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  1. Hello everyone, I'm not quite sure which topic the following issue and question belongs to .. so please let me know if I should post this in another topic / category. As described in my signature, I completely stopped ingesting venlafaxine after about 3 months of tapering - I know, too fast, I was never informed about withdrawals or the need of a slower taper by my physician. One week after the last pill, various withdrawal symtoms such as brain fog, blurred/limited or "constrained" vision, OCD, tiredness and vertigo all appeared at once. Everything lasted for about 1 month and then, like all of a sudden, the withdrawals just stopped or became much milder. This period, which I like to refer to as my withdrawal "honeymoon," lasted for about 2 weeks. After this, the withdrawal symtoms started to come back, yet this time much more severe. I don't know if it has to do with the 2-3 glasses of champagne I had in New Years (I doubt so), but ever since they came back, they have slowly gotten worse. In the beginning I could still work, see friends and do other things people do in the leisure time but now I am on the sick list since three months, I can barely go or stay outside very long because all my symtoms (especially my visual symtoms) gets worse and my body and brain gets tired really fast. I am home most of the time. I try to exercise and to go out but my symptoms allow me to do very little things before it gets too hard for me. Now I ask you people who know this better than me - is it common for the symptoms to get worse over a period of time (for several weeks/months) before things hopefully turns around and you start feeling better again? I know that I may be a little messy in my explanation and I have certainly posted this in the wrong topic, but please know that I am suffering from a bad brain fog and that I am trying my best. I have already visited an ophthalmologist and I did get my brain scanned and they could find nothing. Still, I'm worried that there may be something else that causes my symptoms, which in turn was caused by effexor. PS -I have tried several supplements and have found that soy protein powder and magnesium tables relieves some of my symtoms. Thank you all in advance, and sorry for the messy text!
  2. Hello everyone! I have PDA (Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia) since 15 and I´m in drugs since there (now I´m 31). I tried different medications, but I think I´m with venlafaxin and clonazepam for about ten years (clonazepam since the begining of the treatment). I have always responded well to medical treatments overall. Sometimes I was great, sometimes I was ok, but never in that big hole of being trapped in you own home again. Never had major colateral effects. My life became almost normal, thanks god. I married, had a good job and socialize. I just avoided some situations, like being all bymyself in a distant place, for example (mild agorafobia) At July 2015, after doing my first international trip I decided I was "cured" and started to withdrawn the medication. My start point was 75mg of venlafaxin and 1,0 mg of clonazepam (It wasn´t my higher dose, but the one I stabilized) I didn´t knew the 10% rule, but somehow I instinctly followed it . I made it really slow and without any visible sympton. In the beginning I discontinued it a little bit faster. In january 2016 (six months later) I was taking half of the medication without any sympton (37,5mg/0,5mg) I continued tappering slowly. From january 2016 to december 2016 I cutted another half (37,5 day yes, day no/0,25) The problem was that with that dose I started to have some panic attacks. My main symptons are: shortness of breath, derealization (which I never had in this way) and weakness overall. Six months ago I was playing soccer for two hours, now I´m having trouble walking for 10 minutes. So, resuming: Venlafaxin Clonazepam July 2015 75mg 1mg (feeling great) January 2016 37,5mg 0,5mg (feeling great) January 2017 18mg 0,25 mg (having panic attacks) Until now I´m dealing with my attacks and learning some CBT tools to fight against. I have some questions and count on your help! 1. Is there any problem taking the venflaxin day yes/day no or is better to dissolve it and start to take it 18mg/day? 2. It´s ok to tapper the two meds at once? If not, which one would be the best to start? 3. I think that my symptons are not from tappering fast, I think it´s really my anxiety/panic condition that was covered by the meds, what is your experience? What do you think? 4. If I return to my safe point (37,5/0,5) is there any garantee that I will fell better again or there is a high risk of returning to a higher dose and continue feeling bad? I could tapper it even slowly in next time with more help (now I know this site and I´m reading it a lot) 5. If there´s a high chance to return feeling good taking this dose, in how many time can I expect the effects of the reintroduction of the meds? Obs.: I have a major important admission exam in less than 2 months and that´s my real thing. If wasn´t for it, I would hold up hands down. But my fear is that it mess up my studying and my performance. 6. Anything you want to comment will help. *Congratulations for all the comunity, I hope I can add some experience with the meds, the tappering and the disease itself. **I started do read some material, but it´s a lot of thing, so, I´m sorry if I ask something that is already written. ***Hope you compreend my english, I´m not practicing it for a while.
