychological Medicine following patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective psychosis for 20 years.12 Their results showed that those suffering from a severe mental illness who stopped taking medication within the first two years were six times more likely to recover than those who continued the antipsychotics.

“Even when the confound by indication for prescribing antipsychotic medication is controlled for, participants with schizophrenia and affective psychosis do better than their medicated cohorts.”
“These and previous data indicate that after 2 years, antipsychotics no longer reduce psychotic symptoms and participants not on antipsychotics perform better.” ~Harrow, Jobe & Tong, Journal of Psychological Medicine.12
The reason for the lack of long-term efficacy may be the way that the body adapts to the presence of the drug. According to three different independent researchers — Chouinard, Fallon, Harrow, and respective colleagues — there may be an antipsychotic-induced sensitivity to the dopamine receptors, termed drug-induced supersensitivity psychosis, as they attempt to compensate.13-15 This drug-induced perpetuation of psychosis is also termed tardive psychosis.

It cannot be said that all people do better off of antipsychotics. However, the research presents a strong case for investigating safe alternatives to antipsychotics like Seroquel for long-term treatment of symptoms.

At Alternative to Meds Center, any persons wishing to undergo Seroquel withdrawal are screened for the probability of a successful outcome.

Treatments for Seroquel Withdrawal

If you or a loved one is considering a treatment program designed to help taper Seroquel safely, the protocols used at Alternative to Meds Center may be helpful to learn more about.

Each client’s program is designed within a holistic scientific context at our treatment center to carefully investigate root causes that may have contributed to your need for prescription medication in the first place.
Ways to deal with Seroquel withdrawal

Natural Remedies

Many symptoms of Seroquel withdrawal can be treated using natural methods. For instance, studies have shown that poor nutrition can lead to depression, and an improved diet can likewise improve mental health.16 Improving nutrition by reducing carbohydrates and adhering to a Mediterranean diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids and other vital nutrients have been clearly associated with improved mental health.24

Likewise, exercise has proven helpful in preventing depression.17,18 And yoga has been shown to decrease anxiety, depression, and stress significantly.19

Heavy metal toxicity testing and neurotoxin removal are fundamentals that may have been missed in earlier treatments. It is likely for many that toxicity played a role in symptoms for which no other reason was found to explain neurotransmitter imbalances.20 We have found that once the offending pollutants, chemical residues, heavy metals, food preservatives, industrial exposures, etc., have been isolated and gently purged, clients typically experience a resurgence in quality of sleep, appetite, energy, and mood.21

Knowing as much as possible about drugs like Seroquel, medication alternatives, side effects, and withdrawal is vital. This is why we offer a comprehensive education component in our programs.

Holistic Medicine

A comprehensive series of steps form a foundation for better health as a client moves through the Alternative to Meds Center program. You may never have been introduced to orthomolecular medicine, nebulized glutathione treatments, clay packs, infrared sauna, and many other gentle yet effective treatments we provide. We invite you to review our services page on the website to learn more about these and other therapies.

You may be surprised by how beneficial these holistic therapies can be. There are many such protocols used before, during, and after the taper is complete. Please contact us to find out more about our program and get answers to any specific questions you may have. Perhaps now is the time to look at a science-based, health-oriented program to assist you in your restorative health goals.

We invite you to learn more about our comfortable, inpatient, retreat-style facility, and how we may be able to help you move confidently toward sustainable and natural mental health. Please ask us all your other questions about Seroquel withdrawal, alternatives, side effects, and other information you may be interested in for yourself or a loved one.

Seroquel Withdrawal Success Stories & Videos

It takes a skilled professional to help navigate Seroquel withdrawal smoothly. Even if antipsychotic medications are warranted at the time of a crisis, it may not be necessary to endure the related debilitating side effects for a lifetime. According to some long-term research, many schizophrenic patients do better in the long run without antipsychotics.22

Alternative to Meds has been the expert on antipsychotic withdrawal for over 15 years. We have published evidence documenting our success. Often we find that patients were put on psychiatric meds for medical conditions, drug-induced psychosis, or other factors that have since changed. A person could have also been misdiagnosed.

This video is of a former schizophrenic who was treated at our center. It was found that his previous diagnosis and treatment did not lead to recovery. Instead, his issues were discovered to be food allergies complicated by recreational drug use. He came off of the medications and became an international speaker, helping others to understand the true components of mental health. This video was taken 10 years after his Alternative to Meds experience.


