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  1. I am posting this on behalf of my husband who is quite unwell. I am in a very vunerable place watching my husband deteriorate so please be kind. We are in our 60's and have never experienced anything like this. My husband was administered antidepressants for depression over 30 years ago and has remained on antidepressants all this time. I cannot recall what they started him on but maybe 8 years ago he was moved to Effexor XR 75mg. When it was increased to 150mg - we noticed a lack of feeling and low libido. We discussed the idea of coming off the Effexor XR and did this with the aid of high quality supplements - tapering by reducing the beads over a year. There were horrible side effects - nausea, high anxiety and then the concentration started to be impacted. After six months of being off the Effexor XR he deteriorated very quickly to the point where he became Psychotic and he couldn't get his brain to think how to get himself into the shower. It was like his brain had frozen. He kept saying I am losing it! Unfortunately he was admitted to the Psychiatric Ward where they administered 10mg Olanzepine and 75mg Effexor XR then increased it up to 150mg. He was released after three weeks. He was on Olazepine for about three months and the Psychiatrist reduced him off that. Because he is still not stable the Psychiatrist was not sure whether to increase or reduce his medication. He has gone for the latter and we are administering 112mg every other day at around 10am this is our 3rd day (eg 150mg one day 112mg the next and so on). I am monitoring him closely and notice that he is so much more responsive in the morning and quite normal, although says he feels really tired. His memory and concentration has been affected. He has blurred vision. After his medication is given I notice he begins pacing, not as responsive to talking and becomes quite anxious. The Psychiatrist says he has had a relapse and has major depression. I don't know who to believe anymore but I just want my husband well again. Please help?
  2. Hi, Andrew here, my Wife of 6 months is currently going through withdrawal from 110mg of Effexor XR. She was prescribed it by her GP in October last year for self diagnosed social anxiety. No psych dr involved. As a side effect she got insomnia, for this 25mg of seroquol. All was well, we got married in Feb and things were going smoothly, shenwas doing well at work etc. About easter she started complaining people were making comments about her, my family, workmates, her friends etc. In May she had a very depressive episode (it was mothers day and broke down surrounding her being a foster child and not having the desired relationship with her foster family). We all supported her through this and she came right. In June she went to the city with her friends and unfortunately took ecstacy. That night she a big falling out with her friends. Claiming they were picking on her, saying horrible things, trying to "break her down". Her friends version of events is nothing like this. Then August she got sick, tooth infections, UTI infections etc, took antibiotics. At this time she decided my parents were calling her names, being cruel etc I was there and these things wernt happening. Same with the people she works with. I managed to get her to her GP which was difficult as she was adament there was nothing wrong with her. I raised my concerns and the GP said it cant be the effexor and referred us to Mental Health professionals. Then my wife quit her job, refused to go to Psychologist. Eventually managed to get her there and he agreed with me. Effexor was causing this Paranoia etc. She was due to see him again and he was going to start tapering her effexor, she cancelled the appointment. Then her prescription ran out on a Friday. That was almost 4 weeks ago. She went cold turkey. The first couple of days were ok, from Monday she was in bed, brain zaps, nausia, dizziness, aches and pains, light and sound sensitivity. The lot. This got better over 10 days or so. Then she was angry, completly over reacting, decided she wanted to divorce me because I had betrayed her somehow? I got the mental health crisis team involved. The came and saw us and talked to her. Presribed seroquol 25mg morning and night. For sleep (still insomniac) and mood. She refused to take it. They came and saw her again, this time her parents and me were there. This time prescribed her olanzapine 2.5mg, again for sleep and mood. She initially refused to take this. Then that night she came and saw me about 1am saying she wanted to be put in the mental health ward at the hospital, she couldnt cope. I rang the mental health crisis line and they talked her out of it. She started taking the olanzapine the next day each night and finally sleeping. That will be 1 week ago tomorrow. She still says she is moving out, she has collected all her stuff and is preparing it to be packed. She has $100 to her name as I had to cancel credit cards etc as she was spending a fortune online on books and music etc. What do I do?
  3. Hi all,[/size] My name is Lisa, I am a 30 year old female and I believe I've experienced protracted withdrawal. I plan on starting to taper off Effexor XR in July. Here is some of my history: [/size] Starting in 2005, I began taking Lexapro after my father got cancer and passed away 4 months later as I started having panic attacks. I am not sure when I went off Lexapro, but I know I was put on Celexa for a while as Lexapro stopped working and I have now been on Effexor XR for 6 years. In the past, when I go off an SSRI/SNRI, I end up going back on after some time because my panic attacks come back. After 6 months of therapy, I went off Effexor XR in March 2014 with a week of a half dose (37.5 mg) and then completely off, by the advice of a psychiatrist. Actually, the book she referred to recommended 2 days of a half dose and then completely off, but she extended it.[/size] Withdrawal was horrendous. Insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, dizzy, not able to concentrate, felt just SO out of it. Finally it was over in a week or so. But in late May 2015 (3 months later, thinking it was all out of my system and I was good), I had just gotten home from vacation and was about to get into the shower when BAM, I was suddenly so dizzy that I couldn't tell which way was up or down. This remained for 3 months day in and out and after a ton of tests (took meclizine (anti-dizziness pill) which did nothing, ENT looked at my sinuses/ears which were clear, inner ear tests which were normal, brain MRI which was normal), until I went back on Effexor XR in August 2014 by recommendation of a neurologist who said it was my anxiety coming back. During what I'm thinking was protracted withdrawal, I was dizzy constantly. I'd wake up from a deep sleep completely dizzy, it did not go away. I also had excruciating headaches at night and could barely sleep 2-3 hours a night because of this (I NEVER get headaches). I was also severely exhausted because of the dizziness - everything was harder, and the low amounts of sleep due to headaches. I did not understand because other than being upset of my state of being constantly dizzy, I really was not anxious. I was meditating, exercising (as much as I could - it was a feat with being dizzy), nothing significant going on in my life. I had also been going to therapy and made huge strides.. I still continue to go to therapy weekly and it's been about a year and a half now. I was so confused as to how this could be anxiety. Now I'm reading this site and I'm learning this was probably protracted withdrawal. After I started taking the Effexor XR again, within 2 weeks I felt totally better. Now that I have been back on Effexor XR since August 2014, and after learning what I've read on this site, I want to start a slow taper in July after my next vacation. My therapist believes I am ready and now I know I am after having a great suspicion that those symptoms were not due to my anxiety. I have read the advice boards and will be doing the 10% per month taper. I also will be going to the recommended doctor in Farmington, MI and have an appt with him at the end of this month.[/size] Has anyone else experienced the protracted withdrawal symptoms that I had? Any other advice or tips that you can share? I will be coming here often and hoping to make friends [/size] Thanks![/size]
  4. I have been on meds since I was around 18, I am now 33, I have been tapering off all my meds for the last year now, I have managed to get off venlafaxine xr 75mg which I tapered off for around 4 - 6 months, and quetiapine 50mg over the last 12 months, I was on 200mg at one point and also tapered off diazapam 10mg, and also propranolol 10mg, I have been off all meds now for nearly 3 months and have been fine, I have been at the gym most days and eating healthy, I was starting to look good again and becoming myself again, I have not been human while on meds for the last lots of years, I was finally starting to enjoy life and then the last few weeks my sleep has been getting very fractured and I have been waking up very early with extreme brain fog, it feels like my head is going to explode sometimes, now the last 2 nights I have not slept at all and feel like death, I even took 2 melatonin tablets and they did nothing, what on earth is going on? I am worried I have done some serious damage to my brain, I am too worried to go and get checked at the doctors as I could not handle news that I have some brain disease, I have read that meds can cause effects many months after, can anyone give any advice/peace of mind?
