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  1. Mine is a very complicated long story which I don't have time now to go into detail about but I had decided to hold and stabilise for a while after a horrible experience with Seroxat last summer - small reduction, massive crash. I'm currently on 12mg. I'm also on Venlafaxine (another long story, how I ended up on 2) and recently (against my better judgement) was persuaded by my psych to try a drop of 37.5mg from 112.5mg as the Venlafaxine XR doses don't come in anything smaller. I ended up v low, not sleeping, anxiety etc - all the usuals, so went back up 8 weeks ago. I stabilised fairly quickly, within 2 weeks the anxiety was better and I'd say within 5 I felt better. However, the dose is too high for me, so I can't just stay there and stabilise for a while as I can't sleep, have constantly whirring thoughts in my mind, can't concentrate, am very restless etc, which is why I dropped it in the first place . I've just read here that the XR version isn't suitable for splitting/ crushing, (which is my psychs suggestions - she said she's checked with the pharmacist in the mental health service who says it is suitable though??) So, I'm wondering if the next best thing to do is switch to the ' normal' version as this is available in liquid form in the uk apparently. Are there any major issues in switching from one to the other? Has anyone had any experience with this? I'd be grateful to hear thanks
  2. Tapering Effexor. Jumped benzo's 6 months ago. Two weeks ago I hit a hard wall at 18mg effexor and have scrambled back up to 30mg. I'm barely non-functional. sx are a combination of benzo (muscle spasm/cramps) and AD sx (zap). I can write clearly only because it's the PM. In the AM... I am a mute tortured potato. I know I have violated 3s's. 1) Not Slow. 37.5 to 18 is way too fast. I was fooled by ease of 300 to 37.5 over 4 months (%50 reductions) and maybe confused by immediate release. Things are blurry. 2) Not Simple. After benzo withdrawal I deserve a break. I really didn't intend to quit AD this soon after. 3) Not Stable... I need advice on how to stabilize my situation. Was going to 30mg enough to recover? Would 37.5 or more be better? Should I bridge to another SSRI to stabilize on Effexor? What should I know about tapering SSRI being newly benzo free? Double waves?
  3. Hi I am currently on Venlafaxine XR ( 150 mg ) and have decided to reduce my dose as feel in a stable place to try. Me and my doctor decided to taper down using 37.5 mg XL tablets as this is the smallest dose they do. Anyway I had very bad withdrawl symptoms which began after about 1.5 days after dropping the dos by 37.5 mg After about 9 weeks and still suffering from withdrawls I went back up to my normal 150 mg XL dose which helped. My question is how do I withdraw any less that 37.5 mg as this is the smallest tablet and I believe you are not able to cut the XR version of venlafaxine XR. Thanks
  4. Well my signature will tell you most, but I found this site as I was searching for how to wean off of my antidepressants. I read quite a bit all over on this site and found out that I need to start with 10% reduction. And I am also going to get a scale to help in my reduction of the effexor, money going towards my health. I tried going off the wellbutrin once and I became seriously depressed so had to go back on it. I thought it would be easier to start with that one since it was so low, but did not realise as I read on here that it is a slow release one and I need to change to another kind to be able to slowly go off of it. I do not know if my doctor will allow me without knowing what I am doing, and I do not want to tell her as she does not support me going off the medication, so not sure what to do for this drug? The Effexor, I went one does lower almost a year back because I found it was causing my vision to be blurry after allot of investigating to find out the cause. I just went one dose lower and I had brain zaps for a few months and the first week was like I was a drug addict on withdrawals for 3 days, crazy! I have not been able to go lower without allot of problems, so I am hoping the 10% reduction rule will help me, I will wait until I get my scale to begin. I am wondering, as a read early on another sight how some people are able to lower there dosage by using other natural supplements for the brain chemistry to help them to have less anxiety and depression as they came off there medications, some had to use alternative supplements to keep from getting sads or help with there anxiety, anyone know anything about this? it interests me as I have both long before I went on antidepressants and wonder what I can do to keep the anxiety and mild depression at bay from the long winters, and because for some reason, no one and nothing I have tried or read in almost 30 years has helped with my anxiety and I have been stuck with the clonazepam as my only option, and not a great one at that, as the more you take it, the more you need for it to stay effective and thus the addiction starts up. I have learned to sit still and meditate since then, but still it is not enough for the anxiety, I just do not know what to do about this problem when I am off of the medication, the antidepressants do not help with the anxiety unless I am on a higher dose that I cannot feel or cry, and I feel like I exist and that's it, so I will not take that high of dosage. Long story short, I do not like the side affects and the longer I am on these drugs the more drugs they start to prescribe for the side affects I am starting to get, this is unacceptable to me and I want off this drug roller coaster ride. Thank you for listening to my first long post. I like the saying "a problem shared is a problem halved" and so this site will be a great help as we all help each other. Here's to being the warrior, not the victim!
  5. Hi everyone This is my first post on here - I have joined this forum especially for one reason only - I am desperate for advice about withdrawals from Effexor. I cannot live like this. I was on antidepressents for around 8 years - during which time I changed brands and dosage a few times. I think I was on Effexor for around 2 years, maybe more. Anyway, I noticed that I had very bad side effects from it, including night sweats, bad dreams (talking in sleep) and weight gain of over 20kgs. Therefore, I was really keen to stop talking it - my depression and anxiety had stabled so I thought I would be ok. With doctors advice, I tapered down over 6 weeks and had my final dose in January of this year. Over the following week or 2, I experienced all the expected side effects upon stopping, including flu like symptoms, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, etc. However they all settled down after a couple of weeks except for 1 of them - which I still am suffering from now - 4 months later! That is nausea and vomiting. Every day I am nauseaus if I don't take motion sickness medication twice a day. If I take the meds a little later than normal, I will get nauseas and vomit. Without fail. And this is regardless of whether or not I take part in any motion (eg car, boat, walking, etc). The doctors and pharmacists are of no help. I am so frustrated that I just want to visit the Effexor manufacturers and go mad at them for doing this to me! I can't live on motion sickness medication - that's ridiculous. And I also don't want to continue on an SSRI or SNRI to make this go away either - because it will just reappear if I stop again in the future. Can anyone help or give me advice please? I am really going crazy and don't know what to do about it. Thanks so much in advance.
