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.