After Seroquel

Nancy Rubenstein del Giudice

Nancy Rubenstein del Giudice

June 25, 2012

The topic of this article is Seroquel withdrawal: the process of withdrawal and the consequences of having taken this particular chemical for over ten years. In my case, essentially since it came on the market in 1997. In the thunder of stories breaking loose regarding psych drug withdrawal, I am hearing next to nothing about Seroquel and I feel a moral obligation to offer up my story for the common good. Be forewarned; it ain’t pretty.

In 2009, I discovered, as countless people have, that I had been massively misled. I learned that over a decade of suffering (including the loss of my children over suicidality) was not, in fact, suffering from an actual disease, but instead, the “side effects” of the drugs purported to treat it. The story of this betrayal by the medical community may be one for another time. Let me stick to the subject of Seroquel, and cut directly to the chase.

For many years I took 1,500 mgs of Seroquel as part of my cocktail. By 2009, I was down to 300 mgs of Seroquel and 2 mgs Ativan. It was at that point that I got “fired” by the mental health system of Asheville, North Carolina. It was not an acceptable choice to wean off the rest. My psychiatrist said to me, “People like you don’t get off meds.” I didn’t believe her. I had been doing a lot of research on my own. Since I was already an activist (being lied to often tends to politicize people), I had support within the psychiatric survivor community. You know who you are. Thank you.

I took my last dose of Seroquel in late November of 2010. Two weeks later I was rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain and bloating. If a competent neurologist had been there at the emergency room, he might well have remarked to the doctors who directed me to have a radical hysterectomy; “you idiots. She just got off a drug that acts on neurotransmitters. Ninety Seven percent of neurotransmitters are in the gut. This is drug withdrawal.” However, no neurologist was on the scene. Just me in severe pain, my partner Jim in extreme fear, and a bunch of men in white coats who project the certainty that they know everything (aka doctors). I had an unnecessary hysterectomy.

A month and a half later, visiting Alaska’s “neighboring state,” Hawaii, minus my uterus and ovaries, the same thing happened, and my health began a downward spiral. My sightseeing on the beautiful island of Maui was largely restricted to urgent care centers and the one hospital emergency room. I had highly resistant bacterial infections (a good clue that my immune system was not functioning well) and extreme reactions to food and chemicals (like cosmetics, alas). The best four hundred dollars I have ever spent (not covered by insurance, and Why IS that?) was a food sensitivity blood test. BINGO. I was off the charts on food as I had known it. Dairy, grains (not just gluten), yeast, corn, soy. Yes, all my vegan dreams down the drain. Oddly, or perhaps not, I received this information as the best possible news. This was something I could act upon, and since I love creative challenges, I began writing a cook book. My first title (suggested by Jim) was the “I’m Allergic to Everything Cookbook.” Now, a year later, the title may well be, “No Grains, No Pains.” The issue of sustenance, post Seroquel, was relatively easily addressed.

The issue of insomnia, was to put it oxymoronically, a nightmare. For more than a year I was lucky if I got three or four hours of sleep, and I went days (nights, really) in a row with absolutely none. I could not yawn. I was never tired. My body was fixed in a state of fight or flight that created severe inflammation, agitated exhaustion, and severe irritability. There were periods of crisis, but the clumsy interventions only made things worse (Ambien, which did not work and Haldol, which gave me 24 hours of uncontrollable facial movements).

My primary care provider is an advanced nurse practitioner at a “progressive medical center.” Avante specializes in naturopathic medicine. My treatment has focused on amino acids, vitamins, medicinal herbs such as passion flower, bio-identical hormone replacement, and melatonin.

I also have consulted regularly with my friend Ken Thomas, author of the book, “Side Effects; The Hidden Agenda of the Pharmaceutical Cartel.” Ken started Nurses for Human Rights and has worked tirelessly to help people recover from the harm caused by psychotropic drugs.

As of June, 2012, I am sleeping six or seven hours fairly regularly, although any stress whatsoever can easily set me back. Yawning brings me great pleasure and unexpected gratitude. Suffice to say that sleep is the body’s greatest treasure and the biggest challenge in both preserving mental health and surviving Seroquel withdrawal. The last issue I will discuss with you, patient reader, is the one that seems the least heard of, but the issue that has changed my life forever.

In 2010, while weaning off Seroquel, I developed photosensitivity. Progressively, I lost the ability to read, look at computers, TV and movie screens, and in July, 2011, I could no longer keep my eyes open long enough to drive safely.

Several eye doctors told me there was nothing wrong. It was suggested in writing that, “as I became more emotional my eyes got worse.”

This May, 2012, The Boston Center for Sight captured microscopic images of “striking damage to the corneal nerves.” This condition is called “Corneal Neuropathy.” It is considered progressive and permanent.

The label on Seroquel has, for two years now, stated that patients on Seroquel should see their eye doctor every six months. It lists as a side effect, “eye pain.”

What the label doesn’t say is that forty percent of the body’s pain receptors are in the cornea. In summary, Seroquel withdrawal is a misnomer. The damage my body has sustained as a result of ingesting this toxin is an unfolding phenomenon of unknown destination.

Drug companies are unlikely to fund studies on a subject that could result in their drug being taken off the market. I don’t see the FDA as an entity separate from the drug companies.

In my experience, after researching this topic for over two years, the only book out there worth having is “How to get off Psychiatric Drugs Safely,” by James Harper, available through “The Road Back” website. Regarding the supplements recommended, which are now sold separately to avoid conflict of interest, I would just caution that I don’t think the Omega 3′s are strong enough, that the Body Calm (which is Montmorency Cherry) can be agitating to some people who may be in an advanced state of oxidative stress. My concern with their probiotics is that they may not be appropriate for everyone. For people with small bowel overgrowth (est. between 17-30% of the population) most probiotic formulas fuel unwanted bacteria. There are similar problems using some probiotics for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis. For people with these conditions, there are companies that make diet specific probiotics.

Overall, James Harper is the most comprehensive truth teller out there about the science of how these drugs act, what withdrawal can be like, and how to get through it. It is critical to keep in mind that every person is different. Three things are always the same; doctors know nothing about withdrawing from psychotropic drugs, there is no existing research, and there is no safe place of refuge. As bleak as this sounds, it is the truth.
What I hope for is that my story will coax out of obscurity some of the others like myself, who took the bait when Seroquel first came out, who followed the regime of high doses as recommended for over ten years, and have been Seroquel free for more than a year. These accounts will help the millions of people who now believe that “Seroquel is the new Sominex.”

There will be two distinct groups of people to answer my call. One group will be people who had actual symptoms of mania or psychosis before they were “treated” with psychotropic drugs. The second group, the one to which I belong, is the group of people who were experiencing a depression during a difficult life transition (Divorce, mid-life crisis, death of a loved one, etc.) and were misled into believing they had a chemical imbalance that required medication, “just like a diabetic requires insulin.”

Either way, these two groups have important stories. Let us fill this silent abyss with the voices of experience.

After Seroquel Comments RSS

137 thoughts on “After Seroquel

  1. Nancy, I appreciate that you shared your painful story and I’m so sorry for what you went through. I worry a lot about the way Seroquel seems to be handed out like M & Ms – as you point out, it is being prescribed as a sleep aid for people with no psychiatric history (not that it should be prescribed to anyone!), which just boggles the mind.

    I hope some of the psychiatrists who post on Mad In America will read your piece and respond in a thoughtful and non-defensive way to what happened to you and so many others who trusted in their psychiatrists.

    • Hi Nancy,
      I am so pleased I found your experience with Seroquel. I hate this drug…I have also done much research and was diagnosed Bipolar 2 10 years ago…due to a messy divorce. Why I have been put on an anti-psycotic for bipolar 1 (i only recently discovered) I am still trying to obtain a straight answer from my doctor. Is it a money making racket?? I have been on numerous drugs and finally Seroquel (and many others) for 2 years now with horrible side effects. I told my doctor a week ago I want to go off this drug completely. He was not at all happy. I have been told to go from 600 mg to an immediate 300 mg then to nothing. Gosh, the stomach pain, nausea, food aversion, dizziness etc. I thought I might have a stomach ulcer… It was horrid. My eyesight has gone from fine to really bad (is this possible). I started weaning my self down less aggressively . I am now on 100 mg . I even began wondering if my Dr wanted me to have radical side effects to come rushing back to him. The side effects on the drug: wow weight gain – which I just managed to keep under control with extreme excercise , the want to eat was terrible ( i never craved sweet ever before). My blood pressure sky rocketed, my cholesterol was terrible, holding a coffee cup in the morning without coffee all over the floor from the shakes was awful. Try act normal and sane with these side effects. I am quite sure I am more normal without these horrible drugs. Just how to get them out my system and what to take in its place I don’t know. I don’t even know where to begin. I did notice the book you mentioned. Is that a good start? You mentioned each person is different in their response to Omega 3 etc…any ideas/suggestions how to do this? I am tired of poisoning my system for so long with no idea of the long term damage that these drugs are causing. Truly appreciate help

  2. Dear, dear Nancy. This is a powerful, detailed and thoughtful piece. I hope it reaches many who will be educated about the dangers of Seroquel. The medical profession needs to wake up and stop sleeping with big pharma. Thank you for sharing your painful and important story.

  3. Thanks for telling your story, and specifically how Seroquel was given to you for life situations, sleep problems, what an atrocity that you had to suffer that way from a marketing campaign and watered down information masking the antipsychotic as a simple sleep aid.

    Here’s an article of interest re: your eyesight problems that might be useful:

    AstraZeneca trialed Seroquel on beagle puppies: cataracts occurred at 4 times the human dose

  4. It sickens me to read this. And I also am very aware of this five-year-old I met recently who they had started on this drug. I don’t want to think about her future. The people who did this to her and to you should go to prison for the rest of their lives.

  5. Great post.

    Coincidentally, I was cursed out by a patient today to whom I refused to prescribe Seroquel. He has been requesting it by name for the last 4 months, without any obvious symptoms to justify its use. It just helped him feel “mellow.”

    I don’t practice psychiatry that way. To him, however, that makes me a “f*cking b*stard.”

  6. great post.
    something that I needed. My son is 20y and he’s been on abilify for two months, then respiradone for two months and now on seroquel for two weeks. But I hate the side effects i see on him. Also, I don’t believe on medication of brain. It seems all lies and poison to our kids. I need help how you did it. I have the book how to withdraw from psychiatric meds. so, how do i stop the medication and start withdrawing.
    pls. help Nancy.

    • The following is a response from Nancy:

      “Dear Keren; I know it’s very frightening when one comes to the conclusion that they are being poisoned. The temptation is to stop these medications immediately. That is the most dangerous thing to do. No cold turkey. Some Positives in your son’s case are:

      1. He is young, and his nervous system is more resilient.
      2. He has not been on these medications, according to what you’ve written, for a great length of time.

      “The quickest reply to your question is that the safest way to wean off is one drug at a time under medical supervision. James Harper, the author of “How to Get Off of Psychiatric Drugs Safely,” and many other experts in psychotropic drug withdrawal are very clear on saying that the safest way to withdraw is to reduce the medication 10% at a time – however this does differ between people and must be done with caution. Things to watch for are disturbed sleep – sleep is the most important thing to maintain during the withdrawal process.

      “Lastly, if your son is taking an XR form (Extended Release), switching to a single dose should be done before beginning to wean. As you read in my account, I was refused medical supervision, and this happens to many people. Becoming an expert may be the only recourse.

      “My heart goes out to you and your son, and I will be thinking of you.”

      • “No cold turkey.”
        It is up to the individual consuming the drug I think.
        Slowly ripping a sticky band-aid off, or quickly,which is less painful? you advocate the slow pull off.

        I.M.O. simple logic: The longer the time on a drug, the more damage to the body. Get off the poison as quickly as possible.

        • Simple logic doesn’t always work. Unfortunately if someone comes off neuroleptics fast, they often have a “rebound” psychosis- also called a “supersensitivity” reaction. Getting off very slowly can help prevent this reaction. When someone comes off fast, rebounds, becomes psychotic- they are often told that this is proof that they are schizophrenic.

        • Withdrawing too quickly could cause nervous system damage, that’s effectively what withdrawal symptoms or “rebound psychosis” are.

          The rate of taper is what’s up to the individual. The nervous system needs stability. Going off the drug as slowly as the individual requires is the best way to minimize risk of destabilizing the nervous system.

          The stories you might hear of people who quit cold turkey and had no problems are stories of people who were very lucky.

          Don’t be a daredevil and go cold turkey no matter how much you hate your medication, you could be living with withdrawal syndrome for years.

          • I have been on Seroquel xr 200mg in the am, 3 200mgs at bedtime. My dr is weaning me off. He has taken away 1 200mg at night. He has stopped my vistaril 50mg x 4 daily without no weaning. I am having several withdrawal symptoms, and it’s only been a week. The newest and worse symptom is extreme eye pain in my right eye, which is already weakened due to previous eye infection.