  6. Hi guys. My name is Jure and I'm about to start my very first proper taper after being on 75mg Effexor for 9 years. I didn't take the meds properly at the start so I was experiencing all sorts of symptoms, most notably brain zaps. I was 19 at the time. I then took them seriously for a bit and then tried to taper off. The doctor advising me to take 37.5mg for a month and that's it. That sent me mad and I was back on the 75mg the next day. I think was about 23 at the time. I have now been taking 75mg for a good 6 years. I've been feeling great, started exercising, getting really fit and strong and feeling very motivated. I noticed my really positive attitude so thought I'd try to taper. Now the interesting bit! While taking my full dose I was experiencing ringing in ears, sore eyes at times & sensitivity to sounds but only when in quiet areas, for example I live at home alone and when the pilot on my heater clicks I get a small jolt in my head??? I don't get them while at work with loud banging going on etc. The ringing in my ears has been a symptom from before but the jolt I get from sounds in quiet places is new. Is this the sign of drug poop out or just a side effect?? I have since started the taper (using bead counting method) currently 10% less of 75mg, no brain zaps but I'm anxious. I started getting anxious even at the start of the taper. I believe it was because I didn't feel comfortable using the bead counting method for tapering. I have now since got in touch with a compounding pharmacist who will compound the dosages required and feel A LOT better about it!! I know I can make it!! I'm confident I can do it! Any advice is appreciated and I'll be very greatful if anyone could give me some help as we all know the doctors are no good!!! Especially about the sensitivity to sounds in quiet places : )))
  7. Good Morning, I was searching online this morning to come across anything to help with this detox I am going through from Effexor. I have only been on it a year and 2 months. The first few months getting the dosage correct was hell! My doctor said it was best to stay on it for at least a year. I have since dealt with the issue that started the uncontrollable panic and anxiety so I figured I was ready to come off. I really want to start a family. I am currently on day 4 without any meds. Anyone else have any tips on how to get through this. I know its rough, I have done it before and survived, but this time I feel it is worse. Maybe because I know what to expect? But this time around I feel like nothing feels normal during points of the day. IE; being at work, driving down a road I drive down everyday, being at home, things that normally get me pumped and excited - just seem like thoughts now . Nothing feels like normalcy for periods of time to me. Anyone else dealt with that? It's such a disheartening feeling that I would almost trade feeling that for the uncontrollable crying and dizziness ! :(I am also experiencing anxiety while sleeping, or just waking up I am so glad there are forums like this, to not feel alone. Another terrible feeling I have been having lately, although I feel like everyone knows whats going on, it is really hard for them to understand! They are supportive, but just wish you wouldn't cry and breakdown in front of them because they don't know what to do, when in reality, all you want is someone to be ok with you and your emotional mood swings I completely understand that I am ok in these moments, I know they will pass. I also know that I will survive it, but the feelings are so uncontrollable there is nothing you can do to tell your mind otherwise - not that I have found. Any suggestions? Thanks everyone
  8. Newbie here I have just been told y my doctor to come off Effexor, due to persistent high blood pressure. I have been on these meds for over 3 years and have kept me on an even keel, in the main. I am on 75mg, twice a day, tablet form My doctor has prescribed Sertraline as a replacement. She wants me to come off Effexor as soon as possible. I am aware of the adverse reaction to coming off these meds. My doctor expects me to drop off these in a month's time. Any one able to chime in with a safe regime for this cross taper? I would rather take a lot longer Many thanks Ashs
  9. In 2007 I was put on meds at 19 for depression. Then they decided I was bi-polar, the bi-polar where you are just really depressed. So from 2007 until November 2012 I was on a cocktail of meds. Three meds at a time. I was on abilify, wellbutrin, sequel ( only for two weeks because it made me extremely tired) Lamictal, Depakote, Effexor and so on. So what would happen is my psychiatrist would prescibe meds and I would feel better and didn't want to take them so I would stop or miss a lot of days. When I would go to see him I lied and said I was taking them and they didn't do anything so he would prescribe a different medication. It was always three at a time and I would stop or skip days of taking the medications. So this went on for 5 years. So in I believe July 2012 I was prescribed Effexor and was also on Lamictal and something else. So I was missing days as usual for months and in mid November 2012 I woke up and had this really weird detached feeling like I was in a dream, things weren't real. So I freaked out. I had been trying to get a hold of my psychiatrist and had learned within two weeks he unexpectedly retired and fled the country and no one could communicate with him. A few days later I stop the Effexor, Lamictal and whatever that drug was cold turkey. I didn't know what to do. Oh I forgot to mention, my leg went totally numb in August 2012. In early December 2012 I got double vision. So my family doctor sent me in for a MRI. I had an appointment in Cleveland on December 23rd 2012 and they diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis. So I thought "this feeling" I had was caused by my ms. So in January 2013 I was put on zoloft, Lamictal and abilify. Later that summer 2013, I had a breakdown bc of being diagnosed with ms and was hospitalized. They changed my meds to abilify, zoloft and depokote, because I had been on them before. Then from that time to now I have switched meds. Zoloft was a constant and I tried, Topamax, and the invega and abilify shot. So for the past year, I have been on latuda 40mg and zoloft 200mg. I have started weening off. My doctor just started me on 20mg of Latuda to ween off. I am starting with Latuda and then zoloft. So I thought for years this feeling was due to my ms, but I am learning more and more it's most likely due to the on going meds I have been on. Hence why I am finally weening off and stopping! Can someone please give me any advice or info, thank you for any help. I was wondering if you think my derealization/ depersonalization is from the meds?? Will it go away after weening off these meds for good? Do you think it will take years to heal and get rid of this horrible dr/ dp? Is there anything else I can do to help myself go back to normal and get rid of this feeling for good? I will still be taking my ms medication which is Tecfidera. Please and input would be much appreciated, Thank You
  10. I’ve tried writing this introduction more than once and I have to say that it’s kind of difficult to summarize almost twenty years of wrestling with these dang meds. Around 1995, my second marriage was falling apart. I hated myself and I was falling apart. The marriage counselor my (ex-)wife and I were seeing recommended a doc who could prescribe something for me. In tears, I practically begged that doctor to give me antidepressants. To his credit, he was reluctant but he did end up giving me handfuls of free samples of a relatively young drug called Paxil. At that time, I had never had a panic attack. When I began taking Paxil, and it gave me panic attacks as my system got used to it, I was told that it cannot give you panic attacks. It was only after I began taking Paxil that I actually made a serious suicide attempt and ended up hospitalized. When one of my doctors tried to help my taper off Paxil by halving my dose, I reported symptoms of withdrawal. My doctor told that was impossible: that these meds do not give you withdrawal symptoms, and that any symptoms I was having must be the underlying pathology reasserting itself. I then spent years in the care of a doctor who seemed to have never met a med he didn’t like. When I complained of Paxil’s sexual side effects, he put me on Wellbutrin. He started stacking the meds on me. I was getting tremors in my hands from the Wellbutrin, so he put me on Neurontin (Gabapentin). Never able to get free of sexual side effects, I tried a bunch of different meds. Effexor. Buspar (which had me screaming at the top of my lungs). Etc. But I always returned to the welcoming arms of Paxil. Things started to turn around for me when I started researching medications for myself. After spending some time on Serzone (Nefazodone), I saw online that some countries had banned that med due to concerns over liver toxicity, so I asked to be taken off it. Doing more research exposed me to the fact that many folks were experiencing the side effects and withdrawal symptoms I had been reporting to my own doctors for years. And gradually, the doctors started to admit to the existence of “discontinuation syndrome” which seemed to be particularly bad for those taking my main medication – Paxil. I started to trust my own observations more. I started keeping a daily log of how each dose of each medication affected me over time. This log has been a tremendously helpful tool for me. My doctor at the time felt that such detailed record-keeping was pathological. Luckily, after almost two decades medicated, I found a doctor who was willing to listen to me. She put me on Lexapro in another attempt to get free of sexual side effects. She was willing to listen to me when I told her how sensitive I seemed to be to these meds, and how halving my dosage yielded catastrophic results. I told her of my plan to do a very gradual taper; much more gradual than she thought necessary. She was willing to go along with it as long as I reported in regularly. So, in October of 2013 I began my most gradual taper ever. And on 05/28/14 I became med-free. We’ll see how it goes. My wife and I just celebrated thirteen years of being happily married, so I'm very lucky to have her as my support network. She's seen me at my best and she's seen me at my worst. I'm mainly here at Surviving Antidepressants to learn more about these meds and to have experienced, knowledgeable, and impartial folks who can help me evaluate whether what I'm going through is withdrawal or the depression/anxiety that has plagued me in the past.
