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  1. Hello, TL;DR I've recently reduced my Venlafaxine fairly quickly(over a month) from 225mg to 75mg. @75mg I'm a little nauseous, anxious and have diahrrea but it's bearable Should I keep it at this level (bearable) till it settles, or should I go up 37.5mg to 112.5mg for a while? Sorry in advance for the essay, it's been a long road. I was going through a rough time last year and was put on Venlafaxine(Age 28, no previous psych experience). After the first dose I vomited and went into severe reaction, not sleeping, psychosis. Fortunately my parents were over visiting for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately my parents took me to a psychiatric ward because I didn't sleep for days on end and couldn't function. Here in Germany it is more common to be in for longer periods of time, I ended up there for 4 Months. The doctors kept putting me on more and more different medications. I was on Mirtazapine(15mg), Escilatopram(??), lorazepam(3mg), Lamotrigine(200mg) and finally Venlafaxine(225mg) again(with Lamotrigine and Mirtazapine and Pipamperone, a first gen antipsychotic). A lot of this was due to me not describing how badly these drugs were messing me up. I do have a fear that I may never fully recover from this assault on my central nervous system but here's hoping. The final diagnosis was bipolar but a lot of the manic behaviours I displayed, I had never had before antidepressant treatment. I managed to get off the Benzo (lorazepam), Pipamperone and Lamotrigine fairly easily. Lamotrigine was giving me splitting constant headaches so I had to axe that fairly soon. I went back to work in January and have been doing a staged return which will finish with my full 8.5 Hour day in May. Fast forward to now. I've been off the Lamotrigine completely for round about a month not entirely on the wishes of my outpatient Psychiatrist. No negative effects and mentally feeling quite stable. I've been on venlafaxine now for 6 months and have decided to start a reduction in this too as I have not felt positive effects from any of the SSRI/SNRI drugs that I was on, including Venlafaxine. I will still be taking Mirtazapine because I feel it helps with my sleep problems. I may cut that out sometime in the future but definitely not now. I have successfully reduced my dose to 75mg for 2 weeks and I'm feeling a wee bit queezy, headachey and off (lots of toilet breaks at work) but not too much. My plan for the moment is to ride it out at this level for a couple more weeks before I make the next jump (1.5x37.5mg, bead counting method) Because I have light WD symptoms, should I go back up another half dose, or should I just ride it out until I'm stable?
  2. I suffered from depression and was put onto fluoxetine (Prozac) about 10 years ago. Did 2 months on increasing doses but was having no effect. Easy switch to citalopram. Upped to 60 mg. Seemed to control depression quite well for quite a while. About 7 years ago citalopram stopped being effective enough so got moved to venlafaxine (Effexor). Venlafaxine worked, but whenever I missed a dose (took extended release version and always took about 8am) i'd get a headache by about 2pm. Since about June last year i've been coming off V. 225 to 150 jump I made without any problematic withdrawal symptoms. Tried 150 to 75 and got bad symptoms, so back to 150. Managed to get hold of Effexor brand with the beads (instead of generic pills) and titrated down to 75 mg over 7 months. I did a slow taper some weeks at only 1.5 mg down, others up to about 5 mg down, depending on what was going on in my life. Hit 75mg mid - January. As i'm not currently working I thought i'd try a more severe drop to speed it up whilst I can spend whole day in bed and don't need to concentrate as much. Did 15 mg week 1, then 15 mg week 2. Got side effects (headache, light-headedness, insomnia, lethargic - so the usual). Upped from that 45.5mg to 47.5 mg in hopes it'd cease symptoms. They got notably better, but by no means gone. I've been doing my research online and spoke with doctor and agreed to bridge with prozac. So taken: Yesterday: 10 mg Prozac, 47.5 mg V Today: 10 mg Prozac, 47.5 mg V + 3 mg V (additionally 3 mg V as felt light-headed). Getting a bit of nausia which I think is P side-effect (nothing I can't handle though) In hind-sight I probably should have re-stabilised on V before adding prozac, but it's started now. Any advice or thoughts on how to move forward from here would be appreciated.