          • Dear MisusSharon,

            I saw a number of eye doctors who said the same thing. The damaged corneal nerves were seen on a confocal miscroscope. My doctor was Dr Rosenthal in Boston, but he has retired from seeing patients. Here’s the thing; I was told this eye condition is permanent and gets progressively worse. I wrote this article in 2010. Four years later my eyes are improving, still painful but improving.I would suggest to your doctor that he is weaning you far too fast. Show him my article, many people have done that……slow and steady wins the race. Best Wishes, Nancy

  7. Wow Nancy, I didn’t realize how much seroquel you had been prescribed. I was given seroquel for sleep. I went into accidental withdrawal a couple of times. This is far worse than any other withdrawal. Felt like I was being eaten alive by billions of insects. I have the eye problems you describe. I read that study on the beagles, which is one reason I decided to taper. I began to taper from 400 mg in 2008, stopped for good December 2011. There was a lawsuit against Astra Zeneca for diabetes. People should sue based on the other maiming effects, too.

  8. HI, Nancy
    thanks for your reply. You right, he’ still young. but with young kids, 20y old, they are hard to follow the routine for meds. Also, as the side effect kicks they want to stop right away. my son is not taking XR. it’s a single dose of 100mg of seroquel at night.we started 50mg for a week. so, this is second week with 100mg. I live in california, san francisco area. You mention progressive medical center were you had good treatment. Is there any facility around here where i can take him and detox or help him to withdraw as in house.
    cause i don’t want keep him long with this meds for long.

    thanks again.

  9. keren: If your son is just on the second week of 100 mg, you can probably just step back down to 50mg for a week and then step off without needing to worry too much about tapering it extra slow. Less than a month on and withdrawal shouldn’t be a huge issue with a quick taper.

    The rampantly spreading use of AAPs for everything from insomnia to depression is quite possibly shaping up to be an even bigger disaster than the rampant use of benzos for longterm treatment.

    IMHO there is really only one responsible use of this class of obviously toxic drugs: emergency use during a short-term crisis in order to stabilize. Longterm use for things like sleep disorders is borderline criminal.

  10. ok. he is been less than a month on seroquel. but he has been on abilify for two months,march and april of 2012. respirodol for another two months of oct. and november of 2011. also, he took flouphenzine for one month of feb, 2012. would these prior meds affect the withdrawal? have you heard of any detox of this meds. there is one in my area but i’m not sure if they are beneficial.

  11. hi, Nancy.
    my son’s main problem now is hullucination. hearing voices. his psch.doc told us to start 50mg last week to follow with 100mg this week and 150mg next week and 200mg the fourth week. I never heard anything like this before. week difference for each 50mg.

    • I have had to get used to the “hearing voices”.

      Whitaker writes that the human brain changes in response to the psychiatric drugs.
      “The antipsychotics block 70-90 percent of the dopamine receptors in the brain. In (response) return, the brain sprouts about 50 percent extra dopamine receptors. It tries to (compensate) become extra sensitive. So in essence you’ve created an imbalance in the dopamine system in the brain. You (now) have too many dopamine receptors.”

      The change in physical brain structure , the learned behavioral response (brain plasticity) might be permanent.
      What you want in your son is functionality, the reason for functionality in a human being doesn’t come from a mindless medication/drug/chemical.

    • Karen: I have walked in your shoes! I sleep on the floor many nights while our son experienced his spiritual emergencies. Went to many pdocs, took many tests, and tried many drugs. Not quick cure out there.

      First off take several deep breaths and realize this isn’t going to be healed overnight, but healing will happen. Time heals not the drugs. He may not follow the path that you want but let him follow his path and be very very patient and supportive with him. Listen and he will tell you things that might help. Educate yourself and keep a journal. He may need a drug short-term to stabilize if he has lost total control. Paranoia and hallucinations are rooted in us all so don’t let that be a reason to medicate. Long term you need to work on sleep, meditation and mindfulness to start the healing process.

      Slowly taper off all the drugs, even if they have been taken for years and the pdoc thinks it is harmless. Example being ADHD meds etc.. Unless he needs a drug to survive then review its necessity.

      If he is in college he may need to take time off. If he has a stressful job he may have to quit it. In the short term release the pressure on him. Don’t let him isolate himself from family and friends. No yelling or screaming or lecturing. Relax and he will relax. Laugh and he will laugh. Love and he will love and heal.

      This will take time to heal. It may take years. If you try to medicate it away it may take a lifetime.

      God Bless

  12. Hi, markps2
    when you say,the change in physical brain structure , the learned behavioral response (brain plasticity) might be permanent. do you mean his hullucination is permanente or goes with time. I’m hoping it to stop after his withdrawal from this meds. what is the solution for this kind of people. we are confused and don’t know what to do. I are starting to go back to his old 50mg for two weeks and then 10% reduction every two weeks.

    thanks for your response.

    • People lean to cope with hearing voices in all sorts of ways that do not need medication. Some just lean to live with the experience, some find counselling and therapy useful, there are self help groups (you can look up the hearing voices network), some talk things over with friends.

      I know someone who decided to feel compassion for his voices and that helped a lot.

      People draw, write about them, talk them over with people, all of which helps people to understand them and feel less frightened of them and in many cases this is much more effective than drugs.

      I know someone else who with counselling and the support of good friends got a life together. He still hears voices but they are a lot less critical than they used to be. He hardly talked about the voices in the counselling he had, he talked more about the stresses that had driven him mad.

      Many people find they still have voices even when they recover, but now they mainly hear nice, encouraging voices.

      The voices themselves are not the problem, it is what they say and how the person feels about them. Really your son needs some help sorting out his problems and some friendly help in getting his life together. If he gets that then the voices will not be so much of a problem. This can take some time, but it would be much more effective than drugs and it is probably not what your local services are offering, because in most places, all over the world, they don’t.

    • John Hoggett 4:27 PM wrote a better reply than I ever could.
      I can only give you my opinion.
      Visual hallucination I have no experience with, so can not comment on.
      Audio hallucination is permanent in that intelligence in a human being requires “hearing voices”. Normal people do not call the voices they hear “voices”.

      There is a country song
      Chris Young – I Hear Voices All the Time
      You could say I’m a little bit crazy
      You could call me insane
      Walkin’ ’round with all these whispers
      Runnin’ ’round here in my brain
      I just can’t help but hear ‘em
      Man, I can’t avoid it

      I hear voices
      I hear voices like
      My dad sayin’ work that job
      But don’t work your life away
      Mama tellin’ me to drop some cash
      In the offering plate on Sunday
      And granddad sayin’ you can have a few
      But don’t ever cross that line
      Yeah I hear voices all the time

      If you have been given “schizophrenia” by a doctor, and have a bad idea, a voice of violence, the idea gets identified as a voice of schizophrenia, but it’s just an idea.

      Imagine you are in a chess game, to play well you must imagine what you would do in your opponents position.
      You battle against yourself in imagining.
      This imagining is intelligence, without intelligence we would not “hear” voices of imagination.

      Psychiatry tricks people into fearing hearing voices of imagination. People will hear voices of imagination as long as they have a working brain (frontal cortex).

      Normal people have a “voice” of knowing when it is too hot and too cold. Schizophrenics die in heat waves and in cold winter for not knowing (or too drugged) the temperature.
      Normal people have voices of anger, but don’t call them voices. They can go to jail if they let the anger be in control.
      Loss of action is what psychiatry typically wants from their patient. Psychiatry calls a lack of behaviour a successful treatment, as mostly all behaviour from a mentally ill person is judged “sick”.

      IMO A young male adult is supposed to leave home at the age of 18-24. They can no longer be a dependent child.

      This separation occurs in the natural animal world from “Mother Nature”, and humans are part animal. In human males testosterone production peaks at the age of 18.

      The adult child doesn’t want to leave his loving parent(s)( but if healthy, wants independence), and the parents fearing for the safety of their child , don’t want their child to leave either.
      There is an inner battle in both the adult child and parent.

      You can pay a doctor to call the adult-child sick, maybe they are sick, but drugs aren’t going to solve anything. The psychiatric drugs will stop conflict, but conflict is necessary to leave home and become adult.

  13. Dear Keren,

    You should start to do some research – hard, ongoing research on your own. Here are some of the things I suggest you get really get absorbed in finding out -

    How often do people with schizophrenia recover on their own without medications? I have heard that more than 80% of people can recover from schizophrenia without medical intervention, and just given some time. I am not certain of that number though, so I suggest researching it. I have also heard that people are much more likely to spontaneously recover if they do NOT use medications. Again, I suggest you really research the science though.

    Start to research and explore other ways to help your son manage his life and control his difficult symptoms.

    Here is the difficult news for you. 99% of current “wisdom” says that your son must be on these medications and most likely for the rest of his life. This means you will have an uphill battle when talking with professionals, but really, you need professionals and their additional knowledge to guide you. This means you need intelligence and knowledge. Intelligence to do the research in depth on your own and the knowledge that comes from the research. You also need a lot of strength – this is going to be hard work. In fact, I suspect you might have to get to a place where you might know more than a lot of doctors.

    I would start with google, read everything you can find on how to handle schizophrenia without medications. When you have tapped out google, I would make a list of current scientists and activists who has written about the subject and go to the library. You might also go to a University library and start to read some of the scientific papers the MD’s read. If you don’t understand the technical writing, bring a laptop to look up words.

    All this information will help you find, interview and choose doctors. There won’t be any magical helpers in asking on a large forum like this. And really, you don’t know any of us from adam, taking advice on a board like this on life changing decisions like this is not safe.

    Good luck.


  14. I ate lemongrass for the first time in my life and was surprised by the energetic effect it had on me. That’s the power of simple *lemongrass*.

    “psychiatric” drugs are lethal and terrifying. But we all know this.

  15. Thanks so much for your story. I have been taking Seroquel for most of the last 12 years in doses ranging from 400mg to 1200mg. I was given this horrible medication for Bipolar I. I bought into the idea that I would need to be medicated for life. It is only in the last year or so that I realize what a bunch of BS that is, and how badly these meds have damaged my body. I am currently working down from 800mg, and am currently at 400mg. So far, the withdrawal hasn’t really been that bad. I’ve been going 50mg every 2 weeks or so.

    I worry about what happens when I take my last dose of Seroquel. I worry about the “real” withdrawal. But I worry far more about shortening my life because of this stuff.

    Thanks again for your story.

    • Dear Vabossnurse, Thank YOU for sharing YOUR story. I wrote this article hoping to get the ball rolling on this topic.Of course it isn’t a topic, it is your life. Three years ago I was in the place you are……but I can tell you some differences between us straight away that may weigh in your favor. First, my last dose was 100 mgs, which I now realize was ill-advised. Also, I had a radical hysterectomy about three weeks later. I was completely uninformed about hormone replacement. I think Malene’s response above is excellent advice. As I mentioned in my article, James Harper’s book was my essential guide, and had I not run out of money for the supplements recommended, I believe things would have gone far better. I use their amino acids, Vitamin E, passion flower (for sleep) and biotin. Harper’s book is available free online. As difficult as this is for you now, clearly you have made an informed decision, and staying positive is crucial. For me and many others, becoming an activist to help others has allowed me to channel my outrage. The survivor/activist community really saved my spirit. You are in my prayers. Nancy Rubenstein Del Giudice

      • Thanks so much for your response. I’m just getting started with the whole supplements thing–I figure getting in the habit of taking regular prenatal (no, not pregnant, thank God!) vitamins every day is a start, at least. I also give myself B12 injections monthly for familial pernicious anemia.

        I am going through menopause right now, with minimal hormonal issues. Frankly, I’m on the fence about hormonal supplementation. I’d like to hear more thoughts on this from those who have gone through this process.

        Thanks for your prayers.

    • If I might suggest, try reductions of 25mg every 2 weeks. The idea is to have little or no withdrawal reaction.

      The very gradual reduction may enable your nervous system to adapt to the decreases as you make them.

      If you get withdrawal symptoms, stop for a while until you stabilize, then slow down the tapering and make smaller decrements.

      Hopefully, when you do this, you will have no withdrawal after you are entirely off the med because your nervous system has already made the adaptation.

      Very gradual tapering is far safer than counting on supplements to be helpful, because often they don’t do much.

  16. Believe me Olanzapine and Risperidone are as bad as Seroquel: it did my son untold physical and psychological harm and he was on them only for 6 weeks each. he came off them in secret and no doctor offered to help. He still gets twiching muscles on and off, three years after coming off them.

  17. I am so sorry that you had to go through what you have. You are such a strong person to have survived and be willing to share your story. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have sort of dropped in on this site! Was lucky enough to find it as a link on my LinkedIn page.

