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MickeyEffexor: Introduction


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My name is Mickey.  I just registered on this site today after reading various posts for the last couple days. I'm a 32 year old male living in Philadelphia, PA  Here is my story:

 I started on ADs back in 22 after moving away and joining the workforce.  I felt so anxious and scared after a few weeks at work and eventually went on meds.  I was on a few different meds for a few different years and they seemed to help a little.  In 2011, I was travelling internationally for work and had a big breakdown and had constant anxiety/depression.  Getting through every day was a nightmare.  I would also note that from 22 until now, I have been a habitual cannabis user (smoking).  At that time I switched to a new doctor and went on Effexor XR (150mg) and Wellbutrin (300mg).  That seemed to help a little bit.  In 2012 I moved to Philly.  I continued my meds just with my GP at that time.  In 2015, I started seeing a Therapist and psychiatrist for med management.  This seemed to work for a while, but I wanted to get off my meds.  I was scared of being dependent on them forever. I also knew Effexor was a pain to come off for most people.  We came up with a plan to get me off the meds.  Some time in 2016, I went off the Wellbutrin and had no issues. Working with the therapist was helpful for understanding mindfulness, and general just getting feedback on things going on in life.  From there, the tapering of the Effexor went as follows:


Late 2016 - moved from 150mg to 117.5mg. After 8-12 weeks, went down to 75mgs.  After 8-12 weeks, went down to 37.5.  After 8-12 weeks went down to 25mg (non-XR) tabs.  I was on 25mg for 8 weeks, then had my last appoint with my psych was early August 2017. I had 4 pills left of the 25mg, and he said to cut those in half and finish those, then I was done.  


I also reduced my intake of cannabis during the past year. I used to smoke multiple bowls multiple times a day.   During the 2017, I reduced to smoking once a day, and a very little amount (especially when I think how much I was smoking over the years prior)


During the time I was tapering off, I didn't notice any withdrawal or other symptoms that lasted long at all.  I was very surprised at this considering I had heard coming off effexor was so terrible.  I actually felt pretty normal since coming off the meds, but this past Monday, things got crazy.  I was having my usual nightly smoke and had a bad panic/anxiety attack. My heart was racing, terrible anxiety, tremors/shaking, bad thoughts.  I took .25mg of some left over xanax I have and was able to calm down. I actually felt quit normal before I fell asleep. Tuesday, I woke up with the rush of anxiety and fear.  I was a bit shaky, had no appetite. I had the pangs of anxiety and dread throughout the day, worrying about everything I had to deal with in work/life.  I was able to make it through my work day and went to a baseball game that night.  I usually would smoke before going but decided not to, I also chose not to have any beer at the game.  That night, I had bad tremors, insomnia, sweats/chills.  I finally took a xanax (.25mg) around 2am to help me get some sleep.  Wednesday, I took the day off and laid around watching TV and trying to rest.  My appetite wasn't much better, but I forced myself to eat.  I had small worries throughout the day, that I feel I was able to handle for the most part with mindfulness and breathing exercises.  An hour before bed I took another xanax and actually was able to fall asleep ok, though I woke up at 4am and 6am, but fell back asleep.  Today, I think I'm feeling a little better, I'm back at work and so far feeling I'm handling the stress of work well.  My brain feels foggy and concentration is tough.  I still have the worry feeling in my gut and just generally do not feel good. I've also cut out caffeine/soda as of Sunday, and have not smoked again since Monday.  (I'm a little scared to for now) Based on everything I've read, I know these withdrawal effects will wear off in time.  But I'm concerned because it was a month after my last pill that I had any significant withdrawal.  I'm seeing my therapist tomorrow and my psych on Monday.  I'm pissed too because I've been trying to get my psych to call me back all week for a little follow up on what to do until I see him in person, and no response.  


I feel my taper was done the right way, but maybe I should have stayed taking 12.5mg  for a month, then go down to halving those halves.  It's only been a couple days of feeling this bad, but my god, some of those feelings are absolutely terrible.  In the meantime, I'm not drinking any caffeine and will abstain from smoking for a while.  My hope is that all of this is a combination of low-level withdrawal symptoms amplified by a bad high that set my body off.  Any thoughts from anybody that read this far? 


I wish the best of luck to anyone else suffering from getting off these meds...

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to MickeyEffexor: Introduction
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi  MikeyEffexor,


Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA), I’m glad you found this site. It sounds like you have been on a bumpy journey for the last several years.  I am in the process of tapering Effexor and will have to say that it is no easy feat.  