  3. 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/
  4. Been on venlafaxine XR for 7 or 8 years. My ex wife recommended I get on it to control some minor anxiety and to help me control my temper. It worked wonders for her, so why not me too. I went to my PCP and asked him if it would help, he said yes and prescribed 75mg. About 1 or 2 years ago I went from 75mg to 37.5 mg. Didn't have to taper or anything and had no withdrawal symptoms. I am in a point in my life where I now believe I no longer need this medication. My PCP said I could just stop taking it since I was on the lowest dose. Well, I knew that wasn't going to work since I had 1 week a while ago where I didn't take it, basically because I just forgot to, and had HORRIBLE withdrawal symptoms. So I started going what I do best, googling, and I found this site. So I decided to figure out a way to wean off of it slowly and keep my dr in the loop, just in case. Originally I emptied the beads out of 7 capsules, 1 at a time and counted them. They were between 93 and 106 beads in each capsule. So I decided to drop down to 90 beads for 3 weeks. Then I would try reducing by 5 beads per pill for a bit and if I handle that well, then I could try 10. Once I got down to 20 beads or so, I figured I'd just start removing 1 or 2 beads since the percentage of beads is much higher with that low of a total. But then yesterday I came across this. http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/12797-effexor-capsules-vary-in-bead-count-and-weight/ and this http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/1596-using-a-digital-scale-to-measure-doses/ Is this microtapering only for people who are super sensitive to drops? More importantly am I ******* up my brain by doing a certain number of beads rather then by weight? Since apparently 90 beads can be a different mg dosage of drug in each capsule since the pills are filled by weight and not number of beads. If I need to weigh every capsule, I'm fine with that, as I'll do whatever it take to get off this drug. Thanks.
  5. 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?
  6. 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?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. I joined this site a couple of weeks ago. After finding that paxilprogress was no more. I was devastated. That site may have truly saved my life in some of my darkest moments. What is one to do? When essentially you've self-destructed in front of everyone you love; because of a nasty little "non-habit-forming" pill that's been shoved down your throat for decades. So here I am. Time (weeks really) has eluded me. I meant to reach out sooner. I'm just hoping I'm not reaching out too late. I feel like such a horrible failure. I know better than that at some level, know that maybe I failed but that I just have to pick up the broken pieces and keep moving forward. But I'm so I'll. I'm so weak. I'm so alone. And I feel so helpless. My life may not have been a picnic before the introduction of SSRIs. But this is one situation in which the grass was truly greener on the side of which I was already standing. Before popping that first "innocent" little pink pill, prescribed by a doctor who had seen me only once and only spent 10 minutes "getting to know me". I couldn't tell you who that doctor was, I never saw him again. Nevertheless he was the first in probably nearly a hundred who have insisted upon continuing the saga. And what better did I know? I was unhappy before the meds. I was often unstable on them. And I was clueless as to why I was saying and doing psychotic things (that I often didn't remember, or just have "snippets" of memory after the fact) and so violently ill when I decided I simply no longer wanted to take the pills. Or was even 12 hours late on a dose. (More about that and my travels down genetic testing road and CYP450 mutations later.) All that being said; Hello to all in these forums. I'm the antisocial one. The antisocial one that sometimes doesn't know when it's appropriate to shut up. Or how to appropriately ask for help. But if you've been through it (psych med-wise), I probably have too. And vice versa.
  10. I’ve recently gone from years on fluoxetine to straight swap to citalapram for 5 weeks now straight swap to venlafaxine I’ve experienced bad diarrhoea nausea rapid weight loss due to no appetite and tingling burning knumb sensations in my hands anyone else experience this
  11. My doctor prescribed Venlafaxine (Effexor) for me 4 years ago after I complained that I was having hot flashes that caused my face to turn bright red. She told me the medication was an anti-depressant but that it was approved for off-label use to treat the flushing symptoms. I didn't get a second opinion, nor did I look into the side effects. I went blindly ahead. I didn't know how bad it would be to miss just one dose. During the first six months, I missed a few doses and the withdrawal symptoms would start within 10 hours. I didn't connect the symptoms to the missed dose. I thought that there was something wrong with my brain or my inner ear, but it would clear up the next day (because I took my dose). Eventually, I figured it out and I spoke with my doctor about it. She told me that I was in a small percentage of people who have that experience, but she advised against discontinuing the medication. And, by that time, I had to admit that it had helped my moods and my mild anxiety. I felt a lot more content, and I rarely felt frustrated or angry by small things. But ultimately, I got tired of worrying about missing a dose. I travel internationally and I worried that I'd lose medication (or have it confiscated) while in a foreign country and that I wouldn't be able to get a new prescription. And the missed doses (despite everything I did to prevent them) still happened, and they would set me back a half day. So I read a lot of information on this site, and I came up with a tapering plan. I'll post more about that plan in the tapering section. In short, it took six weeks and I suffered quite a bit. In addition to the physical symptoms (dizziness, brain zaps), I had terrible, dark moods. I wondered if I'd ever make it through and whether I'd permanently messed up my brain. But it was manageable, and I did make it through. I'm thankful that I found this site. And I'm thrilled to finally be free.