    I’ve been on Seroquel for the past 7 years….part of that time receiving it through the Astra Zeneca AZ&Me program which enabled me to continue taking it without having to pay for it….my health plan doesn’t cover name-brand drugs and substitutes for seroquel didn’t help in the same way. Like you, I was weaned off the brand-name drug suddenly and involuntarily and my doctor prescribed the “generic” for it Quietapine. Since I’d already experienced several weeks of withdrawal, though I am prescribed 200mg, I’ve been taking only half a pill (down to 100mg) and will soon cut that in half (to 50mg) and take for another month or so before stopping it altogether. I have never liked the side-effects of the involuntary jerking and it makes my nights very difficult because it exacerbates my RLS (restless leg syndrome) that I’ve have since a child. With the seroquel, I have to take an additional medication Ropinerole that helps with the leg pain and jerking. Even on the reduced dose of quietapine (lovely name, isn’t it…makes it sound so benign) I still have a lot of trouble with RLS and my research leads me to believe that even when I stop the quietapine completely, the condition is probably permanent. Your eye condition frightens me, because I’ve just been blaming my failing eyesight on my age. Still, even getting off one of the psychiatric drugs will make me feel better! I will begin working my way off the rest of my (molotov) cocktail–40mg fluoxitine (for Prozac), 300mg buproprion XL (for Wellbutrin), and 300mg lamotragine (for Lamectal). Needless to say, I don’t have the full cooperation of my doctor, but all have been prescribed for my bi-polar II disorder. I don’t question the diagnosis, only the way I choose to control it. I’m 65 and I lose brain cells at a growing rate with each passing day….can’t afford to take anything that quells my natural responses! I’ve studied for the past 4 years to complete a degree in Psychology but have become increasingly disenchanted with the current trend of prescribing drugs rather than trying to find and address the root of the problem. I’m going to begin cutting down on the lamotrigine first because it’s something I take as 1 and 1/2 pill a day. The fluoxitine is in capsules so may be a bit harder to divide, but not impossible. The buproprion XL is an issue I’ll have to fight out with my doctor. I don’t plan to discuss it with her until I’ve stopped taking all of the others. If you have any suggestions that might make this self-prescribed plan work better, I’d really appreciate hearing about them. I should note here that I am very familiar with all these drugs and the side effects, as well as what I’ll feel in withdrawal. To me it’s worth it.

  18. Nancy, it’s good to hear you are healing from this terrible ordeal.

    What we see over and over in virtual communities that offer peer support for psychiatric drug withdrawal is that too-fast withdrawal from any of the drugs causes hypersensitivities of various types.

    For some people, it hits the gut and immune system. Many become hypersensitive to light (although yours seems extreme), or sound, or even smells.

    Relentless sleeplessness and that abnormal alerting you described is very common.

    What psychiatric drug withdrawal has in common across all drugs is that it causes nervous system dysregulation, producing a wide range of mysterious, debilitating symptoms that no medical test can detect.

    The autonomic dysregulation allows the alerting system to rule the body. It wants to stay on high alert 24/7. If you take medications to calm it down, it will react paradoxically.

    There are only a few doctors in the world who recognize the severity and persistence of severe psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes; David Healy in the UK is one of them.

    Withdrawal-induced hypersensitivities vary from person to person. We have seen bad reactions to each of the supplements in The Road Back program and other supplement programs.

    What we tell people on, which includes people withdrawing from every type of psychiatric drug, is to take supplements one at a time, try a fraction of a dose first to see how it affects you, and reduce dosage or stop taking it if you get a bad reaction.

    We do not recommend mixed supplements at all; if you get a bad reaction, you won’t know which ingredient did you in. (We do not recommend any supplement programs; to some degree they are all overhyped and overpriced.)

    Overall, people with withdrawal symptoms seem to do best with fish oil (and vitamin E to help it work), magnesium (calming and relaxing, melatonin (to trigger sleep), and reducing stimulation (such as turning off lights at nightfall). (Even so, some people are sensitive to fish oil and magnesium; their nervous systems need to stabilize a while before they can take them.)

    The B vitamins are risky. For some, vitamin B12 is very helpful, others have a strong adverse reaction. Generally, vitamin B6 tends to be too activating.

    Restricted non-irritating diets (gluten-free, SCD, paleo) seem to help some people quite a lot.

    Supplements might soften symptoms but time is the great healer. Learning patience and how to manage symptoms with techniques such as meditation are challenges for us all.

    There are ongoing discussions about symptoms and what helps at , and tapering tips at

    We are also collecting case histories of psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome in the Introductions section

    I hope this helps answer some of your questions about what happened to you, although the damage has, most regrettably, been done.

    Good healing to you.

  19. Dear Altostrata,Thank you for the wealth of information and resources you have generously provided for the readers of the piece I’ve written. Thank you also for giving me the specific opportunity to go a step further and say what really needs to be said. If you’ll notice, this was an op/ed, not a “Survivor story”. I’m sure you meant the very best in saying, “I’m happy that you’re healing”. It didn’t come across as I believe you intended at all. It felt like you put a happy face sticker on me. Mine is not a “survivor” story, it is a “Victim” story. First of all, you have made the assumption that I am healing. While I like to think that….hope is a better word…..I now have fibromyalgia and can barely move. Before I withdrew from
    the 300mgs of seroquel, I was a NIA instructor, a vegan, had an extensive social life and loved to travel.I never in my life had known the terror of continued sleep deprivation. As a professional dancer (ballet/Jazz) beiginning in my teens, I have taken excellent care of myself all my life. Solely because New Hampshire’s Dr. Karl Lanocha took advantage of me when I was in despair over the imminent end of my long marriage and sold me the chemical imbalance/ drugs like insulin for diabetes lie, I am an invalid for life at 56. Let me be more specific about Corneal Neuropathy. It is 24hr pain. Even with my eyes closed most of the time (air hurts) the pain spreads to the bones in my face and by three in the afternoon, the headache is so bad that I am horizontal. This condition is considered by the world’s leading expert, Dr Perry Rosenthal at The Boston Center For Sight, to be “permanent and progressive”. Before patients are seen for this condition, they like people to see a psychiatrist (sic) to determine to what extent they may be suicidal. I’m not about to sugar coat this. Altostrata, please forgive me if it seems like this is directed at you; it isn’t. The point I want to make is that there is a gap in our mental health reform movement that I think is a symptom of a larger phenomenon. The denial of Victims. As long as this persists, the perpetrators will not be brought to justice, and the Victims will continue to be disappeared; in institutions, in hospitals, homeless, and in unmarked graves. I am not intersted in standing by while the “Mental Health” profession turns to new markets and engages in turf wars. This is genocide. This is not about medecine. It is about murder. Nancy Rubenstein Del Giudice

    • I am also quite angry about the way psychiatric drugs and psychiatric and how its huge edifice of self-serving lies ruined my life, too, Nancy.

      I once had a good professional career. For the last few years, I’ve been all but house-bound.

      My heart breaks for every person injured by psychiatry. I agree its practices very frequently are crimes against humanity.

      I join you in your outrage and protest and encourage everyone who has been injured by psychiatry to speak out, loudly, and often.

      Thank you for raising your voice about this!

  20. I was on Seroquel for 6 to 8 weeks. In this time period, my cholesterol increased from total of 188 to 212; I gained more than a pound a week; my resting pulse went from 62 to in the 80s.
    So I got off.

    I was prescribed this medication as in-patient due to mental breakdown. At no time was I warned about any side effects. I would like to see people start suing doctors concerning informed consent, so that doctors would be forced to tell patients, in-person (not through a tiny print insert with the medication) not only what the side effects are, but what the efficacy rate is, and whether they are prescribing on or off label.

    Thank you for telling the truth.

  21. Hi Nancy, thank you for sharing your horror story. I have no doubt that both the adverse effects and the withdrawal effects of virtually all psychiatric drugs is grossly underestimated by the medical profession. In my experience, working with people in my recovery-oriented mental health service, when doctors do decide to reduce psychiatric meds, they often reduce too quickly, because they underestimate (or have a blind spot?) regarding the need for withdrawal of these drugs very slowing. The blind spot is, in my opinion, due to the reality that, if a drug is acknowledged to cause withdrawal problems, then that strongly suggests that that substance has in fact caused a physical dependancy, and doctors generally are not terribly enthusiastic about acknowledging that their substances cause physical dependance. I hope your story and your experience helps a lot of people. I hope that the doctors who read this take off the blinkers created by their training and their familiarity with the values and priorities of their chosen profession, so that they can take the contents of Nancy’s blog fully on board.

    • Dear Dr Terry
      Well said.
      Misuse of psychiatric drugs manufactures long term mental illness. As they become part of the overall balance and when they are stopped the system imbalances and the person ‘Relapses’.

  22. An unnecessary hysterectomy is a stiff price to pay for having cooperated too much with the mental “health” corporatocracy. They got one of my testicles (A court order to force surgery on me that was not medically necessary see

    At least Dr Drew is out there looking after us, or he will be when we can pay him more than Glaxo does.

  23. I am currently on Olanzapine/Zyprexa 5mg but I noticed it made me gain weight so I told psychiatrist I want to get off of it. She prescribed me Seroquel 50mg and after reading story here it made me contemplate whether to start dosage or not to start.

    I am HSP (hyper sensitive person) and deem the culprit of all my fluctuating bi-polar behavior and panic attacks is based on my character. Something I was born with and something that I am not sure can be changed with medications. Maybe I need to work on myself, visit support groups and read certain self-help books…

  24. I have run the gamut of psychotropics – Lamictal, Remeron, Prozac, Effexor, Seroquel, Lexapro, Paxil… These are just the names I recall from the past 10-15 years of treatment. During that time, I’ve questioned efficacy, dealt with a number of side effects, and heard the voices of folks telling me that psychiatry was inherently evil (I lived in Hollywood, near the “Commission on Human Rights” “Psychiatry Kills” campaign. I’ve heard both sides, and also have some takeaways.

    Not everyone should be on psychotropics. Seroquel isn’t Tylenol PM, it’s a mood stabilizer, and can be effective for those of us with wild mood swings, or paired with other medications to combat clinical depression. There are side effects, and you should seriously consider these and the potential withdrawal symptoms (like the Lexpro “brain zaps”) before taking meds.

    The side effect I did not experience? Suicide. And that is exactly where I had been headed.

    It is dangerous to take meds that may be prescribed for dubious reasons, but it is equally if not more dangerous to recommend abandoning medication based on the writings of members of the church of Scientology (all over this board, the foundation of “The Road Back”), who vehemently rally against all things psychiatric. Supplements can have equally awful side effects, and lack the oversight of a licensed physician. If you don’t trust your doctor, get a new one. But don’t buy into CCHR’s psychiatry kills BS , when it is perpetuated by yet another organization (Scientology) with ulterior motives (namely selling you expensive “auditing sessions”, supplements, books, religious services).

    Depression and other psychiatric conditions can be frightening and extremely lonely. Sometimes a community can help overcome these feelings. But just as we are scrutinizing medications, we need to scrutinize the communities, as well. What is the endgame? If it involves dollar signs, it might behoove you to keep looking.

    My 2 cents as a depression survivor that has seen the damage of Scientology, anti-psychiatry, narconon, and CCHR first hand, including losing friends that were convinced to stop treatment (and later committed suicide). Please – include your doctor (or a trusted doctor) in your decisions. It may save your life.

    • Dear jm77, It has been over a year since I wrote this article and I have found
      that James Harper,the founder of The Road Back Health, is far from an expert in protracted withdrawal. I am unaware as well as uninterested in his religion, be it Scientology or other. He is a nutritionist who has done excellent research and I continue to benefit from several supplements the company sells. Perhaps the most important two are the JNK Aminos and Body Calm Supreme (140 different strains of passionflower). I am sorry you have had bad experiences with a religious group, unfortunately this is not an uncommon experience. I don’t boycott the Salvation Army because I don’t agree with their religious backers. Don’t shoot the messenger. I hear that you have had bad experiences but I also think your advice is dangerous as well. Until doctors are fully informed about withdrawal, tapering, and protracted withdrawal syndromes they are, in fact very dangerous, as are the rehabs which push drug substitutions without the least bit of understanding of the physiological processes involved with each drug.The problem remains as I originally stated. The complete lack of research. The tragedy of completed suicides in the aftermath of drug discontinuation is a very serious issue, and I appreciate your bringing it up. I have also seen this, and have lost friends this way. There is no excuse for doctors prescribing drugs that they cannot help people safely withdraw from, and there is a desperate need for services; places of refuge,support in withdrawal, etc. Thank you for your 2 cents.

  25. I don’t know how I missed this article about Seroquel?? It was the last neuroleptic I took and I got Seroquel Induced Acute Pancreatitis which had me hospitalized for 2 months. After I left the hospital a neurologist told me I had the worst Akathisia he’d ever seen and I innocently asked what was Akathisia?? It was inner restlessness hell psych drugs cause. My psychiatrist told me to just stop the Seroquel as I wouldn’t have any problem doing that and I went into horrible withdrawal.

    The side effects, nasty symptoms, from these drugs were off the chart and every time I told my psychiatric he thought I was crazier so he either increased or change them like a merry go round. It was a mess, a nightmare and so many times I thought what had I done to deserve this. I tapered off every drug but here I am years later completely psychiatric drug free and have my life back.I was later told by other psychiatrists, psychologists and physicians I’d never been mentally ill in the first place.

    I still have eye damage and when I read about yours I went OMG. Not one of my doctors understood why my vision was blurry and it still is today.

  26. Hi Nancy,
    I had a question if I may. I have been on Seroquel XR for around 9 months. After ceasing I went through a yuk withdrawal. It’s been about 7 or 8 weeks now and I’m still wondering if ill ever sleep well again. However the big question for me is about insulin resistance. I have been following a low carb diet and usually ( before Seroquel) the weight comes off easily and I don’t struggle to maintain weight. Like everyone I gained weight on Seroquel and after stopping lost around 2 kilos but it sneaks back on again. My doctor said it does muck your insulin levels about but will my levels ever normalise or am I like this forever now?

