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SianL - Venlafaxine withdrawal


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Hi all 👋

I came across this site from a Youtube video made by Russell B where he talks about his experience of coming off Psych drugs. 

 

My background is that I grew up with pretty serious childhood trauma, but I was still a very happy and resilient child growing up. In fact, I never experienced depression until I relocated to Germany in 2010 (24yrs). I got married, relocated and stopped working all at once, plus I  moved from a Southern Hemisphere country with sunshine 90% of the time to a very bleak part of Germany (with the British army) where I remember counting 3 full weeks of overcast days in a row. 

 

I returned to Africa, got divorced and re-started my career again but I had this lingering mental illness from my time away from home. I did the responsible thing and went to see a Psychiatrist who promptly (and I mean PROMPTLY in about 20 minutes), diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Associated Depression and put me onto Venlor. There was no real question about the fact that my childhood trauma was now manifesting and I was stuck with this illness the rest of my life. (pretty debilitating news tbh) ☠️

 

Nonetheless, it made me better in the short term (I started eating and functioning again without crying every few minutes). So I just accepted it. I never took the full dose though and I refused other medications (300mg & Wellbutrin, etc). I wanted to take as little as possible. 

 

From 2012 to 2022 I tried to get off this medication at least twice (Venlaflaxine/Venlor/Effexor, whatever), but the withdrawal was so incredible that I could never function in normal life. All the Pharmacists said 'if its working why stop'. All GP's and my psychiatrist. Never once did anyone tell me that you shouldn't really be taking these meds for more than 6-12 months. And I didn't have unlimited funds to see multiple doctors, so I trusted who I did speak to. 

 

Then post covid we had a trauma in our family, my son had to have major surgery and that whole year was extremely difficult. I started to experience depression so I did what I thought was the responsible thing again and went to see my Psychiatrist. Not before speaking to a Psychologist by the way, who advised I go back and see my Psych. I desperately didn't want more medication, I knew I needed to change my lifestyle, it wasn't all medication, it was situational. But eventually I gave in, and he just increased my dose to 300mg (after a few follow ups, he did try to be responsible I'm sure). 

 

That's when things really started to go bad for me. I experienced suicidal thoughts for the first time in my life and for NO earthly reason. I have a good family, a loving partner, a home, stability, a job I enjoy, enough food and comfort. It didn't make any sense to me 😰 And I really was suicidal, I knew how I was going to do it, I justified that my kids would be better off without me, it was real. So I got scared. 

 

I began to research Venlor side effects and suicidal thoughts and then my world opened up in a BIG way. I discovered 'Medicating Normal' the documentary, I started reading about other people's experiences and I determined to get off this medication for good. 

 

Currently I'm working with a Homeopath to essentially try to minimise the withdrawal symptoms. My first consult with her was 90 minutes. 90 MINUTES 🥰 Not this 10 minute nonsense with Psychiatrists. Then I had full blood work up and discovered the Vitamin D deficiency (major - which can also cause depression by the way 🙄) and I finally felt SEEN.

 

I'm currently tapering off and it has been hellish, no lies here. But I am starting to FEEL again and I can't wait to get myself back 🌞

 

Looking forward to talking to other people on the same journey and maybe even helping.

Sian

Venlor XR               300mg; 2012 Diagnosed with G.A.D.

VenlafaxineXR     150mg 2013-2022 (tried quitting twice and couldn't bear the withdrawal)

Life event & trauma happens:

VenlafaxineXR     300mg 2022 - 2024

Withdrawal so far:-

17 Apr 2024    Tapering off medication with a Homeopath - 150mg Venlaflaxine + 30mg Saffron

20 Apr 2024   150mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vitamin D (discovered deficiency)

02 May 2024  112.5mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vit D

20 May 2024  75mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vit D (severe side effects)

28 May 2024  112.5mg VenflaxineXR

Supplements

Saffron 30mg, Vitamin D, Iron & Vitamin C

Link to comment

As a side note, these have been my symptoms during my withdrawal so far:-

 

300mg to 150mg on my own and too quickly - depression, sensitive towards everyone around me, brain zaps, vertigo

150mg + saffron + vit D - sensitivity, brain zaps continue but improve after 2 weeks (stayed here for 2 weeks)

112.5mg + saffron + vit D - quite emotional, the odd sensitive day (during PMS) (brain zaps but to a lesser extent) (stayed like this for 3 weeks)

75mg + saffron + vit D - first 6 days were really tough but withdrawal symptoms changed - no sensitivity (I felt emotionally stronger, more resilient), major headaches & nausea. Day 7 felt much better, day 8 I feel good. 

Venlor XR               300mg; 2012 Diagnosed with G.A.D.

VenlafaxineXR     150mg 2013-2022 (tried quitting twice and couldn't bear the withdrawal)

Life event & trauma happens:

VenlafaxineXR     300mg 2022 - 2024

Withdrawal so far:-

17 Apr 2024    Tapering off medication with a Homeopath - 150mg Venlaflaxine + 30mg Saffron

20 Apr 2024   150mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vitamin D (discovered deficiency)

02 May 2024  112.5mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vit D

20 May 2024  75mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vit D (severe side effects)

28 May 2024  112.5mg VenflaxineXR

Supplements

Saffron 30mg, Vitamin D, Iron & Vitamin C

Link to comment
  • Moderator

Hello, and welcome to Surviving Antidepressants. We are a peer support forum to assist in tapering off psychiatric drugs safely, or recovering from psychiatric drug withdrawal.

 

You are tapering the venlafaxine far too quickly, considering the half-life of the drug and the number of years you have taken it. We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of your current dose each month. This would look something like 75mg --> 67.5mg --> 60.75mg --> 54.68mg etc.

 

I would suggest you hold on your current dose for a considerable amount of time, monitoring how your symptoms progress.

 

Here are a few of the most useful links:

 

--------Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ--------

 

Tips for tapering off venlafaxine (Effexor)

 

Micro tapering

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

Using a scale to weigh and measure doses

 

--------From the Symptoms and Self-Care Forums--------
 
What is withdrawal syndrome?
 
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms
 
The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Hypersensitivity and Kindling

Active Monday-Friday UK time

 

Taper calculator spreadsheet

 

MEDICATION:

1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021, 55mg - 23 Feb 2024, 60mg - 20 March 2024, Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 55.09mg  (1 July 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020

SUPPLEMENTS:

Fish oils, Magnesium, Vitamin C

Link to comment

Thank you so much for this! Even my Homeopath has never had to taper off this and was looking for resources. I will share with her definitely. 

 

Part of me wants to be off it so badly! But with the symptoms I completely understand how this would be better and I imagine, alleviate symptoms completely? Or is it just safer overall?

 

Thank you!

Venlor XR               300mg; 2012 Diagnosed with G.A.D.

VenlafaxineXR     150mg 2013-2022 (tried quitting twice and couldn't bear the withdrawal)

Life event & trauma happens:

VenlafaxineXR     300mg 2022 - 2024

Withdrawal so far:-

17 Apr 2024    Tapering off medication with a Homeopath - 150mg Venlaflaxine + 30mg Saffron

20 Apr 2024   150mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vitamin D (discovered deficiency)

02 May 2024  112.5mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vit D

20 May 2024  75mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vit D (severe side effects)

28 May 2024  112.5mg VenflaxineXR

Supplements

Saffron 30mg, Vitamin D, Iron & Vitamin C

Link to comment
  • Moderator
32 minutes ago, SianL said:

Thank you so much for this! Even my Homeopath has never had to taper off this and was looking for resources. I will share with her definitely.

You will struggle to find anyone well-versed in safe practice for tapering from psychiatric drugs. I suggest you follow the advice this forum offers, it is the most comprehensive tapering guide you will find.

 

33 minutes ago, SianL said:

Part of me wants to be off it so badly!

We all have this idea about getting off the medication quickly and getting on with life, unfortunately that it not the way the brain works. Venlafaxine is a drug that requires upmost caution when tapering. Are you taking the extended release formulation of effexor? If so you will need to familiarise yourself with bead counting.

 

35 minutes ago, SianL said:

alleviate symptoms completely? Or is it just safer overall?

I can't guarantee it will completely alleviate symptoms, but they should be much more manageable. It is absolutely safer for the brain to taper this way. When you taper too quick the nervous system eventually crashes because it can't keep up. It can take a long time to recover from this state, which is why we suggest 10%/month.

Active Monday-Friday UK time

 

Taper calculator spreadsheet

 

MEDICATION:

1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021, 55mg - 23 Feb 2024, 60mg - 20 March 2024, Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 55.09mg  (1 July 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020

SUPPLEMENTS:

Fish oils, Magnesium, Vitamin C

Link to comment
  • Erimus changed the title to SianL - Venlafaxine withdrawal
  • Mentor

Welcome @SianL,

 

it is very important to taper slowly. If you go to fast you can run into a really bad crash without noticing until it is too late. Even though Venlafaxine is one of the ADs with the shortest half-lifes it takes time for the drug to reach a stable state in your system after you changed your dose. Moreover your body needs time to react to those changes and you will need time to notice your body's reaction. So you will probably need at least 3 weeks before you can assess what a dose change did with you.

 

But unfortunately things are sometimes even worse. Some people experience delayed reactions to drug changes of weeks and in rare cases even months. If you do large reductions like you are doing every 3-4 weeks those can add up and result in a very bad crash without you noticing before.

 

Like Erimus suggested, I would hold at 75mg at least for 3 month now, provided you experience no symptoms at all right now. If you experience withdrawal right now, you should carefully increase your dose instead.

 

If you experience light or moderate withdrawal symptoms after a reduction that resolve after a couple of days, that's ok. However, in any other case like severe symptoms or protracted light symptoms you should immediately return to your previous dose and proceed more slowly. Never ever fight through withdrawal symptoms, if you can avoid that!!! Your nervous system can take significant damage and afterwards quitting the drug will take longer and be more difficult.

 

Here on SA are a lot of useful resources and information. Taking the time and reading through all articles on the landing page will surely be worthwhile.

If you have a question you can tag a member like this @SianL and invite him into your thread where you can discuss your questions. Anybody I met here so far was very willing to help.

 

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.

Link to comment

@Alfred1977 @Erimus thank you so much for this advice 👏

I can't say I'm not sad about having to slow down, but I have to succeed so I will follow this advice.

I will update my signature correctly tomorrow, I am on Venlaflaxine XR Adco, didn't know there was a difference?

 

I definitely don't want any delayed symptoms or shock to the system. This is quite scary 😨 

 

Lots to read up and really appreciate the education 📖 

Venlor XR               300mg; 2012 Diagnosed with G.A.D.

VenlafaxineXR     150mg 2013-2022 (tried quitting twice and couldn't bear the withdrawal)

Life event & trauma happens:

VenlafaxineXR     300mg 2022 - 2024

Withdrawal so far:-

17 Apr 2024    Tapering off medication with a Homeopath - 150mg Venlaflaxine + 30mg Saffron

20 Apr 2024   150mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vitamin D (discovered deficiency)

02 May 2024  112.5mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vit D

20 May 2024  75mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vit D (severe side effects)

28 May 2024  112.5mg VenflaxineXR

Supplements

Saffron 30mg, Vitamin D, Iron & Vitamin C

Link to comment
  • Moderator
1 hour ago, SianL said:

@Alfred1977 @Erimus thank you so much for this advice 👏

I can't say I'm not sad about having to slow down, but I have to succeed so I will follow this advice.

I will update my signature correctly tomorrow, I am on Venlaflaxine XR Adco, didn't know there was a difference?

 

I definitely don't want any delayed symptoms or shock to the system. This is quite scary 😨 

 

Lots to read up and really appreciate the education 📖 

Yes, there is a few different formulations of effexor. I really suggest you read the full thread on Tips for tapering off venlafaxine (Effexor)

Active Monday-Friday UK time

 

Taper calculator spreadsheet

 

MEDICATION:

1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021, 55mg - 23 Feb 2024, 60mg - 20 March 2024, Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 55.09mg  (1 July 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020

SUPPLEMENTS:

Fish oils, Magnesium, Vitamin C

Link to comment

Reading about the potential damage to your nervous system is terrifying as one of my main symptoms this week was a severe and "different" headache behind my right eye and the right side of my head. I'll stay at this dose at least a month.

Can this damage mean emotional symptoms or simply physical discomfort?

Venlor XR               300mg; 2012 Diagnosed with G.A.D.

VenlafaxineXR     150mg 2013-2022 (tried quitting twice and couldn't bear the withdrawal)

Life event & trauma happens:

VenlafaxineXR     300mg 2022 - 2024

Withdrawal so far:-

17 Apr 2024    Tapering off medication with a Homeopath - 150mg Venlaflaxine + 30mg Saffron

20 Apr 2024   150mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vitamin D (discovered deficiency)

02 May 2024  112.5mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vit D

20 May 2024  75mg VenlaflaxineXR + 30mg Saffron + Vit D (severe side effects)

28 May 2024  112.5mg VenflaxineXR

Supplements

Saffron 30mg, Vitamin D, Iron & Vitamin C

Link to comment
  • Moderator
5 minutes ago, SianL said:

Can this damage mean emotional symptoms or simply physical discomfort?

Both are possible.

Active Monday-Friday UK time

 

Taper calculator spreadsheet

 

MEDICATION:

1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021, 55mg - 23 Feb 2024, 60mg - 20 March 2024, Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 55.09mg  (1 July 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020

SUPPLEMENTS:

Fish oils, Magnesium, Vitamin C

Link to comment
  • Mentor
3 minutes ago, SianL said:

I'll stay at this dose at least a month.

You should definitely stay longer. You ve been at 150mg about a month ago.

 

5 minutes ago, SianL said:

Can this damage mean emotional symptoms or simply physical discomfort?

Severe emotional as well as severe physical pain. And it can last very long.

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.

Link to comment

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