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Naomi64: one year after withdrawing I'm in living hell


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My journey started 23 years ago when I had postpartum depression and my doctor told me I was bipolar. In and out of hospitals for the next 23 years and a barrage of medications. At one point I was on seven antidepressant two mood stabilizers and two anti-anxiety pills. I was still trying to kill myself or find a way to do it everyday. I was locked in my own mind of a living hell.


About four years ago I decided to wean down from the medications to just Abilify and Effexor. The Effexor stay because everytime I try to wean off of it I never could because of the side effects.


August of 2015 I was faced for the first time with not having insurance. I was unable to afford my effexor. I was forced into a withdrawal. For the next 4 months as most of you know I was in a living hell of vertigo throwing up aches and pains like I've never had before. As the vertigo and other symptoms subsided my pain became more and more excruciating to the point of intolerable.


Now after a year-and-a-half at times I am unable to lift my arms. I have constant pain in all of my joints and muscles. Not just flu like pain but excruciating debilitating pain for I cannot function. I cry all the time because it is so intense. I have been to Mayo Clinic and all my test came back inconclusive. I'm actually extremely healthy. I've always let a healthy lifestyle and used to be a bodybuilder. Now I have pain everywhere everyday.


So I asked the doctor if this could be a result of being on Effexor. He said absolutely. As I left that answer resonate I knew I had a friend who was a psychiatric nurse. I asked her the same question. Could I be experiencing this horrendous pain because of taking Effexor for so long. Her answer was the same. Yes.


So for the last year of being off Effexor I have never been happier. I smile everyday. I had 23 years of my life taken away from me because of a misdiagnosis bipolar 1 and actuality it was just hormones. Now I'm free from trying to kill myself every day. Trying to survive everyday. Weaning off of the Effexor.


And now I am faced with living the rest of my life with no quality of life period excruciating pain where I have to go to the emergency room constantly to get relief. Dilaudid Percocet Oxycontin nothing works for the pain.


And I know it was due to the Effexor. I don't know what to do now. I don't know how to go on. But I will tell you I have never had one day and the last year of depression or suicidal ideation like I did when I was on Effexor. I'm so happy finally.

Edited by scallywag
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  • Moderator Emeritus

Naomi -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
A request: We ask for this information in your signature so that we can see it at a glance and provide answers more quickly: Would you summarize your medications history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly?

  • Any drugs prior to that can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Are you still taking Abilify? If yes, please include that and any other medications you take for any reason.
  • You don't need to include symptoms or diagnoses other than the initial condition that led to prescribing the first drug.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.
  • You can find instructions in this topic: Please put your withdrawal history in signature

Pain is an acknowledged symptom of withdrawal from SSRIs/SNRIs. Pain from any cause is debilitating and can be a huge drain of mental and physical energy resources. It is possible that the pain will decrease and dissipate with time.

Have you tried acupuncture? Some people find that very helpful with pain. We do recommend that you find a therapist who will give you calming treatments and absolutely no stimulating treatments.
Non-drug techniques for dealing with physical pain

Some information and discussions about withdrawal from psychiatric drugs:
What is withdrawal syndrome
Delayed onset of withdrawal symptoms
Does the doctor, the one who confirmed that your pain could be the result of Effexor withdrawal, have any experience with reinstating a tiny amount (a few beads) of Effexor to treat withdrawal symptoms? Does your friend in psychiatric nursing have any knowledge or experience with this? It might be worth asking in your next appointment or conversation.
I ask because some people find that reinstatement of a micro-dose eases symptoms but not everybody gets relief. One caution: You are well outside the optimal window of 1 day - 12 weeks after last dose. On the other hand, people have had improvements with micro-dose reinstatement after 9 months. It's unpredictable. If you want to read more, please read this topic
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


If you are interested in testing this approach, please post again and let us know.  Also, feel free to ask questions about it here. Once we have your information in a signature, we should have what we need


I'm sorry you didn't have better advice or information about Effexor last August. A doctor could have specifically prescribed less expensive generic venlafaxine and you might have been able to use that to discontinue more safely than a cold-turkey. If you want to read about a harm-reduction approach to tapering, please read:


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)


I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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  • 1 year later...

Any update?

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.


Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017



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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Naomi64: one year after withdrawing I'm in living hell

After living my life for the last two and a half years since withdrawal the pain has only increased and never lessened. I have pain in every joint and muscle in my body. This pain is constant 24/7. I attributed to the over prescription of antidepressants. They say that my brain has been scrambled and unable to differentiate pain signals. After research I have found that the synapses in the brain can be weakened by excessive antidepressant usage. I feel this is what has happened to me. I am currently undergoing ketamine treatments. One of the only treatments on the market that actually help to rebuild the neural Pathways in the brain. Some success but the duration of relief is not as long as the doctors anticipated. I'm going for more frequent and lengthier treatments. Until it wears off I at least have some assemblance and quality of life. When it wears off I am back to the horrendous hell that I live in everyday. I have been off all antidepressants for the last 2 and 1/2 + years. Not one incidence of depression or suicidal ideation. Zero! I have tried every therapy out there for pain. I have tried massage, acupuncture, acupressure, rohlfing, cupping, physical therapy, Chiropractic, yoga which almost killed me, and just about anything else. I will never give up on trying to have my life back again. At least I am sane and not depressed or suicidal. That is a win for me. I just want the pain gone. I want my life back...

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  • Administrator
3 hours ago, Naomi64 said:

They say that my brain has been scrambled and unable to differentiate pain signals.


Hello, Naomi, who said this? Where are you getting these treatments?


How would you describe the pain? Is it tingling? Burning?


To help us out, see these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature



This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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