    • I’m not you, but I gained 25 kg while on Seroquel and Abilify and while withdrawing from them. I guess I gained some weight after I had stopped them too, though it may have been because of bad eating habits I had developed. Then I lost those 25 kg in a year after I started to each low carb, real healthier food diet and increased exercise. Maybe your body needs to adjust again to this new situation and it takes some time.

      Here’s article “Why Zyprexa (And Other Atypical Antipsychotics) Make You Fat” which points to a study where Zyprexa makes body use fat instead of sugar travelling in your body, possible leading to insulin resistance, etc. If that’s true with Seroqual, then it may be one good reason to go low sugar/carb in diet if you’re taking or withdrawing from these drugs.

      I’m sure you’ll get your weight down eventually!

    • Dear Claire, The answer is yes, you will sleep again. But supporting sleep is very important and when people allow themselves to get to a place of desperation (I know it all too well)we often wind up back in the clutches of medical people who only work with pharmaceuticals. Supporting natural sleep is both a science and an art. I still highly recommend Body Calm Supreme (140 strains of passion flower), which you can obtain through Amazon. I recommend it based on my experience and the experiences of many other people I have supported. Keeping your bedroom on the cool side, limiting stimuli several hours before sleep, processing the positives (counting your blessings) of the day, not eating after five in the evening……all these things have helped me and still do. In terms of supplements, it is critical to understand that your body has been stripped of B vitamins (and in particular Biotin and B12)and these vitamins are vitally important to the function of the nervous system. I take melatonin, many recent studies show that it supports the immune system. Some people don’t like it because of vivid dreams. I welcome that invitation into my subconscious. I also take unisom, a very mild antihistamine which helps me fall asleep and does not have artificial dyes. I suggest you do what you can to restore sleep naturally because it is the single most important factor in healing. There are many who belong to the “grin and bear it” school of thought. When it comes to sleep, I am not one of them. Now, to your real question regarding insulin resistance. In the absence of real research coming from the medical profession which profits massively from insulin resistance, we can only speculate. In the early days of my career as a true believer of the chemical imbalance myth, I gained sixty pounds. My memory of those years is spotty, but I lost it fairly rapidly by starving myself. I had a great deal of experience with that as a dancer; not the healthy route for sure. During the years I took seroquel the weight would creep up, and I would resort back to deprivation. I’m sure that took its’ toll, and I don’t recommend it. When I cold turkeyed off 100 mgs seroquel after many years of “consuming” it, my gut literally fell apart. The best thing I did for myself was to pay nearly 400 bucks out of pocket for a food intolerance test. In the two years since I have been recovering from seroquel, I have transitioned completely to naturopathic care, and even though there is no way I can sensibly explain “muscle testing” as a means of determining food reactivity, I am personally convinced that the results are accurate. Mystifyingly accurate. Along the way I have also explored orthomolecular medicine, accupuncture, and other energy based approaches. These journeys have led me to follow a low histamine paleo diet, and I have been doing this for over a year. What I have found is that removing wheat from my diet (American wheat has 52 chromosomes, it used to have 14) entirely has made the biggest difference of all. While before, I could not tolerate any dairy products, I now can enjoy them judiciously. I could not eat any starchy vegetables or any other grains, beans, or potatoes. Gradually that is changing. I only eat organic, and I do not eat any manufactured or processed foods (How I love John Cusak’s speech in in “Say Anything”). I don’t eat at all after five in the evening. I’m sure this sounds like a prison sentence to some people reading this, but let me tell you; anyone who has gotten to a place of abject terror over food comes to the place of eating to live instead of living to eat. What sounds extremely difficult becomes easy and routine, and feeling nourished and balanced is a far better reward that any momentary delight in indulgence. Having said that, I believe in moderation in everything, including moderation (Here I invoke the spirit of contributor John Shea)and occasionally I can be found at Baskin and Robbins with a scoop of Jamocha Almond Fudge and Mint Chocolate Chip, prepared to pay a larger price than the cost of the ice cream. The issue of insulin resistance is one that needs to be examined by the medical profession, but as an outsider looking in, in seems to me that the culprit has been the food industry since the nineteen fifties combined with the pharmaceutical barrage of symptom management. I personally suspect tha the changes in our food supply have made insulin resistance part and parcel of living in America. Can we heal? It depends upon what we mean by healing. If it means being able to return to the eating habits that brought us to this place, no, I don’t think so. But if healing means living more healthfully, the answer is absolutely yes. I hope this is helpful. You are fortunate, Claire, that you were only on seroquel for 9 months, but pay close attention to the forcast of a six to eight month kickback. If you’re paying attention, and you do have a resurgence of withdrawal effects during that time frame, you will be less likely to wind of going through unnecessary workups for things like fibromyalgia or MS. I’m convinced that we largely underestimate the body’s miraculous healing powers because we have been misled by those whose oath was to help us.

    • Claire,
      My two cents. It sounds like it may be a little early to determine if your weight will come off. My experience after tapering off a particular antidepressant was that the weight stuck even if I went back on my previous diet that always produced results. After a few years went by, I discovered the word “metabolic syndrome” but I also found Dr. Simeon’s book, Pounds and Inches, It’s a good read, he explains the problem well, and he doesn’t talk about psychiatric drugs (the book was written around 1970). The diet is called HCG. It’s an expensive boot camp that involves a semi starvation diet and Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a hormone naturally produced by the placenta in pregnant women that almost completely controls the metabolic function through the hypothalamus throughout the pregnancy. It worked for me. I was on the diet for about 15 days and lost the eight kilos that I had put on with the antidepressant. This weight loss was permanent, probably because I am careful about my weight on a daily basis. But, I could not lose the weight taking the normal precautions.

      • Hi Claire, I reread the losing weight comment and I wanted to share that in the last few years I have seen quite a number of people lose the weight they gained on drugs on the Paleo Diet. Pretty much Paleo is about stopping grains and sweeteners (honey is legit).I was on it for two years very strictly while I healed from “leaky gut” (very common these days). My partial understanding of weight gain is insulin resistance, and it’s my belief that this process is also induced by our fake food supply. Here’s what wikipedia has to say;One of insulin’s functions is to regulate delivery of glucose into cells to provide them with energy.[1] Insulin resistant cells cannot take in glucose, amino acids and fatty acids. Thus, glucose, fatty acids and amino acids ‘leak’ out of the cells. A decrease in insulin/glucagon ratio inhibits glycolysis which in turn decreases energy production. The resulting increase in blood glucose may raise levels outside the normal range and cause adverse health effects, depending on dietary conditions.[2] Certain cell types such as fat and muscle cells require insulin to absorb glucose. When these cells fail to respond adequately to circulating insulin, blood glucose levels rise. The liver helps regulate glucose levels by reducing its secretion of glucose in the presence of insulin. This normal reduction in the liver’s glucose production may not occur in people with insulin resistance.[3]
        Insulin resistance in muscle and fat cells reduces glucose uptake (and also local storage of glucose as glycogen and triglycerides, respectively), whereas insulin resistance in liver cells results in reduced glycogen synthesis and storage and a failure to suppress glucose production and release into the blood. Insulin resistance normally refers to reduced glucose-lowering effects of insulin. However, other functions of insulin can also be affected. For example, insulin resistance in fat cells reduces the normal effects of insulin on lipids and results in reduced uptake of circulating lipids and increased hydrolysis of stored triglycerides. Increased mobilization of stored lipids in these cells elevates free fatty acids in the blood plasma. Elevated blood fatty-acid concentrations (associated with insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus Type 2), reduced muscle glucose uptake, and increased liver glucose production all contribute to elevated blood glucose levels. High plasma levels of insulin and glucose due to insulin resistance are a major component of the metabolic syndrome. If insulin resistance exists, more insulin needs to be secreted by the pancreas. If this compensatory increase does not occur, blood glucose concentrations increase and type 2 diabetes occurs.[4]. I hope this was helpful. Best, Nancy

  27. I have been on Seroquel for about 10 years or more. I just recently lost my healthcare and cannot afford to pay cash for Seroquel as it is very expensive. So I went cold turkey off it. I have been experiencing stomach pain, bloating, headaches, nausea, eye pain, light sensitivity profuse sweating and that’s all I can think of at the moment. Oh, yes and sleep well I haven’t slept more than about 1 hour at a time. I fall asleep then lay awake, fall asleep lay awake. Then during the day I’m so tired I can hardly function. I just had an eye exam about 3 years ago and it was a comprehensive exam and luckily I do not seem to have any eye damage, as of 3 years ago. I’m at my wits end.

    • Dear Lynn, I’m so sorry you are going through this. If I can be of any support, my email is [email protected]. In the meantime I would strongly suggest that you go on the low histamine paleo diet which you can read about on Monica Cassani’s website, Beyond Meds. That will help a lot. Best wishes, Nancy

    • Lynn, so sorry to hear this. Insomnia is a living (and waking) nightmare. After years of complaining to my psychiatrist a couple of years ago about the cognitive and emotional side effects (apart from the metabolic ones) of Seroquel (I’d been on 6+ years) he finally agreed to make one change: switch me to Geodon (weaning down from 300mg would, in his view of course, be suicidal). Geodon, he advised, would be less “sedating,” and even had some “stimulative effects” in some people. The tailspin that Geodon set me off on emotionally almost destroyed my livelihood and my family — insomnia, depression, panic attacks, anxiety. I remember not being able to be still and having to walk briskly around the block in order not to feel as though I would explode. The anxiety triggered every neurosis that had ever crawled into the recesses of my brain (of which there were very many). I alienated and fled from friends, co-workers, my wife, family members. I was told that benzodiazepines would take off the edge and that, although it (Atavan) is a controlled substance that mainstream practitioners caution against taking long term, I was advised that some people do well on them indefinitely. Of course, I became an addict, and the panic attacks accelerated and deepened. I could barely function at work. The direction I was headed on Geodon was catastrophe, and so I went back on Seroquel (depression followed [call it what you will]) and, two years later, I decided that I could not longer tolerate the effects. I fired my psychiatrist and found a new one willing to wean me off. I am 1/3 down and imminently will be 1/2 down. So far, as I’ve reported on this site several times, the result has been remarkably positive. So far, I have only experienced a reduction in side effects. But I went down 50 mg only every couple of months. The feeling of being a “reverse junkie” is terribly difficult — the more I wean off and come alive again, the more I want more of it out of me, desperately. But I’ve been on Seroquel for some 9 years (with the exception of about about 3 months on Geodon), and so far weaning has been all positive. I am mindful, however, based on what many of you have reported and what I’ve read and heard elsewhere, that once I start getting close to the bottom — slowly or not — things may get worse. I wonder what steps I should take to place myself in an optimal position to make the transition and maximize healing. Lynn, if for whatever reason you and the people you are relying on decide that you need to go back on a neuroleptic, please know that a (very) slow taper might result in an entirely different experience for you. Best of luck and be well.

  28. Nancy, you have given me a lot of helpful information. I’m on 800 mgs of seroquil for sleep. N I’ve been on it for like maybe 7 years. The dosage just kept getting higher along with my tolerance. My Dr. seemed to have the same attitude as yours so I been trying to ween myself off on my own. I sleep way too much and it interferes with my life. I thought because it is used to treat schizophrenia, that when I came off, I’d have schizophrenic symptoms. Seroquel is still so new, I don’t think they know much about it, and the generic just came out not very long ago, so people like me who been on it for a long time n on high dose, don’t know what I’m in for. I didn’t know about uncontrollable movements n issues with your cornea. I’m scared. I’m 28 and hope to have kids soon, I’m sorry about what you went through.


