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Found 261 results

  1. Feels like waking up

    I have just read almost all of “Prozac backlash” and It kind of blew my mind. I am sure this is old news for most of you on this site, I just had no idea. I also had tried to go off Effexor pretty much cold turkey and basically was a ball of nerves, sobbing uncontrollably the whole time. I thought at the time, “my anxiety must really be this bad, i guess i really cannot function without my AD.” OMG. I had no idea this was such a universal experience for people to go through such difficulty when trying to get off them. And to try to do this without any coping skills too? That was entering a losing battle. I am now seeing a therapist and I feel empowered to do this for the first time in my life. Having this community is really great too, to know it’s hard to do for all of us. For the first time in my life I suddenly see that this has been a lie I have told myself for years, that I need these to function. I always assumed “some people need meds for mental health and some don’t.” Reading this book demonstrating the actual figures for people who manage their depression/anxiety without meds is truly uplifting for me. I have had a rough month trying to start the taper. Someone tried to attack me at my job (this has never happpened to me before) and I was quite affected by it, starting to feel my anxiety sky rocket even on my full dose. This event set off some really tough emotions for me as I already have a stressful job and have been working on ways to move to something less stressful for me. For financial reasons, I need to stick with it for another 1.5 years. I feel pretty angry and anxious the first few days after a taper, I have noticed and the lightening strike emotions are there. I think mindfulness and encouraging self-talk in preparation for this possibility is key for me. Like positive visulations, even practice (role play) like what will i say if XYZ happens. I am on 121.5 mg of my effexor right now which is the second taper I have done. Much of my focus has been on the bad sides of my withdrawal. I go to Zumba pretty religiously and yesterday in my class I felt something I haven’t felt for a very long time—- it was joy. I felt joyful as I moved, and used my body, and felt alive. I felt free. I realized that this feeling has been covered up for some time in addition to my demons I am now facing. I was sitting in the sunshine with my dog and drinking coffee, listening to the birds sing, and I thought.. this is truly a perfect moment. It has been so difficult for me to feel moved in any way for the last 7 years. And in the back of my head I can feel my anxiety telling me “this won’t last, you could still be in trouble, you could still be unsafe...” And I am letting myself just for now to feel alive, like I am waking up.
  2. This is a happy place to be. I am determined to be Effexor free by the end of Summer 2018 if not sooner. I understand the significance of tapering slowly as a snail, and that's a good thing. My poor body is once again (although not quite as severe) experiencing withdrawal symptoms like last summer, rebelling once again to being without it's beloved but dreadful drug it was fed for years upon years. I have to forgive myself for falling into the medical trap of complacency and get on with rectifying the problem. So here I am. This is my current signature. Presently tapering off SSRI Medication: History Effexor 2000 - present / Paxil 1997 - 2000 Was prescribed antidepressant when marriage broke down in 1997. Divorced in 1999 with life throwing curve balls ever since. Thus, a complacent approach to a daily dose of anti-depressant drugs that eventually reached around 300 mg in Summer 2016. Effexor 2000 to August 2016 - a gradual increase of drug to around 300 mg. Sept 2016 - June 8, 2017; tapered from 300 to 37.5 Cold Turkey June 8. Good for around 26 days then my body rebelled. Stiffened up with fibromyalgia type pain. Went back to 37.5 mg in August not being able to stand the pain and discomfort of withdrawal. August 2017 to March 1, 2018. 37.5. March 1, 2018 tapering began by dosing every 2nd day. It took around 30 days and again, my body began to stiffen and rebel. Which brings me to the present. Current Medication: Effexor 37.5 Teva-Venlafaxine XR; Estrace HRT; Eltroxin 0.05 mg; Symbicort Turbo Inhaler 2 puffs daily for Asthma (collapsed lower right lung) and prone to bronchitis and pneumonia. Recently discovered I have gallstones via general health check-up ultrasound. No painful symptoms to date probably due to a good diet. Gallstones can occur due to hormone replacement medication. In my case...who knows? Current Symptoms: Chronic fatigue; aching muscles, joint stiffness, tingling and hot sensation in limbs, unsteady on my feet (have fallen three times in three months) isolation, slight social anxiety, lack of motivation My Plan: Seeing Psychiatrist tomorrow April 10th. Have kept track of daily medications in a pocket calendar and making notes. Having found this site has helped. Hot baths help...will add Epson salts. I take Aleve and two Extra Strength Tylenol at night to help with the pain. Because I live alone with not much going on most days, I am no stranger to sleep. Current Supplements: Sister owns a honey farm to I take Pollen; propolis; I don't want to load up with supplements right now. Current Essential Oils: Lavender, Eucalyptus Quote
  3. My introductory post. I have a sleep disorder associated with Fibromyalgia. Fibro also is associated with anxiety and depression and inability to relax the muscles. So, Venlafaxine has been a real help for me to live a normal life for 20 years. But I'm 68 and want to get off. Today is the 6th day following a failed tapering, my second. My first tapering was a year ago. I have a terrible sleep disturbance: I have a panic attack while falling asleep. My husband is helping me find a better psychiatrist, one who is experienced with both a sleep disorder and tapering. But this time around as I tried to fall asleep a loud buzzing sound and vibrating sensation occurred inside my right nasal passage. As I type this I am aware it sounds unbelievable. It's so embarrassing. "Doctor, I have a bee in my nose." Well, I googled "my own snoring wakes me up" and found Sleep-Doctor http://sleep-doctor.com/blog/does-your-own-snoring-wake-you-up-from-sleep/ . Anyone have a similar weird sleep disorder? I bet it was due to tapering - some kind of neurological trauma. I'm exhausted. Last night I finally slept through the night.
  4. Hi. I'm tapering off effexor xr 150 mgs., which I've taken for I don't know how long exactly. I have, however, been on one thing or another for 27 years. The first one, nortriptyline (sp?) made a huge difference for me, like night and day, and I was thrilled to be able to feel like what I figured was what normal people felt like usually: "Sure, I got problems, but I'm not sinking into the floor over it. I can handle stuff. I'm okay." At that time, life had thrown several curve balls at once, and I went down and could not get up on my own; my coping strategies were not helping. I felt soooo okay when I started the anti-depressant, I would spend my grocery money to have access to it. However, epic constipation and feeling so heavy I could barely run, as was my habit, caused me to want to switch, which I did - several times over several years, usually to get away from sexual dysfunction side effects. I've stuck with effexor the longest. I tried to go off it a few years ago, but the withdrawal was awful, and I went back on it. Now, I've grown emotionally and psychologically in ways I never imagined, and I am giving this a go again. Today is day 19 of tapering down from 150. The first stage, I went down to ~100 mg. by my eyeballing it, for 15 days. I had read up, so I soon started taking a beefy B complex and fish oil. I did not experience bothersome symptoms until I went down to ~75 mg., where I've been for 4 days. Still taking the B complex and fish oil. And I started taking 5-HTP as suggested by The Mood Cure, to boost serotonin. And things are weird: teary over minor slights, electric-headedness, and frankly some fear. I really want someone to work with me closely in doing this, but don't have anyone. My family physician rewrote my prescription so that the capsules are 37.5 mgs. and I can taper on my own more easily, but all he said was, contact me if you have any questions about this. The Mood Cure is great, but I want the author's phone number in my contact list! I have an appointment through my insurer with a psychiatric NP - but it isn't until the end of May, 9 weeks out!! Right at this moment, I'm wanting to know whether to continue with the 5-HTP or switch to l-tryptophan to help with the crying feeling and the electric-head. Any ideas? Also, I am meditating at least once a day for 30 minutes, and walking fast for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Grayskies: New journey

    Hello All- I just started my tapering 2 days ago and I feel pretty much okay physically today. The last two days I have noticed some increased irritability though and I was looking for ways to cope and soothe this. For example, my husband made me more angry than normal and when I was out in public I found myself being irritated by total strangers who were just minding their own business, walking too slowly, asking too many questions. Etc. I am able to notice when I am more irritated but I think the distance between the feeling and the reaction is shorter since I started the taper. I normally have fairly good ability to stop and consider. I am wondering how people cope with this on a day to day basis and how to prevent saying things to people you don’t really mean to. I am not a stranger to mindfulness meditation or tapping. I am brand new to this site and tapering in general so any thoughts greatly appreciated.
  6. I just happened upon this site and I am really glad for this resource. I am attempting my second taper off Effexor right now. I just started trying to go off 150 mg (I actually decreased from 225 about 2 years ago and never had the courage to try). I started seeing a therapist who practices energy psychology and feel I have the support now to give this another try. Already I feel tired, foggy, off balance and have had a headache for the last 24 hours (only on day two). I am taking 75 mg every other day instead of 150. The Effexor has capsules so it’s hard to cut down so slowly unless you’re a chemist. It feels good to have a place that other people are going through the same thing I am, and it’s good to know other people acknowledge how hard this can be., My doctor certainly did not warn me the first time I tried (going from 225 to 0 in about a month). Wish me luck...
  7. How should I go about tapering off Effexor when I'm already unstable / Effexor is making things worse? Ive never felt as bad in my life as I have while on Effexor - I'm very anxious and depressed all of the time. I was on 75mg (4 weeks) with no improvement so of course doc upped my dose to 150mg (5 weeks now) which has been terrible. I heard "it gets worse before it gets better" but I have had zero improvement with no signs of improving and worse depression/anxiety. I don't believe this is the drug for me and I want to taper off but I'm not mentally well. I understand then 10% method but I feel since I'm having such a bad reaction, is that worthy of a faster taper? Ive been on for a little over two months, my taper will be longer than my time on? Just ready to quit ths the drug that has done absolutely nothing and has made me feel worse. I'm on 200mg Trazodone for sleep - but that is a battle I will tackle when stable off Effexor for a long time. Sleep for me must be preserved during this time.
  8. Hi All, I've been reading up on the forum for the last few months and decided i might put a post in as would be keen to hear your thoughts and also share my experience. I've been on Effexor XR for around 10 years in total. Original condition was OCD - obsessive thoughts about food poisoning and my food being drugged - didn't help that i would feel strange after eating food & then become anxious / paranoid about it. This resulted in depression along with inability to function in social settings and a downward spiral. Originally was on Paxil in the beginning which didn't really work and then was transferred to Effexor XR 150mg. Have been on 75mg for the last few years though. In all honesty the effexor worked great and it helped me pull myself together and make a good life for myself. Education, job, family etc. Then about 2 years ago i thought that my life was going really well, so i didn't need the effexor any more. Attempted to stop it without tapering which didn't last long due to the brain zaps. Then tried a second time by a slow tapering process over 6 months from 75mg to nothing. Got off it without too many side effects (brain zaps and irritability, brain fog mainly). The brain fog was a bit of an issue and i just didn't cope well with stress any more. An incident last year at work got me back on to the effexor and i started to feel better. Until.... About 3 months into starting the effexor again i started getting strange physical symptoms including numbness and tingling, nausea and the OCD returned - would only get the symptoms around 2-3 hours a night after eating and taking my effexor. Now i did change brands of effexor (generic) during that period and to be honest i cant remember if i took generic effexor or the branded one for the previous 9 years. I honestly don't know if these symptoms were caused by the effexor though or by something else. With the strange physical symptoms and resurgence of OCD i decided i would quickly taper off the effexor. I went down 60mg to nothing (erratically cutting dose amounts as quick as i could) in about 4 weeks. Its now been 2 months and i have had plenty of strange symptoms including hives, numbness / tingling in limbs, memory loss / confusion, headaches & constant pressure in forehead, some nausea, tightness in chest, strange physical sensations and stabbing pains, feeling like ive had allergic reactions. The WORST symptom i have experienced is derealization - I've been in a state where everything i see seems surreal and often wondered if i was actually in a coma. This seems to have gotten a little better over the last week so i hope to god that its not a permanent thing. The brain fog is quite annoying and affecting my ability to do my job - i work in IT so not being able to concentrate is a real problem. From what i have read on the forum i wouldn't class my experience anywhere near as bad as what some other people have been through. I would say the symptoms have ranged from mild to moderate, but i guess without knowing how long this is going to go on for its a bit depressing. I've been using fish oil and magnesium / b vitamins which seems to have helped - fish oil got rid of most of the brain zaps. I do have some questions for other people who might have gone through similar experiences. Has anyone tried using st johns wort during the withdrawal phase to counter effect the effexor withdrawal? Is a small re-instatement of effexor likely to result in a bad medication reaction after 2 months of not having it? Has anyone had the derealization symptom during withdrawal? Is this likely to improve? I had a cholesterol level test whilst i was on effexor which returned a high result. After coming off the effexor i had a second test done and my cholesterol was back to normal - no diet change or new medications etc. I read somewhere that effexor can increase cholesterol levels? I guess im at an impasse at the moment. Ive got a bit to loose if i cant 'pull' myself together. Getting off medications all together would be great, but if it means i need to battle this for a long time and possibly loose my job and have it affect my home life i may need to consider re-instatement of at-least a small dose or some other alternative. Im reluctant to try other drugs as effexor is the devil i know. I also know that if i restart the effexor and the symptoms go away and everything returns to normal im likely to stay on it for the rest of my life as i wont want to gamble with coming off it again. Anyways thanks for reading & if you have any thoughts or similar experiences feel free to share =)
  9. I beat withdrawal and in the process I beat a depression that had been plaguing me for half my life. I’ve been meaning to share my story for sometime now but have failed to take the time to do so. When I was in the thick of it back in 2016 I heavily utilized this site for answers, for comfort, and for inspiration. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be a lot of success stories but I am proud to say I am one. It was quite a daunting task writing this all down, I swear I could write a novel based on my experience with depression and antidepressants. Irregardless I hope my story can help encourage those currently in the midst of withdrawal just as stories I had read on this site encouraged me during my withdrawal. I am a 27 year old man and I took antidepressants from 2010 to early 2016. My first year was on Zoloft and the next five years were on Effexor 150mg. Depression entered my life around the age of 13 and it more or less stayed there up until recently. Sure there were periods of time where it subsided but eventually I would always return to my depressed default state. When I was about 13 my father died unexpectedly, a few years later my grandfather was murdered. My teenage years were very lonely. Affected by the deaths and trying to understand my sexuality pushed me into a state of isolation, it was during this time where I developed a very strong pornograghy addiction. Rather than talk about my issues through friends and therapy I chose to keep them hidden and use medication to do the work for me. Soon after starting college I got on Zoloft. It suited me, I felt calm and content but I craved something more stimulating. I had previously been prescribed adderall, but I recognized the ill effects it had on my personality so I stopped taking it. The campus doctor recommended Effexor, he said I might find it to be more stimulating. Therefore without question I took the prescription and worked my way up to 150mg where I would remain the next 5 years. During this time I was also taking ambien nightly, and between these two drugs I was able block out any of the persistent issues that were bothering me. I was numb. Years later I was living in a house with two very supportive roommates. These two guys would become my best friends and for the first time in my life I actually opened up about the things that truly bothered me. I also finally decided to get into therapy. In retrospect I could see that I was not actually happy on the antidepressants. I was just going through the motions, numb to the good and numb to the bad. I could see my growing disconnect from people. Up until those roommates I didn’t have close friends, I wasn't dating, and I certainly wasn’t having sex. I was almost 25 and still a virgin. The antidepressants removed the desire to be intimate with people, I was living in perpetual loneliness. So in January of 2016 I made the decision I was getting off Effexor and that was that. As with most doctors, my doctor had no idea how to get me off. There are no established plans to get people off of antidepressants, once your on them your expected to stay on them. So every two weeks I would half the dosage, and at the lowest dosage I was to take it every other day. That was completely idiotic as Effexor only has a 12 hour half life, essentially I would be playing ping pong with my brain chemistry. Fortunately I did not follow that last part of the plan but I did get off too quickly. After five years on the drug, six weeks is not long enough to get completely off. My first day off of Effexor was also my first day on a one month solo trip through South America which was during my birthday month when I would be turning 25. The trip was fantastic but it gave me a false sense of security as to what life would be like without the drug. While traveling you are processing so much new information and your brain is naturally producing tons of dopamine through all these new experiences therefore I was not accurately feeling what real withdrawal would feel like. I had some minor headaches the first week of the trip but that was really it. By the time the trip ended I thought life without antidepressants was going to be a piece of cake, boy was I wrong. When I came back it was time to face reality, and I had to do so without relying on Effexor. We were moving from our house, my two awesome roommates were going their separate ways and I was on my own. On top of that I had a very important all consuming project at work to figure out. My anxiety was through the roof. I had a prescription for Ativan that I used very sparingly to get me through, but the anxiety was so bad I thought I needed a more permanent solution. I had to do whatever it took to get through this move and this project so I went back to the doctor to try a different antidepressant. He put me on Lexapro, I believe it was only 5mg but I could feel it instantly. I was finding I was hypersensitive to everything now. I was only able to tolerate Lexapro for 5 days because on the fifth day I was contemplating suicide. Whatever fire I had inside me that had always gotten me through the tough **** felt extinguished and I just wanted to die. I ended up going back to Effexor only taking 10 or so beads from the capsule, just that small amount made a tremendous difference in my anxiety. I did this until I had settled into a new place and my project was complete. While my anxiety was calmed my emotions were neutralized and my libido was extinguished. These were the exact reasons I got off in the first place so I knew I had to stick with the plan of staying off for good. Things were calming down but I was very depressed and had a complete lack of motivation. I was trying a lot of things like B-vitamins, Magnesium, L-theanine, and Fish Oil. I could feel some benefit from each of them but after a few days I would be back in my depression. I had very low energy and I was sensitive to everything. Just eating bread would make me feel terrible even though I had no apparent gluten intolerance previously. It was around this time a good friend of mine talked me into doing Improv. I thought it was crazy but I had nothing left to lose. So even at my worst I did Improv and I also continued training in the martial art Krav Maga. No matter how bad I felt I would show up and make a fool of myself in Improv or hit the **** out of something in Krav. I always felt much relief whenever I did either and I credit both of those activities to helping me beat my depression in the long run. I opened up a lot to my friends and family about what was going on in my head, and whenever my anxiety felt high I would challenge myself into doing something that made me uncomfortable. I performed on stage, I did sparring at my gym, I went on dates with guys, and I opened up to my Mom about my sexuality. My motto was “oh you think you’re anxious now? Wait till you do this!” While all these lifestyle changes helped build up my confidence I still struggled to find relief from my depression. I thoroughly researched the neurotransmitters