  11. Well, here goes nothing. I've been antidepressant hopping ever since the very first medication I took, which is 10mg of Citalopram. I started the medication because of a recommendation from my GP at the time to take the edge off the mild anxiety and social anxiety that I dealt with. I was on it for about 2 months and didn't really notice a change in myself other than some ED issues that were presented from taking the drug. I decided to discontinue the drug and was fine for about 3 days. On the third day I experienced the very first panic attack of my life which has lead me on a 7 year journey on and off meds, juggling between startup side effects and withdrawal symptoms. The longest drug I was on was Effexor XR for about 4-5 months. The worst drug for me has been Citalopram, which I have now been on for about a total of 4-5 times. This last time has been the absolute worst, with new symptoms that I have never experienced on any medication before and severe anxiety. The new symptoms are mental confusion, slurred speech, severe DP/DR, Hair began to fall out, OCD and almost psychosis-like symptoms, intrusive thoughts, memory issues, cognitive impairment (being unable to problem solve/rationalize or think analytically, and just generally unable to think straight), blurred vision and pressure behind the eyes, and increased blood pressure. This last time I was on it for about 6 weeks before I decided to discontinue it and I'm 11 days off thus far. After ceasing the Citalopram, a lot of the side effects have waned, I look much healthier, my hair has stopped falling out, and my BP is back to normal. But I'm left with CONSTANT repetitive OCD-like thoughts that just trample through my mind constantly and trap me in an anxious worry loop. I feel as though the Citalopram has affected my perception of reality. The entire 6 weeks I was on it I felt like I was on another planet entirely, constantly forgetting where I was, feeling trapped and almost as if I wasn't in control of my mind or body. I began to experience "mind chatter," which I initially worried was schizophrenia, because I was hearing my subconscious speak back to me inside my own head through my fears. For example I would think to myself "Everything is okay, you've got this," and then I would experience an immediate thought in my own voice "No you don't." This terrified me the first time it happened. This has also stopped since discontinuing the Citalopram, although I still have memory habit of it and can see the words or almost remember it happening every time I have a similar thought. I find myself randomly experiencing bizarre thoughts based around anxiety, but it's more on the basis of mental confusion and not really knowing whats bothering me other than feeling out of it or unable to think straight/be in the moment. I have constant thoughts that stream through my head like "You will never be able to concentrate on anything else other than these thoughts. You will be forever trapped in anxiety, not feeling like you, unable to enjoy life." Even when I dismiss these thoughts, they push back into my mind and it feels as though I have no control over them, even when I decide that they are just anxiety. I've slowly began to accept that these symptoms were brought on by the medication as I have never experienced this problem in my life. I'm worried that I'm going to be this way forever. Each thought is accompanied by immediate panic, before I even have time to react, almost as though my nervous system is in a constant state of hyper-arousal. It seems like ANY worrying thought that would otherwise have caused a mild worry reaction now causes immediate panic. And this panic is a strange panic, it's a severe sense of going insane and worrying about my sanity because everything feels so strange and foreign. These uncontrollable racing thoughts are easily my worst symptom.. They've made me lose faith and confidence in myself, which has resulted in me feeling as though I have no control over them or the way that I feel because I immediately cringe at them, even when I know what they are and prepare myself for them.. When the thoughts trigger, my entire world falls apart and I feel trapped in my mind, unable to rationalize as I used to or think through the thoughts as just thoughts. I hate the person I've become because of these meds and wish I would have never taken them. I'm worried that I have some sort of permanent brain damage that was caused by the constant on/off with the drugs and cold turkey-ing. I've decided to NOT go back on them this time, ever. My family has been very supportive and they have all seen the changes, as well.. Everyone says they are looking forward to seeing a drug-free me when we can distinguish what my issues are versus the drug withdrawal/side effects. Do the racing, uncontrollable thoughts ever stop? I have never had OCD issues in my life.. They first started years ago after the first time on Citalopram based around being unable to STOP controlling my breathing. Somehow it became a trigger and I couldn't just give control back to my body. I guess this is considered Sensorimotor OCD? I've worked through this in therapy and it is no longer an issue, for the most part.. But I've never been off meds for longer than maybe a month, so I have hope that all of these issues will slowly fade into nothing but memory if I'm off of them for a few months, but I can't shake this feeling that this time is different and I'm stuck this way after the meds.. Stuck feeling like I have no emotions, I can hardly feel anything even when I have emotions like anger or sadness, they are so dulled that they almost don't even feel like they are mine. I feel a constant sense of being on another planet likened to DP/DR, inability to think and converse as I used to, my short term memory is all but gone. I feel so incredibly lost and scared. I know that the withdrawal has started because I began to experience those dreaded brain zaps/head whooshes about 2-3 days ago, mainly at night or when stressed. I had a decent day yesterday because I was out and distracted, but at the end of the night when I usually have lessened anxiety, the thoughts barraged me and overwhelmed me. I worked through it and went to bed, only to wake with a sudden random panic attack for absolutely no reason. I woke up in a confused state, my mind in a panic, couldn't breathe and drenched in sweat, feeling numb and faint. I handled it fine and it only lasted about 5 minutes before the calm came and I managed to go back to sleep. The problem here is that I do not have panic attacks, the only panic attacks I have ever had have always been induced either by medication startup or withdrawal and they are absolutely random and without trigger, usually at night in a dead sleep. I could really use some support.. Does it get better? Have I permanently screwed myself and caused brain damage because I've switched on and off so many different antidepressants over the last 7 years or so? Meds I've taken: Citalopram 20mg (Multiple times, 2 months max), Effexor XR 75mg (Twice, 4 Months), Zoloft 37.5mg? (2 weeks), Luvox 50mg (2 weeks), Wellbutrin 75mg (3 weeks), Paxil (3 Days), Viibryd 10mg (1 Day), Lexapro 10mg (3 Weeks).
  12. Hello, I came across this forum after searching for information on relapses of depression/anxiety after coming off antidepressants. It was this article about Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms published in Psychology Today that lead me here, and I'm really glad to see that there is support around this much-shrouded topic. I'm experiencing the worst and most prolonged episode of depression and anxiety that I ever have before, and believe much of it has to do with stopping antidepressants earlier this year (150mg Effexor + 50mg Quetiapine/Seroquel for just over 3 years). I thought that tapering off over 4 months would mean that my life could return to 'normal' but discovered that only a few months after taking the last pill, anxiety and insomnia started to develop and worsen (which I hadn't felt prior to medication), and eventually led to full-blown depression. I tried 100mg Wellbutrin for a little over a month but found that it made me more anxious, so I've stopped and am now considering going back on Effexor, despite some really awful side effects like constant sweating and overheating around the head/neck area. The worst part is the constant negative, pessimistic thoughts that are so debilitating that I can't function like I used to, which has made the journey to recovery much harder. It seems that my only choice now is to go back on the Effexor to ease these symptoms in the short-term, so that I can once again taper off in the longer term. Does anyone have experience with dealing with the relapses or prolonged withdrawal symptoms of depression/anxiety after stopping medication, and does it subside when you restart / reinstate antidepressants? If you experience worse symptoms after stopping, how do you ever come off these drugs for good?
  13. PenguinTeacup

    PenguinTeacup: Please Help

    Hi, I'm really hoping someone can help me as I'm incredibly desperate. Basically I had been reducing venlafaxine over several years and while at first I had no problems once I got under 37.5mg I started to feel horrendous, and it never really stabilised despite leaving at least a month between reductions. I was feeling awful constantly and the reason I wanted off the venlafaxine was to start a family and so I didn't want to slow or stop the withdrawal as it would take years to come off and I don't have years of time left to get pregnant. So I stopped altogether on 2nd Jan 2016 after being on 7.5mg. (I know you'll say too fast etc but I was desperate) i took nothing for 17 days but as well as head zaps, exhaustion, feeling breathless and unable to stand for long, my heart was pounding and irregular to such a degree that I was getting very little or no sleep. It was as if I got to the verge of sleep and then instantly my heart sped up. So I reinstated 1mg a day on 19th Jan. This didn't do much so I upped to 4.5mg a day on 8th Feb which seemed to work. I felt much better and was able to sleep every night for two weeks. Then the irregular/pounding heart came back and I had another week of insomnia, followed by a week of sleeping normally. But now it has been 10 days of desperate insomnia again. I have been given zopiclone, which I've only used twice and not consecutively as the last thing I want is another addictive med! A few days ago I upped my venlafaxine further by a small amount (from 4.5mg to 4.75mg) and my heart was pounding much worse last night but oddly I was able to sleep eventually and slept most of the night. This leaves me confused - should I be increasing the venlafaxine to help or is increasing it making it worse?! I've had loads of blood tests, a 24hr ECG and a heart echo which all have come back normal. I really am in despair, I already have been suffering from unexplained severe fatigue for 4 years and insomnia on top of that is excruciating. I have been signed off work. I am supposed to be getting married in a month's time but I'm not sure if the wedding will go ahead now Please help if you can, no doctors know anything about withdrawal and look at me like i'm crazy when I tell them how low a dose i'm on.
  14. Hello dear friends! Let me introduce myself by saying I've been to hell and back a few times already due to inability to live with permanent post-surgical back pain and the resulting depression with more than a pinch of insomnia... I have a question about Venlafaxine/Effexor. Does anyone know if it is possible to turn XR (extended release) capsules of Venlafaxine into an instant release version of the drug? By dissolving it in warm water, for example? Where I live, the only available version is XR, and it would be much easier to manage if I could first begin to reduce my evening dosage, which would among other things improve my sleep. I don't want to add Mirtazapine/Seroquel/Amitr. into the mix because of their side effects, and Pregabalin that I also take is not strong enough to counter the insomnia of Venlafaxine (or earlier Duloxetine/Cymbalta)... I hope this hasn't been too incoherent. Thanks for any input
  15. Hi everyone! I am a new member, but a very long time Effexor XR user. I have been tapering for a year and when I got down to 37.5 mg dosage, then started reducing 1 bead a week. I am now down to just 10 XR beads per day. I am just now starting to notice more significant withdrawal symptoms. From reading other posts, I know I am going to have to slow down the tapering process (VERY disappointing!) I had really hoped after working so hard at this for a year that I would be Effexor free in another 10 weeks! Silly me! Ugh, this is so miserable! Last week was mildly rough- low level anxiety, general weak feeling and this week it's gotten worse- a bit stronger anxiety with very weak physical feeling, plus feeling like I don't have the physical strength to survive this. I also have chronic fatigue syndrome, which of course is the reason for a lot of the exhaustion. But it has gotten significantly worse over the last few weeks. Has anyone who has taken this awful drug for so long gotten completely off of it? I saw a link to tapering to zero, but it doesn't seem to be working. Oh and for your laugh of the day, I saw a psychiatrist a couple of weeks ago to help in the final reduction and she laughed and said once you got down to 37.5 mg, you should just stop taking it! Needless to say, I knew the folly and misery that would cause! Anyway, ANY hints, tips or other help in surviving the next next stage would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!
