Support for spouses of SSRIs - a safe place to vent

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She was prescribed this through her general practitioner and my wife is very matter of fact about what I would consider enormous medical oversight on the part of her doctor.


She fills the script over the phone sometimes and brings her in every once and awhile for a blood check but nothing more stringent than that. 

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HereinWI:  Hi again (just posted to you in the other thread).  You asked:


"How did you get your loved one to finally see that we need to sit down with a professional far more knowledgeable in the effects of effexor than she or I are ?"


Effexor turned my husband into an alcoholic.  I didn't realize Effexor's impact on his drinking.  It was only in looking back that I could see I labeled him an alcoholic in the months following the start of Effexor (2006).  After 20 years of marriage, his "medium drinking" (he loved 2-3 beers a day) turned into 10 or so beers a day.  I figured "alcoholism" just followed the increased drinking.  I had NO idea Effexor could cause anything like that.  So, after that development, I was blaming everything else about him on the drinking (when in actuality it was Effexor AND the way Effexor affects his drinking).  It came to a head when he got so drunk he fell off our kitchen barstool and hit his head, and I had to call an ambulance.  All night in the ER waiting on a head scan, he had fear in his eyes, asking me how this happened.  I kept telling him it was because he drank too much, was drunk, etc.  He kept trying to shake his head (as much as you can do with a neck brace) and saying "NO" and again "how?", over-and-over.  Something about that made me think that if he couldn't tell he was falling-down drunk, then something was wrong.  I thought about his liver--the detox organ--and wondered if the only med he was on could've affected how he tolerated alcohol.  His only med was Effexor.  The next day I started my research on it.  


Like you, what I found was terrifying....but now MANY things made sense.  I kept reading until I found a forum where folks were discussing what it was like to drink while on Effexor.  I found someone describing their own experience with it that matched my husband's.  I read it to him.  You could see the light go off over his head.  He said "THAT'S IT!", that's exactly how it feels.  He recognized himself in it.  If he hadn't been able to do that, our story might be different, but he agreed he needed to get off the pills.  


We didn't look for someone to help us.  Because of how much I'd read about it, I knew most doctors either didn't think you needed to go so SLOWLY, or they didn't think you could ever get off (his psychiatrist felt both things).  Armed with what I'd been reading on this site and a few others, I came up with a game-plan, and he put me in control of it.  His psych., thankfully, agreed to go along with whatever he wanted.  He's been in withdrawal (with several "holds" for months at a time) for 3 years now.  His crushing anxiety (which is why he was put on it to begin with) came back with a vengeance, so we've gone as slow as we can.  Thankfully, his drinking is more normal (yet still not pre-Effexor "normal") and just about everything except the anxiety is so much better (relationship-wise).  


Don't count on your wife to be able to tell her doctor about the "changes" she's undergone.  It happened slowly in her mind, so it's just how she is.  I don't think they can tell anything is different.  My husband tried to explain it.  He couldn't see how he'd been until he was over half-off his dose (187.5 mg was his highest dose) and only could see it in looking back at that time.  He said at the time, he would've argued (and did) that it was just him, that nothing had changed about him.  He thought I was the problem because I was always complaining about him--that things had changed, that he drank too much, that I tried to keep him from having fun (drinking and doing harmful things like driving while drinking, etc.).  He could not see that it was his changed way of being that I was reacting to.  I even told him he could hate me if he wanted to, but this red-hot (drunk) minute, he was NOT getting the car keys type of arguments.  


As withdrawal progressed, he began to feel emotion again and at times he felt weepy because it seemed too much and too foreign to him after 8 yrs of apathy.  His drinking got better.  And better.  OR, at least he's able to control it now.  Before, it was an impossible-to-ignore impulse to just keep drinking.  His inappropriate behavior stopped as first he realized how wrong he'd been in doing it AND as the desire to do it left him.  His judgement got better.  Some of the physical side-effects fell by the wayside, most notably his nighttime restless (JERKING) leg syndrome.  He says now he'd be dead by now if he hadn't come off the Effexor.  Sometimes I think he means he *might've* taken matters into his own hands.  I know at one point in his withdrawal, while having had too much to drink, he suggested it'd be wise if I hid the guns.  I did, and they're still hidden.  He says he's fine now (and I do think he is), but I said I wasn't telling him where they were until this evil drug was totally out of his body, and he didn't argue with me.  Now, I don't think everyone has to necessarily worry about this, BUT drinking while on Effexor really does change the mental/emotional landscape.  It makes everything worse.  


You said your marriage started having problems with your first baby?  Did her meds change then?  I wish I had something I could say specific to your case, but I can't--in my case, we'd been married for 20 yrs before he went on Effexor, so I knew him BEFORE and during.  You don't have that.  Can you correlate any of her personality changes to changes in dose?  Is she receptive at all to reading the "SSRI stories" linked to at the start of the other thread?  Maybe she could see herself in them, especially since she's wanting to try on what it feels like to NOT have the kids around.  There's one story of a woman who prayed for children and went through years of fertility treatments to get the 3 kids they ended up with.  After the last baby, she was so depressed she was put on meds.  Then she ran off with a college "boy" and her husband was begging her to get help (I seem to recall he thought it was the meds at the time).  She didn't realize anything was wrong with her until she recognized that she didn't care about being with her kids and she remembered that at one point in her life, it was all she'd ever wanted....that she'd spent years on her knees praying to God for those babies that now she didn't want?  Didn't make sense to her, so she decided to try and go off the meds to see if her husband had been right.  That story might resonate with your wife?  


Anyway, good luck to you both.

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As far as I know tea her dose has never changed and other then calling to check in with her gp and occasion physicals from same gp she's been on this same dose 225mg for as long as we've been together. There were no additional meds added but I wondere now if she got post partrum depression with our first child.


I'm hoping to have her read these if we as a family can get her to take this seriously.

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Hi guys, I just wanted to update everyone that my husband (and myself) are doing much better. It's been about 5 months since his last dose of medication and he seems to be back to normal. We went to couple's therapy a handful of times, but it got to the point where just spending time together and working on things ourselves was more helpful.

Some advice I got from my therapist was trying to focus on positive activities, instead of constantly focusing on the negative of what happened. Like, what you can do to help make things better. Some things that helped us get back on track were playing some cheesy couple games, like where you ask questions and get points for answering correctly about the other person etc. Also, we both read the book the 5 love languages by Gary D Chapman and I found that helpful as well.

I hope everyone here that is hurting is doing well and try to focus on the light at the end of  the tunnel.

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Hi to all,


I just wanted to send out my best wishes to everyone who has posted their experiences in this thread, and remark on your resilience and strength.


I have gone through 18 months of hell with my wife being prescribed Eleva (Zoloft - 100 mg) after the birth of our second child due to severe postnatal depression, which she was on for a year, followed by a change 6 months ago to Pristiq 50 mg (= around 100/150 mg Effexor). The usual lack of emotion towards me, wanting to separate, no love, wanting to be 'free', infidelity, and so on. However, we have a 3 1/2 year old and 2 year old as part of the mix.


I seem to have somehow convinced her through the accounts on this forum that the medication may be significantly amplifying any issues she may have with me, or indeed be creating these feelings (or lack thereof) out of nowhere. She is not the same person I married 12 years ago. She, of course, does not *really* believe that she is any different - that these thoughts and feelings are of her own volition - but somehow mentioned she wanted to come off the medication anyway.


So, we are now trying to taper her off Pristiq, which I am hoping is not too difficult for her, as by all accounts it can be horrendous.


I have noticed now that I am aware that the meds are to blame, that she has 'lucid', almost normal moments, followed by becoming an ice queen towards me.


However, her feelings of love and affection towards our two boys do not seem to have been affected/blunted much. Has anyone else experienced this? She has all along stated that "she loves the children, but hates motherhood" - i.e. the day to day grind, especially when they are chaos etc.


Wishing you all the very best,


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My husband started taking Effexor (the generic version) in January.  He moved out April 3.  We had our issues for sure, but nothing prepared me for that.  He was exhibiting manic behavior all through February - texting women from work, obsessively playing pool on his phone, staying up all night drinking, and he stayed out and didn't come home twice.  None of that is like him (except maybe the drinking).  He has always been a heavy drinker and even drug addict, and went through rehab in 2009.  I started researching the Effexor and a lot of this hits home.  He's also been taking Xanax unbeknownst to me for about a year and a half (from his regular doctor, I don't think that dr knows about the Effexor), and was prescribed Effexor in one of those 15 minute psychiatry sessions that seem so popular.  I suspected the Xanax because of some of his behavior, but didn't know for sure till recently.


He moved into an apartment with his cousin; he says he doesn't want to divorce, just needs to 'get his s**t together' and he thinks we can reconcile 'someday'.  He also said he's never lived on his own and needs to learn how to pay bills.  He has (allegedly) started tapering off the Effexor; he came by yesterday to get some mail, and he seemed more like himself, and we had decent conversation, smiled, complimented each other, but it was very brief.  I have been doing well not texting/calling him - I know that there's nothing I can really do but push him away if I'm too 'there'.  I respond nicely when he texts, but I don't initiate.  Our 13th wedding anniversary is May 1, and we've been together for 15 years in all (friends for 17). He has also pushed away some other family members, including his mother and daughter, and my daughter in particular.  His son has kind of stopped hanging around him also.  Daughters are 18 and 19, and son is 15.  None of them are ours together, but we've been a family for so long.  I will be 40 in June, he will be 42 in July.


Our problems started before Effexor, but I always thought we'd somehow work through them.  We are truly best friends, and have had an enviable marriage more often than not. I love him, and would love to reconcile, but part of me is not sure that's a good idea.  I'm just taking it day by day. The stories in these forums have helped me immensely in dealing with this.

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An update - my husband is still living apart from me, but has been in contact on average once a week.  He told me today that he went back to the psychiatrist (this time a different dr, same clinic), and they lowered his effexor dosage to 37.5 and added prozac (not sure what dose), and he is to take them both for a few weeks, then just prozac, then wean from prozac.  He now says that he ants to get off these drugs, which is a big plus.  Still no talk of us being together again, but also no talk of divorce or anything.  So, I'm still in limbo, but hopefully he can get off this stuff. He still takes the Xanax though.

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