  5. Great Post, Thank You ! ["How I am coping with depression" by apathetic] Very informed, you know your stuff. I'm new to all of it, but an advid researcher, also very in tune with My body, So I knew all of this.... What I do not Know is, Should I be going from Prestiq 100mg to Effexor as of this past Wk. 7 days 50 mg Prestiq, w/ 37.5 mg Effex. Now, Prestiq every other day for 3 days, Then Stop .Then adding another 37.5 Effex, Not there yet, a few more days. I Am Petrified of Effexor Now !!! After Reading these boards. I had a Very Tragic Event, You wouldn't believe if I told you. Lawyers, traveling back & forth from West coast to East Coast, for the past 20 mons, hardly home, because of the Fight to save someone's life. So clearly Stress off the charts, PTSD Intensive out patient therapy.... My WD so far, Extreme OCD, Hyper as Hell, Can't eat, Haven't Slept in 22 mons, since.... Prestiq is a Nightmare HELL to get off of. I did it once, 4 yrs ago, then had to reinstate after a month. Plus I didn't it myself, Stupid, Cut them in half, Even More Stupid, which caused them to release at triple the forces, causing that extreme Anxiety, I never have suffered with Period, just as a WD symptoms. So Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm SCARED Now... I pray I haven't Already done damage by taking this Effexor in the last 8 days. That's how powerful a drug it apparently is. This I did not know...To Messed up to look into it myself, Not my usual MO, but I'm So out of it, just Not Myself !! I hear Myself Rambling on, instantly Grab My Mouth, to Shut it UP. I KNOW, I'm Acting Like a FREAK Thanx so much 4 your post
  6. MickeyEffexor: Introduction

    Greetings, My name is Mickey. I just registered on this site today after reading various posts for the last couple days. I'm a 32 year old male living in Philadelphia, PA Here is my story: I started on ADs back in 22 after moving away and joining the workforce. I felt so anxious and scared after a few weeks at work and eventually went on meds. I was on a few different meds for a few different years and they seemed to help a little. In 2011, I was travelling internationally for work and had a big breakdown and had constant anxiety/depression. Getting through every day was a nightmare. I would also note that from 22 until now, I have been a habitual cannabis user (smoking). At that time I switched to a new doctor and went on Effexor XR (150mg) and Wellbutrin (300mg). That seemed to help a little bit. In 2012 I moved to Philly. I continued my meds just with my GP at that time. In 2015, I started seeing a Therapist and psychiatrist for med management. This seemed to work for a while, but I wanted to get off my meds. I was scared of being dependent on them forever. I also knew Effexor was a pain to come off for most people. We came up with a plan to get me off the meds. Some time in 2016, I went off the Wellbutrin and had no issues. Working with the therapist was helpful for understanding mindfulness, and general just getting feedback on things going on in life. From there, the tapering of the Effexor went as follows: Late 2016 - moved from 150mg to 117.5mg. After 8-12 weeks, went down to 75mgs. After 8-12 weeks, went down to 37.5. After 8-12 weeks went down to 25mg (non-XR) tabs. I was on 25mg for 8 weeks, then had my last appoint with my psych was early August 2017. I had 4 pills left of the 25mg, and he said to cut those in half and finish those, then I was done. I also reduced my intake of cannabis during the past year. I used to smoke multiple bowls multiple times a day. During the 2017, I reduced to smoking once a day, and a very little amount (especially when I think how much I was smoking over the years prior) During the time I was tapering off, I didn't notice any withdrawal or other symptoms that lasted long at all. I was very surprised at this considering I had heard coming off effexor was so terrible. I actually felt pretty normal since coming off the meds, but this past Monday, things got crazy. I was having my usual nightly smoke and had a bad panic/anxiety attack. My heart was racing, terrible anxiety, tremors/shaking, bad thoughts. I took .25mg of some left over xanax I have and was able to calm down. I actually felt quit normal before I fell asleep. Tuesday, I woke up with the rush of anxiety and fear. I was a bit shaky, had no appetite. I had the pangs of anxiety and dread throughout the day, worrying about everything I had to deal with in work/life. I was able to make it through my work day and went to a baseball game that night. I usually would smoke before going but decided not to, I also chose not to have any beer at the game. That night, I had bad tremors, insomnia, sweats/chills. I finally took a xanax (.25mg) around 2am to help me get some sleep. Wednesday, I took the day off and laid around watching TV and trying to rest. My appetite wasn't much better, but I forced myself to eat. I had small worries throughout the day, that I feel I was able to handle for the most part with mindfulness and breathing exercises. An hour before bed I took another xanax and actually was able to fall asleep ok, though I woke up at 4am and 6am, but fell back asleep. Today, I think I'm feeling a little better, I'm back at work and so far feeling I'm handling the stress of work well. My brain feels foggy and concentration is tough. I still have the worry feeling in my gut and just generally do not feel good. I've also cut out caffeine/soda as of Sunday, and have not smoked again since Monday. (I'm a little scared to for now) Based on everything I've read, I know these withdrawal effects will wear off in time. But I'm concerned because it was a month after my last pill that I had any significant withdrawal. I'm seeing my therapist tomorrow and my psych on Monday. I'm pissed too because I've been trying to get my psych to call me back all week for a little follow up on what to do until I see him in person, and no response. I feel my taper was done the right way, but maybe I should have stayed taking 12.5mg for a month, then go down to halving those halves. It's only been a couple days of feeling this bad, but my god, some of those feelings are absolutely terrible. In the meantime, I'm not drinking any caffeine and will abstain from smoking for a while. My hope is that all of this is a combination of low-level withdrawal symptoms amplified by a bad high that set my body off. Any thoughts from anybody that read this far? I wish the best of luck to anyone else suffering from getting off these meds...