  16. This is a small part of my "withdrawal journal" from day 4 to day 40. I have been on Effexor for 8-10 years (I can't remember if I was 16 or 18 when I started, very well could have been younger). I was diagnosed with an Anxiety disorter and also major Depression. My doctor never once told me about what might happen if I ever wanted to quit taking Effexor. I always had some side effects from this med and eventually it got to the point where I wanted to switch. My Dr decided to just put me on another med, no tapering, just stop cold turkey and begin taking something new. It goes without saying that within a week I was back on Effexor because I believed the new med wasn't right for me because the side effects were horrible. There was no discussion on how it might just be the withdrawal from the Effexor not the side effects of the new pills.That was after one year of taking them. I tried to explain the brain zaps and she wasn't quite sure what I meant. This should have been a warning to me but growing up you are told that doctors are here to help that they know best so I questioned it no further. Several years in and a couple of dosage changes and failed attempts at trying other meds and I am struck with severe depression, not just my normal depression but something all together new. I wanted to be done with life. The thoughts terrified me and I knew something was incredibly wrong. I again saw my doctor, she decided that it may be the adderall I'm also prescribed so she takes me off of that cold turkey and puts me on a sedative along with the effexor. Again I am having horrible reactions so I am swithed between meds several more times. On Effexor off effexor, dosage changes of effexor etc. I also started seeing a therapist and can no longer work because of all the side effects/withdrawal symptoms. I am off from work for 4 months before the stress of med changes and dealing with Metlife force me to just give up, accept a higher dosage of Effexor, and return to work. I returned to work feeling slightly better but still knowing something was wrong inside me. The increased dosage causes me to have night terrors nightly which lead to waking up in a cold sweat crying. I deal with this for months and try to talk to my dr about it but at this point I have just given up. I stop going to therapy because I can't afford it and deep down I know the problem isn't a talking issue its a chemical one. For about a month I start having night sweats to the point where I severely dehydrate myself and am only getting about 3-5 hours of sleep a day because of the night terrors. I call off of work and wait to see my doctor. I tell them what is going on and their solution was to switch my meds yet again. The plan to make the switch is to one day on effexor one day off then one day on and two days off before starting the new meds. At this point I am on 150mg. The first day off within hours of missing my dose I start to get the zaps. Another couple of hours I start shaking and sweating. That night I decide that I will no longer be taking Effexor or any other medications that are supposed to "help" me. I quit cold turkey... that was 4 days ago. I feel as though I can't put into words the hell the last 4 days have been but I will try. I sleep about 1-2 hours a day but wake up drenched in sweat crying every 30 minutes, I shake compulsively mist of the time. I try to eat but for the most part it just makes me want to throw up. I find myself rocking back and forth constantly because it somehow helps. I cry for no reason from complete lack of any emotional control. Standing and moving make me motion sick as does watching tv so being awake 22-23 hours a day leaves me with nothing mush to do but cry out of helplessness. I can't smoke because it increases the zaps as does caffeine so there are also those withdrawals too. I have been drink about 8 16oz bottles of water a day just to keep hydrated from the cold sweats I have. I have been taking vitamins to try to combat some of the effects but they only sometimes seem to take the edge off. I have been retaining so much water that my joints throb. As I type this I'm shaking so bad that the backspace button is used more than the other keys.I have a fan on because I'm sweating but I'm covered in goosebumps. Several times in these few days I have been brought to my knees just praying for a moment of peace. I know this is a very long post and few will take the time to read it but in my eyes as long as I can keep one person from having to go through this it is all worth it. I know many people will scold me for not tapering but I just want it out, I want to be rid of this poison. I'm not saying there aren't some people who need it but if a doctor even brings up Effexor PLEASE just do what I didn't and research it, see what you will have to go through while on it and when you are well enough to be off of it. When you see dozens of articles saying it is worse than kicking hard drugs you need to question if it is worth it. I am now on day 40 and I feel as though I am going crazy. I tried to go back to work around week 3 of been off the drug but could only make it a week. I was still getting the shakes, brain zaps, nausea, crying spells, fits of pure rage, trouble speaking, couldn't process what someone was saying to me, ect. I still am going through many of these withdrawals. My doctor told me I should be "over" the withdrawal by now. I put that in parenthesis because it makes me very upset that doctor acts as though you go off of it and bam after 4 weeks you're fine. I have no idea if I'm still going through withdrawal and my brain acclimating back to it's normal state.... or the more scary thought is, that maybe this is just the normal me and I really do need to be on these pills. Please I need help.
  17. Hi everyone - I'm so glad to have found this community. I've been working with a psychiatrist but the quick taper became a nightmare and I'm looking for support from people who are actually going through this. I'm a 37 year-old female, and about 6 months ago I realized that if I have any hope of starting a family, I'd better get moving. Of course, I had no idea that getting off antidepressants would be such a long haul and I'm still coming to terms with that disappointment. I did okay up until the Effexor XR 37.5mg every other day recommendation, which of course, was a complete disaster. Luckily I only put up with it for a week before I decided it was ridiculous and that I couldn't live like that. I had excessive fatigue and generally felt drunk and out of it. I couldn't even follow the plot of a TV show without my boyfriend having to explain it to me. I was taking 4 hour naps in the middle of the day. I couldn't work at all. I was extremely irritable. I went back up to Effexor XR 37.5mg daily and thought I was back to stable three weeks later. The psychiatrist switched me to Effexor IR 25mg. Another psychiatrist friend suggested splitting the dose, which made a ton of sense, and made me even more wary of my original psychiatrist for not having advised that in the first place. Since Feb 1, I've been on Effexor IR 25mg, which I split into morning and afternoon doses. I'm definitely experiencing withdrawal symptoms, but at least I don't feel like I'm dying at this point. The biggest one is probably brain fog, but it isn't nearly as bad as before. The headaches and fatigue are definitely a component, but again, not as severe as before. A new symptom is this weird leg tingling/numbness, mostly in my quads. I can tolerate these symptoms but not if they get any worse. I'm hoping for some advice on where to go from here. Should I stay at the 25mg and hold here until the symptoms are completely gone and continue to taper from there? Or should I go back up to the 37.5mg? Or some combination of XR and IR? Either way, I intend to taper once I stabilize, and obviously go much slower from that point on. What is the general consensus about IR vs XR tapering? Also, if anyone can provide advice about pregnancy, I would really appreciate it. Once I'm off these stupid meds, how long should I wait before trying to get pregnant? I realize that I need to be as emotionally stable as possible, but there is remarkably little information out there about specifically how long one should be off Effexor, etc. Any cheer-leading would also be appreciated. Like I said earlier, I've taken quite a hit after finding out this is going to be a protracted process. : ( I will need some real encouragement to continue on in a slow and steady fashion. But I desperately want to be successful so I will do what is necessary! Thank you for listening! -turbidblue
  18. Wow, what a great site, with a lot of knowledgeable and caring people. I've spent many hours just reading various threads, and the mutual support and concern is amazing. I have a current predicament, that I would love to get feedback on from the group. My signature summarizes my basic history and current medications. Basics: 47 year old married male with teenage children. Depression off and on with varying intensity since 1992. Many drugs tried: Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Serzone, Lexapro ending with Effexor. Achieved partial response with the Effexor for 12 years @ 300mg. Did have high blood pressure, but almost no other side effects after start-up. I should note that I also drank alcohol pretty heavily for 6 of those years, but now have been 1.5 years sober. Over the last 3 or 4 years, I had been feeling depressed and fatigued, or "wiped out" in the afternoons. I began taking long naps after work (2 hours, deep sleep). It bothered me because I was not participating in life very much, but I did always feel better after a nap. Dr. ordered sleep study and I got a CPAP and that helped a little, but I still took naps. The reason for the naps was really more than just being tired, I was depressed. Long story short, August2014 my Dr. suggested tapering off Effexor and seeing where my base-line was. Was Effexor causing this fatigue? We tapered down to zero over 6 months. My withdrawal was very mild compared to many of the stories I've read on here: numb feet, flu-like body aches nearly every day, some dizziness and anxiety after each change in dose....and a gradual increase in irritability/anger/rumination about resentments...neither me, nor my Doctor attributed my irritability to Effexor withdrawal....and my Dr. claimed to not be aware of people experiencing all-over body aches as a withdrawal symptom. After 3 months with no medications, I went back to him and requested that he give me prescription for something to try to ease my depression. We tried Sertraline and it was horrible. I lost 27 lbs in 30 days and quit. Now we are trying 10mg Brintellix, 1mg Risperidone, and 1mg Clonazepam (as needed for anxiety) & 10mg Ambien. and I feel miserable still. My general feeling is that my body is just not accepting any antidepressant and is fighting me. I've missed a lot of work, tried to work from home, tried to exercise, try to meditate...but I am stuck in limbo, feeling really bad and very scared about my future. My main question to the group is: Is what I am experiencing, maybe less to do with "normal" depression and medication start-up side effects and more to do with Effexor withdrawal? Even after 5.5 months being completely off of Effexor, might that be what is causing my main problems? ....and If so, should I try to reinstate the Effexor? I have about 40 of the 37.5mg capsules left. Should I take a few beads and see what happens? I know my current cocktail of medications throws everything into disarray and disorder...but if Effexor withdrawal is my real problem, then I should feel some relief if I reinstate shouldn't I? Has anyone ever tried this under similar conditions? What was their result? I welcome any and all input. Thanks, -Paul
