Updated on April 29, 2024
5 min read

Seroquel and Alcohol

It can be challenging to address mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. It’s even harder on those who have developed a reliance on alcohol as a result of those stressful conditions.

Fortunately, Seroquel is effective at combating these mental illnesses and even addresses some symptoms of alcohol dependency at the same time.1

Seroquel (quetiapine) works by equalizing neurotransmitters in the brain. It decreases hallucinations, regulates mood, and improves concentration. While this medication is a feasible and effective option, it can be dangerous if you mix it with alcohol.

Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Seroquel?

It’s not a good idea to drink alcohol while taking Seroquel. It can interfere with the medication and lead to problems or complications like:3

  • Increased drowsiness and impaired coordination, leading to potential accidents
  • Respiratory depression
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Worsening of mental health symptoms
  • Impaired judgment
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Potential for overdose

A clinical journal found that, in a testing pool of 600 adults, 79% overdosed when mixing alcohol and other substances.5 This is why consuming alcohol and Seroquel is potentially dangerous.

If your healthcare provider does permit alcohol consumption for any reason, it’s advisable to follow moderation guidelines or continue to avoid it anyway.10

Mixing these substances can potentially cause death. You may experience a fatal accident or injury due to increased sedation and impaired decision-making.

Is Seroquel Used to Treat Alcoholism?

Seroquel is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat alcohol abuse disorder (AUD). Technically, when it’s prescribed for alcohol abuse symptoms, it’s considered off-label. However, it can be prescribed to treat specific symptoms of alcoholism, like:4

  • Anxiety 
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Agitation

Additionally, one study showed that quetiapine decreases alcohol consumption, craving, and psychiatric symptoms.11 It’s important to understand that Seroquel isn’t a standalone treatment for alcohol abuse, even in severe cases. Talk to your doctor first before you use it to treat any alcohol addiction symptoms.

What Should You Do If You Mix Alcohol and Seroquel?

Given the risks and side effects, you definitely shouldn’t mix alcohol and Seroquel. But if you really feel like you need a drink (or drank accidentally), you shouldn’t worry too much as long as you don’t overdo it.

There are a few precautions you can take to minimize the risks.6

  • Consult a doctor: They can provide advice on whether drinking alcohol while on medication is safe and what to do if you drink alcohol
  • Understand the risks: Knowing the risks and side effects of this combination can stop you from engaging in risky behavior
  • Avoid heavy drinking: Follow your doctor if they advise you to avoid binge drinking
  • Eat easily digestible food beforehand: Foods high in protein and electrolytes can cushion the effects of mixing Seroquel with alcohol
  • Monitor your symptoms: Stop drinking as soon as you notice adverse symptoms and seek medical attention if they worsen

If you or a loved one has taken alcohol while on Seroquel, and you notice life-threatening symptoms, call 911 right away. An overdose will need urgent care.

Let the emergency response team know what substances were mixed so they can prepare accordingly.


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What Is Seroquel For?

Your healthcare provider might prescribe Seroquel to improve your mood, appetite, energy levels, and sleep patterns.1 Seroquel can also alleviate the symptoms of various mental health disorders, including:1

  • A sense of doom
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Guilt
  • Indecisiveness
  • Suicidal thoughts

People with mental health conditions may experience an increased risk of suicide, especially at the beginning of their treatment. However, these symptoms typically resolve as the body adapts to the prescribed dosage.

Who Shouldn’t Take Seroquel?

Seroquel isn’t a viable medication for people with specific medical conditions. Your doctor may not prescribe you quetiapine if:

  • You are allergic to quetiapine
  • You have certain types of blood disorders
  • You are taking other medications
  • You have a seizure disorder
  • You have diabetes (Seroquel can increase blood sugar levels)
  • You have impaired liver functionality
  • You have a history of substance abuse
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You are elderly with dementia-related psychosis
  • You have certain pre-existing cardiovascular conditions (Seroquel can cause blood pressure to drop)

Talk to your doctor before starting Seroquel to determine if it will work for you. If you’re worried about the drug, discuss alternatives with your doctor to be sure.

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Can You Get Addicted to Seroquel?

Though Seroquel has a low potential for addiction, any medication, if misused or abused, can be addictive. Seroquel isn’t typically a drug of abuse, but exercise caution all the same.

Can You Still Go Through Alcohol Withdrawal Even on Seroquel?

Yes, you can still go through withdrawal symptoms from alcohol addiction, even on Seroquel. Your withdrawal symptoms can vary in terms of severity and duration depending on how much alcohol you were drinking and how consistent it was.

Even though Seroquel can address some alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it may not be able to treat them all. It may be able to minimize the intensity of alcohol withdrawal, but it won’t tackle the root of the problem.

Make sure you get comprehensive treatment for alcohol addiction and only use medication as prescribed if being given any to treat your symptoms.

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Seroquel?

Stopping Seroquel can cause mild to severe withdrawal symptoms, including the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle rigidity

Seroquel is not typically a drug of abuse, though some people have developed a dependence on it in the past. Still, like with any drug, if you take too much of it and stop abruptly, your body may not respond favorably.

With any drug or substance discontinuation, you should always be careful and discuss your options with your healthcare provider first.

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Updated on April 29, 2024
11 sources cited
Updated on April 29, 2024
  1. Borison et al. “Seroquel (ICI 204, 636): a novel, atypical antipsychotic.” Biological Psychiatry, 2015.
  2. Goldstein, J. “Quetiapine fumarate (Seroquel): a new atypical antipsychotic.” Drugs of Today, 1998.
  3. Malekshahi et al. “Misuse of atypical antipsychotics in conjunction with alcohol and other drugs of abuse.” Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 2015.
  4. Akbar et al. “Medications for alcohol use disorders: An overview.” Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 2018.
  5. “Study highlights overdose risks of alcohol used with other drugs.” Newswise.com, 2019.
  6. Yeomans et al. “Alcohol and food intake.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 2003.
  7. Gibson, G., and Skett, P. “Introduction to Drug Metabolism.” Springer Science+Business Media, 1986.
  8. Rowe, D., “Off-label prescription of quetiapine in psychiatric disorders.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 2014.
  9. Muench, J. “Adverse Effects of Antipsychotic Medications.” American Family Physician, 2010.
  10. Mumenthaler et al. “Gender Differences in Moderate Drinking Effects.” Alcohol Research & Health, 1999.
  11. Martinotti et al. “Quetiapine decreases alcohol consumption, craving, and psychiatric symptoms in dually diagnosed alcoholics.” Hum Psychopharmacol, 2008.

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