  29. Hi Danielle, I’m so glad you wrote. Since I wrote “After Seroquel”, I have been very involved with psychiatric drug withdrawal, and while it’s very true that responsible research has not and is not being done. People are doing tapers and we are learning a lot. I am sorry to say that Dr. Breggin’s book on withdrawal is a joke to those of us out here in the trenches. We know that depending on the person, there can be enormous sensitivity, and that while some people really can withstand single and double digit cuts (1% to 10%) that those who are too sensitive crash and burn. It is a hell of a lot smarter to learn how to taper in steady microdoses, building up the cuts as the body gets stronger and then slowing down again as zero approaches. This is the safe way. I wish doctors would wake up. In the meantime we all have to start educating them. Even that, however, is of minor importance compared to the needs of the many, which is Right Now. I would be happy to communicate with you privately at [email protected]. I will continue on with some common sense observations for anyone else reading. Okay, so think about this; your body chemistry (not just “brain chemistry”) has changed in order to adapt to the drug. Withdrawal is traumatic to the body. Here are some ways we can reassure the body that it is not in crisis. Why is this important? Because when the body believes it is in crisis it also goes through adaptive changes. People sleep less (gotta be ready to run!), they feel anxiety (preparedness for acting on threats), fat storage patterns change (the body makes different choices to remain prepared for flight)…these are just a few. It’s not good to taper under those conditions. Splitting the doses into three eight hour doses (No Dry Cutting; you lose control over the dose) evens out blood sugar, blood pressure, and keeps an even dose of the drug passing through the liver in a 24 hour period. Addressing sleep issues naturally is critical. Being prepared to do that is of equal importance because the single most dangerous thing that happens in tapers is when people stop sleeping. Not only can’t they heal (you really need five and a half hours minimum) but people become suicidal, sometimes psychotic, and are often interfered with as if they were “having a relapse of “mental illness”. By being prepared to deal with insomnia effectively all that can be avoided. Strengthening the immune system is critical, as well as healing the gut, so it can absorb the necessary nutrients; equally important. Thanks so much for writing, you represent the new reality; Neuroleptics are being widely prescribed for sleep. I am beyond outraged. Best, Nancy+

  30. Hi Rossa, It’s always so nice to see you. People are told to split pills in a pill cutter (or using a razor). When we do that there is dust, and there are bits too small for the eye to see that are lost. Many people have no choice but to do that.It does mean that some of the drug is lost, so really accurate measurements are not possible to make. By diluting tablets in liquid (a solution is better than a suspension; a solution is when the molecules of the drug bind with molecules of the liquid. A suspension means the drug molecules are still distinct from the liquid. Many people have succeeded in tapering from suspensions, but they have to be careful to keep shaking the liquid to get the suspension as even as possible). When I began my taper from Klonopin (which is fat soluble; I use goats’ milk) I was so sensitive that my cuts were .oo125 cc’s. We really wondered if it was even possible that I could get off at all. But as time went on, I got stronger. Started sleeping better. Now my cuts are at 1 cc. That’s pretty huge for me. And they will get bigger. But as we get to the last 25mgs we will slow way down, and then slow down even more as we approach zero. When I’m home free, my assistant and I plan to write about it, but it ain’t over till it’s over. The people I learned to do this from have done a RTC of 180 people who were successful tapering off benzodiazapines. They are waiting for a patent (legal protection) and they will publish as soon as they can. I have applied the same principles to tapering from other drugs. I’ve probably over answered your question, Rossa, but I hope it was helpful.Best, Nancy

    • Nancy, bear with me. I am really, really, slow. I hated high school chemistry. I’m getting two different messages. (1) There is a cut, and some wastage, but the rest is dissolved into the solution. (Doesn’t make sense, because of the wastage.) (2) Dissolve the whole tablet into the solution. By extension, you would then have to stir and siphon off a small amount with a syringe. I am confused about why you are cutting, but I presume you mean siphoning???

      • No problem Rossa, I’m sure it was how I wrote it. There is no “Cutting pills”, only dissolving them as best as possible (solution and suspension). I believe I used the word “cut” also to mean “Lowering the dose”. So for example, at my most sensitive I was making my solution (Correction, my assistant Laura was doing the work because I can’t see well enough) and then “lowering the dose” by .00125ml (taking that much out and throwing it away), then splitting that liquid into three even doses, which I take at eight hour intervals (for me it’s 6am,2pm,10pm). Please don’t hesitate to ask until we get this clear. It occurs to me we all understand words in the context of culture and experience. I loved high school chemistry. Mr. Morrison used to ask me to play guitar for the class. People make all the difference. Love, Nancy

        • Got it, Nancy. I was getting hung up on the word “cut”, which I don’t associate with liquids. Thank goodness my high school chemistry teacher didn’t ask me to sing, or I would have hated chemistry even more. LOL. My high school was so poor and so rural that I don’t remember our having a lab. Can you believe that? Perhaps a laboratory would have changed my mind about chemistry. Love, Rossa

  31. I took 300mg XR for 3 years. At first I thought it was a God send. I was already taking lamictal and clonazepam for my bipolar, generalized anxiety disorder, and PSTD but all too often I found myself stopped dead in my tracks in fits of terror. I cannot tolerate SSRI meds because they only pushed my manic episodes and increased anxiety. During a frightening and out of control manic episode I went and spent some time in the hospital. It was there I was prescribed my miracle drug. I was calm as a newborn pup and saw the world from a normal person’s perspective (whatever that is). For the first few months I quit snapping at home and was super chill at work.
    1. I could not get out of bed in the morning. When I did I felt hungover. I had fallen asleep at work a few times
    while standing up. Energy became my life saver many times.
    2. I gained 12+ lbs. and I have intense cravings for sugar.
    I ate everything in sight.
    3. My memory started to slip. It started out as simple as forgetting I
    I put someone on hold to forgetting my patients my patients
    names. (I am a pharm tech)
    4. We switched to a new system and I started to notice my vision
    was becoming impaired. I blamed the new system.
    5. I started to snore at unbearable levels.
    6. I found my concentration strained and difficulty with
    with word finding…and then came the stuttering.
    brief at first….but not for long…(I still do)
    7. I could go on and on and on and on….

    I started trying to convince myself that despite the horrific side effects I was better on the med than not.
    It took me 6 months to convince myself that I was tired of the weight gain and what I was seeing as impairing
    my performance at work. I talked to my Doc and helped me taper off.
    That was 5 months ago.

    I now suffer from intense memory loss. I stutter under stress. I am looking for a new job because
    my performance at work is actually worse. I have uncontrollable hand movements and my mouth
    contorts into an awful grimace. My vision is shot.
    I went from a highly functional person with an awesome memory and capable of working
    beyond my employers expectations to a confused and bitter
    victim of the medication that was NOT a Godsend, but a dangerous lie.

    I have other problems now as well. Bizarre bouts of nausea and facial
    burning that leave me completely exhausted. Episodes of double vision and confusion
    And loss of balance all at the same time. MRI showed nothing so of course it was
    just another panic attack-according to the experts.

    All I have to say is I live in fear of driving or being at work and
    to leave because I am sick because of what I believe is now an infliction.
    Without a prognosis.

    P.S. the 40 lbs. I dropped is awesome….sure

    • Im so sorry to hear that. Your memory loss, stuttering, and uncontrollable hand movements happened after you stopped Seroquel? I’ve been on it for years and I’m so afraid of what is going to happen when I stop it.

    • anned,

      Since you mentioned snoring heavily, you might want to get tested for sleep apnea. I was diagnosed with that after being on psych meds for years.

      I think I have had the disorder long before I ever started taking the meds. But I feel being on them greatly worsened my severity.

      I am sorry for all the problems you have experienced on Seroquel. And I so relate to your statement about being better on meds in spite of the side effects. It took me quite awhile to realize how wrong I was.

  32. Hello, I’m new to this forum but from what I have read I think these posts are very helpful.
    I have been of Seroquel XR for approx. 5 weeks, I am still on Wellbutrin xl and Apo-Lamotrigine. I went off Seroquel XR cold turkey (from 200mg) I was taking it for depression and bipolar 1. I cannot believe how terrible I feel! The worst symptom is the nausea, I have waves of nausea at various times during the day. Is there any suggestions as to how I can alleviate this symptom? I have other withdrawal symptoms which I can handle but this nausea is killing me. I am going on a cruise in 2 weeks and I am desperately need to feel better! Also does anyone know how long this lasts?

  33. Dear Ripley, If you would like to communicate with me privately, you are welcome to email me at [email protected] with the understanding that I am not a doctor, and that my sharing of resources and experiences should not be construed as medical advice. For readers seeing my response to Ripley, my remarks are addressed to you all. I don’t believe in Bipolar Disorder.There has been oodles and oodles of money spent on researching “Bipolar Disorder” and the study they trot out to convince you that it’s a brain disease has no undrugged control group. Read that sentence again. The “Bipolar Subjects” had all been fed neuroleptics, ssri’s, mood stabilizers (really “anti-seizure” drugs) and other assorted tranquilizers (including benzos) for years. Their brain scans all showed shrunken frontal lobe and basal ganglia (Grace Jackson MD has documented and written about this). Ripley, at this point I pause to say to YOU; “Friends don’t let Friends Cold Turkey”. Please Ripley, whatever else you may read on this site, Cold Turkey can land you disabled. Disabled, period. People come off these drugs safely without any further harm, but they do it well-informed from many sources, and they do it slowly, and with support. I have something very unpleasant to say now; If I went off 200 milligrams of seroquel cold turkey I wouldn’t be keeping cruise reservations, I would be making medical arrangements.The horror story that I wrote, which I assume you read (because you left a comment)happened after cold turkey from half of what you did. You may be a miraculous toxin metabolizer and you may be fine, or you may be in the roughly forty percent of people who have a problem. There is no research, only anecdotes. Mine is one of very, very few out there. I read about an eight month kick with seroquel; where all of a sudden the shit hits the fan. Because I read that (and that web page has been down for two years now, but the guy had a handle on biochemistry and pharmacology)I was emotionally prepared, in a way, for what happened to me (my eyes).I am not speaking to you as an expert. But what happens if you get really, really, really sick on a cruise? You’ll have to make that decision. There is no research, not even a facebook forum where people who have gotten off of seroquel support others. Why I can only conjecture; when I decided to come off in 2009, the very nice psychiatrist “treating me” said, “People like you don’t come off drugs”. People really had been told, “You need to take this for life”. It’s still happening and I fear that this is what is happening to you. You have a lot going on in your life, you don’t eat well enough or sleep well enough and depression hits you like a two by four. You’re at your very wits end, or beyond, and then someone tells you, “Oh, you poor thing, you’ve got this brain disease that’s making you feel the way you do. There’s no shame in it, it’s a physical disease. Like Diabetes, you need to take medication for the rest of your life”. I believed this for over ten years. The shock of learning it isn’t true has completely changed my life….for the better. There’s no brain disease. But life is hard. And being human is messy.Ripley, I’ll be thinking of you, and wishing you well. The journey you are on that brought you to Mad In America is quite an adventure, and the people here are the best. I spent a couple days deciding whether or not to say these things that I think you need to hear. I thought of some very good reasons not to say anything. And then I changed my mind. Someone should have told me sooner. Many people should have told me sooner.Take Care.

  34. Nancy, thank you for replying, I appreciate your comments. I can’t believe you mentioned “it’s a physical disease. Like Diabetes…” My psychiatrist used the same analogy. I need to say, my psychiatrist told me to stop taking the Seroquel, I explained to her that I was having difficulty differentiating real life from my dreams and I felt like a zombie. She told me to stop taking the Seroquel XR and gave me a prescription for Seroquel 100mg to take only if needed at bedtime. Being fairly new (and naive) to all of this, I did not question her. Big Mistake! I also received a call from my case coordinator that my doctor wants me to cut my dosage of Lamotrigine in half after explaining my withdrawal symptoms. She must be nut’s or maybe she doesn’t give a damn about me, either way I am not doing that. I will wait until I get back from my cruise and then slowly wean myself down to the new dosage. I starting taking organic ginger for the nausea and vitamin supplements along with slowly getting back to exercising ( did I mention I went from 132 lbs to 189 lbs within 5 months of taking Seroquel!). Hopefully this will help. I wish I was not going on the cruise until later when I feel better, but this trip was planned 2 months before I went cold turkey and I am meeting up with family. Hopefully my withdrawal symptoms will not get any worse.
    I am so glad I found this forum, I understand you are not a medical professional, but often the best advice in any situation comes from people who have been down that road before. It’s nice to share these issues with people who “get it”
    I am fortunate in that the Mental Health Centre where I go for treatment, has a goal that I will eventually come off the med’s and be able to manage through meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy….I’m not sure I have much confidence in this theory but at least the goal is to drug free. Now if I could only get my psychiatrist to get on the same page.
    Thank you again for your advice and concern and you take care as well. :)

  35. Hi everyone,
    my heart goes out to you all.
    My brief story.
    had a breakdown 2006
    diagnosis major depression
    Anti depressants cant remember what i was started on.
    Seraquell 100mg and diazapam(valium) for anxiety.
    Several S attempts
    Over 20 eCT ( electro convulsive therapy)
    No help
    So diagnosed
    Non responsive Major Depression….
    Meds for rest of Life.
    Eventually went on
    Loxalate 20 mg
    serequell 100mg a night.
    And left to fend for myself.
    Lost My business,lost investment properties
    lost my “life”
    Anyhow about 3 mths ago I descided to go cold turkey
    off the anti depressant Loxalate
    Suffered with all sorts of withdrawals but survived.
    feel no different being off them.
    One of the major symptoms of My depression is absolute exhaustion.
    feeling tired all the time,no energy you all know what im talking about im sure.
    Anyhow My daughter rang me other day
    Shes been diagnosed with
    and many other things that where all too familiar to me.
    So onto the internet.
    Looked up hydrothyroidism..
    Found this site

    The bottomline is this
    when you are diagnosed with depression most phycs will send you for a blood test to check your thyroid levels.
    Now the standard test does NOT reveall everything you need to know.
    the above site will inform you what to ask for.

    I have not got my results back for the extra blood test.
    But if i find out i have hydrothyroidism and I have been subjected to all the med,ect,excetra I will not be a happy camper.
    In fact I will be persueing to the nth degree what maybe my options regarding action against these so called drs,phyc,mental health hospitals ive been in for the damage they have done to me.

    Anyhow back onto seraquell
    because of my success in coming off my antiD’s cold turkey im thinking of doing the same with serequell.

    Any thoughts???
    PS…Get your Thyroid tests done!!!

    • I agree about the thyroid. I’m glad you mentioned it. I’ve actually been researching it myself for hours and just read your comment. SO important, the thyroid. Oh, and dehydration!! Need consistent daily water intake for good health. I collapse A LOT. The last time I collapsed, I couldn’t get up off the floor for about 2 minutes.

      DEFINITELY need to RAISE AWARENESS about thyroid and dehydration.

      Thank you, Trev. Good will to you & yours.

      ~ mjk

  36. Dear Trevonline, DO NOT cold turkey off the seroquel. Not in any way shape or form worth the risk. The fact that you are exhausted suggest MANY things you and your doctor need to look into. Adrenal fatigue is the first thing that comes to mind.Chronic fatigue syndrome (an autoimmune issue) is one of the many things people who have come off psych drugs experience, so I’m not sure I’m on board with your assessment that you are OK. Certainly not OK enough to COLD TURKEY off the least studied class of drugs; neuroleptics. Mine is literally the only article on seroquel withdrawal on the internet. But in truth, NO ONE is safe. It’s Russian Roulette; we have NO IDEA who will walk away and shake off the dust and who will be disabled and in chronic pain. DO NOT COLD TURKEY. Think of all the people whose lives would be affected if you couldd no longer be active in their lives. Think of your daughter. Nancy

  37. That’s a terrible story. Thanks for posting it. I was given it for anxiety and sleep issues during a difficult time in my life. I took it for about two years. I tapered off slowly from 200mg (XR). 6 months later I usually get about 3 hours sleep a night but like you I sometimes get none and sometimes less than one. As a result I am more depressed now than I ever have been. It is ruining my life. My anxiety is worse than ever. I feel angry all the time and I can’t concentrate. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Dear Sweep, Sounds very, very familiar. If I can support you, or you just want to rant, I am at your service. I really appreciate your sharing because you’ve mentioned some important things. You have shown us that two years (as opposed to my example of over ten years)of taking seroquel and tapering slowly still left you in a similar state of crushing insomnia and general disability. This is why I wrote this article; so that we could gather this kind of anecdotal information. Sweep, please consider this; you took this drug during a difficult time. What that means is that just when you needed to move through and process, your brain was assaulted. Not only are you recovering from this assault, you also are likely to be carrying old wounds that need healing (the difficult time that brought you to ask for help). The anger that you feel is likely bound up with this. I know mine was. So what I’m saying is, honor your anger, allow it to be a healing and purifying heat that carries you into a place of freedom to move forward.Other people who tell you you need to let it go are….other people.Sometimes other people are right. Letting go of something you aren’t finished with is not letting go. My healing has been slow but constant. Three years after writing this article, I’m sleeping six hours or more. Supplements really help me. I take L-theanine, melatonin, Seriphos (a cortisol managing natural formula) and passion flower. Of course, I’m still microtapering off my last drug, Klonopin, and benzos have strong insomnia effects, but even so, I’m sleeping. I know you will be too. Take Care of You.

  38. Just a quick update on my situation.
    I mentioned I was getting my thyroid tests done.
    Went to Dr to get authorization for blood tests
    he laughed at me and said thats a womens problem.
    my reply was I dont care and no its not.

    i get results tomorrow.

    I had mentioned before of going of seraquell cold turkey and mainly due to Dana’s plea not to in any circumstances I didnt.
    However i run out of them and due to not enough money i had to go without for 2 nights.
    Shear HELL was the result.
    I ended up going asking to see My chemist and telling him
    what my situation was, i took the empty box which was dispensed by Him previously with me)
    He immediately give me a small sample to get me through…this ammount was deducted from the next script I took him.

    Will continue to update.

    I do have other information to share from my extensive
    online search/s about Mental Illness and my journey.
    i actually started a blog back in 09 which I documented what was happening to me at the time.
    I had forgotten about it until 3 days ago.
    What I read about myself in my own words rocked me.

    The drugs,the ECT,the threats of arrest and involuntary detainment if I didnt agree to be admitted to a mental institution.
    I had forgotten all about.
    We are, I believe have become survivors of some pretty ordinary
    diagnosis and suggested “cures” for what may basically be other
    under lying medical issues or as has been mentioned “Just Life”

    One thing everyone does need to understand….
    There Is NO MEDICAL Check that can be made to say you have a Mental Illness…NONE AT ALL.
    There is not a test that can be performed to determine a chemical imbalance in your brain…that will tell Drs you have a mental Illness….NONE!!!
    hang in there everyone

  39. I just want everyone to read this book,You can get it on Amazon.
    It is after reading this book that I am determined to get of anti depressants which i have succeeded at and finally
    Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry Drugs, Electroshock, and the Psychopharmaceutical Complex Second Edition Peter R. Breggin, MD

    Short Quote from book

    In essence, the brain-disabling concept as a whole states that all psychiatric treatments—drugs, electroshock, and lobotomy—work by disrupting the function of the brain and mind, creating effects that are then interpreted (or misinterpreted) as improvements.
    Medication spellbinding is a brain-disabling effect that renders individuals unable to perceive the degree of their drug-induced impairment; causes individuals not to attribute any change in themselves to an adverse drug effect; often makes individuals believe that they are doing better than ever, when they are doing worse; and in the extreme, drives them into compulsive activities that harm themselves and others.

    Breggin, Peter R. (2010-09-27). Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry (pp. 1-2). Springer Publishing. Kindle Edition.

  40. We are in need of some advice. A person I know has recently been prescribed Seroquel equivalent and Lithium. The person was a cheerful, happy person all their life. They got scared while away from home at college. They ended up being hospitalized. It has been less than a month. We have followed the protocol as prescribed, but we know this person is not themselves. More importantly, they know that they are not them self. Is there a doctor that looks at the whole picture? I feel like the medical facility placates us and their goal is just to get the person on lifetime meds. I just don’t feel there is support from a medical doctor to back up what I feel. I wonder what the effects of removing the drugs would be if the person has been on the drugs less than a month.

  41. Dear Rittenhouserobz, Yes there are MD’s who look at the bigger picture. Please contact me and I will help you find someone. Contact me @ [email protected]. There is no way of knowing now how a particular person will react to coming off seroquel. This we know; slow and steady wins the race.Supplements supporting withdrawal have been and continue to be critical to my wellness and I’m happy to share resources with you, as well as my own personal experience. Please do not hesitate to get in touch over the holidays. Your assessment of the medical profession resonates with mine. “They” are blessed to have you in “their” corner.

    • I feel very upset that so may people are so freely diagnosed with bi-polar or other illnesses requiring lithium which can be toxic – toxicity of Seroquel aside. It is great you have realised that your friend is not his normal self, rittenhouserobz, and you have asked questions and sought help so early on. I feel confident that with your support your friend will be ok :)

  42. Nancy thank you so so much for posting this. My wife is bipolar and has been on seroquel 400mg xr for several years now. It was prescribed after her depakote quit working. i liked a lot more about the depakote than I like about seroquel but the seroquel keeps her more balanced. Anyway due to a new job and new insurance now we can’t afford her meds so she has had to go cold turkey. She is miserable and having a hard time going to work. Her biggest complaint right now is the stomach issues. I figured out it was gas from her symptoms and have been trying to help her w/ some things but as soon as she eats anything she’s miserable again. What can she eat at this point do you think and how long until these symptoms stop? After reading more into seroquel I don’t know what we should do but it deffinately sounds like we should try to get a different med if possible but she unfortunately is chemically imbalanced so this maybe her only option to be able to live a normalish life.

  43. Dear Sir,

    While I appreciate your thanks, the best I can do here is to tell you the truth. First of all, I find your nom de plume highly offensive. Secondly, I frankly don’t believe that your wife is “Bipolar” for several reasons, the most important one being that you like your wife drugged.The second reason is that I have spent years reading research, and there is absolutely no proof that “Bipolar Disorder” exists. I am not denying anyone’s experience, but in terms of medical evidence, there is none.Any female on the planet can walk into a psychiatrists’ office and be designated “Bipolar”. Lastly, it is clear to me that you are not doing your homework because there literally is no such thing as a chemical imbalance until one takes psychoactive drugs (which can even include some antibiotics). Let me repeat that; There Is No Such Thing as a Chemical Imbalance.It is a marketing fiction. I’m sure you mean well, or at least I hope you do, but from your post I have to be honest and tell you that your post is quite disturbing. If your wife, whom you should never call “crazy”, wants to communicate with me about diet, or anything else in my article, she is welcome to contact me at [email protected].

    I really don’t mean to be rude, and I hope you can hear what I’m saying.

    Psychiatric drugs are not “medication”, Sir, they are chemical agents which disable the brain and are highly toxic. Used in crisis as respite for a short duration, some people find them helpful, but they “treat” nothing, and taken long term lead to chronicity and relapse.

    If this is shocking news to you, I urge you to stay here and read more articles. This is where people come when it’s time to wake up.

    Wishing you the best, please let your wife know she is welcome to contact me. And thank you for your comment.

  44. Response #2 to “Crazy”,

    I apologize for the harshness of my first reply. We trust doctors and it’s hard to believe that they would provide false information, but unfortunately that is now the world we live in.

    I can imagine this might leave you in a place of not knowing where to turn. There are people who can help you navigate through this mess, and nutrition is also critical to mental health.

    The website I would recommend to you is Beyond Meds.

    Equally as important, the real question for your wife is not “What is wrong with her?”, it is, “What happened to her?”. Finding a therapist who can be a compassionate witness may be extremely helpful provided they are well educated in the myths of so-called mental illness.

    There really are options and alternatives and I wish you both the very best on this daunting journey. If I can be of service, please let me know.

    Sincerely, Nancy

    • Nancy,

      Your first reaction was/is correct in my opinion. Beware men claiming to be helping their supposed mentally ill wives when they are most often abusers who drove their wives to a helpless, powerless, insecure position with constant verbal, psychological and other abuse without the women even realizing it until it is too late. See books like The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak Out, When Love Goes Wrong: When You Can’t Do Anything Right; Invisible Wounds, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship, Women Who Love Psychopaths (also web site Lovefraud), Men Who Hate Women and The Women Who Love Them and a zillion others exposing how women can lose their heath, self esteem, vocations and very self through sneaky, systematic gas lighting and verbal/emotional abuse by predatory, control freak husbands.

      I would suggest that the woman/wife should contact you if she truly has a problem rather than someone who may be just trying to gather more ammunition against her to make her appear the “crazy wife” for material, custody and other gains as is all too typical with abusers referring to “crazy bipolar wives.”

      • Dear Donna,
        Dear Donna,

        Clearly you reacted the same way that I did, but I’d prefer to reserve judgement. We really don’t know the situation. What I greatly appreciate is the amazing list of resources you have provided, I’m looking forward to following up on the articles and authors you cite. Thank you more than I can say.

        And I’m glad I made your day!!! Not everyone appreciates my style of communication as much as you do. Thanks for your kind words.

        Sincerely, Nancy

        • Nancy, thanks for your positive response. Since I have a research education and work background in research/information, I sifted through tons of resources to find these critical resources to save the lives of loved ones in my own life.

          I am posting Dr. Carole Warshaw’s article on psychiatrists deliberately ignoring domestic and other abuse like work/school bullying that are equally deadly and stigmatizing it as bipolar, paranoia and other bogus DSM stigmas though she is more tactful than me as you will see. The reason is that this article and others can be very hard to find among all the toxic Big Pharma fraud garbage and their shills like Nassir Ghaemi et al pushing the bipolar fad fraud for everyone in the galaxy by this little dictator. Ghaemi uses the brilliant ploy of Mitch Daniels, Big Pharma CEO, exposed by Dr. David Healy that any toxic side effect of SSRI’s, kiddie cocaine or other toxic psych drugs not to mention abuse related trauma are all evidence of the victims’ “mental illness” or bipolar per Gamey Ghaemi!! I’ve followed Ghaemi on the web and he cites every bipolar lie, fad, fraud ever invented to push the bipolar fad fraud monstrosity on one and all with no mercy. He has even written a bogus historical book whereby he retrospectively stigmatizes many great leaders like Abe Lincoln as bipolar with the pretense it is some great privilege, accomplishment and sign of greatness to get the bipolar stigma from his majesty Ghaemi, which is another Big Pharma fraud ploy to sucker more victims into this death trap. Ghaemi’s favorite literal poison is Lithium no less to destroy one’s kidneys and other organs with impunity.

          Anyway, here is the article about Dr. Warshaw:

          As you can see, Dr. Warshaw exposes how abusive husbands controlling their wives health insurance do a number on their victims that the mental death profession aids and abets with their life destroying stigmas like bipolar especially.

          • Nancy,

            Here is an article on complex PTSD coined by trauma expert, Dr. Judith Herman, I cited above. Note, the article exposes here that such complex PTSD that comes from repetitive abuse/trauma situations like domestic/work/school and other bullying, mobbing, abuse, concentration camps and similar long term “combat” conditions is often misdiagnosed as borderline, self defeating and other personality disorders.