I think it is important for you to know that here at Surviving Antidepressants, it is recommended that a person taper by no more than 10% of their current dose with at least a four week hold in-between decreases.  The 10% taper recommendation is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.  Some people may have to taper at a more conservative rate as they are sensitive to even the smallest drops.


Unfortunately most doctors have very little experience tapering patients safely off of these drugs and when, in your case, an antidepressant is discontinued too quickly and by such a large amount (50% each drop in your case), this type of quick taper oftentimes destabilizes the central nervous system and results in withdrawal syndrome.  As well, as you have only been off of Effexor for approximately one month, I want you to be aware that the full impact of the withdrawal may not yet be apparent.  


What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

Withdrawal Symptoms - Delayed Onset

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist


Healing generally happens in a windows and waves pattern of stabilization.  Waves mean your nervous system is struggling to heal.  It moves in the right direction for a bit then falls back a bit.  This is normal. You can view the "better" part of the wave as when your nervous system is finding its balance.  These periods will get longer and more frequent as time goes on.  The link below might help you understand a little better.


Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

What is Happening in Your Brain


I’m not sure from your intro whether you would like advice specific to your situation or whether you are simply looking for support from other members going through the same thing.  In either case, we ask all of our members to fill out a withdrawal signature history so that all of your information can be read at a glance.  This helps moderators review your tapering/drug history and we would ask that you follow the instructions at the link below.


Instructions:  Withdrawal History Signature


    •    Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
    •    Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
    •    Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
    •    Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
    •    A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 


Please feel free to connect with other members of the community by posting in their Intro Topic to share your experience and get help from other members, Surviving Antidepressants' members are a very supportive group, know what you are going through and are here to help.  





Edited by ChessieCat
increased font size of a couple of links/changed link for WD symptoms

Current Prescription Drugs for Hypothyroidism:  Synthroid 100mcg / Cytomel 5mcg (15 years Pristiq/Effexor)

Tapering Schedule
September 15, 2016 - switched from Pristiq 50mg to Effexor XR 75mg; November 10, 2016 - reduced to 67.5 Effexor XR
December 9, 2016 - reduced 60.75
January 5, 2017 - reduced 54.67
January 30, 2017 - reduced to 49.0
February 20, 2017 - reduced to 44.0 
May 20, 2017 - reduced to 40.25 (holding for additional month due to late onset of withdrawal symptoms after this taper)
July 17, 2017 - reduced to 38.24
August 15, 2017 - reduced to 37.5 (50% of my original dose)

October 15, 2017 - reduced to 35.6

November 12, 2017 - reduced to 33.8
December 15, 2017 - up-dose to 35.6
December 28, 2017 - up-dose to 37.5

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Welcome to the forum.  Sounds like you are feeling a bit o f withdrawal. Often people experience it a while after they take their last pill. Stress can amplify it too.   There is info on this site on how we feel ups -and downs or waves and windows and how to ride out the anxiety. Hang in there; you will feel better. 

200 Zoloft; 10 mg Zyprexa; 4 mg valium as of May 2021;  Valium taper: July 16: 3.5 valium; July 30: 3 mg (paused valium taper); Aug. 23: 2.5 mg
Zyprexa: July 26: 8.75 mg; Aug. 9: 7.5 mg; Aug. 30: 7.1 mg

Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg

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  • Administrator

Welcome, MickeyE.


You did a fair job of tapering Effexor. Medicine believes that withdrawal symptoms will be mild and over in a few weeks. If you find them getting worse, you may wish to reinstate a small dose, such as 6.25mg. You'd stabilize for some months and taper off by tiny amounts later.


If the withdrawal symptoms are severe now, you may wish to reinstate immediately. Please let us know how you're doing.



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

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Here are some more links to check out.  Please read Post #1 of the reinstatement topic carefully.  It is important to understand that these drugs are strong and a small dose as Alto, this site's owner, suggested above may be enough to reduce your withdrawal symptoms.  Reinstatement is more likely to be successful the sooner it is done.


My personal experience was with trying to reduce my Pristiq from 100mg to 50mg.  I had very bad cog fog for 3 weeks and then found that I was unable to type.  Being a professional typist for over 40 years I immediately realised that something wasn't right.  Thankfully I had joined SA a few days before this happened and they had suggested updosing.  When I couldn't type I decided that I would increase my dose.  After about 4 hours my cog fog was lifting and I was able to type.  Since then I have been successfully tapering less that 10% of the previous dose with approximately 4 week holds and have just reduced my dose to 19mg.  Other than a few hiccups when I first started tapering I have only been experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms.


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


You might find some helpful ways to talk with the medical profession in these topics:


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

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?


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

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