  7. Hi all I'm on day 3 of tapering off venlafaxine XL 37.5, only 2 beads out at a time,I will get a scales soon because It will only get harder the more I have to count out the beads .I am going to take it extremely slowly this time.I did a taper in march 2016 and it lasted till the june and i didn't go beyond 5 beads out each day before going back to 37,5. Its been a very tough time , I have extreme anxiety,extreme iratibillaty ,intrusive thoughts,. to name a few. What I have learned since that time is to have compassion for ones self and b very patient when doing the taper . My advice to everyone is don't ever believe u cant get through it .our nervous system and soul take time to heal Over the last 3 years I have learned and practice mindfulness ,it is amazing. It has helped me to calm down during a couple of flights to the UK when starting to panic. Today I had a bad anxiety attack but I was able to snap out of the attack fairly quickly because I have been practicing it and I recommend always getting out for a walk in the sun if u can and clear your mind. Please always keep your mind open to new ways to heal.We all now its hard but don't ever let anyone break your spirit. Total respect to everyone .
  8. Hey everyone, This has been the most informative and useful website I have found thus far, so I was inclined to register. Kudos to the site Administrator and moderators for their hard work and time spent helping others while we collectively try to get through this nightmare. I have been on 150mg of Effexor XR for about 7 years now, for anxiety. I am 28 years old and I would like to be fully weaned off by the time I am 30. I want children in a few years, and I refuse to have this poison in my body during pregnancy. This is the only anti-depressant I have ever been on, originally on a 75mg dose but that stopped working after a month and my dose was increased to the 150mg. I really don't feel like he drug has done anything to help me since then. It's been a series of ups and downs which I'm sure many can relate. I began my taper just over a week ago. It's been a bit of a rough start, due to my own tardiness and ignorance, moving from Canada to the US. When I had my prescription filled here in the US for the first time, they gave me the generic brand Teva Venlafaxine. I did not foresee any issues, but it caused me panic attacks almost immediately. A permanent dizziness, headache, and heartburn, plus I was very irritable. After a week of that, and realizing the side effects weren't getting any better, I had my pharmacy order the brand name Effexor XR for me and they did so without hesitation or a Dr's note. I want to make a suggestion to those who do not have insurance. You can get a free discount card from the manufacturer (Pfizer) and get it for $30/month at participating pharmacies. I was very nervous they wouldn't accept the card. It seemed to good to be true but I can confirm, it worked for me and I purchased my months prescription for just $30 instead of the $350+ full price. You can get your discount card here: https://www.effexorxr.com/choice-card Anyways, I made a silly mistake when I received my first generic prescription. I was ready to start my taper and take some of the beads out. There were exactly 150 beads in each capsule, I started by removing 5. There were no withdrawal symptoms other than drowsiness, but the side effects I described above meant I couldn't stay on the generic brand. Since moving back to the brand name stuff, I notice there are way more beads, I stopped counting at 200 when I realized I wasn't even half way through them. Plus the beads are all different sizes. I got a really good jewelers scale from Amazon.com for just $20 which I would like to use for the remainder of my taper. I calculated 3.3% was the reduction I made by taking 5 beads out of the generic capsule. An unfortunate number to work with, since I am no good with math and neither is my partner. But I would like to maintain that 3.3% for at least a week and then bump it up to either 5 or 10% and stabilize there for a month as Admin suggests. My only concern stems from the fact that the brand name pill has an inconsistent weight, and number of beads. The number of beads don't really matter to me since I am doing it by weight anyways... but the weights vary slightly. Should I do my % calculation based on the average pill weight? Or should I be removing the beads based on the weight of each individual capsule? This is pretty much the only area where I am stumped right now. Last night I based it on that pills weight... and I don't know what to do tonight. From what I've read here it looks like I should just go by the average weight? http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tips-for-tapering-off-effexor-and-effexor-xr-venlafaxine/ Any suggestions or advice is appreciated. I've no major withdrawal as of right now... just drowsiness. A bit of heartburn on and off and Tums do help with that. But when I focus too much on the heartburn, I begin to think I'm having a heart-attack and this causes me to (almost) panic! And frightens me when I am trying to sleep. Has this medication/withdrawal been known to cause any major heart problems? Or am I just being silly by worrying about a little bit of heartburn. Thank you in advance and I am very happy to be here.
  9. Hi I am new to this forum and this is my first post . I am currently on 30mg mirtazapine and 200mg of pregablin , I have been on these mess for about 3 to 4 months . I have just cut my mirtazapine from 30mg to 15mg and in the space of 4 days I have have horrible side effects , anxiety through the roof , shaking , lack of appetite poor sleep crying spells and the general feeling of feeling crap . The reason I have started to withdraw from the mirtazapine is that after 3 months I feel no benefit only get awfull side effects . No help with my anxiety and depression if anything it's made me more depressed . I have gone through withdrawing from Effexor and that was really tough , however just the drop for a few days of the mirtazapine has left me crushed , my doctor told me that mirtazapine was a easy drug to withdraw from , but after 4 days it has left me house bound . Has anyone got any idea on how I get through this or any experience in mirtazapine withdrawals
  10. Hi I took effaxor for 5 months 75mg. I stopped 4.5 months ago and still stuck with PSSD. How hopeful should I be, do people here recover substantially from PSSD?
  11. New here, so will hope to fill in fuller history later. I am 71 and have had depression to varying degrees 1977 to date. Managed to work full time 1964-2001, though. 12 years on irregular shift pattern 1964-1977. Last month, went to new younger GP who arranged blood tests, (after I had given him my list of ill-health symptoms!) Blood, mostly OK, but indicated low folic acid, he said. I am on 5mg daily folic acid tab for last 5 weeks. I do feel better (carrying out lots of small projects in my retirement). Had so many ups and downs in last 40 years, though, that I think this may be a placebo effect. However, a more positive side of me thinks I may be on the way to breaking through the wall where "the drugs don't work anymore" at 225mg Venlafaxine slow release. I have been on Losec (Omeprazole 10mg) for decades, too. I read that it can spoil your absorption of certain vital items in the vitamin B family, at least? Thanks for reading, all.
  12. I have been on antidepressants 3 times in the last 14 years. Usually would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off with no problems. The last time I took them (2011), I needed the maximum dose of sertraline (200mg) to get an effect. After a year on it, I felt it was time to stop. The nurse insisted I had to keep taking or risked relapsing into severe depression. I tried several times to bring up the topic to no avail. After about 1.5 years on it, I cut the dose on my own to 150mg and felt ok for 2 weeks. But after I started having a dull headache that lasted hours, dizziness, serious cognitive difficulties and severe fatigue. I could not function and needed excessive sleep (12-14 hours/day). Tried increasing it again and the more severe symptoms got better, but the headache and flu-like malaise persisted for at least a week. I consulted with a psychiatrist. We tried effexor and cut on zoloft. Had no withdrawal symptoms, as I was cross-tapering. I was completely off the zoloft. Only took Effexor for about a month on a low dose (never past 150 mg) because it never helped with the symptoms of Atypical Depression I had. When I started tapering down the effexor, I got the dizziness and extreme fatigue again. When I would fall asleep, I found it extremely hard to get up. Literally felt pinned to the bed. Woke up more tired than I went to bed, even after 12 hours of sleep. Woke up dizzy and with a headache. I increased dose again and we're doing a slower taper over 21 days. The starting dose is 37.5mg. I experience dull headache that lasts hours, flu-like malaise, muscle tension, fatigue every day (with the occassional good day of no symptoms and the occassional day of much worse symptoms). I have learned to cope the best I can with these symptoms, but the fatigue gets unbearable at times. I sleep 12 hours at night and still feel tired and even drowsy during the day. I'm in grad school and it's hard and often impossible to study or even make it to class. I was supposed to decrease dose to 25 mg after 10 days on 37.5mg, but since I still have symptoms, I'll ask dr if I can postpone the decreasing... Im also concerned that the increasing apathy Ive had over the last 7 years might be due to antidepressant use. It could also be depression, but if it is SSRI use, its a very scary symptom that is not going away (has not gone away for more than 3 months in over 14 years since I started having depression/taking SSRIs). The only reason I can semi-function today is because I take nuvigil (a stimulant) 3 or 4 times/week. Without that, I can't do homework or clean or shower. Im extremely dysfunctional. I don't rely only on the stimulant though. I use it to give me energy and motivation and alertness that I use to do positive things, which improve my mood and further help with apathy.
  13. Hello, I have a 20 year history of antidepressant use following a breakdown. I have been on and off Citalopram and Sertraline which are the GP's 'go to' meds for most of their patients. However, about 5 years ago my anxiety and depression seemed to get worse, maybe it was something to do with the Menopause? - I spent a small fortune on private counselling, which by the way didn't seem to clear up any problems psychologically. So, on her recommendation I went to see a private psych doc (£300 per hour!) - He prescribed my Venlafaxine which I stayed on for about 2 years. The dose was increased incrementally from 150mg until I was on 375mg daily (quite a big dose for a 4'11" petite lady!) I found Venlafaxine a weird drug which gave me horrendous nightmares every night, stomach problems and while it did work for a few weeks, didn't provide a stable plateau in my general mental health. I decided to taper from Venlafaxine last September (2016) and reduced fairly quickly dropping by 37.5mg every 4 weeks ish. When I was down to 112.5mg Ven, my GP decided to introduce Sertraline 50mg (as I was very tearful) - I continued taking both and stopped the Ven all together in March 2017. My GP increased the Sertraline to 100mg which gave me awful anxiety for 7 weeks, so I reduced back down to 50mg. I have now stopped ALL ANTIDEPRESSANT drugs completely !!!! I have been drug free for 3 weeks now - what a roller-coaster it has been.These are my current symptoms: I cry daily, I feel woozy and dizzy and very tired at times, I have suicidal thoughts occasionally and yet, there are moments of total normality and general happiness! My depression has never been the 'stay in bed' type, I am very active - I love gardening, cycling, painting, sewing and being a Granny! and I continue to do things even when I feel like crap. My dilemma is, do I stick with this emotional hell that I feel I am going through at the moment? will it get better? will I ever be 'normal' again without antidepressants? Am I strong enough to keep going? Please, please give me some advice. I would love to hear some success stories, I really need some support and idea how long these horrible discontinuation symptoms will last Thanks, Thepaintinglady (currently painting the kitchen ceiling and not a work of art!)
  14. Hi, my name is Steve, just signed up here. I started for the 2nd time in my life an AD (Effexor 75mg), from mid-2015 to Feb-2017 for GAD. I slowly weened off of it for several months starting in Sept-2016. I think I successfully got off it but I'm still unsure and thats why I am seeking some opinions/answers here. My main problem is feeling quit lightheaded non-stop. It is a very annoying and awful feeling (like i didnt sleep enough or something)? I cant explain it but when i wake up in the mornings it isn't much better. I feel like it might be the drugs took a tole on my brain (cuz I'm thinking, these are hardcore chemicals and such). I don't know how to fix this?? So its been about 5 months since i stopped, is this common? Could it be still some long-lasting withdrawal or permanent brain damage? or something else? I always had trouble with sleep quality my whole life generally, and I still usually go to bed late like 3am or even later (i know its bad and mostly my fault). Could it be that? I wake up usually around 11am or even later sometimes. I feel like my brain lacks the usual stimulation it had before the meds, its a weird feeling. Its like im not present. Thank you for your input! I would really like some feedback from people who have gone through this stuff already.