            It appears good old Nassir Ghaemi has managed to get all these abuse/trauma stigmas lumped into the horrific, life destroying bipolar stigma in the DSM 5 if I’ve understood correctly, so this little dictator must be in heaven so he can poison everyone on the planet with impunity for the latest psychiatry eugenics culling of humanity attacking the weakest, most vulnerable members of society. Bipolar is Ghaemi’s bread and butter as a supposed expert on this mythological topic now that even Dr. Thomas Insel has admitted that the DSM and its stigmas like bipolar are totally invalid and lacking any and all scientific, medical and other evidence. Joel Paris, an expert in what Dr. Judith Herman calls the insult stigma of borderline personality disorder for abuse/trauma victims, accuses those like Ghaemi of “bipolar imperialism” exposed by Dr. Joanna Moncrieff in her recent article of disgust about the huge, unwarranted expansion of bipolar to push toxic neuroleptic drugs to the great peril of most victims so misdiagnosed. These never ending turf wars would be amusing if the consequences to their victims were not so tragic given that not only is the stigma degrading and life destroying, it is also guaranteed to come with lethal poison drugs to shorten one’s life by an average 25 years with the remaining years a life of hell.

            Dr. David Healy has written the excellent book, MANIA: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder, exposing that the bipolar fad fraud was invented to push the latest lethal drugs like atypical antipsychotics, Depakote and other poisons on patent, which infuriates Nassir Ghaemi to be sure, causing Ghaemi to resort to Mitch DanielBig Pharma ploys per usual. Dr. Healy has also written great articles on bipolar mania excess and biobabble and contributed to books exposing the horrors of the child bipolar drugging nightmare invented by Joseph Biederman who compared himself as second to God no less. Needless to say, the bipolar imperialist Ghaemi is all for stigmatizing toddlers and children with bipolar and drugging them to death a la Biederman with Rebecca Riley as well as taking Big Pharma money.

            The current bipolar fad fraud was actually invented when Robert Spitzer, malignant narcissist, took over DSM III and treated humans like rock specimens there as he did in real life. Experts admit that the bipolar stigma was created as a garbage can stigma to incorporate a wide variety of abuse/trauma victims and character disordered perpetrators much like schizophrenia functioned in the past. Dr. Healy shows that the current bipolar fad fraud with a majority permanently disabled by toxic drugs bears little resemblance to the very rare manic depressive illness in the past from which most people recovered and went on to live normal lives also documented by Robert Whitaker.

            If I can be of any help in providing any further documentation for you, don’t hesitate to respond since I am receiving followups of this post.

            Again, I think your first instinct and reaction was right on the mark and regardless, nobody should be talking about anyone as “crazy” without their permission, which would be highly dubious to say the least in the case of a woman given that women have been the all too frequent targets of abusers in the home and in psychiatry colluding together to destroy women and children with impunity for greed, power and sadism.

  45. Nancy,

    Wow! Thanks for putting this obvious wife abuser in his place if he’s even real.

    The bipolar fad fraud was invented to supplement and/or replace the insult stigma of “borderline” for abuse/trauma victims with the latter fraud exposed by Dr. Judith Herman, Psychiatrist, in the classic work, Trauma and Recovery, while the more recent bipolar fraud fad for abuse survivors has been exposed by Dr. Carole Warshaw, Domestic Violence Expert and Psychiatrist. I’ve cited articles about this many time on MIA.

    Now, we have the likes of various mental death experts like Allen Frances, Nassir Ghaemi and Joel Paris fighting for their turf for abuse trauma victims to be not overdiagnosed, bipolar or borderline in that order by these three FRAUD predators that abused women and children need like guns to their heads literally. Obviously only a psychopath and/or malignant narcissist could prey on abused women and children when they are already so down and betrayed by one and all only to have those in so called helping professions like medicine (see predators named above) and the legal system created for and by lying psychopaths per book, Political Ponerology, take their huge pound of flesh too per Dr. Aphrodite Matsakis, Trauma expert, and author of I Can’t Get Over It. That’s called retraumatization, the real goal of the mental death profession to destroy the abuse victims permanently unless they are able to escape.

    Anyway, you did such a superb job in responding to this outrageous abusive, degrading email, I’ll just add my praises to your great wisdom and “telling it like it is.” Thank you so much!! You made my day!! Pity this poor abused wife being gas lighted constantly and let’s hope she escapes before it’s too late though this post is so outrageous, it’s hard to believe it’s even real. I’d say the one driving the woman “crazy” should be on neuroleptics to give her a break and not the other way around!!

    • Nancy,

      Sorry, I forgot to include the citation to the Dr. Judith Herman article on complex PTSD for abuse/”combat” survivors of all types of wars from domestic, playground, boardroom to other combat zones.

      Again, though this article admits that borderline can be a misdiagnosis for PTSD and complex PTSD, the mental death profession started sneakily turning the tables on the victims by their usual pernicious lies by claiming that those with PTSD diagnoses were really misdiagnosed bipolars when the opposite is true in that those with PTSD are misdiagnosed with bipolar. I fought with the people at the Sidran trauma web site about this and they finally removed the fraud lie that bipolar often coincides with PTSD, a vicious, bogus LIE, FRAUD!! Hopefully, they haven’t changed it back without my checking recently.

      But, what else could one expect from a group of malignant narcissists/psychopaths at the top of the biopsychiatry KOL APA food chain that sold out to Big Pharma for their own greed, power and status with the promise of destroying millions of lives as grist for the billions Big Pharma would make from such vile, evil, sadistic betrayal of their so called patients/clients. Also, as exposed by the Last Psychiatrist and many others, the mental death profession especially exists to blame the victims of all social, government and other ills, injustice, exploitation so they can never be called to account. It also ensures those in power can falsely accuse their victims of being crazy and win every time with the mental death profession supporting those in power always. Several articles have been posted on MIA exposing the “missing gene” and the “gene illusion” junk science of biopsychiatry like Dr. Jay Joseph and others with many bogus claims of bipolar genes and brain defects. So, there are all kinds of nefarious agendas keeping this evil biopsychiatry predation eugenics monstrosity going at the cost of countless lives. Just like the Nazi Holocaust, it is hard for normal people to believe it until/unless they become victims themselves when it is far too late. Wake up America!!

  46. gas lighting

    I found out about this movie in 2006 while doing research about what was “wrong” with me. I was becoming more and more crazy and unstable and completely NUTS. I was a wacko and absolutely CRAZY.

    So I researched like crazy. When I found that movie I went EVEN MORE NUTS & CRAZY because my husband’s name is Greg and his first wife’s name is Paula.

    The two main characters in that movie are Greg and Paula.

    Crazy isn’t even the word for it.

    Greg is in prison now. The state brainwashed my kids and turned them against me. They all think their mother is severely mentally ill.

    Greg still sees his kids. They visit him in prison.

    I haven’t seen my kids in 5 years. The state of NY just made me CRAZY by sending MY kids to go visit my birth mother and brother, the two people that I went into foster care to get away from (and they’re both worse than Greg). NY sent MY kids to my abusers and of course, it made me CRAZY! Those who have no idea what’s going on would look at my CRAZY behavior over the past few days and would think that I was having a “bipolar” episode.

    Everything has a basis in REALITY.

    There is no real Justice in this world.

  47. Dear Nancy, I wouldn’t fancy withdrawing from 1,500 mg of Seroquel.
    Seroquel along with weight gain, and raised cholesterol also disrupts the Heart Rhythm, this can happen on and off so the consumer mightn’t necessarily report it to the doctor. If he does then the doctor would have to monitor it, and would have a responsibility – so, there can be a corrupt incentive in not writing this symptom if reported to the records.
    A lot of the middle aged on Seroquel that die, die in their sleep but the Autopsy can’t really figure out why.

  48. Here is one of many despicable attempts to further pretend that abusive childhoods and trauma symptoms are equal to bipolar disorder!! What a monstrous, evil psychopathic fraud!!

    They speak of their abuse, trauma victims being violent, but what could be more vile, violent, malignant, evil, sadistic, vicious than deliberately pretending that abuse trauma symptoms of their innocent victims are bipolar and stigmatizing such children as such to completely destroy their lives to push their lethal drugs for their own greed, power, sadism, self aggrandizement, social control and psychopathy? This is the new fraud these fiends are pushing; that if one had a traumatic, abusive childhood with related symptoms they are really bipolar. As I said above, bipolar was created to be a garbage can stigma and coverup of all the abuse trauma victims these psychos had to lie and deny since the junk science DSM REFUSED to consider ANY CAUSES OF ANY OF THEIR VOTED IN STIGMAS. Malignant narcissist creator of DSM, Robert Spitzer, admitted that if any such social/environmental causes like abuse/trauma were considered, their whole evil house of cards would fall apart. Hope this monster and his cohorts get their just desserts of their earned karma some day!!

    Several recent horrifying articles have been deliberately equating child abuse and trauma to the vile, fraudulent, vicious life destroying bipolar fad fraud to create more Rebecca Rileys a la Joseph Biederman and similar psychopaths in biopsychiatry. This is rotten to the core and totally monstrous!!

  49. As Dr. Paula Caplan already exposed with another military rape victim, anyone who tries to get justice for such military rape like another victim below is destroyed and discredited with the bipolar fad fraud stigma, which is the purpose of this evil stigma as a degradation ritual and demolition enterprise of one’s life, reputation, career, health, relationships, human rights and anything else that could matter to a human being. I hope these fiends face their own Nuremburg Trials some day and can’t come soon enough for me.

  50. Nancy, I just found this. I’ve been writing about having a black box warning against Seroquel use on people with any history of eating “disorders”. I was locked up on a “unit” in the year 2000 when they decided rather arbitrarily to weigh me. I weighed 90 pounds and they decided to force “eating disorder treatment” on me. It was done rather crudely and forcefully. I suppose they assumed that all this force would “cure” me of decades’ worth of eating problems in the one week I had remaining as inpatient. To speed up weight gain, they had me on 600 mgs a day of Seroquel. I immediately gained 10 pounds. The docs pronounced me “cured” of my eating disorder, and let me go at around 100 pounds. I finished undergrad in mid-2003 weighing something around 130. At the end of 2004 they had me on 900 mgs a day. During that time, I gained 50 pounds in six months. By January 2005 I weighed about 200 pounds. I am a very short, and now, I weighed twice as much as I usually did. My self esteem was shattered. That winter, I was bullied about my weight. I went to my psychiatrist and demanded that she take me off Seroquel. She switched me to Thorazine. My weight immediately dropped as soon as the Seroquel was stopped, but I was on a rampage, pissed that I’d ever been through that Seroquel nightmare. I ate less and less. By the time I graduated from grad school I was certainly starving and underweight. Over the next few years I came close to death from anorexia several times. Last summer, my kidneys failed.

    I am okay now, off all psych meds and away from therapy and all mental health care, thankfully. I finally feel like myself again. I was a fiercely independent, quirky, creative, talented, rebellious, and musically gifted young girl. All I asked for in my early 20′s was help with eating problems, and I ended up with three and a half decades of a bogus psych diagnosis called “schizoaffective,” which I never had.

    I am very happy to join the ranks of antipsychiatry and meet others with similar experiences.

    These drugs that cause extreme weight gain should never be given to anyone with serious eating issues. There should be a black box warning against this. I know of others who have also reported that their worst relapses came after they had gained undesired weight from these drugs.

    Anything I can do to help, let me know. Julie Greene

  51. Another thing…you mentioned insomnia. I was incarcerated at a prison/ER for three days in mid-2011 and they didn’t give me the pills I ordinarily took even though I told them what I was on. After that, I restarted the anti-epiliptics but stopped Risperdal 3mgs and Abilify, maybe 20 mgs, both cold turkey. I always figured my subsequent insomnia was medically-induced by having been at an extremely low weight, severely dehydrated, and bradycardia (around 30 bpm). I have heard that for people who have gone through extreme starvation, long-term insomnia is a given because the body is afraid it will die if it sleeps. However, I also learned that unbeknownst to me, my kidney functioning had become very low due by the end of 2011 to long-term lithium use in the past. I have no clue why they chose to hide this from me or ignored obvious evidence in blood tests. Still, I have suffered severe insomnia since Aug 2011, sleeping only an hour or two, if I’m lucky, at night. It was certainly not due to anxiety, mania, or psychosis as the shrinks insisted. My doc even claimed I was nutritionally deficient in antipsychotics. But she also said she wanted to force-drug me to stop me from writing about the abuse done to me by “mental health care.” I left her after that.

    I am working on sleep and trying to notice what helps and what doesn’t. I am certainly not manic. Even though I’m tired a lot, I write all the time. I’m writing a new book.

    Julie Greene

  52. For years I was told that I was crazy and had a long slew of mental disorders. After 14 years I was finally diagnosed correctly with hypnogogia, a sleep disorder, and clinical depression. And for it I’ve been prescribed seroquel 600mgs at bed and 100mgs anytime I start feeling like I’m “losing” it. and cymbalta 30mg morning and afternoon and 60mgs at night. Besides that disorder I also suffer from a rare neurological disorder that cause my myelin sheath to have been ate away. And now I’m facing seroquel withdrawal and I’m so scared. I’ve been suicidal since I was 14 and I’m now 32. And the less sleep I get the worse mood issues I have. And I’m also terrified how my nerve disorder is going to be affected by the seroquel withdrawal. The only reason I’m going through it is because my insurance stopped covering it. Can anyone give me any advise? I’m only 2 days into my withdrawal and I haven’t slept yet, when I tried I started hallucinating.

