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Brad / Tried and Failed will try again


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After a tragic experience a decade ago I attempted to take my life. I survived the attempt and was at a hospital for 2 months where I was given Effexor for my depression. I've been on it ever since although my dose has been reduced to 75mg per day. Before Christmas it was busy at work and I was forgetting to take them. During the holidays I thought since I wasn't taking them for a week I would try and see what it was like without it. Worst Christmas ever. My symptoms were dizziness, feeling like I would fall over but not actually falling, constant anxiety and dread of socializing and returning to work, shaking, couldn't put my sentences together and misplacing items in my house. After 3 weeks the symptoms have not gotten better, today I went back on my meds because I return to work soon. Within a few hours the symptoms have nearly completely gone. I now know you must taper off this drug as well be been reading and next time I try I will do so with my doctors help and others support. However I'm left wondering how long this would have lasted had I stayed off of them, and will I ever be able to? Will I feel normal without this drug? I'm really realizing the power that even this small dose is having in my life and I'm amazed at how insane the withdrawal was, like a nightmare. I hope I will be prepared next time I try, and that anyone who is feeling theses symptoms can read this and know you're not crazy, it really is awful especially if you go cold turkey. Get educated and have support and do it right if your going try, don't do what I did and just stop.

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Brad, you are extremely lucky that you stopped your cold-turkey off of Effexor and reinstated immediately, upon realizing that you were having withdrawal symptoms. So many people get delayed/protracted withdrawal, so that by the time the withdrawal symptoms hit, it is already several months since the last AD dose.  And by that time it may be too late to reinstate. This process is just really dangerous. You just dodged a bullet. I am really glad you were able to restabilize so quickly. Some mods will be along to help you strategize how and when to taper. 

Drugfree Prof

Psychologist and Psychotherapist

Prozac 20 mg for approx 3 months during 2000, withdrew, no w/d sx

Prozac 10 - 30 mg Jan. 2008 - Dec. 2014

Ritalin 30-40 mg Jan. 2008 - Mar. 2015

W/d sx from Prozac started around 3 months after cessation--crying spells, depressed mood, lethargy; resolved in 8 - 12 mos. post cessation

Used and continue to use a TON of alternative methods--meditation, mindfulness, nutrition. supplements, exercise, etc.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Brad -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
Suddenly stopping Effexor is a virtual 100% guarantee for withdrawal symptoms. You can read more about withdrawal in the posts in this discussion:
What is withdrawal syndrome.
I'm sorry you found this out the hard way. Doctors who prescribe Effexor and pharmacists who fill the prescriptions should tell those taking it not to suddenly stop it AT EVERY appointment and purchase.
A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly?

  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Please use words for months rather than numbers: 1/12 can be interpreted as Jan. 12 or Dec. 1
  • Any drugs prior to 18 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • You don't need to include symptoms or diagnoses other than the initial condition that led to prescribing the first drug.
  • We ask for this information in your signature so that we can see it at a glance. 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
  • If you are using a phone or mobile device, you need to switch to the "full" or desktop version of the site. Instructions are in Post 8 and Post 9

It sounds as if you recently discontinued Effexor. Because it's relatively soon after your last dose, you would do well to consider reinstating Effexor. Many people experience relief from symptoms after reinstating a small dose, one probably much smaller than your last one. Not every one gets relief from symptoms. Reinstatement is a trial and error process and it's hard to know whether your CNS (central nervous system) has been sensitized by the cold-turkey stop. If you're interested in the idea, please do not reinstate your last dose. Let us know with another post in this thread -- your introduction topic -- that you are interested. Once we have your medication history, the moderators will discuss your situation and post a reinstatement dose for you to consider. Until then, for more information please read:
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

Should you choose reinstate, you'll take a few months to stabilize and then may want to taper off safely. Here are topics relevant to that situation:
Before you begin tapering -- what you need to know
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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Welcome to sa Brad

So glad you found this informative site


After 3 weeks the symptoms have not gotten better, today I went back on my meds because I return to work soon. Within a few hours the symptoms have nearly completely gone.

This was my experience as well when i tried to get off the drug too. On ri the symptoms would disappear within hours and it was like what the heck was that all about, was i just imagining all that, maybe i need this drug or something especially when i had been told not addictive blah blah blah so sadly for me a learned helplessness set in.

There are others who struggle when they reinstate.

You might like to read this excellent posting by another member of this site that gives a wonderful analogy of what we have done to ourselves...or put it another way what the doctors have done to us.


Brain remodeling


I now know you must taper off this drug as well be been reading and next time I try I will do so with my doctors help and others support.

You will be best to put 'with sa's help' in that mix because doctors will try to taper you in a matter of weeks or sooner, they are misinformed but in reality one may need to put aside several years to get off while keeping wdl symptoms manageable and tolerable and be free of it.

With long term use and failed previous attempts you may be looking at over 3 years of safe tapering. It takes a while to get ones head around this and then the true nature of these chemicals starts to be realised.

Despite doctors parroting pharma propaganda one of which is 75 mg is a small dose the fact is 75 mg is not a small dose.

If one uses the prozac pre-approval warnings/requests then one could argue that for venlafaxine the equivalent maximum dose should not be more than 18mg.


Drugfreeprof is right when he says this process is really dangerous.


However I'm left wondering how long this would have lasted had I stayed off of them,

...are you sitting down?...no one can say how long it would have lasted had you stuck with the CT but ....it could have lasted years.

and will I ever be able to?

yes if you follow the safe advice on this site

You would do well to check out the links scallywag gave you above especially the last three.


Will I feel normal without this drug?

yes if you cut the trellis out real slowly and carefully .

Check out moderator Brassmonkeys taper success story he is writing the book on tapering. Actually i hope he literally does.

There is a success stories thread and that is also worth reading.


Is there a complaints process in Canada if you feel you werent informed of this drugs nature you might like to voice  a complaint.

What do you think about the idea of doing a drug sig as requested? It would be more than helpful.

Hey happy new year.


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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