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Hi,

 

I’ve been severely depressed my whole life, but in 2007 I was diagnosed with GAD by my GP and went on 10mg of lexapro. I responded quickly. By that afternoon, I was a different person. The honest truth is it saved my life because I was extremely suicidal. It quit working after 12 years. I had what used to be called a nervous breakdown about 3 years ago. After trying several SSRIs I ended up on generic Effexor 225mg. I’ve been in therapy since then with a wonderful trauma-certified psychologist who has helped me get more stabilized. I have my days, but in general I’m significantly better. He diagnosed me with GAD,  PTSD with phobia, and severe depression. That seems like a huge jump from “mere” GAD, but I do fit the criteria for all of the above. 
 

While I’m pretty fearful about it I’d like to try tapering off the venlafaxine. I’m here to explore that possibility. 
 

Meds/supplements: venfalaxine 225mg, Lion’s main mushrooms 500mg, b-complex, multivitamin, primrose.

Meds

Venfalaxine 225mg, November 2021 to present (Lexapro 10mg 2007-2021 when it quit working)

Baclofen 150mg, occasionally taken off label for anxiety if I know I’ll be in a distressing environment

Marijuana edibles as needed, legal here

Supplements

B-complex 100mg, multivitamin, primrose, Lion’s Mane mushrooms 500-1000mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus
Posted (edited)

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a volunteer-run community of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  I'm so glad you found us before you started your taper!  Many who come in are already in withdrawal from tapering too fast before they learn how to taper properly.  You can avoid this.  First of all, let me give you this link, to see if you are in fact ready to taper.  

 

Before You Begin Tapering, What You Need to Know

 

Thanks for your drug history.  Are you, or have you recently (last 2-3 years) been on any other drugs?  If so, please add them to your signature.  

 

How to List Your Drug History in Your Signature

 

Here is some important information about how these drugs actually work.  This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications, and why it's so important to taper slowly and carefully, and be very cautious about changing our doses: 

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

 

Tapering is best done extremely slowly, and we generally taper by 10% of the current dose no more than once every 4 weeks, so that the reduction becomes exponentially smaller.

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

You can also microtaper, which is the easiest and gentlest approach: 

 

Micro-Taper Instead of 10 or 5 Percent Decreases

 

Tips for Tapering Venlafaxine

 

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!  

Edited by getofflex

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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Thank you for the links! I’ll be doing some reading this evening. I’ll update my signature. I just remembered something. 

Meds

Venfalaxine 225mg, November 2021 to present (Lexapro 10mg 2007-2021 when it quit working)

Baclofen 150mg, occasionally taken off label for anxiety if I know I’ll be in a distressing environment

Marijuana edibles as needed, legal here

Supplements

B-complex 100mg, multivitamin, primrose, Lion’s Mane mushrooms 500-1000mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thanks for fleshing out your drug signature. You say you take baclofen occasionally. How often do you take this on average?   I would suggest you stop doing the edibles before you commence your taper. These can be unpredictable in terms of your nervous system.  

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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The baclofen is emergency use only, so my use is unpredictable. For instance, I took it 3x last week due to a potential panic attack-inducing trip. Prior to last week it’d been months. I’ve heard people get high from it. I don’t. If I take it before bed I wake up feeling capable and confident. I’ve read it’s the gaba. Anyway, I have a limited supply left, so I hoard it for only the most desperate times.


I’m surprised about the edibles. 
 

I'm having serious doubts about going off my AD after reading the first link on when one shouldn’t taper. While I’ve been in therapy for a couple of years plus earlier in my life, I’m not sure I’m stable enough to be “on my own” mentally. I live in a situation that causes a lot of anxiety and occasional panic attacks due to circumstances. It’s nothing dangerous (except in my mind), but I’m stuck here. 

Meds

Venfalaxine 225mg, November 2021 to present (Lexapro 10mg 2007-2021 when it quit working)

Baclofen 150mg, occasionally taken off label for anxiety if I know I’ll be in a distressing environment

Marijuana edibles as needed, legal here

Supplements

B-complex 100mg, multivitamin, primrose, Lion’s Mane mushrooms 500-1000mg

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19 minutes ago, NuddyBuddy said:

The baclofen is emergency use only, so my use is unpredictable. For instance, I took it 3x last week due to a potential panic attack-inducing trip. Prior to last week it’d been months. I’ve heard people get high from it. I don’t. If I take it before bed I wake up feeling capable and confident. I’ve read it’s the gaba. Anyway, I have a limited supply left, so I hoard it for only the most desperate times.


I’m surprised about the edibles. 
 

I'm having serious doubts about going off my AD after reading the first link on when one shouldn’t taper. While I’ve been in therapy for a couple of years plus earlier in my life, I’m not sure I’m stable enough to be “on my own” mentally. I live in a situation that causes a lot of anxiety and occasional panic attacks due to circumstances. It’s nothing dangerous (except in my mind), but I’m stuck here. 

Hi @NuddyBuddy!  That's a hard situation.  Being stuck in a bad situation that induces anxiety will make it challenging to be without meds, and unless you have developed a strong practice of non-drug methods of coping with your anxiety, you will likely struggle.  I'm in a very stable, loving and supportive situation, and I still spent six months prior to initiating my taper developing mindfulness skills, exercising (as much as I can with my other medical issues), and various other things, many of which are discussed in the Non-drug methods of coping thread here.  

 

Perhaps you could start working on some of those skills, and try to use those instead of using the edibles or baclofen when feeling anxious.  It's a small step that would get you on the path to being drug-free.  When you feel like you've found a mix of techniques that can get you through your anxiety, you could start slowly weaning the Venlafaxine.  Go SLOW!!!  There's no rush.  The fact that you are interested in moving in this direction is wonderful, but just keep reminding yourself that there's no rush at all. 

 

With respect to the edibles- I have found they are very destabilizing while tapering.  I actually completely blacked out after taking one early in my taper.  That scared the crap out of me (and my poor husband), and I haven't touched them since.  Live and learn, right?  I know that marijuana is natural, but it is still a psychoactive substance, and using them while on other psychoactive substances is essentially polypharmacy, which can lead to unpredictable outcomes.    There are other members here who would likely tell you the same thing.

 

Only you can decide what's best for you... if you really don't feel ready to tackle this yet, that's ok!  It's still great that you're here, and getting informed before proceeding.  I so wish this site had been available 30 years ago, before my first cold turkey stop.  It would have saved me a lot of heartache.  So keep learning, and we're all here for you when you're ready to go!!

1995- 2007- On and off multiple antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin, escitalopram). Memory poor- can’t remember dates. Always tapered fast or CT.  2007- tapered Wellbutrin, zopiclone and escitalopram over one month to get pregnant.  Withdrawal hell.

2009- Daughter born 🥰

2016- Back on escitalopram

2022- Diagnosed with long covid 08/22.

2023- 01/23- Long term disability approved for long covid.  Started taper under MD advice from 20mg: 11/23- 15mg. 2024- March-10mg. Started low dose naltrexone for long covid-5mg- terrible reaction, reduced to 0.5mg.  April- 10mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 1- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 15- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN

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Thank you, Catwoman. I’ve been in therapy for a couple of years with a trauma certified psychologist, and he’s taught me a lot of good self-soothing techniques. But I like what you did prior to starting to taper. I think I’ll concentrate on getting those techniques deeply embedded in my psyche and reassess things then. 
 

I'm astounded anyone can quit cold turkey. I once went on a trip and forgot my lexapro. It took a few days to get this rectified. On day three I was walking around with double vision. 🫣

I admit I’m pretty fearful of giving up the edibles. I use them when I feel a panic attack coming on, about once a week, and they’ve worked very well for that. I’ll do some more research here on the subject. Considering you’re the second person to tell me this y’all might just know what you’re talking about, lol. 
 

EDIT—I get it now regarding edibles. The whole point is to get my brain stabilized. Y’all said that, but I didn’t catch on. 

 

 

Meds

Venfalaxine 225mg, November 2021 to present (Lexapro 10mg 2007-2021 when it quit working)

Baclofen 150mg, occasionally taken off label for anxiety if I know I’ll be in a distressing environment

Marijuana edibles as needed, legal here

Supplements

B-complex 100mg, multivitamin, primrose, Lion’s Mane mushrooms 500-1000mg

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus
4 hours ago, NuddyBuddy said:

For instance, I took it 3x last week due to a potential panic attack-inducing trip. Prior to last week it’d been months.