  15. Hello everyone, It feels good to discover this site - thank you all for being here. Right now I've run out of everything, my depression has swamped me, I'm exhausted. Doc queried increasing meds, I said no. I realise this would be a silly time to start coming off them, and I'm not thinking of doing that, but the need to stop meds is always in my head. I want to know everything I can about it, especially how to know when to start decreasing. My husband, who is beautifully supportive of me in every other way, is sure that the possible upheaval would be too much for our family. I worry about that too.
  16. When do you say enough? that maybe i cant live without this drug,no matter how much i hate it? I am at that point now, this is my third attempt at getting off effexor,which i have been on for 15 years now. I am barely functioning right now,I cant get out of bed, I don't want to get up and face another day? hysterical crying and suicidal and constant thoughts of i cant do this anymore,i dont recognise myself at all and i feel like ive completly lost my self,and i'll never get me back. I started tapering 15 weeks ago, under pysch,s instruction , iwent from 75mg of effexor to 37.5mg plus 10 mg of prozac-the supposed prozac bridge? did that for 1 month, then stopped the effexor and continue 10mg of prozac for 6weeks, then 5mg of prozac for 6 weeks then 2.5mg. i was doing okay, not great and i felt the prozac was making me fuzzy and fatigued? (still do?) any way got to 2.5mgs and within 3 days, i was hysterically crying and overcome with suicidal thoughts. pysch said go back to 5mg of prozac and i started feeling much worse,again within 3 days i was bedridden with suicidal thoughts and this heavy blackness,that was 2 weeks ago now and i havent improved at all? i've also had terrifying moments of akathasia, where im walking the streets and crying hysterically because i cant stop moving? when i took the prozac back up to 5mg it reminded me of how i felt,when i reinstated effexor after 6 weeks of withdrawal a few years ago,it was horrendous and i dont know how i survived it? i live alone with my 19 yr old daughter and i feel like such a burden to her, i dont have any other family, i havent had a job for years now and only a couple of friends.my world has become so small and isolated and its getting worse. i went in to this withdrawal really believing that i could do this, i could finally be off effexor and be well, i thought i had learnt enough coping skills like mindfullness to get me through, but every skill has gone out the window,in the last few weeks and i am consumed with symptoms and thoughts of hang on for one more day and i cant take any more? i feel utterly hopeless and terrified of what my options are? if i tried to reinstate the effexor, it could go horribly wrong i have never been off it this long? i dont like how the prozac makes me feel, and i dont want to start playing russian roulette again with all the other antidepressants? my mind feels so broken and it hurts so much from all of this, i dont know what to do and i desperately need some help, if anyone can please.
  17. Hello. I just joined this group to meet a community who understands the unbelievable side effects of withdrawing from antidepressants, especially Effexor. Due to chemical toxicity damage to my lungs, GI tract and hearing, I've come off of 21 prescription drugs including Abilify and Lamictal. I've tapered very slowly from 225 mg to my current 50 mg dosage of Effexor--the drug considered the main cause of my lung condition. Some days are better than others, but today I am overcome with exhaustion, head pain, and shortness of breath. I joined to learn from others as my goal is to clean my body of all toxic chemicals and regain my health naturally. I'm also working on forgiving myself for my naive trust in physicians prescribing me all these toxic drugs rather than helping me to find the cause of my illnesses in order to regain my health!
  18. Very long taper of 2 years coming off Venlafaxine, last dose 22 months ago. Took Amitryptaline for a while to soften symptoms. Still taking 45mgs Mirtazapine. Struggling with depression and anxiety but managing to carry out most everyday functions. Is it normal to be still struggling with these symptoms and should I wait for things to calm down befor I start withdrawing from the Mirtazapine. In touch with the Bristol Tranq. project who are very supportive. Many thanks, keep up the excellent work.
  19. Oh dear. Effexor capsules do not contain the same amount of medication by weight in each capsule. I was counting beads as a means of removing 10% from my 37.5 mg brand name Effexor The beads are all different sizes, as noted by others on this site and therefore inherently impossible to accurately reduce by 10% since you could be removing a bead that weighs three times as much as another bead, etc. AND I HATE COUNTING, I suck at it. My brain can't do it easily. I have to have tricks and methods, making piles of 10, counting the piles over and over. So I got a scale. AWS ZEO-50 Jeweler's scale 50g x 0.001g with a wind shield and level, and rubber feet for minimization of vibration. I had gotten their less expensive scale but it had problems. This one does indeed work better, but I have to be very careful. Don't touch the table the scale is on, put the wind shield down. Put the weighing dish in the same place each time. Try to distribute the beads evenly in the tray. If you do all that it is very accurate. Care of course must be taken regarding bouncing beads, static cling beads, etc. BUT -- here is what this weeks Effexor capsules weighed: 0.156g removed 0.016 10% reduced dose by weight: 0.140 0.121g removed 0.012 10% reduced dose by weight: 0.109 0.137g removed 0.014 10% reduced dose by weight: 0.123 0.127g removed 0.013 10% reduced dose by weight: 0.114 0.138g removed 0.014 10% reduced dose by weight: 0.124 0.155g removed 0.015 10% reduced dose by weight: 0.140 0.129g removed 0.013 10% reduced dose by weight: 0.116 0.118g removed 0.012 10% reduced dose by weight: 0.106 Difference between highest weight and lowest weight 0.038g, significant enough when doing a taper % difference in weight of doses taken: 3.4%. So um, being sensitive this is not good. I'll see how it feels this week, see if it feels like I"m bouncing on Day 2 or 7. I do not know if the difference in weight is due to the different in the active ingredients or the time release and binder ingredients. But I would say that prior to tapering I occasionally experienced taking the pill and experiencing WD, which seemed to me to indicate what was in one capsule was not equal to another. Therefore I'm guessing that the active ingredient is not accurately measured in the capsule. Does anyone know if the active ingredient in each capsule of Effexor is the same -- or not? The unequal weights of each capsule means that when I do my next taper (which will be 5%) that I will have to do the calculation as follows. Forgive me if I have written the formula's incorrectly. I haven't used much algebra for past 40 years. Step 1: Capsule A weight Step 2: A*0.9 = New 10% reduced dose Step 3: 0.95*(A*0.9) = New dose, 5% reduction from previous dose Step 4: 0.95*(0.95*(A*0.9)) Step 5: 0.95*(0.95*(0.95*(A*0.9))) Step 6: 0.95*(0.95*(0.95*(0.95*(A*0.9)))) And so on, for each damn capsule. I will try to make a spreadsheet so I can make the machine make the calculations for me. Given that I will have to do this for each bead, and each time I reduce dose I will have to add another line to the formula, makes my blood boil and my brain freeze. I pray that a 5% taper works for me, as I can't imagine doing this with a 1% taper. I'm going to the garden now and deal with plants and dirt. So much easier than capsules.