  12. Hi folks, After 13 years on SSRIs and SNRIs I stopped taking them due to parkinsonism, and it turned out that they were causing the rapid cycling up and down high to low mood swings in my bipolar disorder as well as the ramp up into mania. I didn't taper off as I read that it only affects the short term withdrawal syndrome and not the long term, plus as soon as I dropped the dose I went into the full rage and needed to get it over and done with as soon as possible (2 weeks of the bad bit). I experienced a number of symptoms including The Rage, Tardive Akithisia, Depression, Anxiety, Suicidal Impulses, Intrusive thoughts, Dissociation, Depersonalisation and a wrecked concentration span. I have started a website to collect some writings of people's experiences in long term SSRI and SNRI withdrawal, or of the rage in the short term syndrome. They would be a blog post of the whole experience rather than journal entries, maybe following up later with another post. I have started the site and put my experience on it (which needs rewriting) and was hoping to seek writings from folks on this site, if that's ok to ask folks to contribute? Support for my broken brain would also be nice. At one point I actually thought I was in hell. This is my site https://ssriwithdrawal.wixsite.com/discontinuation and I would love to hear your thoughts on the site, my writing and any ideas you might have. My email address is on the site, I hope this forum doesn't block my link, I would request that admin let it through as I am not a spammer, just a broken person trying to find meaning in other people's experiences. If the link is blocked you can email me at ssriwithdrawal *at* mail *dot* com (please let this though). For me this is my proactive way of holding it together, please help!
  13. Lilac

    I have not taken Effexor for just over a year after seven years of use . Even after all this time I am still experiencing windows and waves , obscessive thought patterns and a general apathy . The only light in this tunnel are the writings of Dr James Heaney . Has anyone else a similar story? I am so over it !
  14. Caspur: history

    I have been taking Venlafaxine at 75mg per day for about 6 years. The side effects were becoming too annoying to contiune - mainly flat, blunt unemotional mood, drowsineess during the day (i would fall asleep at my desk whilst working (at home)) and frequent urination, especially at night, which interrupted sleep too much. I have successfully tappered off venlafaxine once before after about 10 months treatment. I did it over 9 months without any issues. Buoyed by that success, i thought i could do it again and embarked on a taper using broken pills and liquid preparations prescribed by my doctor on the UK NHS. I only took 4 months this time which wasnt that sensible , as i now know. The taper ended 5 weeks ago today (24/11/17). Since then i have experienced many and varied discontinuation symptoms both physical and emotional: - physical - nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, dizziness and swimmy feeling in the head; mild visual disturbances; mild but constant headache; mild tingling sensation in the face - emotional - depression, anxiety like i've never experiened before for no aparent reason, irritability, poor concentration; mood swings over a very short time period for no apparent reason etc The semotional symptoms come and go. I will have one or two good days followed by 2-4 days of feeling depresed, anxious, etc On the up side i do feel like im experiencing real emotions like i havent felt for year I have mananegd to control some of the symptoms with supplements such as tryptophan. i also take fish oil, B vits, vitamin C and D I exercise a lot - run 5-6 km per day and try very hard to eat well; lots of fruit and vegetables etc Any suggestions for help would be gratefully received!
  15. Bribarian

    That's good to hear, I'm in the process of trying to get off of Effexor and it' hasn't been fun. I'm a bit depressed and experiencing a lot of mood swings.
  16. After 2 months of taking effexor with increasing bladder and urinary complications and pain i've decided to quit this horrible medication. My side effects have included severe urinary frequency, severe burning and cramping in my urethra, severe inflamation of the prostate and extremely painful ejaculation. These symptoms have gotten so bad that i was contemplating suicide after a visit to the ER found nothing. I have only been on 37.5mg of effexor for just under 2 months so hopefully the withdrawal won't last long. I stopped taking it on sunday so it is now day 5 of withdrawal. Any idea how much longer this will last?
  17. Hello Nice to meet you all! I'm here for two reasons. 1) I've been on Venlafaxine 150 mg for 1.5 years and I want to taper it safely but still didn't figure out the best way to do it. Every time I forget to take my daily dose I get sick for more than one full day. It's scary! I've seen a recommendation to taper antidepressants at a rate of 10% per month but isn't that unreasonably slow? It would take me more than three years to taper a medication I've been taking for only 1.5 years! Furthermore, I use generic 150mg Venlafaxine capsules that have three large beads inside, and I know there are 75mg capsules available from the same brand. So, the smallest dose is a 25mg bead that I can take from these 75mg capsules. However, 25mg seems too big a cut. I'm afraid I'll have significant withdrawal symptoms and I really need to remain functional. I would appreciate some advice. 2) I have a teenage child that was a A student but now refuses to go to school. Doctors wanted to put her on antidepressants, but we chose to take her out of school instead. She's homeschooling but still not OK. She's well in almost every other aspect (social, etc.) but gets terribly anxious at the thought of having a simple one-on-one lesson with a tutor. We think she may have had a kind of burnout event (she's very dedicated and always wants to excel) and, as any adult in this kind of situation, needs time to recover rather than be put on ADs and sent back to school. But would like to hear your opinion. Thanks in advance PS - I'm currently tapering a benzodiazepine, Ativan. I took 1mg/day for 10 years but had already hit tolerance and it was causing me horrible symptoms like brain fog. I suspect the depressive issues that led to the Venlafaxine prescription were also in part caused by this benzo.
  18. Hi I've been on all manner of antidepressants for 29 years now. I started on Prothiaden in 1988 at age 15. I've been on citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, amitriptyline and many more that I cannot recall because it's all one big drug haze. I am currently on venlafaxine. Fluoxetine made me terribly nauseas and I very nearly vomited on my MD at the time and our top supplier. Paroxetine was a trip and a half. I was on it for a long time and called it my "legal cocaine". It caused dipsomania where I craved, drank and suffered few side effects of drinking excessive volumes of alcohol. All the others I didn't last on for long as they caused undesirable side effects. I've been on venlafaxine for 8 years. I started on effexor capsules, then someone mistakenly prescribed the tablets which I found to be better for me. When they recently switched to a new genetic form off venlafaxine I didn't have a reaction to the change i thought I might and find it the same if not marginally better than the branded tablets. I've had the best results with venlafaxine depression wise but over the last couple years realised it wasn't working as I was severely fatigued, anxious, depressed with the attention span of a gold fish. Worse than this I've packed on 30kgs which has had devastating effect on my life and self esteem. If I wasn't depressed before I certainly am now! I decided to come of it and my objective is to get to nil medication. I accept I might not get that far or need to go back on some form of medication. Due to the horrendous withdrawals I'd experience if I even missed taking a dose by a couple of hours, I was convinced coming of this medication would require 24/7 intensive nursing in some kind of medical facility with a morphine drip or such like. In January 2017 a random locum GP I saw told me antidepressants won't work without magnesium and vit B6 supplementation. Well that's good to know. Better late than never!? Since January 2017 I have reduced my dosage off venlafaxine from 300mg per day to 150my per day via 4 x 37.5mg drops. How? VITAMINS. This is NOT an advertisement. I started taking BePure's One + Zinc Restore + Superboost C + Three. On day 2 I felt like a new person. I felt so good I felt confident I could start dropping my dosage as I noticed if I missed or was late with a dose I didn't suffer withdrawals. I did suffer some withdrawals over the 8 months but more of doing things which were not really like me than the physical and mental withdrawal pains. Late August I was feeling so good I got a personal trainer and started working out (gently) twice a week. Because I was so unfit and overweight I think this was overkill because I injured my knees and they're still not right. I had developed psoriasis I my back so I stopped all vitamins other than Superboost C to see if that helped. I am going back on all vitamins tomorrow. Without the vitamins the physical body and joint aches and agitation are unbearable. I've tried lots of vitamins over the years with no noticeable benefit. The BePure ones are different and so much more efficable. I swear they are the only answer to dropping/eliminating venlafaxine/antidepressants for me. So grateful I found them. Good luck.