That's good.  In this case it's very unlikely you are dependent upon it.  

 

4 hours ago, NuddyBuddy said:

I’m surprised about the edibles. 

Cannabis, Marijuana, Hashish, etc.  

 

4 hours ago, NuddyBuddy said:

I'm having serious doubts about going off my AD after reading the first link on when one shouldn’t taper.

It's good that you are aware of this and being cautious.  Perhaps at some point in the future, you can taper.  I hope your living situation becomes easier.  

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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Thank you, Getofflex. I very much appreciate your and Catwoman’s input and links. 
 

 

Meds

Venfalaxine 225mg, November 2021 to present (Lexapro 10mg 2007-2021 when it quit working)

Baclofen 150mg, occasionally taken off label for anxiety if I know I’ll be in a distressing environment

Marijuana edibles as needed, legal here

Supplements

B-complex 100mg, multivitamin, primrose, Lion’s Mane mushrooms 500-1000mg

Link to comment
2 hours ago, NuddyBuddy said:

EDIT—I get it now regarding edibles. The whole point is to get my brain stabilized. Y’all said that, but I didn’t catch on. 

 

 

I certainly didn't WANT to catch on myself lol- I enjoyed the relaxation that came with edibles!  I don't drink, and thought I was doing myself a favour by using them instead of alcohol.  I wasn't.  Some people have to learn the hard way, and it seems I'm one of them.  It's no easy task, learning to cope with this life drug free- there are terrible moments that you don't think you'll survive.  And it's hard, hard work getting to a point where you can see your anxiety and panic for what they are- they are just your primordial brain telling you that you are in danger when you're not.  I'm not off my meds yet, but I'm making progress, and I really find myself feeling excited now about who I might become on the other side. You can do this, just take things at a pace that YOU can manage. 

1995- 2007- On and off multiple antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin, escitalopram). Memory poor- can’t remember dates. Always tapered fast or CT.  2007- tapered Wellbutrin, zopiclone and escitalopram over one month to get pregnant.  Withdrawal hell.

2009- Daughter born 🥰

2016- Back on escitalopram

2022- Diagnosed with long covid 08/22.

2023- 01/23- Long term disability approved for long covid.  Started taper under MD advice from 20mg: 11/23- 15mg. 2024- March-10mg. Started low dose naltrexone for long covid-5mg- terrible reaction, reduced to 0.5mg.  April- 10mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 1- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 15- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN

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  • Moderator Emeritus
Posted (edited)

Here are some basic techniques to help with anxiety.  Claire Weekes is excellent - I strongly suggest you give her a try.  She talks about accepting your anxiety, instead of fighting it.  Because when we fight it, it creates secondary anxiety, and then our anxiety spirals out of control and just gets worse and worse.  

 

There is also a good CBT book called "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David Burns, MD.  It's long, but if you just read the intro chapters, and the chapter on anxiety, it won't be so overwhelming. The exercises on depression really helped me, and they are simple and easy to do.  

 

video: Claire Weekes: Managing Anxiety

 

 

video: Claire Weekes on Anxiety and Panic

 

Claire Weekes - Hope and Help for you Nerves Audiobook  

 

Emotional Spirals

 

Acknowledge Accept Float

 

Music to Calm Anxiety

 

Breathing Technique for Anxiety

 

Anxiety Stuff - all kinds of stuff about anxiety attacks and things that help ...

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes) Female voice - getselfhelp.co.uk

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes) Male voice - getselfhelp.co.uk

 

Meditation

Edited by getofflex

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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I will double down on marijuana. THC is a disruptor of the central nervous system. It can be hard to predict how you react to it when in withdrawal.

 

My personal experience: I used THC oil during acute withdrawal to help with insomnia. When I got hit with protracted anti depressant WD, I started to react very badly to it.

It is now a problem for me because I have to maintain a very small dose of it to avoid going through acute THC withdrawal while still trying to stabilize from the whole anti depressant thing.

 

I learned my lesson!

Supplements: Vit D3, Fish oil, Magnesium bisglycenate 200mg (when needed), Melatonin 1.25mg (when needed), Camomile tea (1 cup before bed), THC oil (0.03ml once a week, don't do this to yourself), Vit C 500mg a day
Started effexor in 2011.