  20. Last summer, i was sick of being so tired because of anti depressants. I decided to research how much I had to be on to prevent relapse. The year before, I was dismissed from a BSN program for academic reasons.Even though I was pretty sure that antidepressants were causing my problems with writing I thought I didn’t have a choice. As I researched antidepressants I began to realize that I did not want to be on them anymore. I started detoxing off of effexor and taking supplements.I am currently seeing a therapist and an integrative psychiatrist. The psychiatrist has me doing energy exercises and does EFT (emotional freedom technique) with me. I found this site while looking for information on the long-term effects of antidepressant use. For the most part friends and family are trying to be supportive but think I should be back on meds. If they have been really discouraged lately. I wonder if a lever and feel normal for very long or get my life back on track.
  21. Hi, Im a 48 year old male and have been on anti depressants for 31 years. it all started as a teenager, I was severely bullied at school in outback Australia. Thrown down stairs, head flushed down toilets, beaten up and verbally abused all day every day. All because I'm a soft spoken gentle person, I was very different, I didn't fit in anywhere. I never sought help for my situation, never told anyone, because dobing is frowned upon in Australia. I coped by chucking a lot of sickies and wagging school. I was often pulled into the head masters office to discuss my record breaking absenteeism with my parents. I never told anyone why. At about 16 I developed a nervous bladder. Constantly going to the toilet and fear of leakage. I actually told my Dr after a year of hell and he put me on Tofranil. Things improved but the bullying didn't stop, I just didn't care so much about it anymore. School finished in 1986 and I moved straight away to Sydney and got an apprenticeship. I was never so happy, living in the inner city where everyone was accepted was a shock to me. I stopped my meds at 18 and went cold turkey. Then out of nowhere I started to have anxiety attacks on public transport, it used to get so bad I'd wet myself in public and the shame of that made it all worse. I found a GP and told him of the panic attacks. He put me on Prozac. Wow, what a drug, I became a lunatic, but it was fun. After a while on it, I had an epileptic fit while driving on the Harbour Bridge, and crashed causing chaos. I'd been having brain zaps for a while and told my Dr. He took me off Prozac and put me straight onto Serzone. After a while they lost their efficacy and I was put on Zoloft. I won't bore you all with my many years of changing drugs, but to list, since then, I've been on Lexapro, Solian and the last one being Effexor XR. The side effects of Effexor were so dibilitating my life became out of control, I was made redundant from my job, which I loved, because the whole IT was out sourced to India and the face-to-face jobs were replaced by migrants on special permanent work visas for half the price of us. We're all just numbers when it comes to business these days.. I had trouble finding a job and ended up on welfare. What they say here is "Too young to retire, too old to hire" It all got too much, jumping through the hoops to meet your obligations to get the welfare, I fell into a dark place and I took a whole packet of Solian to end my life. I ended up in hospital and luckily survived, even though I did a lot of damage to myself. The stigma around suicide in Australia makes you wish you succeeded. Finally 4 months ago, I decided to stop my meds. I dumped my Psychiatrist and decided to try and sort my mental health issues through Cognitive Thearapy with a Psychologist. I went cold turkey against my Drs advice because I at my wits end and just wanted it all to stop right now. I've since read on this site that it was stupid and dangerous thing to do, not to taper. I suppose in hind sight I see myself as a Anti Depressant Warrior, and I'd just be strong and put up with the withdrawal effects. The withdrawal,effects were severe at the beginning, it was like having a never ending Flu. Head zaps. Zero apetite. I had constant suicidal thoughts. I became hyper-sensitive and over emotional, crying at the drop of a hat. I had horrible back pain. I had heart palpitations and my dicky bladder started to play up again. It was a rough ride and I spent most of it in bed. They all diminished over about 2 months. Now my blood pressure is through the roof. So I'm on meds for hypertension now which have their own set of side effects. The Dr made me go on them even though I'm anti drugs at the moment. He said I'd have a stroke if I didn't. Also I now have bad reflux, my gut is really messed up. I'm thinking it's another withdrawal effect. I'm trying to treat that with Pro-Biotics. Im seeing my Psychcologist every two weeks and he wishes he got hold of me at 16. He said my life would of been much different. I've improved my mental health with out meds for the first time in my life. Quite frankly, he is a brilliant man. He's encouraged me to start exercising, so I swim most days, now. He encouraged my ideas of becoming self employed and help me win a Government Grant to build my new business. Part of the grant is Business College, so I'm a student again and enjoying the course to no end. I've been assigned a business mentor for a year. It's no walk in the park, but I'm pushing myself to succeed. Doing my Psychologists tests last week has proven my depression is categorised in the "Normal" scale. However my anxiety is up the top of the scale as "Severe". I've been having a new kind of anxiety attack about twice a day now. I'm having gagging attacks and coughing fits, the public must think I'm crazy as it often happens in public. I'm having some very good days and some very dark days. Im thinking it's a withdrawal effect and even though I'm pushing through it, I have this overwhelming want to medicate. I'm drinking too much at night which my Dr says only makes my symptoms worse. He says I'm alcohol dependent. But I'm highly functioning, so now I have to deal with that before it becomes worse. I read about "The Road Back" program and have started taking some herbs. Tart Cherry and Passionflower. Also a little spray bottle of Rescue Remedy (bach flower). Oh well, thats my story and it was cathartic getting it all of my chest. Ive been looking at this site every time I have new withdrawal effect and was heartened to know I'm not alone. The advice here has reassured me. Thank you all. Be well, STU