1. Maan JS, Ershadi M, Khan I, et al. Quetiapine. [Updated 2021 Sep 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: [cited 2022 Mar 3]

2. Rowe DL. “Off-label prescription of quetiapine in psychiatric disorders.” Expert Rev Neurother. 2007 Jul;7(7):841-52. doi: 10.1586/14737175.7.7.841. PMID: 17610391. [Cited 2021 Feb 22]

3. Cha HJ, Lee HA, Ahn JI, Jeon SH, Kim EJ, Jeong HS. Dependence potential of quetiapine: behavioral pharmacology in rodents. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2013;21(4):307-312. doi:10.4062/biomolther.2013.035 [cited 2022 Mar 3]

4. The American Journal of Psychiatry. “Quetiapine Addiction?” [Cited 2022 Feb 4]

5. FDA label Seroquel (quetiapine fumaratee) tablets for oral use [cited 2022 Mar 3]

6. Dilsaver SC, Alessi NE. Antipsychotic withdrawal symptoms: phenomenology and pathophysiology. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1988 Mar;77(3):241-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1988.tb05116.x. PMID: 2899377.  [cited 2022 Mar 3]

7. Monahan K, Cuzens-Sutton J, Siskind D, Kisely S. Quetiapine withdrawal: A systematic review. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2021 Aug;55(8):772-783. doi: 10.1177/0004867420965693. Epub 2020 Oct 16. PMID: 33059460. [cited 2022 Mar 3]

8. Brandt L, Bschor T, Henssler J, et al. Antipsychotic Withdrawal Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-AnalysisFront Psychiatry. 2020;11:569912. Published 2020 Sep 29. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2020.569912 [cited 2022 Mar 3]

9. Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA. “Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome.” [Cited 2022 Feb 4]

10. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP. “Seroquel.” [Cited 2022 Feb 11]

11. Robert Whitaker. “The Case Against Antipsychotics: A Review of Their Long-term Effects.” [Cited 2021 Feb 22]

12. Harrow M, Jobe TH, Tong L. “Twenty-year effects of antipsychotics in schizophrenia and affective psychotic disorders.” Psychol Med. 2021 Feb 8:1-11. doi: 10.1017/S0033291720004778. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33550993. [Cited 2021 Feb 22]

13. Chouinard G, Samaha AN, Chouinard VA, Peretti CS, Kanahara N, Takase M, Iyo M. “Antipsychotic-Induced Dopamine Supersensitivity Psychosis: Pharmacology, Criteria, and Therapy.” Psychother Psychosom. 2017;86(4):189-219. doi: 10.1159/000477313. Epub 2017 Jun 24. PMID: 28647739. [Cited 2021 Feb 22]

14. Fallon P, Dursun S, Deakin B. “Drug-induced supersensitivity psychosis revisited: characteristics of relapse in treatment-compliant patients.” Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2012 Feb;2(1):13-22. doi: 10.1177/2045125311431105. PMID: 23983951; PMCID: PMC3736929. [Cited 2021 Feb 22]

15. Harrow, M. “Factors involved in outcome and recovery in schizophrenia patients not on antipsychotic medications.” J Nerv Ment Dis 195 (2007):406-414. [cited 2021 Feb 22]

16. BMJ 2020;369:m2382. “Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing?” [Cited 2022 Mar 3]

17. Harvey SB, Overland S, Hatch S, Wesley S, Mykletun A, Hotopf M, Exercise and the Prevention of Depression: Results of the HUNT Cohort Study [3 October 2017] American Journal of Psychiatry [cited 2022 Mar 3]

18. Annual Review of Public Health. “Environmental Exposures and Depression: Biological Mechanisms and Epidemiological Evidence.” Annual Review of Public Health Vol. 40:239-259 (Volume publication date April 2019) First published as a Review in Advance on 2019 Jan 11 [cited 2021 Feb 22]

19. Falsafi N. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Versus Yoga: Effects on Depression and/or Anxiety in College Students. J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc. 2016 Nov;22(6):483-497. doi: 10.1177/1078390316663307. Epub 2016 Aug 26. PMID: 27566622.[cited 2022 Mar 3]

20. Farina M, Aschner M, da Rocha JBT. “The catecholaminergic neurotransmitter system in methylmercury-induced neurotoxicity.” Adv Neurotoxicol. 2017;1:47-81. doi:10.1016/bs.ant.2017.07.002 [Cited 2021 Feb 22]

21. Collaborative on Mental Health and the Environment. “Mental Health and Environmental Exposures.” from the Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative, November 2008. [cited 2021 Feb 22]

22. Rappaport M, Hopkins HK, Hall K, Belleza T, Silverman J. “Are there schizophrenics for whom drugs may be unnecessary or contraindicated?” Int Pharmacopsychiatry. 1978;13(2):100-11. doi: 10.1159/000468327. PMID: 352976. [cited 2021 Feb 22]

23. Fernandez HH, Trieschmann ME, Okun MS. Rebound psychosis: effect of discontinuation of antipsychotics in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. 2005 Jan;20(1):104-5. doi: 10.1002/mds.20260. PMID: 15390047.[cited 2022 Mar 3]

24. Young G, Conquer J. Omega-3 fatty acids and neuropsychiatric disorders. Reprod Nutr Dev. 2005 Jan-Feb;45(1):1-28. doi: 10.1051/rnd:2005001. PMID: 15865053. [cited 2022 Mar 3]

25. Amore M, Zazzeri N. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome after neuroleptic discontinuation. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1995 Dec;19(8):1323-34. doi: 10.1016/0278-5846(95)00269-3. PMID: 8868212. [cited 2022 Mar 3]

Originally Published March 3, 2022 by Lyle Murphy

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Seroquel (Quetiapine) Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment
Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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