I got an email from Doc Awesome this morning that read, “Need a favour. Remind me your experience with Siroquel [sic]. What did you start on (how much and when take). Then how did you reduce and did you switch to something different.” Gladly. Firstly, though, the same disclaimer from the last time I wrote about Seroquel: I am not a doctor. And having said that, please remember that antidepressants aren’t masking agents, placebos, or whatever else you might’ve been led to believe. Rather, they stimulate an actual physiological reaction in the brain that makes them vital to the effective (albeit not total) treatment of mental disorders, OCD included. If you have any questions about them, see your family doctor. Better yet, see a psychiatrist.
Anyway. Seroquel, which is also known by its generic name Quetiapine, is an antipsychotic, not an antidepressant; there actually haven’t been any long-term studies regarding its effectiveness in treating OCD, although anecdotaly it’s great at reducing anxiety. Unfortunately, it might also knock you out. I take a relatively light dose every night; typically I’ll be sound asleep within thirty minutes and won’t so much as move until my alarm goes off the next morning. Again, I’m on a relatively modest dosage. I started on a much heavier one, which basically zombie-fied me. Then I switched over to Seroquel XR, or extended release. If the regular drug’s like a knockout punch before bed, the XR turns your day into a fifteen-round heavyweight bought. It also made my sinuses feel like they were imploding; I was back on the regular formula almost instantly. I tried splitting the dosage, taking one pill after supper and one before bed. Briefly, I tried taking one at night and one in the morning; when that inevitably didn’t work I was stuck, and so I went back to taking it all at once. Eventually, as my ERP kicked in, I scaled back from 150mg to 100mg. Now I take 50mg; soon I’ll be taking 25mg.
So where does that leave us? On the plus side, Seroquel reduces anxiety–handy when battling an anxiety disorder like OCD–and helps with sleep, an underrated part of the recovery process. On the negative side it can leave you feeling exhausted…and that’s where diet kicks in. I won’t say I’ve discovered a magic bullet that totally eliminates Seroquel’s sleepy symptoms–but I have found a pretty good one that goes like this:
- Two cups of coffee. I drink nuclear-strength coffee, by the way. Life’s too short for bad coffee, as Gord Downie says. Ditto bad cheese.
- Almonds and pumpkin seeds
- Vitamin C and D