Stopped effexor in 2012 (fast tamper).

Got back on effexor in 2012.

Tried stopping effexor again in 2014 (I'm not sure?), fast tamper again.

Started effexor again in 2014.

Switched to Escitalopram in 2016 I believe

Stopped Escitalopram 10mg cold turkey on January 3 2024.

Reinstated Escitalopram 5mg on april 2 2024.

Down to 1mg on april 3 2024, 1.25mg on april 11 2024

 

 

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Catwoman, I am too, lol. I’m still not sure I’ll be able to stop it, but I’m at least educating myself on the subject. My fear of facing panic attacks without the cushion of an edible is why. My amygdala is so uncooperative. I’m pretty horrified already though with how carelessly I’ve ingested ADs and how recklessly they’re prescribed. But…..I was suicidal. There weren’t a lot of options by that point. 
 

Getofflex, thank you for all the info. My plan is to drill down on self-soothing techniques for a few months then reassess tapering, so these links are invaluable. I’m vaguely familiar with both Claire Weeks and David Burns. I’ll have to check my kindle as I may have some books and forgot. 
 

Tweed, yes, I’m very surprised withdrawal changes how other things affect one. I had no idea! I hope you are able to move forward successfully. 

Meds

Venfalaxine 225mg, November 2021 to present (Lexapro 10mg 2007-2021 when it quit working)

Baclofen 150mg, occasionally taken off label for anxiety if I know I’ll be in a distressing environment

Marijuana edibles as needed, legal here

Supplements

B-complex 100mg, multivitamin, primrose, Lion’s Mane mushrooms 500-1000mg

Link to comment
  • Mentor

Hi @NuddyBuddy,

 

I am pretty new here too and think this is a great site with lots of valuable information. I am on Venlafaxine for over 18 years now. I had a bad crash a couple of weeks ago trying to get off of it (before I found this site). You wrote that you think that ADs helped you a lot. Why exactly do you think about quitting? Have you ever tried quitting ADs before?

Earlier drug history:

Paroxetine  2001 until 2003, quit cold turkey, don't remember dose; Venlafaxine 2005 until Dez. 2023, mostly 75mg xr per day, for about 4 years 37.5mg xr; quite a lot of Antihistamines because of allergy; there were other drugs that I don't remember all, but nothing what I consistently took over a longer period of time, for example Lorazepam 0.5mg prn.

Recent developments:

Dez 2023 - 03/13/2024 quitting Venlafaxine 75mg (skipping doses); 04/07/2024 reinstating Venlafaxine 12,5mg; 04/17/2024 Venlafaxine 25mg; 4/29/24 until 5/4/24 Trimipramine, 5mg going down to zero over 5 days

Drugs right now:

Venlafaxine 25mg; supplements: 500mg magnesium, 100mg aspirin and melatonin spray

 

I am no medical expert. I am dependent on Venlafaxine, trying to find and give peer support in this community and simply giving my opinion. Double check any information before you take action, for example with your doctor.

 

First they sell addictive drugs as harmless and then they leave you alone dosing fractions of a mg correctly or plunging into the abyss.

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Hi @NuddyBuddy!

 

Just wanted to say, I second what has been said about the edibles. Throughout 2021-2022 I used them to help with depression, but in the end I think they caused some imbalance in my brain and I got more issues (insomnia, GI trouble, monthly depression bursts). When I started venlafaxine, it seemed to have immediate efficacy, which tends to confirm that.

 

Either way, welcome, and best of luck in your endeavors!

2019-2021: paroxetine (1mo), vortioxetine (2mo), fluoxetine (1mo)

2021-2022: weed (edibles) once/twice a week

Oct 2022: vortioxetine attempt (3 days or so)

Nov 2022: venlafaxine, 37.5mg/day then 75mg/day after 2 weeks

Mar 2023: Ritalin, from 10mg/day to 20mg/day

Jul 2023: venlafaxine 112.5mg/day, Ritalin 30mg/day

Aug 2023: off Ritalin, starting venlafaxine taper

Sep 2023: off venlafaxine

Jan 2024: venlafaxine reinstatement attempt (75mg/day) for 5 days

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