  3. Hello Surviving Antidepressant friends Around 18 months ago I posted this thread desperately seeking help for tapering gone wrong. I had been on a treatment dose of 300mg of Effexor, which I had reduced around 80%. I went to a psychiatrist to seek advice on tapering and bridging and he told me the amount I was on was almost nothing and there would be no issue if I tapered off over a couple of weeks. That caused the worst withdrawal I have ever had, including what felt like 48 hours of suicidal panic attacks and inability to sleep. My memory from that time is blurry. Anyway. After that I tapered back on to Effexor until the worst of the discontinuation syndrome subsided, which ended up being back up to 10mg, or 30 beads. I stayed that way for around 8 months before trying to go off again. I would take my dose every morning in the same place, around the same time, by pouring out the little beads onto my hand, counting them, taking them, then brushing my teeth. The next time I started going off I reduced by 1-3 beads every 3-4 days (more at the beginning, fewer at the end). I also conducted a little placebo conditioning experiment with myself, where I replaced the lost beads with white 100s and 1000s (I think Americans call them sprinkles?). I figured, after reading up on the classical conditioning mechanism in the placebo effect, that the eight months of "ritual" around taking the drug might be sufficient to allow the placebo sugar beads to have the same effect as the drug on my brain. Once there were no more drug beads I continued "taking" the 100s and 1000s each morning for a few weeks. I'm not going to recommend the placebo approach outright for obvious reasons (I am not a doctor or scientist; my understanding of the placebo effect is probably rudimentary). However, in my specific case, the experience of going from 30 beads to 0 beads, was a million times better the second time than the first. Other factors that likely helped: It was about 5 times slower than the first time; I had adjusted to the 30 bead dose before I started; I took even longer gaps between reductions of the last beads; I was not working as much as I went through this process. Now. While it was easier than the first time, it was still not easy. I felt churned up emotionally and was super irritable, I had rage flashes, my anxiety increased hugely, anhedonia returned, I had nausea, and my muscles, particularly in my legs, spasmed and twitched, often violently. I could, however, sleep for the most part, and none of these symptoms got too much in the way of life (granted I was not working very much and I work for myself anyway; it would have interfered if I worked for someone else). It helped to know that if I could just get through those few weeks then things would probably get better. These symptoms lasted around 2 weeks after the final drug dose, which was early April 2017. And things did get better. For me, most of the side effects of the drugs have now gone. Most significantly, my sense of self and my creativity have returned. It had felt like they were being numbed or muted by the drugs, and I couldn't access them. Off the drugs I now have access to them. Similarly, my ability to enjoy sex has improved, and I don't feel like that side of me is muted either. The above is really tremendous; feeling like yourself again instead of a weird muted robot alien is a big relief. However, while I consider the drug withdrawal to be 100% successful and 100% the right decision for me, I should caveat that with the following context: The drugs appeared to be muting extreme unresolved emotional distress, both from childhood stuff and from rape and sexual assault from a few years ago. The pain from this sort of exploded when the drugs went away. My primary diagnoses are anxiety and major depression, but it appears even those were symptoms of childhood stuff. When I came off the drugs it was the first time I had been drug free in around 13 years. I am highly sensitive and have a big emotional world, but I never learned how to regulate stimulation and emotion, and then had it muted by drugs. When I came off the drugs the emotions and stimulation were pretty extreme and often overwhelming. I took from that that I should learn skills of emotion regulation though, rather than that I should go back on the drugs. Even with only 3-4 months of practice, I am hugely improved and the emotions and stimulation overwhelm me much less frequently. (Now they inform my creative work and my service work, and are real positive assets for me, albeit ones that require sensitivity and management.) I have the great privilege of being able not to work for a while while I recover fully, which is lucky because I cannot currently work. I put that down to unresolved trauma that has now come to the fore rather than drug withdrawal. I am doing deep dive work with my psychologist that is helping more than any other talk therapy I've done, and I think that work will be sufficient to return me to work eventually. I see her weekly. That work is also subsidised by the government because it is about recovery from sexual trauma, meaning for now I do not pay anything for it (another enormous privilege). I have a partner who is extraordinarily supportive and gets what is happening for me. He judges fair contribution to the relationship by reference to each partner's capacity, and thinks that because he has more capacity right now it is fair that he do more housework, financial contribution etc than me. This has allowed me not to push myself beyond capacity, which has meant I have recovered more quickly. In conclusion, while I am currently not working and my capacity to do a lot of things is severely restricted, I could not be happier that I am off the drugs. I feel like I have real issues (childhood trauma and sexual trauma) that require serious work, but now I feel like I am actually properly addressing them, instead of having them be muted yet just as destructive. I also no longer have the drug side effects interfering with my ability to enjoy things, make music and comedy, have intimacy with my partner, meaning recovery feels more authentic and there is more joy in it. Things still hurt a lot, but my world feels real in a way it wasn't on the drugs. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't come off these drugs before. In simple terms: I have hope. I can experience joy and enjoyment. I am excited about what the rest of my life might bring. Even while I know that I am in the middle of pretty extreme emotional upheaval and trauma processing, life is better than it has ever been. I am finally able to be fully, authentically myself, in ways that the drugs (and the trauma and mental health issues) got in the way of. I am optimistic.