and what vitamins and supplements help support what. I determined that my issues seemed to lie with Dopamine. So I went back to my doctor to get on Wellbutrin. I was not happy about throwing in the towel again but I also wasn’t ultimately finding relief. I was open to Wellbutrin because it supposedly did not have as severe of sexual side effects. I started taking it and I actually felt pretty damn good. Unfortunately I also broke out in hives. So it was back to the drawing board. I tried St. John’s wort and SAM-e, neither of those did anything. Finally I tried L-Tyrosine, this seemed to make the biggest difference. Like I hypothesized, my problem stemmed from dopamine and L-Tyrosine is a precursor in the creation of dopamine. While I found some relief, it was very finicky. Taking too much made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack, too little of course did nothing at all. It was also very easily influenced by the digestive process so it was hard to find consistency and consistency was what I needed as I was about to hop on a very stressful 6 week project. I threw in the towel again this time looking at Cymbalta. I had read that it was less likely to cause the sexual side effects that Effexor does. It was true, I found my libido did not seem to suffer as badly however I downright felt badly. I felt achy, my head hurt, I felt dehydrated, and I was terrified to force my body to adjust to this seemingly toxic drug. I knew that I had no intentions of staying on antidepressants my whole life therefore if Cymbalta feels this harsh to adjust to in the beginning then I can only imagine what it would feel like to get off of. This whole withdrawal process shook me to my core. While I was desperate to find relief so that I could function at work I also knew that I never wanted to withdrawal from an antidepressant again. I tossed the Cymbalta and I went back to taking a few beads of the Effexor. Once again I felt relief but once again my libido vanished as did my emotions. The most striking difference I noticed once I was back on the Effexor had to do with a coworker. I had a thing for one of the girls I was working with and I knew she felt similarly. Whenever she smiled at me I could feel an electricity rush through my body. When I got back on Effexor and she smiled at me, I felt nothing. That was it, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I could be depressed, anxious, and barely able to function but I was not going to lose the feeling of being human. I was not going to lose feeling a connection with someone, caring about someone, and I sure as hell was not going to lose my libido, not at 25. Antidepressants were out, I had to find another way. That’s when I discovered a different form of L-Tyrosine called N-Actetyl-L-Tyrosine, this form is less affected by digestion and crosses the blood brain barrier more easily. It took a lot of experimentation with how to dose the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. It caused a lot of headaches but it was relieving my depression and anxiety. Finally I developed a regimen that included several of the vitamins I had previously tried that offered relief but couldn’t fix the problem as a whole. My regimen consisted of a B-complex, Fish oil, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D during the day; at night I would take Magnesium, melatonin, and every other night 150mg of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. After 6 months of suffering and countless experimentation I finally found stability again with my own personal regimine. I more or less stayed on this particular plan for a year, and the extreme depression and anxiety stayed away. I had never felt better because I was actually feeling everything like a human being should. I was also very in tune with my emotions, as soon as I felt depressing thoughts creeping in I would identify them and root out what may be causing them. I continued challenging myself with the improv, krav maga, and anything else that my old self would swear I could never do. I also continued therapy and being open and honest with those around me. I beat the depression that had been plaguing me the majority of my life. I didn’t stay on that particular set of vitamins and supplements indefinitely, I started dropping things along the way. After about a year the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine started acting finicky again, I was suffering headaches similar to when I first got on it. I ended up dropping the Tyrosine several months ago and instead started experimenting with Rhodiola Rosea. So far it has been working well. If the Rhodiola Rosea stops working I’ll try something else, the important thing is that my mindset has changed. I’m extremely self aware, I’ve accomplished so many things I thought I could never do, and I know that I no longer need antidepressants to function. Depression will always be something I will battle but I’m finally now in the driver's seat and I am not going to give up my spot so easily this time. Withdrawal is horrible but its an important process in forming a new and better self. Just because L-Tyrosine and Rhodiola Rosea have helped me doesn’t mean they will help everyone. It took a lot of trial and error to find what seemed to click. Ultimately it was challenging myself, being honest and open with those around me, and learning mindfulness that truly brought me into the light. I hope my story can provide some ray of hope for all of you out there in the thick of it. It can be done. It’s not the end of the world to reinstate just know what your ultimate goals are and stick to them.
  10. Hi everyone, I'm new here. I was on Effexor for just over 3 months, 37.5mg a day. A tiny dose...or so I thought! I started to get severe tingling and leg pain/spasms so I went to GP and he told me it was the Effexor and we agreed I could come off it and he advised me to stop taking it as there is no lower dose. 3 days later I was back with the GP as I had now developed very bad burning sensations in my legs and feet and it hurt to put my feet in shoes. I also developed other symptoms like dizziness (when I moved my head), nausea, diarrhoea, twitches, general flu like feelings. Some days my body felt like it had been battered. I'm now off the Effexor 3 weeks and 5 days and some things have improved however the most distressing thing for me is the tingling and burning in my legs and feet and this is still going on. I have been to my GP a total of 3 times since I stopped taking the Effexor and he has told me it can take 3 to 4 weeks for the withdrawal to ease off. I do see some improvement so I do think it's getting better and the leg spasms are not as severe but the tingling and burning hasn't let up yet. I'm wondering if anybody else experienced this and how long it took to go away? It's hard to feel positive with these sensations and I start to think it'll never stop. GP prescribed Gabapentin which I'm not taking. I do take Cod Liver Oil and Multi Vitamin that has B complex in it. I'm also doing foot soaks with Epsom salts and going for a walk every day. Any feedback appreciated. Thanks x
  11. Hello, my name is Danielle. I am new to this site, but have been reading it for quite some time now. My parents put me on effexor xr when I was 6 years old for severe anxiety and childhood phobias. It worked great for years. I had very little side effects and life was hunky dory. I am now 24 years old and the medication is no longer working. I stupidly tried to come off of the Effexor over the coarse of 3 months under directions from my psychiatrist. Obviously, I crashed and I have been desperately trying to get my life back for the last 10 months. During those months, I was under the impression that I was ‘very ill’ and a ‘special case’ based on the severity of my symptoms, but now I am realizing what has happened to me is not my original illness resurfacing, but the effects of the discontinuation of the medication. I’m an RN and have been out of work for the last 6 months. I have read stories on here of people eventually recovering from ssri and snri withdrawl, but was wondering if anyone has any experience or knows of anyone who was prescribed one of these drugs as a child. Is there hope for me or will I have to live with the consequences of my parents decision for the rest of my life? Will these dehabilitating symptoms ever go away or are my receptors f***ed for life?
