Papa Devil first alerted me to this article on the use of Seroquel in soldiers on Friday. I have thought (aka stewed) about it ever since. I wanted to help dispel the myth around anti-psychotics and their usages, explain that what the medical personnel are doing, could very well be the best course of action for soldiers suffering PTSD.
The main argument of the article appears to be, that this drug should not be used used to help sleep disorders, and should instead only be used for it’s defined usages. I call bullshit. My first reaction on hearing that take on it, was wondering if the media would much rather our soldiers be taking sleeping medication such as temazepam, diazepam etc. These medications are all in the benzodiazepine drug category, meaning that they have addictive qualities. This means that as the body gets used to the effects, it will crave more and more. This can turn into a bona fide drug addiction. An addiction to a prescribed drug doesn’t make it any less deadly.
Seroquel, and other anti-psychotics do not have addictive components. They do however have the added benefit of reducing irritability, sleeplessness and anxiety, all symptoms of PTSD. While anti-psychotics are stated as being for the treatment of Bipolar and Schizophrenia, they have also been successful in treating depression and anxiety. It was concerning to read in the article that the dosages were questioned as not being to a ‘depression’ level. Our bodies react to medications in different ways. While one person may respond to 100mg, another may need 500mg to get the same effect. Placing a blanket statement over the dosages prescribed could be dangerous to those people reading, and already unsure about their medication.
I have been on seroquel in the past. I have been on huge dosages and I have been on small dosages. Each one was tailored to fit in with what I needed them for at the time. Like any medication, anti-psychotics have side effects. Once I was on a dosage that suited me and had been taking it consistently, the side effects of feeling hung over became less noticeable. When I was keeping active, which a soldier no doubt would be, I noticed the effects even less. At first I felt the ‘zombie staring at the wall’ effect that is talked about in the article, but once my body was used to the medication this subsided.
PTSD can be a debilitating mental illness if not treated effectively. While I do not know all of the details, on the ones the media chooses to print, I do believe that Seroquel has it’s place in the treatment of PTSD. Whether it is over prescribed, I don’t know, maybe it’s more a case of more soldiers are willing to admit that they are struggling after being in the middle of a war torn country. I also feel that anti psychotics have a better potential for long term treatment and recovery than the bandaid fix of sleeping medication.