  4. Hello everyone. My name is Christa. I am from the Netherlands Europe so please don't mind if my English isn't all that. For the past 25 years I was first on paroxetine and the most years on venlafaxine 150 and later 75 mg. For. Years this was fine by me. Until I started reading about tapering. A view more years went by and in the back of my mind there always was the feeling that I was done with those drugs. So finally I went to my doctor. Only to hear that my medication was to hard to stop. So some time more went by. But still I wanted to. So I went back to my doctor and I told her...... Listen. That depression for 25 years ago.... I think it's gone now don't you think so? The time I first got. The drugs was totally different from where I am today. I am in a stable situation. Steady job. Husband. Animals. No white picked fence tough. But still she told me it can't be done. Well........ I am the kind of person who does not take no for an answer. So I started counting beads. Until I was at 37.5 mg. And then there was a surprise. I got capsules from 37.5 mg and Inside each capsule there were 3 smaal tablets. So the first week I took out 1 tiny pill from my daily capsule. A small whitdrawel would come for a view days. About 3 days. So I waited until my body was used to the lower amount and as soon as I felt ready I decreased the dose again. I did this until I was at 10 somewhat mg. And there it got scary. Still from 10mg to 0 is still a 100% change. And from there the real withdrawal began. I could not do it. So I did read about the prosac bridge. Bridging the gapp between venlafaxine and no medication. Because prosaic has a long half life time it's very handy in this case. So I called my doctor again and told her I was willing to try a different kind and I wanted prosac. I never had the plan to switch to a new antidepressant but I did not tell her. For a week I took my 10mg venlafaxine and I took one tablet of 10mg of prosac. After that week I stopped the venlafaxine. For. 3 more days I took half a tablet of prosac. And then stopped completely. I can te you that's scary. I was waiting for some relaps or something bad to happen. But it didn't. Nothing. I slipped out of my antidepressants. But than....... Reality hit like a truck. All of a sudden I was back in the real world emotion came back. Crying laughing angry everything came back. So I took a view weeks of from work to adjust. People a. Careful with me now. They can't play me anymore. I am no longer the dosile Christa who was a bit weird and just happy to have work. The new Christa has her own ideas. Things she will do and things she won't. Christa is thinking again. I am strong and people notice. I am no longer ugly bettie who takes all the crappy jobs. I am building my future. It been 4 months now si ds I stopped my medication. My stomach is still upset. I am often not friendly and harsh. But people have admiration for that I am this strong. I have claimed my live and my territory and it works. It's been a hard Rollercoaster road. But it can be done and you can too Thanks
  5. Hello folks, Wow I came across this website and it definitely helped my outlook on this horrid process of withdrawling from Anti- Depressants. Here is my story. Life was good I was 23 years old, sitting in my University Class seminar, participating with my class, when out of nowhere all these feelings came rushing over me, people started to go sideways, couldn't really talk. Long story short I dropped out of University and went home to parents. I Went to an emerg clinic and was diagnosed with Generalized anxiety disorder(Gad). Immediately I was giving a prescription for Effexor xr 150mg, followed up with my doctor and was up at 225mg for awhile and 150mg for awhile over a 6 year period. I am now 29 years old, about 4 months ago the effexor pooped out, well it may have pooped out a year before that, but we all know how addicting it is. Went through the stigma , perceived personality changes, felt brilliant and ability to talk, got lots of good jobs, was able to be social, felt at times like it was a miracle drug, then slowly over time I lost my jobs, gf's , starting smoking marijuana heavily, took up smoking cigarettes and had anger and frustration issues, never had this before the medication. My doctor just refilled my prescriptions and never really questioned how I was doing on this medication. If I missed a dose one day I would have horrible symptoms. Long story short I feel effexor got me through the first initial espisode I had, but eventually ruined my social life, career life etc. It's been a tough trip. So after this medication pooped out 5 months ago I figured lets try to go off this and tapered off during a two months period.150mg to 75mg to 37.5 then half of 37.5 and then half of that,then off. I quit Effexor on March 22/2012 after being on it since 2005. Wow Lets just say after I came off it I felt so amazing, I saw everything in a fresh new light- like this is what life is like off this? Colors are brighter, Smell is better, everything changed for the positive after coming off