  22. Hi everybody! I am Julz, a 33 year-old female - polydrugged to my eye-balls Ten years ago, I fell into anorexia and depression, soon unveiling terrible anxiety. I was referred to a psychiatrist (in France) who prescribed me medication and also gave me psychotherapy. Regarding the medication, different combinations and doses where tried and I eventually found myself on a prescription which seemed to suit my troubled mind (Escitalopram, venlafaxine, clonazepam and diazepam) - did it ever do anything? I still haven't got a clue. I trusted this doctor. This is my initial prescription: Escitalopram: 20mg 20mg 20mg - (yes, that is 60mg...!!!) Venlafaxine(MR): - - 75mg - Clonazepam: - 2mg - 2mg Diazepam: - - - 10mg Time passed and psychologically, a lot changed. I moved away from where I used to live, totally changed my environment, and went for a fresh start. But I was still taking my medication as prescribed. My General Practitioner (in charge of my prescription in my new environment) convinced me to lower the Escitalopram (on the grounds that it was "bad for my heart") and I managed, between 2011 and 2013, to come from 60mg/day to 15mg. How? By jumping 5mg at a time every now and again. I had no idea... again, I more or less trusted this doctor who was willing to prescribe me the drugs I was clearly physically dependent on. The withdrawals I experienced were uneventful. I did feel something was happening but within a few days, I always felt the same as before the drop. Between 2010 and 2014, a LOT had changed as I finally got an MSc BUT I had fallen into terrible exhaustion and had no life. How did I get my degree? A struggle every day. I then began to question this cocktail of drugs, I'd been on them for 10 years and was still taking them as prescribed because I was physically dependent. That was clear enough! It then hit me: my meds were probably incapacitating me rather than providing any help! The realisation came as in January 2013, after I managed to lower my Escitalopram intake from 20 to 15mg/day in a single 5mg step (...), I began to feel even more tired during the day, exhausted - I simply had to nap every single day. After some personal research, I went to my GP and told him I didn't believe in keeping our focus on the Escitalopram because it seemed that the more I decreased it, the more sleepy I'd get during the day, considering my benzo intake (at that point, I was taking 3 hours' naps), and I could not live like that! Fortunately, before I was able to drop a pill here and there as instructed by my GP, I found the BenzoBuddy website and managed to find a taper method to gradually come off clonazepam. From December 2014 to July 2015, I came from 4mg to 2mg and am now below 1.9mg and still tapering off successfully. I decided to join Surviving Antidepressants as I want off ALL any medication which alters who I am. I believe in other ways to manage my weaknesses - I am not ill, I have a tendency to be anxious and this is not new, I was an anxious child but I had emotions too. I'd like my emotions and my whole life back... I realise I know NOTHING about anti-depressants, I surely did not know about Escitalopram's potency and am still in shock from the news. My initial plans (supported by a psychiatrist I saw in February 2015) were to come off clonazepam (bz), then diazepam (bz), then Escitalopram, then Venlafaxine. In the light of what I read on this wonderful site, I wonder whether I should stay of Valium (diazepam) while at least tapering off Escitalopram, when I am done with clonazepam... I realise I need knowledge myself because sadly, doctors haven't been helpful at all... so far... Thanks for welcoming me on your wonderful Forum! Julz xxx
  23. Hi everyone! I'll update my signature later but basically my long story made short for now...is that in the beginning of 2010 Effexor began to poop out after 5 years of slowly increasing dosages. I was having intense anxiety and derealization and the only explanation my Dr had was that it was the effexor and it was time to come off. He tapered me from 262.mg over 3 months while adding a small dose of Celexa a bit at a time. A month after being done Effexor and being on 40mg of Celexa, I had a significant, sudden, awful experience. Massive anxiety, derealization and suicidal awful confused and dark thoughts. Akathesia so bad i could not sit still and had to walk fast, or keep pacing in the house. I cut my dose in half that night and immediately felt relief from the suicidal thoughts and terror. The anxiety and chills, unreality or derealization disconnect, nausea, diarrhea and shakes, lasted for another 7 months with no relief, even while we attempted Ciprolex and eventually Paxil. I lost 30 pounds during that 7 months and truly thought my life and self as I had known it, were over. I finally began to stabilize and then decided it was time to get off all SSRI's. I was originally given meds to combat post partum depression and by now I figured that was in the past and my Dr agreed, it was time to get off everything. I am now tapering my paxil very slowly, and am down from 20mg to 10mg. In the meantime i still get these waves of intense anxiety, akathesia, chills, shakes, diarrhea and nausea, and a sense of profound unreality that come over me. these spells last about 2 months, and then fade and I'm left feeling pretty good, with the exception of dulled emotions and no motivation. I figure that might be from the Paxil, while the stronger waves of symptoms are still from coming off effexor too fast 21 months ago. I haven't had one of these intense waves since July, but since then have had milder versions of them, that are shorter. Considering that I'm 21 months out, maybe it's time the waves are going to get milder and easier to handle now, I'm hopeful for that! I find when I taper my paxil i do have symptoms but they aren't as strong as these other waves I get, and have had since coming off the effexor (even prior to tapering paxil). maybe this will make more sense when I create a signature,lol ...Either way, i feel SO much better now than i did even last year. I have full faith that I will eventually recover 100% and also finish this paxil taper and get back to my life. This has been a very long and frightening 3 years, and i am so looking forward to being me again! If I could change anything I would say I should have reinstated my original medication when w/d hit, and then come off much slower. However, we had no idea what the issue was, so we tried different meds instead, and that was not the answer. But here's to a new year and a new journey, with healing every step of the way.