  12. Hey everyone! Just wanted to introduce myself and let you all in on my journey and discontinuation of antidepressants. I am 28 years old and just ended an 11 year relationship with AD's. There was so much shame I felt being on these drugs. I felt like I was this great person because of the pills I was taking and nothing more. I wouldn't dare tell a soul I was taking antidepressants for fear that they would then see the pill and not me. Make sense? I said goodbye to Sertraline in November 2017. After completing yoga teacher training and having this new perspective of myself and my life, I started to actually feel the chemicals that weren't meant to be in my body. I had tried tapering off of Sertraline 3 times prior to the last over the past few years. The previous tries I would make it about a month or two before surrendering back to the pills to make myself feel better if I started feeling sad or uneasy. This time was different. VERY different. This time I started with intense research. I wanted to discontinue the dosage but this time was for real; I would do my homework and get off of these things once and for all. And what I found first broke my heart, made me angry and then gave me hope. The anger is still present when I try to find a reason 'why' people are enslaved to these prescription drugs. The research I found led me to this site, and I continue to research the effects and harms that these medications actually do to people, unbeknownst to them. The cause of our sadness is residual, stagnant energy trapped in our bodies from a traumatic event or life experience that changed our perspective of what is. When we take these medications, we are never actually dealing with the source of our problems, rather than masking it over with a clouded perception of reality. I used to love my prescriptions. Even after I would attempt to quit, that love would return after I felt 'better' taking them again. I was prescribed my first antidepressant when I was 16. I was missing a lot of school because I slept in too late. I just loved my sleep. Eventually, I was sent to the PCP to see what could be done about this sleeping problem.. Well, her answer was Citalopram (Celexa). This was the beginning of a battle I never wanted to be involved with but here I am. And P.S. the sleeping issue was not resolved in any way thereafter. To keep it short, I will just give you a brief history of how my dance with prescription drugs evolved after that: 2006 Celexa (Citalopram) 40 mg & Adderall XR 75 mg (a lot of the times more because I was heavily addicted) 2007 Citalopram & Ritalin (don't remember mg) .. soon after Vyvanse (don't remember mg) and finally to Amphetamine Salts due to unpleasant side effects from the Ritalin & Vyvanse.. ** indicates time period where Amphetamine Salts were prescribed 2008 ** Citalopram 40 mg-> Effexor XR 75 mg after a psychiatric evaluation (which I now understand was due to the medications and the effect they had on me mentally ... psh) 2009** Effexor XR 75 mg - Paxil (Paroxetine) 30 mg due to the INSANELY high cost of Effexor without insurance I was forced to wean myself off and switch 2010** Paxil 30 mg-> Sertraline 50 mg due to weight gain and lethargy 2011-2013 Sertraline 50 mg -> Wellbutrin (Bupropion Hcl) 75 mg due to sexual side effects and wanting to feel alive again 2013-2017 Wellbutrin 75 mg -> Back to Zoloft (Sertraline) 75 mg because the anxious side effects of the Wellbutrin made me uneasy and Sertraline seemed to be the only AD that had the least side effects at the time 2017 Sertraline 75 mg -> slow taper to 50 MG for two weeks -> halving the dosage & following this pattern until there was nothing -> 5 HTP 50 mg & 1200 mg Fish Oil NOW = 1200 mg Fish Oil and becoming accustomed to an Ayurvedic diet along with daily yoga practice**** this is HUGE and one of the main reasons I have remained clean from AD's Now, almost two months clean from prescription drugs I can say that there is still lots of work to be done. When you go through your teenage years and early twenties on AD's, you need to relearn how to interact and react as there is no longer that pill keeping you numb. Everything becomes real and raw. There are still days that I have my emotions consume my entire being in a negative way and I am still working on this. I WILL NOT GIVE UP. As of right now, it seems as though I am taking off from where I left off at 16 years old. This means emotionally and re actively along with maturity and sexuality. As many of you can relate, I could go on with this topic and how it has effected my entire life for ever and ever. There will be more posts that follow in regards to these drugs and how we can help each other become clean and free once again as we were made to be. Love and blessings to you all <3 we CAN do this..we are all in this together! LB Anti-depressants controlling tools of your system Making life more tolerable, making life more tolerable. The Unthinking Majority - Serj Tankian
  13. from: http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/24/woman-shares-coming-off-antidepressant-ruined-life-7255570/ When Tabitha Dow was six, she had her first migraine. Now and again she’d be stuck with headaches, but when she hit 29 they became more regular and more severe. Soon her migraines were debilitating, so she sought out medical support at the National Migraine Centre in London. There, Tabitha was advised to ask her doctor for the antidepressant Venlafaxine at a maximum dose of 150mg. She was told that this would help not only with her migraines, but also with her persistent low moods. ‘This was the start of my downfall,’ Tabitha tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Neither the neurologist, nor the GP who subsequently prescribed the drug, explained that it was extremely chemically addictive. ‘I was not told how long to take it for, it was prescribed indefinitely, and there was no mention that coming off the drug would likely result in severe withdrawal symptoms and a need to taper off like you would heroin. ‘Neither mentioned that one of the common withdrawal effects of Venlafaxine are migraines.’ Venlafaxine didn’t work to help Tabitha’s mood, so after a year, she decided she wanted to come off it. Asking her GP about a plan to taper off the antidepressant, Tabitha was told that the medical professional had ‘no idea’ how to proceed. ‘I was completely by myself,’ says Tabitha. She followed the instructions recommended by her GP, but was quickly confront with severe and debilitating withdrawal symptoms. The plan the doctor recommended was fast and drastic, and Tabitha feels she was left completely unprepared for what she was about to face. Tabitha before withdrawal. Picture: Tabitha Dow) ‘The migraines increased dramatically and on top of these I developed intense crushing pressure in my forehead which was constant and unbearable for months,’ Tabitha remembers. ‘I also experienced chronic fatigue, internal tremors, startling easily, sensitivity to light and sound, sensory overload, anger, brain zaps, pressure behind my eyes, tired eyes, extreme fear, panic, confusion, being unable to speak, being unable to move, my brain feeling sick, my heart beating fast when I stood up, mental turmoil, night terrors, hypnagogic hallucinations, night sweats, gasping in my sleep, feeling unwell after a bath/shower, severe difficulty waking up in the morning, feeling drowsy and stuck until several hours after waking, feeling drugged and toxic after napping and sleeping, a sensation of my brain moving from side-to-side, squeezing/tight sensation inside my head, right eye-brow pulling upwards, a chemical “metally” sensation in my forehead, vibrating and electrical sensation in my head, being unable to cope with everyday tasks, deterioration in mood, agitation, feeling like my brain was shutting down, light-headed when I stood up, feeling like my body was rocking as if on a boat, feeling catatonic, scrambled thinking, feeling as if there was a block in my thinking, difficulty planning, difficulty carrying out sequential tasks, and feeling detached from my environment.’ Having found out that she has a lesion in the frontal lobe in her brain, Tabitha believes she may have even had a seizure during this time. ‘I’ve had two episodes where I couldn’t speak,’ she says. ‘It felt like an electrical storm in my head, which I’ve read is what a seizure feels like.’ Tabitha during withdrawal. (Picture: Tabitha Dow) At first Tabitha didn’t realise that her symptoms were the direct result of withdrawal from Venlafaxine. When she asked her doctor for help and her test results came back normal, she was offered no further support. ‘I was left to cope alone,’ she says. NICE's current guidelines on Venlafaxine, and what Tabitha wants to change: ‘Associated with a higher risk of withdrawal effects compared with other antidepressants. ‘Gastro-intestinal disturbances, headache, anxiety, dizziness, paraesthesia, tremor, sleep disturbances, and sweating are most common features of withdrawal if treatment stopped abruptly or if dose reduced markedly; dose should be reduced over several weeks.’ Tabitha suggests that the recommendation to reduce the dose over several weeks isn’t accurate. It takes months to come off the antidepressant safely, and two years later she’s still experiencing debilitating symptoms. She notes that NICE’s guidelines also fail to mention that Venlafaxine can cause withdrawal symptoms even when not stopped abruptly, and tapered off in accordance with GP’s tapering guidelines. Unable to work, Tabitha had to quit her job and leave her flat in West London to move home with her parents, so they could look after her. She lost everything – her job, her health, her home, and yet, she says, doctors still refuse to listen to her struggles. The doctors Tabitha has seen don’t believe that withdrawal can cause the severe symptoms Tabitha listed. The only psychiatrist she could find to back up her claims is Dr Healy, who’s dedicated his time to researching the effects of Venlafaxine’s withdrawal symptoms. Dr Healy wrote a letter to Tabitha’s GP confirming that she was experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms, but Tabitha says she’s still not receiving any help. It was only when Tabitha found a Facebook group dedicated to Venlafaxine withdrawal that she learned she wasn’t alone in experiencing her symptoms. Scrolling through the group, Tabitha found comment after comment repeating her experience, listing a ‘crushing pressure in their foreheads every single day’, that feels like your head is ‘in a vice’ or you’re being ‘smashed in the head with a brick’. ‘It’s ruined my life’ (Picture: Tabitha Dow) ‘It wasn’t until I joined this group and saw that there were hundreds of people in the group all experiencing the same symptoms as me,’ Tabitha tells us, ‘and that I realised that my symptoms were caused by Venlafaxine withdrawal. ‘I told two GPs that I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms from Venlafaxine. One didn’t comment but agreed to refer me to see Dr Healy, the other disagreed even once I had written evidence from Dr Healy.’ Doctors Tabitha has seen believe that the symptoms she’s experiencing are not the result of coming off Venlafaxine, but are simply her original condition returning. We spoke to a psychiatrist with experience in Venlafaxine, Dr Cosmo Hallstrom, who told us that it’s one of the most popular antidepressants out there, and is generally regarded as the most effective. While legally, GPs are required to give patients all the information regarding drugs they prescribe, Dr Hallstrom says that the reality is quite different. ‘A doctor’s interest is to get patients treated, and to persuade them to take medication that will help,’ Dr Hallstrom tells Metro.co.uk. ‘So maybe they don’t start listing off all the possible side effects.’ He notes that a GP’s perception of risk is different to that of a patient, and doctors may be reluctant to note all the possible risks in case it puts a patient off getting help. Two years later, Tabitha is still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. (Picture: Tabitha Dow) SSRIs do have withdrawal symptoms, Dr Hallstrom explains, but these tend to be short-lived. He states that data shows that in the majority of patients who believe they’re having withdrawal symptoms, what they’re actually experiencing is the return of their initial condition. He does admit, however, that there’s a chance some people may experience genuine withdrawal – but recommends a simple ‘test, retest’ as a way to check it out. ‘I understand that a lot of patients might not want to take the medication again, having been through a bad experience,’ Dr Hallstrom says. ‘They say “that stuff’s poison”. ‘But if it is withdrawal, when they start taking the drug again their symptoms should disappear within 24 or 48 hours. That’s a simple test.’ But having been ‘traumatised’ by her experience, Tabitha is reluctant to go near medication again – especially as Venlafaxine didn’t work to remedy her depression in the first place, and she doesn’t want to be tied to taking medication for the rest of her life. Two years on, she’s still debilitated by withdrawal symptoms. She’s unable to work, relies on PIP and ESA benefits, and is now trying to raise money to fund alternative therapies to help her cope – not only with her side effects, but with her thyroid cancer, which she was diagnosed with in the last few years. It’s the withdrawal symptoms that concern her most. MORE: HEALTH Are burpees really the one exercise you should never attempt? What if you want to stay sober after Dry January? OPINION Why we should be talking about menopause from a young age Weird reasons you might be spotting or having a longer period than normal ‘I’d rather have thyroid cancer than go through coming off Venlafaxine,’ Tabitha tells her. ‘Thyroid cancer doesn’t cause any symptoms. Withdrawal ruins my life every thirty seconds. ‘I have really bad cognitive symptoms. It was like my brain had been drugged. ‘I feel like my intelligence has gone, along with my memory.’ Naturally, the experience has put Tabitha off taking medication. She now relies on alternative therapies, but as this is a huge financial burden, she’s taken to GoFundMe to ask for help. Now, by sharing her story, Tabitha hopes she can affect change. ‘It’s too late for me,’ she tells us. ‘Taking Venlafaxine has ruined my life; I’ve lost my income, my social life and my independence. ‘But I would like doctors to believe me. I’d like them to listen. ‘I want there to be better information about coming off antidepressants and I want there to be a change to the NICE guidelines, so no one has to go through this again.’ Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/24/woman-shares-coming-off-antidepressant-ruined-life-7255570/?ito=cbshare Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
  14. Hi there all fellow warriors, I have been doing the 10% effexor taper for the last year and currently am at 33mg effexor. I have been experiencing long term fatigue and been working with my GP to identify any possible causes. Have been doing a complete physical workup to check my health. Just got results back and I have quite significant hyponatremia (electrolyte imbalance) all physical causes have been ruled out - it is drug induced & the culprit is the damn effexor. The drug is causing a syndrome of inappropriate secretion of diuretic hormone ( SIADH ) Medical protocol for drug induced hyponatremia is to remove the drug responsible. My Dr wants me off effexor and sooner than later. My Doctor is aware of my taper but wants me off effexor much sooner than my taper schedule. I also really want off the drug but I am scared about gonig cold turkey or even withdrawing faster - I'm seeing my Dr again next week to discuss further. Maybe as my dose is only 33mg i will be ok with stopping more quickly but from what i have read here everyone says to go more slowly - on that schedule it would be another year at least before i'm finished tapering and it seems now i have medical complications from taking the drug this is no longer viable. I feel afraid, any advise most welcome!