  19. BACKROUND: I was on Effexor for several years. I attempted to come off the SSRI drug a few times before my “final” taper down to 0. The first few times, I made the mistake of stopping this drug cold turkey – within 24 hours of stopping it, I immediately found myself popping that pill again to stop the horrible withdrawals. This June, after getting my health on track with my ND, I felt I was ready to get off this drug. This time I was determined to stop this chemical. I was on 75mg of Effexor, and did my first taper down to 37.5mg. Even with this first taper – I felt the withdrawals (I will explain my withdrawal symptoms further down). It took me 4 months to feel “normal” again at this reduced dose & to mentally prepare myself for the next taper. My next taper was down to the 37.5mg tables cut in half. Some people are on the Effexor that are in little balls, I was on a generic brand that were full size tablets (37.5mg were the smallest pill I could get) & I was unsuccessful at taking the brand with the balls (which would of made it easier to taper) so I was left with cutting the tablets in half. The pharmacy did their best at making the cuts even, but I know each night I would be getting a different amount. Knowing this – I decided to do the cut pills for 2 weeks only, then cut them into a quarter for a few days, then stopped completely. I just wanted to get the worse over with & not have to deal with the withdrawals in another 4 months. The pharmacy believed I did it slow enough, and said I could of gone from the 37.5mg to 0 without the cut pills, but I wanted to do it a bit slower, and not completely shock my brain/body. Writing this – I am now on day 6 of no Effexor at all. SYMPTOMS: I felt the withdrawal symptoms with my reduced doses & cutting it out completely (more severe with the final cut down to 0). Some of the symptoms I felt were: Nausea, headaches, brain zaps, restless leg syndrome, out of body feeling, confusion, vertigo, the spins, irritable, agitated, lack of appetite, brain fog, anxiety, hot flashes, and I am sure I am missing a few more. GETTING READY TO TAPER DOWN/COME OFF: You need to be mentally determined you will get off, and know the pain will only benefit you in the long run. I kept reminding myself when I was having the horrible withdrawal symptoms that it is my body flushing out all the horrible chemicals… it has a mean to an end, and once the worst of it is over (probably 4 days after each cut down), every day would be up from there. The other key factors are: Work: I am so thankful I had a job where I was able to take a few weeks off with each taper. You need to have the support from work to take the time off, no way in hell I would have been able to work. Support at Home: You need to let everyone close to you in your life know what your plan is. They will need to understand how tough it will be for you for some time. I wanted someone around for the first few days of my taper (to help with food, etc.), but once the nausea was gone after the first 4 days – I personally felt better alone. I didn’t want anyone to see me at my worst, especially because I was getting irritated so easily & didn’t want to take it out on close ones. Timing: I suggest not having any big plans for about a month after you reduce your dose. Most of the withdrawal symptoms will be gone by then. The only long term withdrawal symptom I have had is brain fog, after my first reduction in my dosage, it took 4 months for the brain fog to disappear… hopefully it isn’t that long with my final cut to 0! Benefits: there is no way I could have done this without medical benefits for my naturopath, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractor, and registered dietician. These were all key parts in my detox therapies. My wallet thanks me & so does my body. Money set aside for the supplements, vitamins, essential oils, teas, etc. SOME OF THE REMEDIES I DID FOR WITHDRAWALS: In no particular order, here is a big list of what I did to help get myself off this addictive drug. Essential Oils: peppermint for the headaches, ginger for the nausea Epsom Salt Baths: so much goodness comes from these; I would use Epsom salts & Himalayan salts. I was having a bath a day during the worst of the withdrawals. Supplements/Vitamins: I am on a cocktail of vitamins/supplements under my ND’s guidance. The ones I noticed helped the most? L-theanine: extracted from green tea, helps create a calm, relaxed alertness. I am also drinking a ton of Matcha green tea, which is packed with this amino acid. Helps “zen” me out. Magnesium: I would take an advanced MG complex at night, to help with getting some sleep, for me it acted similar to a sleeping pill. You feel a bit groggy in the AM after taking it. L-Tyrosine: helps with stress, etc. Other supplements I have been taking for mood stabilizing is: B complex, omega 3(3:1EPA to DHA), D3, P5P, 5-HTP, and a few more. I only took what was suggested by my ND. I don’t recommend putting yourself on any of these supplements unless you are under guidance of an ND. Some of the supplements (ie. 5-HTP) can react with certain SSRI drugs and can cause bad reactions. Prairie Naturals Rise & Shine: I love this stuff, great way to start off your day. Teas: I swear that teas are a form of medicine. You can find a tea that has ingredients for almost any ailment. These are some of the teas I have been using: Banff Tea Co. “Detox Tea”: Liquorice, cinnamon, burduck root, ginger, dandelion root, fennel, aniseed, juniper berries, coriander, cardamom, black pepper, parsley, sage, cloves and kurkuma Banff Tea Co. “Tulsi Multi”: Tulsi herb, papaya pieces, apple pieces, rosehip peel, orange peel and natural flavor. Banff Tea Co. “Sweet Dreams of Banff”: Rose petals, chamomile, lemongrass, lavender, and spearmint Water: Flush that horrible **** out… drink as much as possible. Food: I am trying my best at eating whole, organic foods. I am having lots of green smoothies, wheat grass shots, etc. … FOOD IS MEDICINE, what you put in your body is what you get back. Chiropractor: I was having horrible restless leg syndrome, the chiropractor did several adjustments on me & with hours my RLS was cured! I have read several articles on Chiropractors helping withdrawal symptoms, etc. Have a google!! Acupuncture: I believe in this method of therapy so much! Massage Therapy: I have also read several articles on massage therapy and detoxing. I believe they are an important way to help your body detox. Staying on a schedule: after the first few days after you reduce the dose, try to get back on a sleep schedule, don’t sleep the days away because you feel sh*tty… it is good to stay on a schedule to easily transition back into work. Himalayan Salt Lamps: Google the benefits & judge for yourself, I love them. Exercise: After the first few days of hell, try and get some exercise/vitamin D. Even if it is just a short walk. Probiotics: Lots of researches linking gut health to immune system, mental wellbeing, etc. Stay Busy: read, colour, movies, exercise, whatever to keep your mind busy Overall, my biggest piece of advice is that you need to be determined to get off. You need to be mentally prepared for what you will put your body through. There is a mean to the end!!! I am feeling better every day now. I will keep doing everything possible to speed up the detox process & to eliminate the brain fog quicker this time around. I would also suggest doing your research if your MD prescribes you other drugs while trying to get off the SSRI. One MD I saw wanted to put me on Prozac to eliminate my withdrawal symptoms – to me, this felt like I was going backwards & decided to deal with the pain. The MD’s also prescribed me Ativan & Valium – 2 very addicting drugs! I am still shocked how they easily prescribed me these drugs. I consider myself addicted to Effexor, or was addicted, and the fact they prescribed someone who is battling an addiction another addictive drug blew my mind. I took the Ativan when I went to the hospital, but haven’t taken it since. I am not risking getting addicted to another drug to deal with my withdrawal symptoms of Effexor. There is “life after the meds” & I can’t wait to be there – to not having any withdrawals, and to not be dependent on a chemical drug. “Doctors create addicts then cut the cord”. This needs to change, awareness needs to be brought to life after the meds, and more support is needed for people trying to get off SSRI’s. Every single MD I went to, not a single one had an answer for me on how to get off. It is insane how they will easily throw prescriptions at people, and not educate them on how tough it will be to get off. MD’s should have to try and help a patient using alternative methods first BEFORE making that patient an addict.
  20. Ive been on Effexor XR for 7-8 years for OCD/Anxiety and ive decided on want to go off of it because it makes me so sleepy and causes me issues that I cannot explain. Currently I am down to a 1/4 of a 37.5mg tablet and I am having bad cognition problems. My problems are: Simple math is worse Simple writing is worse Spelling is worse I cant remember what worse mean at times My reading is worse. When I read i cant understand or retain the information. Memory is worse Trouble organizing my writing Head/brain feel empty Cant think Now, when i take my effexor these symptoms subside and everything gets better. Im assuming this is due to reducing and trying to stop the medication. Has anyone had issues like this when stopping and antidepressants? Any help is appreciated as I dont know if I have permanent damage or this will go away. I wish I would have never taken this drug. I now refer to it as poison
  21. Maybe I shouldn't be relaying such personal info on a public forum while using my real name, but here goes. . . Nice to meet you. I'm Austin. I am currently withdrawing from Effexor. Cold turkey. I've felt more real feelings —actual happiness and sadness, if you can believe it; I'd honestly forgot what it felt like to want to cry or smile— in the last few days than I can remember feeling for at least a year. I am not too thrilled about my prospects, but at the same time, I feel better than I have in years. The other day, I finished One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for like the ninth or tenth time. I cried at this: "You have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance." It never stuck out to me previously, but that hit me right in the feels this time and I am glad it did, because it's true. So true. I'm currently withdrawing mostly because of insurance hassles and things falling through, but now that it's been almost a week, I think I've decided that I'd like to stay off of it. Pardon my indiscretion, but it's a little like smoking pot, except music isn't as fun, because it mostly just makes me want to cry. Definitely has all the wooziness and munchiness of a strong couple of tokes (but without the more fun aspects). It was a long train of events that led me to get on the pills in the first place, which I'll spare you here, but I have been in institution three times over the last 18 or so months. It's been an interesting couple of years and I've found myself here, recently dumped by the (former) love of my life and now living in a new city, under my mother's roof again without a job. I'm 34. To say that I've recently been suicidal is like saying the day is bright and the night is dark. I'm still here. Broken down and bruised. But here. It is a HUGE DEAL to go off Effexor cold turkey. As I've said, I'm six days in, dizzy and nauseous as ever, up and down emotionally. I'm lucky in that I have people around me that are like, "What do you need from me?" and it's okay if I tell them to go away or whatever. Nobody gets offended. I've read on other forums that vitamins are supposed to help with the dizziness, so I'm currently doubling doses of B Complex and a regular multi, along with a 1400mg omega three. It seems to help a little bit and keeps my appetite under control (before I started on the vitamins, I was hungry and eating round the clock). Going off wasn't my choice. It's pretty unfair that someone can just say "NO" when it's something I was dependent upon. I like to use the analogy that if it were insulin or blood pressure meds, there would be outrage if I were to just be denied of it. So, let me backtrack and explain how I ended up going cold turkey—— I moved out of state. My old doc wrote me a three month supply to give me enough time to get in sign up for new insurance and get established with a new doc. Thing is Medi-Cal, is slow to get me into the system, so I'm still not established with a new doc (which should have been just fine, with my ninety days worth of medication) and yet they tell me they won't honor an out of state prescription. Friendly, eh? So, I finally get in to see a general practitioner, who writes me a new prescription, which is rejected by the insurance because the dosage was deemed too high, so they needed to get a secondary authorization from my new doc. The doc has not yet responded, so they will not clear the prescription. Feeling really low these last couple of days. I think I'm on the downside of the withdrawal because the wooziness and dizzy spells aren't nearly as strong as they were a couple days ago. I should be pleased about this, but all I can think about is how going off the Effexor is equal to throwing down my shield on the battlefield and trying to continue fighting without it. I've been continuing to take the 20mg tablets of Abilify (aripiprazole)‎ for two reasons: maybe taking them is having a placebo effect (or that's what I tell myself) and I don't know if I would experience double withdrawal if I stopped. I was on 30mg tablets, but my old doc wanted to try and taper me off of it because she was concerned that it was disrupting my sleep———— In any case, I have an entire bottle of the 30mg tablets and just got my 30 day 20mg tablet supply refilled yesterday. I've been googling what the effects of overdose would be. I certainly have enough to overdose, I'm just not sure it would be lethal (can't find anything definitive). Kind of scared. I mean, why am I looking that up? In to see the new therapist on Thursday. I have a question for my other anti-depressant takers: do you have any experience with Deplin (l methylfolate)? My old doc ran a test on me and discovered it was a supplement that I was lacking in, so prescribed that for me. From what I understand, it helps your body metabolize the anti-depressant more efficiently (and presumably, work better). 'Course, that's out the window now, too. So here I am. Been reading this forum for a few days now, but couldn't sleep, so decided to dive in.
  22. Hi there, I’m in my mid 40’s and am here hoping for some help with my current issues with anxiety, agitation, insomnia (early morning awkening) and akathisia, which I think may be medication related. My current meds are: Effexor immediate release tabs, 100mg in the morning, 50mg in the evening - taken for 18 years at various doses Trazodone 50mg at bedtime - taken for 18 years Klonopin 0.25mg 1-2 times/day as needed - taken for about 6 mos Lamictal 100mg twice a day - titrated up over several weeks and at stable dose for about 2 weeks now Risperdal 0.5mg at bedtime, 2-4 times a week as needed, for several weeks Restoril 15mg at bedtime, 2-4 times a week as needed (not with the risperdal though), for a few weeks Omega 3's, 4 capsules a day Vit D3 5000IU /day So my story in a nutshell is that in early 1997 when I was 26, I became clinically depressed after a bad breakup. I was sequentially given a large number of antidepressants and other psych meds including Prozac, Serzone, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Remeron, Buspar, Nortryptiline, Depakote … none of which I could tolerate for one reason or another. SSRIs seemed to agitate me fairly quickly and the depression became a terrible agitated depression and I was hospitalized twice. The second time, I was there for 3 weeks and somehow was put on a cocktail that actually worked: Effexor, Trazodone, Risperdal. I came off the risperdal fairly quickly on my own and, after that, I was able to function fairly well and did quite well for several years. I just took the Effexor (mostly at 100mg twice a day) and Trazodone 50 at night, until the end of 2003, at which point I decided to taper off both over 2-3 months, which was associated with the brain zaps and other withdrawal badness but I was off both by the end of the year. In Spring 2004 I had what I thought was a relapse into an awful agitated depression (but which I now think may have in fact been withdrawal from Effexor) and restarting Effexor did not seem to help. I was tried sequentially on yet another bevy of psych meds including Prozac, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Remeron, Buspar, Librax, Neurontin, Klonopin, Cymbalta, Lithium, Lexapro, Abilify, none of which made a dent in the agitated depression ... there was a suicide attempt and by summer/fall was I hospitalized twice again. The second time, I got ECT, just 8 unilateral treatments, which was CURATIVE and incredibly I was well again, and back on Effexor 100mg in the morning and 50mg in the evening, along with trazodone 50mg at bedtime. This seemed to keep me stable for many years, and I did very well again, was high functioning, accomplished a lot and was quite happy with my life. Very social, able to work hard, very in control of things and overall very content. In early 2014 I got into a relationship which had good things about it but also some very very difficult qualities, and my self-esteem was slowly eroded over the course of the next year or so. In addition, for whatever reason, I decided to taper off the evening dose of effexor at some point, so that I was only on 100mg in the morning (again, immediate release doses). Still, I remained functional until late 2014/early 2015 when I started noticing increasing anxiety, which seemed relationship-related at first, but slowly began to be more constant. By March of 2015 (this year) I was waking up early every day, which has always been a sign of my clinical depressions in the past. By May I was unable to work; the relationship became strained and we ultimately broke up, which added to the stress. I increased the Effexor back to 100mg/50mg and then to 100mg twice a day, and also saw a pdoc who prescribed Klonopin 0.5mg tabs as needed, of which I've only taken a half tab as needed, being terrified of benzo dependence, although I'm surely dependent by now as it’s November and I’ve taken at least 0.25mg every day since May (but not more than twice per day). The anxiety has continued and worsened along with recurrent clinical depression, and I was tried this time (on top of the Effexor and traz) on Zyprexa, seroquel, Abilify, Lyrica, Lexapro, none of which helped, or side effects were too much. During this entire time I’ve still had early morning awakening, never sleeping past 430AM. I never have a problem *falling* asleep. In June-August 2015 I had another round of ECT again hoping for a similar curative effect as in 2004, and wound up having 25 treatments including 15 bilateral and several with ketamine. Unfortunately this did not help much and I was having the same amount of bad anxiety (with consequent depression) as before the ECT. This along with discouraging memory loss and cognitive impairment, which I still have effects from. Since September, I’ve gone back to Effexor 