  24. Hello Surviving Antidepressant friends Around 18 months ago I posted this thread desperately seeking help for tapering gone wrong. I had been on a treatment dose of 300mg of Effexor, which I had reduced around 80%. I went to a psychiatrist to seek advice on tapering and bridging and he told me the amount I was on was almost nothing and there would be no issue if I tapered off over a couple of weeks. That caused the worst withdrawal I have ever had, including what felt like 48 hours of suicidal panic attacks and inability to sleep. My memory from that time is blurry. Anyway. After that I tapered back on to Effexor until the worst of the discontinuation syndrome subsided, which ended up being back up to 10mg, or 30 beads. I stayed that way for around 8 months before trying to go off again. I would take my dose every morning in the same place, around the same time, by pouring out the little beads onto my hand, counting them, taking them, then brushing my teeth. The next time I started going off I reduced by 1-3 beads every 3-4 days (more at the beginning, fewer at the end). I also conducted a little placebo conditioning experiment with myself, where I replaced the lost beads with white 100s and 1000s (I think Americans call them sprinkles?). I figured, after reading up on the classical conditioning mechanism in the placebo effect, that the eight months of "ritual" around taking the drug might be sufficient to allow the placebo sugar beads to have the same effect as the drug on my brain. Once there were no more drug beads I continued "taking" the 100s and 1000s each morning for a few weeks. I'm not going to recommend the placebo approach outright for obvious reasons (I am not a doctor or scientist; my understanding of the placebo effect is probably rudimentary). However, in my specific case, the experience of going from 30 beads to 0 beads, was a million times better the second time than the first. Other factors that likely helped: It was about 5 times slower than the first time; I had adjusted to the 30 bead dose before I started; I took even longer gaps between reductions of the last beads; I was not working as much as I went through this process. Now. While it was easier than the first time, it was still not easy. I felt churned up emotionally and was super irritable, I had rage flashes, my anxiety increased hugely, anhedonia returned, I had nausea, and my muscles, particularly in my legs, spasmed and twitched, often violently. I could, however, sleep for the most part, and none of these symptoms got too much in the way of life (granted I was not working very much and I work for myself anyway; it would have interfered if I worked for someone else). It helped to know that if I could just get through those few weeks then things would probably get better. These symptoms lasted around 2 weeks after the final drug dose, which was early April 2017. And things did get better. For me, most of the side effects of the drugs have now gone. Most significantly, my sense of self and my creativity have returned. It had felt like they were being numbed or muted by the drugs, and I couldn't access them. Off the drugs I now have access to them. Similarly, my ability to enjoy sex has improved, and I don't feel like that side of me is muted either. The above is really tremendous; feeling like yourself again instead of a weird muted robot alien is a big relief. However, while I consider the drug withdrawal to be 100% successful and 100% the right decision for me, I should caveat that with the following context: The drugs appeared to be muting extreme unresolved emotional distress, both from childhood stuff and from rape and sexual assault from a few years ago. The pain from this sort of exploded when the drugs went away. My primary diagnoses are anxiety and major depression, but it appears even those were symptoms of childhood stuff. When I came off the drugs it was the first time I had been drug free in around 13 years. I am highly sensitive and have a big emotional world, but I never learned how to regulate stimulation and emotion, and then had it muted by drugs. When I came off the drugs the emotions and stimulation were pretty extreme and often overwhelming. I took from that that I should learn skills of emotion regulation though, rather than that I should go back on the drugs. Even with only 3-4 months of practice, I am hugely improved and the emotions and stimulation overwhelm me much less frequently. (Now they inform my creative work and my service work, and are real positive assets for me, albeit ones that require sensitivity and management.) I have the great privilege of being able not to work for a while while I recover fully, which is lucky because I cannot currently work. I put that down to unresolved trauma that has now come to the fore rather than drug withdrawal. I am doing deep dive work with my psychologist that is helping more than any other talk therapy I've done, and I think that work will be sufficient to return me to work eventually. I see her weekly. That work is also subsidised by the government because it is about recovery from sexual trauma, meaning for now I do not pay anything for it (another enormous privilege). I have a partner who is extraordinarily supportive and gets what is happening for me. He judges fair contribution to the relationship by reference to each partner's capacity, and thinks that because he has more capacity right now it is fair that he do more housework, financial contribution etc than me. This has allowed me not to push myself beyond capacity, which has meant I have recovered more quickly. In conclusion, while I am currently not working and my capacity to do a lot of things is severely restricted, I could not be happier that I am off the drugs. I feel like I have real issues (childhood trauma and sexual trauma) that require serious work, but now I feel like I am actually properly addressing them, instead of having them be muted yet just as destructive. I also no longer have the drug side effects interfering with my ability to enjoy things, make music and comedy, have intimacy with my partner, meaning recovery feels more authentic and there is more joy in it. Things still hurt a lot, but my world feels real in a way it wasn't on the drugs. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't come off these drugs before. In simple terms: I have hope. I can experience joy and enjoyment. I am excited about what the rest of my life might bring. Even while I know that I am in the middle of pretty extreme emotional upheaval and trauma processing, life is better than it has ever been. I am finally able to be fully, authentically myself, in ways that the drugs (and the trauma and mental health issues) got in the way of. I am optimistic.
  25. Greetings all. This is my very first post by the way. I have been reading a lot of the posts on this site and there is a wealth of information regarding tapering. However, what I would really like to know is why should I taper at all? I am currently taking the following drugs daily 187.5mg venlafaxine 150mg pregabalin (Lyrica) 2mg risperidone Sometime I take zopiclone to sleep but most nights I don't need it. I don't drink alcohol or take any other substances. I meditate and I eat reasonably well. I get moderate exercise. I am enjoying my work and in general I am feeling well. I was very ill in 2008 requiring hospitalisation though. The diagnosis was psychotic depression. I had a relapse in 2012 and I made a suicide attempt at that point. Since 2012 I have been reasonably well and I am getting better all the time. I can suffer from anxiety at times but it's very manageable. Sometimes I feel a little depressed but who doesn't. I have managed to taper the venlafaxine down to the current dose myself. I was taking 300mg not so long ago. Tomorrow I plan to taper it another 10%. I see a psychiatrist regularly and I told him that I was tapering. He just wrote my a prescription for the new dose. I will be back to see him next week. To be honest, I would like to be eventually free of these meds entirely but I worry that I may have a relapse of some sort if I stop taking them altogether. So far the tapering has been going well though. I keep a diary to monitor my mood and there has been no significant change since I started reducing the venlafaxine. I just don't know though. I feel as if I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I want to be free of the drugs but perhaps they are keeping me well? But, in the long term, from what I have been reading they could be doing permanent harm. I just don't know. Please advise

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