  19. Westy

    Hello all, I am new to the SA and found myself here as a result of my own bad decisions/organisation in relation to my venlafaxine. I have not had my 37.5mg dose since the morning of Friday 22nd sept. Although I have been reducing my dose for the last 6 months, I had accidentally failed to obtain my prescription on Friday resulting in my worst dose of side effects experienced to date since reducing from my highest dose of 225mg (6 months ago). I have been been managing my own reduction as I have yet to find a doctor that has any 'real' idea other than what they have read in a text book. (Just my personal experience). Anyway I have had my eyes opened as to how difficult getting off this medication is going to be. I have not benefited from taking the medication from day one and now nearly three yrs down the line I believe I have persevered enough to know that my body will 100% benefit without the drug if I can get to that point. The side effects have never fully subsided. I fully realise i have have made a mistake by not having medication available 'just in case' however I mentioned to my better half exactly what my situation was and she believed that now would be a good a time as ever to have a go at ending the venlafaxine. On Friday this seemed at the time to be a great idea....ha ha not now. I have gone from the occassional head zap/buzz to now getting them every time I move, anxiety has gone through the roof as I can not function properly, I certainly wouldn't drive, not sure about what I'm going to do about work tomorrow, I don't want to leave the house, speak to anyone and my levels of energy are non existent. To cry is a short term release until the next wave of what ever comes across. Reading other people's experiences has not been of any reassurance. I can can pick up my prescription tomorrow first thing in the morning of which I will be doing without hesitation and hopefully it will not take long for the medication to get back into my system. I'm not sure how this works.. What an experience. My partner has no comprehension/understanding of my situation which is really hard for me as I can only imagine how things are seen through somebody else's perception. I can't fix it myself so nobody else can help. I am fit, adventurous, active, a good dad and within 2 days of no meds to have my world turned upside down because of my medication is scary. The rest of my day will be hiding somewhere where I will have the least interaction with people. Difficult with a 5yr old and friends who have no idea lol. Anyway as most will know, when low points hit you don't always know if you are making sense, but any words of wisdom or guidance from others is always appreciated. Moral of the story. NEVER run out of medication. Westy 😣
  20. 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...
  21. 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!
  22. 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.
  23. Hi there! I'm rather new to the community and have not posted yet since starting my withdrawal from Effexor. It's been a little over a month from when I went from 75mg down to 9.375mg a day (one quarter of 37.5mg pill). The initial decrease was not too bad with the occasional lightheaded-ness and night sweats. At this point, my symptoms are gone and I intend to decrease again very shortly once I figure out how that can be done smoothly. The only symptom that still seems to be prevalent is my intolerance to exercise. I'm used to exercising regularly (3-4x/week, an hour at a time) and now can barely stand 15 minutes of normal exercise. I'll get very dizzy, cold sweats, and have vomited on occasion. I assume this is due to the withdrawal as nothing else has changed. There's a lot of info out there and I know many people have found supplements that help in certain situations and was wondering if anyone has had similar symptoms and found relief in some way. I've gained about 10 lbs since starting Effexor in January, 2017 and want to get this unneeded weight off as soon as I can as it impedes my ability to continue practicing aerial silks. Any help would be much appreciated! Thank you, Brenna
  24. Hi Everyone! Long time listener, first time caller etc. I found this site and the *amazingly* helpful advice here almost a year ago when I started making serious first steps into tapering off Effexor. Abridged personal history - Started Effexor for General Anxiety around 21 years ago after a short period of trying Zoloft, Remeron and Buspar. Tried to come off once around 10 years ago after tapering off over four months, but that didn't really work, and life circumstances were not ideal, so I've spent the last ten years working insanely hard to get to a place that I felt confident in along with my Psychologist and Psychiatrist where I could give it another go. So six months ago I found a great compounding pharmacy and started the taper, going down 10 percent each month, which has been going great! It's been going so great though, that I feel I've reached a plateau, and that at the current rate, it could take another three years using this method! So - I was just wondering if anyone here has any anecdotal or personal stories of what might work to potentially accelerate the process, so I can get it closer to a further 6-12 months. What would be a conservative figure to drop down by for this timeframe? Curious to hear how other people approach this Thanks in advance!
  25. Hi all I was going to attempt to do this slowely by dropping to 1.25 an extra day each week but i felt more unwell after the first attempt. So i decided to see what would happen if i just dropped to 1.25 from 2.5. I did this last night. I am thinking if i can manage it then great if not i will reinstate at 2.5 and drop more slowely. I have asked my psychiatrist for liquid to do this but not got a reply. I really need of this med as my menstral cycle is totally off and i need to lose weight for surgery. Also i feel unlike myself alot. It is hard to tell the cause of the later as i am on 3 other meds but i have been on these longer so cannot remove them fastt particularly the diazepam. Ive been on olanzapine for 5 months at 2.5mg. Am desperately hoping that because if short duration of use,low dosage and the cushion of other meds this may be possible to do relatively fast. Any advice or experience is very welcome.
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