100mg in the morning and 50 in the evening. I was recently started on Lamictal which I’m currently on 100 twice a day, Restoril 15mg for sleep as needed, Risperdal 0.5 as needed for sleep. No matter what I try for sleep (zyprexa, seroquel, restoril up to 45mg, risperdal) I simply cannot sleep past 4-430AM. My pdoc gave me Halcion 0.25 to try when I wake up early, but that doesn’t help either. Recently, my pdoc has attempted to switch the Effexor to Pristiq (too activating, plus effexor withdrawals, sweating, worse anxiety), and Brintellix (also too activating, with headache, worse akathisia, and could not go down on Effexor much without brain zaps and that sinking headache feeling). In fact the Lamictal is somewhat activating as well, but I’ve stuck with it. Everything seems to make the anxiety worse. Actually, I feel better for a day or two after starting a new med, then the anxiety catches up and I can’t tolerate it. This whole time I’ve wondered if it’s just the Effexor which somehow stopped working in 2014 and is now just giving me anxiety, akathisia, agitation. Or, am I just not taking enough of it?? Regardless, I brought the dose down yesterday to 75mg in the morning and 50mg in the evening. I feel like I have to get off the Effexor somehow but I’m terrified of another severely agitated depression occuring like in 2004. The depression this time has not nearly been as bad as the previous ones, and right now I think it’s mostly the constant anxiety that’s the problem. However I still have very little interest in almost anything I used to enjoy, and am not functioning very well in areas of my life that I had absolutely no problems handling for years. It is not anywhere near an agitated depression though, at least not yet. The anxiety is quite bad though, and has led to near-agoraphobia and an almost complete inability to socialize or even to listen to music or watch TV - too many things trigger anxiety attacks or feelings that I’ve wasted my life somehow or that I’m falling behind in my life … things that aren’t logical but my mind just feels twisted and having odd anxious thoughts constantly. I’m tired of adding more and more meds and this website has given me hope that maybe the problem isn’t “not enough meds” but “too many meds”. I was wondering if there are any suggestions on what I should try … I feel like the Lamictal should help at least with preventing another massive depression if I come off the Effexor? Yet the Lamictal is another med now that I’m stuck on. BTW my diagnosis during most of this has been unipolar major depression, although my current pdoc feels like there might be a component of Bipolar 2, hence the Lamictal. Also, I started rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) last week in a “last-ditch attempt” to try to control the depression and anxiety; hopes are not high for this but I figure it can’t hurt … I'm so pissed that I've sunk back into barely functioning depression and anxiety after being so well and high functioning for so many years ... so pissed Sorry for this huge post but if anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
  23. Hello everyone! First of all let me introduce myself. My name is Thomas. My native language is not english (I'm hungarian) so sorry if I misspell stuff....but I'll try my best. I decided to write here because it seems that this is the only place where I can get some good advice from experts. I really need it right now. I am quite new on this forum but I rad quite a lot of good info here (and other places too) in the past months. But I am tired and frustrated of just reading and researching and trying to figure out things by myself. It would be immensely helpful if you could hear my specific situation. So here is my story I hope I can remember the details as much as possible. My first treatment with these crazy meds started like 2.5 half years ago. Because I was quite depressed I've been prescribed a combination of an SSRI and benzo in relatively low dose for the sake of “prevention” (whatever that meant) First it was Sertaline (I think it was the standard 50 mg dose) with Lorazepam in low dose. I can still remember the first dose of the benzo (I almost passed out on the street). Anyway I took these two for a short time(two or three months) but the side effects were so bad (after my doc raised the Seltraline to 100mg I got the serotonin syndrome) that I got scared and just stopped taking them without asking my doc. It was a very quick taper and as I can remember I became relatively well quite soon. Of course back then I did not have any knowledge about these medications but know I think that that period was too short to really have a long term harm on me.... I think we can say that this period does not really “count” into my preset situation. Anyway time went on I was quite well for a good time. I mean of course I was still fighting depression to some degree, but now I know for sure that all this was because of problems I had in my life negative thinking, low self-esteem, etc....) and nothing that I had to take medications for. Anyway after like almost a year because I had a very bad period one of my best friends suggested me to contact that doctor again (huge mistake). He made another “cocktail” of meds for me. Now an SNRI, a benzo, and a sleeping pill. It was 75mg Effexor XR with 1mg of Rivotril (divided in two doses) and 10mg of Ambien for sleep. Of couse I had some relief...mainly that I could sleep again. So I took this crazy combo for around 6 months. Then another doc made an adjustment to this so the effexor was raised to 150mg, I had to stop the Ambien and take another 1mg of Rivotril instead of Ambien. So I took this combo for another 6 months. Things were not going well as you could imagine. Then I had to go to another doctor who finally said me that I was over-medicated and instructed me that we should change to less powerful meds, which seemed like a good idea but the way he told me to do it was so inappropriate and wrong that it is still making me more and more angry as a read more about tapering and prolonged withdrawal symptoms. First he basically said to stop cold turkey the benzo. This was hard but not that crazy. But then he told me to stop the effexor cold turkey (150mg). That was absolutely crazy as I'm sure you know. After two crazy days he told me to start taking 20mg of Lexapro. This turned to be a good move because my withdrawal symptoms eased very quickly. I took lexapro for like a good 1-1.5 moths. But during this time I was experiencing more and more the memory and cognitive problems that were not new but more severe. So really then I started researching on the internet and finding that the long time use of these meds cause this. I became very angry again and decided to stop as soon as possible, so I made a fast taper from Lexapro and I was done. It was very hard but what I did was that I started to use a little bit of Ambien during the day to combat the withdrawal symptoms. I did this for a week maybe. Now I know that this was quite risky but it surprisingly helped me. I am one of those people that when I take even a little of Ambien it makes me super fearless, motivated, happy, agile, funny(even crazy). I think you heard about this. So this was in August. Since then I am recovering slowly. There were some better days, short periods but mostly I am suffering from most of the symptoms related to the prolonged withdrawal syndrome. I tried and still try some supplements out of desperation. Some of them seem to work. I tried to figure out what to fix and how to help fix (neurotransmitter levels, receptors, etc). Anyway as you can see in my case it is very hard because it seems to me that everything was affected directly (GABA even with two pills) Okay now about my experiment with supplements. I know the ones generally considered to help, I know how they work. I tried a lot of stuff in different combinations. My main problems of concern was the anxiety, numbness, apathy, low motivation, insomnia, and the cognitive and mental problems. I tried 5 htp, passionflower, GABA. These did not seem to have any effect. My thinking is that I maybe with these I can stimulate the production of neurotransmitters. What seems to help the most is L-tryptophan (I take it with 2mg of Melatonin) I take it before sleep and it seems to really help. It takes some time to fall asleep but I this way I can sleep a good 7-8-9 hours sometimes even with almost no wake ups. Another thing that I take is the “king” omega-3 Because of my extra low motivation I was thinking that maybe that has to do something with my dopamine. So after a research I ended up that I need to try Gingko Biloba, Rhodiola. They also rave about these restoring mental functions such as memory and concentration which I desperately want. I started Gingko a week ago it does not seem to help yet, hopefully will. Then I also took Rhodiola for two days but it was weird (some reports already warned me about this) A quite new discovery for me is the effectiveness of Valerian Root. It seems to help with the anxiety. I discovered it in an interesting way. The story is that when I was not taking the tryptophan some weeks ago I almost could not sleep at all, and my appetite almost gone entirely. Then out of frustration I started taking a little Ambien again(just 0.25mg) Of course all the amazing effects kicked in which I enjoyed(and did not want to sleep because I was feeling so good) but I knew I did not want to get it for long so after a week I stopped. But I was thinking: why is that ambien affects me so positively?? If only I could find a natural solution that does the same..... So after researching I came to the conclusion that I need to find something that has that effect on the GABA-A receptors as Zolpidem(Ambien) does. The only solution seemed to be benzos but in the gaba-a antagonist list I found two herbs too: kava and valerian. I also read a very good article with illustrations about how valerian binds almost the same way to the gaba-a receptor as benzos do(with only a little difference of which sub receptor they bind to) I was so thrilled!! I went to buy Valerian immediately and even taking 100mg seemed to help me very quickly. Now I take that three times a day. Yesterday I found some very helpful articles that Alto wrote. It seemed to explain a lot of things that I could not find answers for or I was confused about. But still I became puzzled about some things and even more confused..... so it would be helpful if you could explain some things also concerning my situation. It would be tremendously helpful for me.... The article called "Introduction to psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome" http://beyondmeds.com/2012/05/17/introwithdrawalsyndrome/ This was a very helpful summary for me about what does withdrawal mean and it gave me hope and I wish I have found this sooner.... but still I will post some questions from this one later... Another article is this http://beyondmeds.co.../gabaglutamate/ Most of the article seems clear and logical to me but there are some concerns and questions about how this applies to my situation I am thinking that first I need to know If I am doing something wrong in my recovery....so that way I can adjust things....stop doing things, taking things.....so please guys this is why I need your help now!! My first question is concerning this: (I would be very glad if Alto too could give some advice here “Noradrenergics — buproprion or Wellbutrin; mirtazapine or Remeron; SNRIs such as Cymbalta, Serzone, Effexor; and St. John’s Wort, rhodiola — and stimulate “fight or flight” activation, as will most SSRIs. Drugs and substances that are stimulating should be avoided.” Actually before I rad this article yesterday I had a St. John Worth tea twice and it seemed to help....a lot actually. But basically you say that I should avoid it along with Rhodiola? But even if it seems to help me positively? What about the other supplements? “My guess is: The first phase of withdrawal, the acute phase, is the initial shock of withdrawal, with the most defined symptoms, such as brain zaps and nausea. The second phase is when the serotononergic receptors are repopulating, with waves of depression and anxiety. The third phase is when glutamatergic disinhibition and autonomic instability take over. Often the autonomic instability causes hypersensitivity to drugs and certain supplements. Out of control, the glutamatergic system sends signals to the adrenals, which produce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.” I am trying to figure out what phase of withdrawal I am now. I cannot decide if it's the second or the third. It is not clear to me what the third is but maybe I am in that phase. I might not be hypersensitive to supplements but maybe the Ambien experiement shows that I am to psych drugs (when a small dose made me feel extra good maybe even paradoxical) This might be a sign that I am already in the third phase? Is that a good thing in my situation? So this is about it for now. I am immensely thankful for people like you... Thank You in advance for your help!! Thomas
  24. Hi all. I have been reading many post on this excellent forum for a while now. Time to say hello and start my own journal thread. A bit about me Don’t know if my story is very unique... I am broken. I have been on meds for a long time. I have tried to quit several times, failed and failed again. Struggle with low self esteem and dysthymia for as far as I can remember, but somehow still manage to keep my life together (at least it looks like that from the outside). There is a lot of negativity and dysfunction in me, and I have a have been in different kinds of therapy on and off. No real problems with anxiety before starting to taper the meds. During my more brighter moments I’m also very very happy for having a decent career at work, an loving girlfriend, a few really good friends, my cats, basic health and many other things that are important in life. The medication I was put on Venlafaxine in 2000 at age 33 after a separation that triggered both my first panic attacks and clinical depression. I needed the medication then, for perhaps 1 year it saved my life. Continued taking it out of habit and lack of good support from any doctor that knew something. During the 14 years on meds my life was actually quite ok. Most things worked fine, I was balanced and sane. No anxiety, no depression, stable mood and a quite active life. So why change a winning team? I wanted to try to stop taking meds when I realized that I had not cried at all for ten years, not even when one of my beloved cats died, that my life simply was not containing any real highs and no real lows. I somehow missed out on important emotional parts by taking SSRI/SNRI. The more I read on the subject, the more convinced I got that I really have to quit. Still, depression runs deep in my family, and I might end up having to take a low dose for the rest of my life. The plan is of course to not take any meds at all and deal with my problems in therapy instead. I have much more faith in talk therapy than in long term medication. Others probably see me as a rather calm person, but I’m also very restless, uncertain and often not patient enough for the slow pace that discontinuing psych meds demand. Sometimes do to to big drops or other drastic changes in meds or life. I know it's not good for me, but I can't help myself. SSRI is clearly the devil and benzodiazepine is his/hers evil partner in crime! The antidepressants keep my demons in their cages and benzo soothes my restless soul like nothing else. I have very mixed emotions to the medication. I don’t like to be dependent on them but the last 14 years I have always felt better on meds than off. Perhaps that has to do with the lack of patience. My current tapering project I started my current tapering from 150 mg Venlafaxine (Effexor) in April 2014. Have tried to follow all the tips on keeping it slow, stable and safe. There has been a lot of stress with traveling, new job, major illness in the family, big changes in my important volunteer engagement and a new love relationship during this year. So far I have managed to handle all these changes and the withdrawal effects without falling apart. There is still too much stress but compared to before tapering I’m trying to keep my ambitions fairly low and try to limit all activities and persons that generates stress. If withdrawal becomes worse I guess I will have to lower my ambitions even more. As you all know, lots of time and energy goes into dealing with waves, new emotions, mood swings and increased anxiety. In March 2015 I was down to 30 mg Venlafaxine per day, with some very clear withdrawal issues. This might be a too fast taper, but that was the way I did it. The withdrawal got a bit worse, and I slowly started started self medicating Diazepam (Valium) on a daily basis. However, I wasn’t feeling bad enough to reinstate or increase the Venlafaxine dosage. Two months later, in May 2015, I felt stable enough to start bridging to liquid Fluoxetine (Prozac) during 1 month. Hope that the long half life of the Fluoxetine will make the final steps down to zero manageable. I had to increase the dose a bit and now, in June 2015, I’m on 12 mg Fluoxetine (3.0 ml) which equals about 40 mg Venlafaxine. Not sure that this was the right move, but all previous attempts to go lower than 40 mg Venlafaxine has failed miserably and resulted in reinstating. The main drawback with Fluoxetine compared to Venlafaxine, is that it makes me very tired. The fatigue is constant and the energy levels way below normal. I feel like sleeping all the time. To deal with the lows I occasionally self medicate with the pain medication Tramadol, that clearly boost the serotonin levels. Try to not take it more than once a week, since it's easy to get dependent. I occasionally take other substances too, but never with such a frequency that they become problems. I know my limits in that area. I drink alcohol but not more than once a week and never more than a few glasses. To handle the anxiety i self medicate with Diazepam (Valium) or Alprazolam (Xanax). The last 2-3 months I have been taking between 2 and 5 mg Diazepam every other day. This is way to too frequent, and I’m clearly become dependent on the benzo now. This has happened before and I am slowly tapering the Diazepam. Currently taking about 1 mg per day. My main non-chemical weapon against the anxiety is the meditative relaxing audios from excelatlife.com and the headspace.com meditations, that I do on a daily basis. Recently I have started doing the “mixing the cake batter” anti-anxiety exercise that seem so help. I am not into supplements. Have tried both Vitamin E, Omega 3 and Magnesium at different occasions, but not found that it makes any kind of difference at all. At the moment I’m suffering quite a bit from both anxiety (mostly in the morning), mood swings, general nervousness, fatigue, memory loss and lack of motivation. Not sure what is related to the meds and what is new emotions emerging from the low dosage of SSRI. Sleep is one of the things that works fine though. I’m not giving up this time. I will follow through even if it takes several more years. Not sure how often I will update this journal or if I will get involved in the discussion on this site. Based on all my failed attempts to taper I do however believe it is very important to both give and receive support from others in the same situation. A big thank you to all the people who contribute to this site! You save lives.
  25. Hello- I am taking 37.5 mg of venlafaxine. I have been on it since March 2015 for treatment of migraines caused by a concussion. My doctor said I could try going off now (no migraines since May) because we want to start trying to conceive again. I could tell that withdrawal wouldn't be easy from a dizzy/vertigo feeling and headaches I get when I take a dose a bit late. I also had a hard time starting the drug- not sleeping for 3 days and lost 7 pounds. I started taking it every 36 hours, but was feeling quite groggy, no attention span. I found this forum and saw that is never recommended to increase time between doses, which makes sense given the short half life. So I called my dr and pharmacist several times until I finally received a prescription for tablets. I started though by tapering the beads of drug. For the past couple days I removed 6 of the 36 beads. This is more like 26%... But I am giving it a try for now. I am wondering about the 4 week period between tapers. Is this a conservative timespan meant to apply to all drugs? For something with a short half life, such as venlafaxine would symptoms really appear 2-3 weeks later? I was thinking I would taper 20% every 2-3 weeks and then drop by 3 mg when I hit 12 mg. But even at this rate it would take a minimum of 22 weeks to wean off. That's almost as long as I've been on it! Any advice from someone who weaned off the lowest dose and how it went for them? The dose is so small, I'm hoping that a 'larger' drop of 6 mg or so would not be so impactful. Why is it important for the drops to keep becoming smaller? I can't imagine, but this plan with a typical dose of 100 mg or more would take years! As a note I do take a fair amount of supplements that I've found to help with my headaches.. These are Mg, B2, vit E, omega 3, and Co Q10.
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