Jump to content
SurvivingAntidepressants.org is temporarily closed to new registrations until 1 March ×

LittleBelle1912: Getting off of Abilify and Effexor


Recommended Posts



I am 34 years old. I first started to take psych meds after being hospitalized for depression at age 17. I was immediately diagnosed with bi-polar because, in 2000, every person was diagnosed with bi-polar regardless of presenting symptoms. 


I have been on the meds merry-go-round ever since. I have literally taken every psych med on the market with no ease in "symptoms". The only thing that has helped me has been intensive DBT therapy. This has led me to believe that I have been maladjusted to life due to a dysfunctional family situation that included extreme physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. I was never taught basic emotional intelligence skills. Therefore, had nothing to work with during periods of stress.


I am 30 days off of meds. I was not able to taper because I could not find a psychiatrist who was willing to help me in the tapering process. Things have gotten really bad lately. I feel totally confused by withdrawal. I try to talk to the people close to me about it and they don't really understand. They just say "be strong" or "restart your meds". Neither are good options. 


Right now, I have some balance because I am working hard at regaining general health. I am taking a lot of different amino acids that have significantly reduced my distress. Every day is a different battle though. One day I feel very middle of the boat, but I am unable to experience pleasure at all. The next day I am all over the place, but I feel joy, too. It is frustrating and I am not sure how long it will take to feel soundness of mind. 






Feb 2017: Cold-turkey withdrawal from Abilify 30 mg (12 years) and Effexor 150 mg (8 months)

Jan 2017: Diagnosed MTHFR

Current Supplements: SAMe, GABA, 5-HTP, DLPA, Melatonin, powdered Amino Complex, B12, and a special type of Folate for people who have MTHFR.


Link to comment

Hi Claire.  I'm sorry you have been on the psych meds merry- go- round and that you couldn't find a doctor to help you taper. Do you have any Abilify or Effexor left ?


Is reinstatement an option for you at this time ? Reinstating a small amount is recommended as your brain has adapted to the presence of the drug and now it can't work properly without it because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of it's chemistry and structure. 


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


Brain Remodelling


There may be a doctor in your area ( off this list ) that can help you taper :




Please let us know your situation  Re : your medication supply and we can assess where to go from here.


Welcome to SA


Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014


                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014

Link to comment

I am afraid of reinstatement, although I have considered it. On Tuesday I was so bad emotionally I considered re-entering in out-patient. However, I started to take low doses of aminos and melatonin at night to help me sleep. That has helped immensely. It has taken enough of the edge off so that I am somewhat functional. I think if it comes to reinstatement, I will go to a speciality rehab in Arizona that deals specifically with psych med withdrawal. 


My issue, and maybe you can impart some knowledge for me, is that I have been off for several weeks and have successfully completed withdrawal (which sucked). I am just dealing with post-acute withdrawal now. I don't want to have to go through active withdrawal again. It was extremely bad this time around because of the Effexor.



I feel like reading the posts also helps. I feel like I am not alone in this anymore. I did read the article on brain remodeling and spiraling. Just having the information is really beneficial. 

Feb 2017: Cold-turkey withdrawal from Abilify 30 mg (12 years) and Effexor 150 mg (8 months)

Jan 2017: Diagnosed MTHFR

Current Supplements: SAMe, GABA, 5-HTP, DLPA, Melatonin, powdered Amino Complex, B12, and a special type of Folate for people who have MTHFR.


Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi LittleBelle and welcome to SA,


I can understand your reluctance to go back on the drugs, and many members feel the same way when they first come to SA after they have gone off too quickly.  However the only known way of bringing the withdrawal symptoms to a bearable level is to take a small amount of the drug/s which your brain has adapted to.  It is a physiological dependence, not a physical dependence.  Unfortunately, some people find that the withdrawal gets even worse several months after their cold turkey.  There is often a honeymoon period where people feel better to start with and then get hit with bad withdrawal symptoms.  This happened to me when I did a cold turkey  off Cipramil several years ago.  I felt great for 2 or 3 months then got hit with withdrawal.  I ended up on Pristiq.


It is your decision whether you reinstate or not.  However I strongly suggest that you learn as much as you can so you can make an informed decision.  Please note though that the longer it is left before reinstating, the less chance there is of it being successful.  If you decide to reinstate we can suggest a small dose for you to try.  Please do not go back on the last dose you were taking because your brain will have already made some adjustments whilst you have been off the drug.


This doesn't mean you have to stay on the drug/s forever.  After stabilising, which may take a few months, you can then do the recommended 10% taper (or less) of the previous dose followed by about a 4 week hold to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  Please see the Brain Remodelling link that Ali provided.


SA can support you and provide the information you need to get off your drug.  A rehab centre will most probably try and get you off the drug at a much quicker rate than what SA recommends, so you may end up getting withdrawal symptoms, possibly several months after discharge, which the medical profession will most likely say is your original condition returning, or diagnose something new.  If this happens you may end up on more drugs and possibly an even higher dose.  It may not be recognised that it is actually withdrawal.


How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?


I will tell you my own experience:


I attempted to drop my Pristiq dose by 50% - I went from 100mg to 50mg.  I got an upset stomach for about 3 days which I thought was a stomach bug.  I now know it was caused by withdrawal.  I had a very foggy head for 2 1/2 weeks and when I researched AD withdrawal I found SA.  By 3 weeks at the lower dose I couldn't type.  I am a professional typist so genuinely not being able to type alerted me to the fact that something was wrong.  When I joined SA it had been suggested that I updose.  After not being able to type I took additional Pristiq and within 4 hours my foggy head was clearing and I was able to type.  I had a benchmark so I know that it was not placebo.


After stabilising for a couple of months on 75mg I started tapering as per SA's recommendations.  I found that once my dose got lower the side effects lessened and I started to feel more like my old self.


I have since been tapering successfully with only very mild withdrawal symptoms.  I am now down to 28mg!!!


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

Link to comment

I can't spell anymore. Not that I was ever a stellar speller. I am quite a bad speller, in fact. However, spell check used to be able to correctly identify my terrible spelling errors as words. Now, no such luck. 


In other, unrelated news, I am having serious deja vu type spells each day. Almost every situation seems like I have either, experienced it before or possibly dreamed it and am remembering the dream. Just the brain coming back online I guess. 



Feb 2017: Cold-turkey withdrawal from Abilify 30 mg (12 years) and Effexor 150 mg (8 months)

Jan 2017: Diagnosed MTHFR

Current Supplements: SAMe, GABA, 5-HTP, DLPA, Melatonin, powdered Amino Complex, B12, and a special type of Folate for people who have MTHFR.


Link to comment

Welcome LB

Just want to gently point out only one intro per person.

There is a myriad of stuff that manifests in wdl and spelling difficulties is one of them i can relate to what you are saying.

However i think at this time that should be the least of your worries cos things are going to get really difficult real soon having CT abilify after such long term use and on top of that you CT venlafaxine.

imo you have put your life at risk. Please consider a ri.

Why did you CT ? Did the doctor say so ? Did yo think you could because you have the mthfr gene? 

Maybe you were you told that because you had some gene it was totally ok to swap brain altering addictive chemicals for a bunch of supplements. ?

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



Link to comment

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy