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shewolf -- Recovery from venlafaxine


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My name is Ann. I live in Scotland UK. I was on Prozac for 4 years and then Venlafaxine for 6 years (225mg). I stopped taking Venlafaxine in December of last year, but after a couple of months having stopped, the withdrawals were too severe and acute. I was advised to take a gentler antidepressant called Citalopram at a very low dose!!! This was supposed to 'soak up' the worst of the withdrawal.


It has done me very little good, and now I want every toxin out of my body. I feel I am very intolerant of every possible drug and many foods. Can't eat chinese food because of monosodium glutamate. Don't take sugar, caffeine, white bread etc. I've tried to read as much as I can to equip myself, but it all gets too much sometimes.


I'm struggling hard core, and I want to feel that this pain is for a purpose?...


Can anyone give me some positive feedback?

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Hello, Ann. I hope you find reassurance here among people who have had similar experiences.


It sounds like you are suffering from withdrawal syndrome from the venlafaxine, which is notorious for difficult withdrawal.


Usually, the only thing that helps withdrawal syndrome is "hair of the dog" very shortly after you quit, then a slower taper.


Most of us have found, as you did, that a different antidepressant doesn't help at all and may make withdrawal symptoms worse.


To answer your question, recover is a process. It can be very slow, comes in lurches, and requires a lot of patience. There are no instant cures for withdrawal syndrome, which is damage to the nervous system caused by antidepressants and then too-fast withdrawal. The good news is, with gentle nurturance, the nervous system repairs itself.


How much citalopram are you taking? We have some people here who are tapering off this drug.

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

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Hello Ann,

I'm new too, I don't know anything about the antidepressants you were on but do know about withdrawal from them, I was on Pristiq.

There is a spot on this website we can go to that has inspirational quotes and sayings and I found one that spoke of pain and suffering I wrote it down but forgot to write down who quoted it, so I feel bad!

"What we are all aware of is that, struggle as we may, there is no way to get away from our pain & suffering. It is part of the human experience. When we try to escape our suffering, we become so absorbed in it that it becomes the very focal point of out experience. Quite often making it more intense, becoming more fearful, unable to imagine anything else but our struggle which creates more suffering. But there is another way, by staying close to our experience, curiously watching, breath by breath, open to what it has to show us we can begin to see and understand on a deeper level what is the meaning of our suffering"

It hit home for me because I did try to escape my pain only to put off what I eventually had to face, fearing the pain & suffering I was to endure. I realized you have to feel to live, the positive and the negative, withdrawals making it more intense and harder to pinpoint. It's hard when you are so confused but I keep hope as I have moments of clarity and hope.

I hope that helps in some way if not try going to that section to find something inspirational. Peace and healing.

On Pristiq last month went down to 50mg, cut pills in half for a week did good, next week reduced to 1/4 withdrawals came. My body hurt so bad, running to the bathroom, couldn't eat, stomach in knots, anxiety so intense Ativan didn't help much, scared to be alone but couldn't be around anyone, so unattached to myself, didn't sleep for 2 or 3 nights. By day 3 I just didn't care, I wanted it done, no more Pristiq. Very fortunate I didn't get brain zaps, I think I would have lost it. I struggle with periods of intense aggression that has almost turned into violence when a lady smarted off, the thoughts that come with it scare me and are out of nowhere.

A week without still can't eat, got some sleep but back to not sleeping even with sleeping pills, still in and out, aggression, anxiety let up, running to bathroom, stomach in knots, overwhelming feelings something is wrong. Keeping hope as I have brief moments of clarity!

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Good quote. It sounds a lot like Eckharte Tolle in The Power of Now.

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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