  15. I have been on Effexor 150mg for about 3years now. I stopped cold turkey 3 days ago , ( yes i know it’s not right to do ) so being i’m on my 3rd day will they get better, worse or remain the same?
  16. Hi there, I joined yesterday and have been on 75mg of Effexor for 9 years and epilim for 13 years before that. I have been sober from alcohol fro about 3 years and notice I get all dopey during the day and especially in the morning now. My mental health is better than it has ever been after a history of cross addictions and depression. I went to my doctor and he didn't want me to stop or change my medication. he i8s very old school. Then I went to a different doctor and he advised I go down to 37.5mg of Effexor xr every day fro 2 weeks. So tried that 2 days ago, the withdrawels were not too bad but I didn't sleep much. So, on the second day I nearly went crazy and I need to sleep fro my work so ended up taking a second 37.5 mg tablet of Effexor about 4pm. This morning, I opened up my 75 mg tablet of Effexor. It is two small tabs in a casing. I cut the second tablet in half to make about 50mg Effexor I have taken today. Any advice? I feel ok so far. It is 10.30am here in New Zealand.
  17. Hello All, I'm new here and am looking for some help. I've suffered from major depressive disorder my entirelife. My depression is a fairly constant part of my life with brief windows of freedom from it. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder also, and at that time decided to try medication. I've tried multiple antidepressants and NONE OF THEM HAVE HELPED. I don't remember the first few I tried, but I tried paxil for a month, gave me my first panic attacks ever, then I switched to zoloft, which made me so tired I couldn't function, and then I came to effexor. I was on Effexor for 6 months, but all it did was numb my anxiety, and did nothing for my depression. So, I've been off effexor for a month now. I didn't tapper off too well. Was on a 70mg dose(I'm very sensitive to medication that was a very high dose for me) and in the span of two weeks kept cut down the dose/stopped. I couldn't take it though, the drug made me so sick everyday for 6 months, it was horrible. Now my depression is in full swing and I don't care about anything. I'm a full time grad student in a studio art program and since getting off effexor I can't make anything, I'm too depressed, I don't want to do anything and have been isolating in my room, sleeping up to 15 hours a day, just excessive depression symptoms. I'm afraid to go to a therapist/psych because all they ever want to do is give me meds and they don't work for me! Not a single one has helped. Has anyone else experienced that? No med working? and could anyone give me advice about stopping antidepressants and depression symptoms? It's been about a month so idk if I should introduce a little bit of effexor back in or not? I tried to do 15mg a while ago and it made me sick and very sleepy like when i was taking my full 70mg. Should I just ride out this depression and hope for the best? I hate antidepressants, they really have been a horrible part of my life. Any info/help greatly appreciated here. xo, vi
  18. Hi there, everyone! I just joined today and have been a bit disheartened to find no advice for those who no longer have the option to taper. I was put on 225 mg Effexor for one month in October of 2016. After serotonin syndrome (which has similar effects to severe withdrawals) my doc had my taper over only 5 days. I was unaware that a new and more dangerous condition was replacing the old. I am still struggling with severe GI, psychological and nerve issues. GABApentin 300mg daily seems to bring the only relief. At several months past the year mark I am terrified that this is my life now. Like many on this sight, it's hard to see a future worth living for. Has anyone had success recovering from long-term damage?
  19. PatriciaM: Glad to get to know you

    Hi. I am new here, slowly tapering at 2.5% (first week). Are there REALLY any people who have successfully made it and are now 100% Effexor free and feeling good? This is my 5th attempt and I am not sure if all this process if it is worth it or not. Maybe because I can't talk about this withdrawal with my doc, partner or my kids. Everybody is against this. Any input would be welcome.
  20. Lissakasey

    So hey all brutal year. Was on zoloft for like 10 years. Last march I got really bad anemia and started having crying spells. Doc upped my Zoloft dose and I became suicidal. Doc then changed me to lexapro which cause severe anxiety. Then briefly Paxil. Doc then said she thought I am bipolar so started lithium and zyprexa. Ended up hospitalized the end of september. They added Prozac and gabapentin. Depression got worse and anxiety restarted with Prozac introduction. Spent 3 months on Prozac only for it to make me feel lifeless and depressed. I got off the lithium, zyprexa, and gabapentin in that three months. Doc changed me to Effexor two and a half weeks ago, only now I'm having anxiety and extreme rage and irritation. So I'm planning to stop the Effexor. How bad do you guys think withdrawal will be for me. I really just want to get off the med wheel.
