So today I’ve mostly spent my time watching YouTube videos about Seroquel, especially videos about the side effects of taking it and the experiences of people who decided to get off of it. I’m not making any rash decisions about the medicine myself (which I do currently take). The medicine is a wonder drug when it comes to helping me get to sleep, which is the main reason why I am taking 50mg of it a day (which isn’t even a high dosage). I do like the warm, fuzzy feeling I get after taking the meds and the way it knocks me out within an hour of taking it. I’ve tried other sleeping pills and none of them worked nearly that well or dependably.
However, I am having some side effects that I assume may be from the Seroquel. I am sleeping at least 11 or 12 hours a night and still waking up groggy and just wanting to sleep all day. I normally get up, have breakfast, then lay back down on the couch and try not to fall back to sleep. I am exhausted constantly (even more so than just from my normal CFS symptoms). I am starting to feel a bit “zombiefied” as well. As I’m typing, I kind of feel disconnected from my fingers and feel like they are somewhat trying to do their own thing rather than what I want them to do. I wake up each day with a hangover feeling and often with a nasty headache that sometimes lasts all day. I am also HUNGRY all the time it seems, especially for sweets. I really fear gaining weight. I’ve been on the med about 3 months now and have gained a few pounds, but I fear I would gain much more if I lost my self control and ate as much as I wanted.
I guess the reason I am sharing all this is just to see if others who have taken it have experienced similar things? If so, did you keep taking it? I really debate whether sleeping regularly is worth all the side effects or not.
*Art by Maranda Russell
It seems that there is this stereotype about Bipolar patients not wanting to take their medicine or stopping medicine without consulting a doctor. However, like most stereotypes, perhaps there is some truth to it. I personally have Bipolar type 2 and often find myself wondering, “Do I really need these medications?” or “Are these medications actually helping or hurting me?”. Why do I wonder this? Mostly due to negative side effects. I can’t help but wonder sometimes if the cure isn’t worse than the disease at times. Weight gain, acne, digestive problems, being pushed further into depression or hypomania, anxiety, jitters, uncontrollable muscle spasms, irritability, crying spells, etc. Sometimes I really do wonder if I wasn’t better off before.
And about consulting a doctor before stopping meds, in my case at least, my psychiatrist is only able to see patients once every few months due to the shortage of psychiatrists in the area. He is EXTREMELY busy. It is unlikely I will hear from him in the interim, even if I have a question. Of course I can speak to his office staff, but that isn’t the same as actually speaking to a doctor. And even if I were to call and tell the office staff I wanted to stop taking the medicine, likely they would just request I wait until my next appointment, which may be months away. If the medicine is truly causing side effects I can’t stand or making me feel worse, why would I want to endure that for months before making a change?
I am not writing this post to encourage anyone to go off their meds or anything like that. I believe strongly in listening to medical advice, but I wanted to explain to those who are outside of the Bipolar loop why this can often become a legitimate issue. And no, right now I am not stopping my own meds, but I have been tempted many times, which makes me sympathetic to those who have.