  53. Dear Dear S, I can only tell you what I would do. I would back the hell up!!! The cardinal rule for me is “no sleep, no withdrawal”. There are many people who have traveled this road and can coach you, even advocate for you. You can email me at [email protected]. If you were hospitalized, they would put you right back on the drug……being hospitalized is to be avoided . I’ll be honest, psychdrug withdrawal in general can set off nerve pain in people who have never had it (as can taking these drugs to begin with). You will have to taper very, very slowly…….and you will need help and support. You have a number of difficult and complicated issues to weigh through, and you must restore your sleep in order even to entertain all these thought. Anyone would. We simply can’t function or heal without sleep. The insurance question is another matter. Educating your doctors could help you resolve that situation, but either way you are going to need a safe supply in order to taper. I have to be honest here, if it were me in your situation, I might be considering lowering the dose as much as possible (Very Sloowwwly) but not taking the chance of completely stopping it. I don’t know your age, but you have to consider both the routes of staying on a lower dose and taking the chance of what would happen if you discontinued completely. There is no research. Lastly, if I were you I would do ANYTHING (even be hospitalized) to avoid being cut off. Cold Turkey off 100mgs was a disaster for me, and I had no complicating health conditions. Your situation is difficult but please remember that many have faced these challenging situations and prevailed. I hope you will consider changing your nom de plume. There were good reasons for your suicidality, and once you figure those out (for me, it was the drugs that caused suicidal thought and actions)you can move forward. Holding suicidality up as your identity is not a good idea. You are not suicidality. You are a living, breathing, multidemensional being who wants to live and heal.

  54. To add to what Nancy said about suicidality…it is my experience as someone who has gone through the dredges of long-term, extreme starvation the body has amazing ability to survive. The mind will lose cognitive ability, yet the body will prevail and self-preserve.

    There was a site I went to once where folks were speaking openly about having deliberately overdosed on various legal and illegal substances. This was a forum. Many “recovery”-type forums do not allow such things and users are kicked off for “triggering” other users of speaking of dangerous things. Or they get the cops called on them. However, on this forum, these users were recording their distant past experiences. At the time, I was suicidal myself. So with the morbid curiosity I had at that time, I read these accounts.

    What I found was a bit of a lesson to me: folks had been “rescued” from these overdoses. Invariably it happened not while they were thinking straight and still suicidal, but after they’d gone into delirium, so their minds were turned off and then their bodies took over and did what they had to do.

    Those that have not survived have not posted…anywhere…that I have seen.

    I am still struggling with insomnia to date. Not once have I had more than a couple of hours of consecutive sleep since mid-2011. I generally get two two-hour segments, if I’m lucky, per 24 hours. I’m still trying to find out if it’s my eating disorder or starvation that caused the insomnia or the drug withdrawal, the fact that my kidneys don’t function well, or a combination. Or possibly something else. I’m not depressed, manic, or anxious. I don’t have panic attacks. I have no more nightmares than anyone else. I sleep whenever I can regardless of what time it is cuz I feel that if I can get it at all, I’m lucky. I’m on public insurance and have no health care, can’t go cuz I’m scared I’ll end up in a mental hospital, subject to discrimination, profiled, or just get rotten care.


  55. I went from 800 mg of Seroquel daily to being completely off Seroquel now. I feel great. I am sleeping so much better. I am so much happier, and my nerves are nothing like they were. I believe Seroquel is a temp fix and not a long term one. The longer you are on it, the more issues it causes. You will do fine. Contact the maker of Seroquel and see if they will help you, if you don’t want to come off it. But for me, coming off Seroquel was the best thing I did!!!

  56. “I believe Seroquel is a temp fix and not a long term one.” For a select few. Though who constitutes that select few can only be determined after and not before they take Seroquel. Or for that matter any of these psychiatric drugs. Which is why they should never be used. In some cases, suicide or murder is the result. In some seemingly permanent tendency to have manic episodes and so on. While it is true that we all have blood running through our veins, the differences between people can be enormous. Your journey was apparently fairly easy while others spend years getting off one drug or another or try to go back on with bad consequences.
    Depression seems to be the main portal to these drugs. When do people feel depressed? Is it just something that happens which can be blamed on genetics? or some other mechanism out of a person’s control? Or is depression the result of a life not really in tune with the person’s genuine needs and self? If the latter, then drugs are an insult to the person’s true self which hoped through the message of the emotions to bring some change.

  57. Dear AgniYoga,

    Assuming makes an ass out of you and me, as the saying goes. I started withdrawing from drugs in 2008. My loving sister came swooped down from Mass. to N.C. and had me arrested and force drugged. All she had to do was call 911 and say I was suicidal, and they came and destroyed my life in North Carolina. That’s when I became an activist. I spoke up and the response was that my prescritions were cancelled, no psychiatrist would see me, no family doctor in Asheville would see me because no psychiatrist would see me, and I knew if I went to the hospital that I’d be shot up and sent off to the state hospital, Broughton (famous for their brownies). That did eventually happen, but not before the CEO of the largest child drugging outfit in Asheville (The Pisgah Institute) called the police and reposted me as a “suicidal prostitute trespassing at a church”. It was a church where I had sung in the choir, and I was scheduled to perform. Father’s Day 2010. The police grabbed me outside the truth, took me to the station and treated me to a sexual assault and kept me without glasses or medication for 24 hrs. I came to Alaska and began working at PsychRights in October of 2010 after Jim Gottstein and Kim Crespi helped get me free. Today I am still withdrawing. Over a year of microtapering from Klonopin.

    • …..Outside the CHURCH (sorry for the freudian slip) was where the Asheville police snatched me. You were certainly correct about depression being the portal through which the torture was imposed on me, and many other survivors I know, but another large group is people who experience disorientation or psychosis due to many causes. I appreciated your last line asking why people experience depression, I thought it was very insightful as well as poetic, but it felt to me as if it was focused on the individual, when my experience has shown that trauma of one kind or another is always involved, and one of the things that needs to change about any mental health system is the assumption that people who present are either to blame or can even necessarily be responsible for the situation. Thank you AgniYoga for your comment.

  58. I, too, was for a while on coerced onto a terribly large dose of Seroquel. If that 900 mgs a day was a “temporary fix,” say, for six months, then those 50 pounds I put on during those six months…um…What about that? I put on 110 pounds total, and my total body weight more than doubled. What about the evidence of blood sugar spikes and dips…I was headed for diabetes…would that have been “temporary”? As a result of this assault to my body, I am still struggling with a severe eating disorder (anorexia and binge eating), which was the backfire result, 15 years after I was first given Seroquel.

    Thanks so much for fighting for this, Nancy. This and Zyprexa and other weight-gainers should NEVER be given to anyone with a history of eating disorders. I am NOT alone here. There are others that have told me similar stories. They won’t speak up because they don’t want to get nailed, but they have told me these things in private.


  59. Nancy, I have responded to this wonderful article with a blog article of my own in my own blog. Here’s the link:

    The title of my article is, “After Seroquel: Response to an article by Nancy Rubenstein Del Giudice.”

    I have your last name spelled as it appears up top here as writer of the article, however, if I’ve got it wrong, let me know. My own experience is that my own rather simple first and last names are often goofed, so I cannot imagine how often yours are. Thanks for providing inspiration for me to write this. Rock on, and let’s all continue to speak out. Julie (and her little dog, Puzzle)

  60. I have been on Seroquel for about 6 months now and to me it has been a godsend. I was exhibiting all kinds of anxiety and depression for years until my doctor put me on this med. I also take xanax, prozac, ambien, and nuvigil. I dont take these because i want to take them i take them because i have to.

    • God Bless you! As you move forward with your recovery your minds inner voice will help guide you off these brain disabling drugs. Please use caution when this happens and educate yourself on the withdraw process. Find the sunshine in your life and enjoy the challenges.

  61. Thank you, Nancy, for this article and for your honesty. I came upon your article searching for answers about seroquel withdrawal because I am currently in the beginning stages of withdrawal. I am on several daily medications… TOO MANY… 900mg lithium, 150mg seroquel XR, 150mg nuvigil, 2mg klonopin, 10mg ambien, 2mg Xanax as needed, & I am also on levothyroxine, which is a thyroid medication I had to start taking as a result of my bipolar meds. I have been on this combo for 2 years, but I have been juggling meds for my mental issues & sleep disorders for about 7 years. My diagnoses are bipolar 2, general anxiety, chronic insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, & hypersomnia. When I was diagnosed with bipolar & put on lithium & seroquel 2 years ago, I saw a huge improvement in my mood & functionality. I didn’t feel like I fit the profile of a bipolar patient (I don’t go “manic”), but the meds worked for me much better than the antidepressants I had previously been on, so I went with it. Lately I’ve been getting depressed again, almost nightly, & have been reading a lot of articles about bipolar disorder & bipolar meds. The more I read, the more I am convinced I should not be taking these meds. I am sick of the side effects, especially the weight gain. I am only 26 & am scared these medicines are going to take a huge toll on my body & prevent me from ever being physically healthy. So about a week ago I stopped taking my lithium & seroquel altogether. (I now know that is a big mistake.) For the past couple of days, I’ve been experiencing terrible nausea, tremors, restlessness, I have not been able to sleep at all… Even with my sleep meds. So I googled the withdrawal symptoms of these medications. I did not find anything too alarming about lithium, but then I read this article about seroquel. I am now terrified. I know my dosage is much much lower than yours was, but I am still very concerned about the damage it has done to my body & future damage. I think in going to try to take half of my dosage for a while & taper off that way. I’m scared to even tell my doctor because from what you said & some of the comments, I no longer feel like I can trust her. I am so sick & tired of dealing with all of this & now I am so scared of the effects of these drugs. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks for taking to time to read my rambling.

    • The human body has an incredible capacity for renewal and healing. Keep that in mind. If you consider for a few minutes that terrible circumstances that people have gone through during wars in Europe or Asia . . . famines and plagues . . . car accidents . . . and yet have come through and rejuvenated themselves, that will help. The medical doctor is a very conservative person. He almost always takes the worse case as the likely case. He plays it safe. This condition or that is incurable. You will dies within 6 months, etc. If you get over the incurable condition it is a fluke or a misdiagnosis.
      Withdrawals are difficult especially if you identify with the emotions and sensations. If you just observe them then it is like a journey that will eventually end in a happy place. A lot of people in this world over time have had to go through truly horrible situations. Consider Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria. Yet the human soul can handle this and does and has.
      In America people are discouraged from dealing with negative emotions and encouraged to take a drug. Negative emotions are treated as illnesses. Does that really make good sense?
      Over a several year period of time I talked with a woman in her thirties who withdrew from a few psychiatric drugs as well as Oxycontin. She got a lot of relief by going to India. She did not go off more than one drug at a time and was careful to avoid precipitous moves. You may be allowing an unrealistic fear to rush you. And you would benefit from having a mentor to talk with as you go along. There is probably someone you can find to help you through the dark zones. Doing it all on your own may be too much of a task. You don’t need to hurry. The more time you are willing to take the sooner it will happen. Good luck.

    • I have today a few more reflections that might help you. If you were actually a machine which is the model adhered to by scientific materialism, then your fears and worries would be justified. It is true that this model has been useful; but just as a map is not the territory (Gregory Bateson), so a model is not the human being. Just as maps simplify the terrain, the model simplifies that which is modeled. And the model leaves out life-consciousness, something that science can not understand and never will. We do not see many broken down automobile self repairing. So if you were a machines, it might be hopeless. But people do self heal. Doctors generally do not like to dwell on this fact. Their livelihood depends on people being sick until they intervene. I now know a number of persons who have successfully withdrawn from psychiatric medication. In some cases after many years.

      So because in addition to all the parts that are reminiscent of a machine, the blood vessels, the heart pump, etc. there is also life and consciousness that will heal you if you give it the opportunity. If you will quiet your mind by sitting still and breathing for a while, an inner voice or sense will give you guidance. Follow that. Also I would recommend checking with Dr. Peter Breggin who is probably the world expert on these drugs and on withdrawing from them. You can Google his name and get his website. Follow his advice and get well and healthy again. In the meantime realize that in a sense you have been kidnapped and are being held by medical captors. You have been taken off to an alien chemical land where everything is strange and rather inhuman. When you escape and get home, happiness will greet you. Good luck.

  62. To be honest, at first I thought your comment was intended to make me feel guilty to be worrying about my health. But then I read it again & read your second comment & realize you are only trying to help, and I thank you for that. I liked your phrase that I’ve been “kidnapped and being held by medical captors”. That is exactly how I have recently begun to feel. But I know now that I will be okay. It won’t be easy & hopefully my health problems won’t be too severe, but I know I can get through it & that I will be okay. I am luckier than most. It’s sometimes hard to keep that in perspective. Thanks for your comments.

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