  21. 20 years on effexor and buspiron due to depression - anxiety. One year on lamotrigin. I started tapering in 2016 because of adverse effect. Effexor 150 mg to 75 mg by addwise from doc. No problems. Next on 37,5 and hell broke loose. Reinstated on 75 and kept it there. While tapering I was sat on lamotrigin 300 mg over a couple of month. No effect! Started tapering buspiron 10 mg x 2 august 2017 and is know on 6+6 Started tapering lamotrigin nov 2017 and is now on200 mg. After reading here I got in doubt. Am I tapering in the best way? Recomondation?
  22. Eight weeks after quitting, i had gone through the worst of it, right? Vertigo, nausea, hypersensitivity, agitation, inability to handle any stress. And then today happened. I've been reading Miracle Mornings and meditating, exercising, affirming myself, reading positive books, applying essential oils and taking vitamin D and B-12 which seem to make my recovery much better than some stories I've read. I've been feeling super happy, elated, crying at commercials like a normal mother of 4, and best of all, starting to find sheer joy in my children!). But today a stressful argument about money through me into a rage and subsequent darkness that lead me to this site in lieu of self harm. It's already helpful to see solid research cited here as well as resources for therapeutic groups. In all my research, I read nothing about withdrawal lasting more than 2 months!! But seeing stories of recovery gives me hope that I just need more time, not a padded cell.
  23. Hi, Was on Effexor for 8 years following a divorce. It was causing anxiety and weird moods so I started a taper last summer. Started at 300mg single dose daily. Tapered 25mg each week and added 10mg of prozac to bridge. About 10 weeks later I was off effexor and on 40 mg Prozac. The taper was rough but not too bad, I slept a lot. Next 6 weeks I had moderate to severe brain zaps which faded away and then I started getting body aches, mood swings and a general crappy, tired, depressed feeling. That started Dec1, it's now 5 weeks later and possibly a bit worse. Also feeling slightly sick to my stomach and am eating a bit less. Right along I've been lifting and doing daily cardio. I eat only lean protein, good complex carbs, healthy fats (omega 6,9,3,) lots of vegetables and fruit and water. No sugar or excess complex carbs. Several small meals daily. Not really a health nut I just want to have a nice body. Very lean, muscular, good 6-pack. Once the body aches started lifting has been hard because it basically gets worse. So for the last few weeks I'm just doing cardio and eating clean but to be honest none of this helps at all with withdrawals as far as I can tell. I feel like crap and being jacked and eating plants and chicken breast all day doesn't help one damn bit. I think the overemphasis on working out and eating good is misleading when it comes to withdrawals. It's super important for health otherwise and it's great to have a killer physique but I'm not seeing any benefit with these protracted withdrawals. I started using ativan a few days ago, just a dose here and there to not feel so crummy all the time. But I'm going to have to try prozac soon to see if it will reverse these flu-like symptoms. The body aches are one thing but I'm getting some anxiety and depression as well and I've simply had enough. It's been over 2 months and if anything it's getting worse so I'm just about ready to give up and take some prozac. Very disappointing, I wanted to be free of these crap drugs. I've only held out this long because I'm working very part time. If I was working full time I would have had to have given up even sooner. The fatigue alone is crazy, I sleep all the time. Every day I wake up and feel great and slowly the body aches come then the anxiety. So stupid. None of my doctors have any clue either.
  24. I have been on Effexor xr for anxiety several times in the past 4 years as well as a small dose of seroquel at night but always stopped taking after a few months of feeling better. Normally 75mg to 150mg has helped me live life better and feel like myself again. Yet this time I started on 75mg 4 weeks in took up to 150mg and have been on it for 2 months and still feeling terrible. The last 2 weeks I have found myself crying uncontrollably at the drop of a hat. It's driving me crazy I don't want to cry but just can't seem to stop it from happening. Doctor has put the effexor dose up to the max 225mg which I started today. But if anyone has had the same experience with crying on effector I would love to hear how others have dealt with it as it is putting a lot of pressure on my day to day life and relationship.
  25. I've been a widow and single mom since 2004. I have a history of asthma, osteoarthritis, and slightly elevated blood pressure that is controlled. I am very sensitive to many antibiotics and blood pressure meds so it is hard for me to find something that works but doesn't cause horrible side effects. I have a very short list of "approved by me" prescription medicines. My doctor suggested I try an antidepressant when I mentioned some off and on depression in 2010. She prescribed Effexor first which was unbearable to me as it caused brain zaps and extreme dizziness. She switched me to Sertaline at the smallest dose. It didn't have the same effects so I got used to it. My depression mostly disappeared and I thought I was fixed. I only felt side effects if I skipped a day. In 2015, I started having memory loss. Not every day, but on and off. I might wake up in the morning and take a longer than normal time to determine the day and if I had anything going on that morning. It was such an unnerving and scary feeling! I noticed a harder time retrieving names and words. I was a teacher and trainer and it really scared me! I started researching side effects and found that it's quite common to have trouble with memory when on antidepressants. I also noticed that, although I didn't have worrying or depressing thoughts as often, I also had begun to notice that I didn't care about so many important things in my life. It was like I had an even setting but not a true joy. I also was able to completely ignore important things that a little worry helps keep me motivated to get accomplished. I felt unconcerned about deadlines when in the past, that same concern would have helped me accomplish more.I tried to take myself off that year but soon went back on because of brain zaps and dizziness. In June 2017, I decided to start cutting the pills in half and then quarters over a two month period. I used Benedryl to help with sleep (as I had seen suggested somewhere online) and was finally able to get completely off of Sertraline. I thought it was finished and done until the middle of September when I started having strange symptoms. I had just returned from a month long trip to Europe so I thought my body was just recovering from travel. It's now December and I still have the symptoms so I figure it has to be the withdrawal. I went back to researching and found this site! Here are the withdrawal symptoms I'm dealing with now: on and off depression that lasts for 2-4 days at a time poor appetite and some weight loss (I gained about 20 while on Sertraline) tension and pain in isolated muscle groups that moves around numbness, cold or hot feeling in feet burning soles on both feet after standing and walking for a little while fatigue and low energy feelings waking up in early morning not able to sleep again anxious or catastrophic thoughts and worries constant sinus issues (I do have allergies but usually not year round.) This forum has already calmed many of my worries because I've seen many of these symptoms listed by others!
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