it. Rose colored glasses you should say came off. I quit my 2 addictions of Cigs and pot immediately, was so proud of myself, fixed up debts that I wouldn't have touched on effexor. I felt like I had total control of my life, except for how to deal with these raw emotions , felt like a brand new person. Until... The 3 month mark being off Effexor, wow. Anxiety, Insomnia( not sleeping til 730am), not being able to look at somebody and talk to them in a normal light( was never a issue all my life). One week ago I tried Wellbutrin for 5 days and then withdrawled off it 150mg xl. It was just making me more anxious etc. Now the biggest problem I face is feeling like my memory/words have disapeared, can't make sentences or think of what to say and this was never a problem in my life and it's bothering me big time and I don't know what to do, as I feel like my brain has been messed up by 6 years of effexor highest dose 225mg but mostly 150mg. How do I get this back? I need some good responses here because I feel like a complete dummie as my mind has been erased. Thank you for reading this extremely long post, but I didn't want to leave anything important out, and I really want to move on with a life that I can accept and enjoy. Where has my memory gone? Will it comeback? How long if so? My words and ability to talk to people and come up with things to say? Very scared, What can I do? Use to be so smart I am Martin and that is my story, Glad to be a part of this group (29 years old) ^6 years on effexor , now 3months off 2005-2012 , March 22/2012 Off Effexor
  6. Hello future friends, I'm based in Brussels, Belgium at the moment. I am here because I've been tapering venlafaxine since June 2018. Started at 225mg (see more info in my bio section). I am completely stalled at 75mg. I tried a micro taper taking out one tiny bead from my Effexor XR 75mg capsule. But it brought on terrible unbearable withdrawal symptoms. It seems I have become hyper sensitive to this drug. I think it might have to do with a kindling effect (tapering quickly before in the past when I didn't know better) and the fact I'm a Highly Sensitive Person perhaps. The drop I did from 82mg to 75mg completely floored me for 9 months. I was unable to work during that time and was bed-ridden 50% of the time. I had flu symptoms, depression, severe anxiety, severe insomnia, dizziness, IBS symptoms, lack of energy, no motivation, severe headaches. It was MUCH worse than any of my depression or anxiety symptoms before. In short, it was hell. And even a drop of one tiny bead sends me back to this hell. It's so unfair and I'm so mad. So angry to have ever been prescribed this drug in the first place. I'm sure many can relate to that. Especially as it's never even helped me. How absurd. In any case, I feel very stuck. I would like to come off completely because I would like to try for a baby. And ideally, I don't want to be on this stuff. I think the only option for me now is to try bridging to prozac? That's the only thing I can think of. I will see a psychiatrist soon to discuss with them. Any advice or insights welcome. I feel I am being kept hostage by this drug. I cannot afford (either financially or otherwise) any more time off my work and my life - I'm doing a PhD and I need to finish it by 2021. So, yeah. I'm feeling very trapped these days. Thanks so much for reading! Best wishes, Marie PS. How do I post in the venlafaxine/Effexor thread? I went to the thread but couldn't see how I could post there.
  7. Hello, I was started on Effexor 75 mg a year ago for anxiety and OCD. I tried cutting my dose in half 2-3 months ago to 37.5 mg not realizing about withdrawal symptoms. I have never struggled with depression but since changing the dose have been really depressed. 3 weeks ago my doctor added Prozac saying it would help but it doesn’t seem to. I am so frustrated and feel like Effexor has caused me more problems than good. Since I tapered so quickly I don’t know if I should go back up to 75 on Effexor or increase my Prozac or what to do. I feel like my doctors aren’t sure what I should do either as he told me it’s up to me to decide my taper on my own thanks for your time and help in advance
  8. I was given amitriptyline for severe insomnia and fluoxetine for cognitive function 30 years ago, after 6 months bedridden with Epstein Barr/Chronic Fatigue. Both were very successful, and I was able to return to work and later retire. I stopped amitriptyline a few years ago, no longer needed. Kept taking fluoxetine, which may not have been needed anymore. Fluoxetine "pooped out" early this year and I became very apathetic and anhedonic. I was put on 75 mg Effexor mid-April, without any washout period for the fluoxetine - neither I nor, apparently, my doctor, knew any better. It was very good at mood and energy improvement, but I had fairly bad physical side effects, and asked for lower dose. 37.5 mg still caused bad side effects. Like a fool, I stopped cold turkey one month ago. I knew I should count beads and taper, but simply could not force myself to put one more mg of this stuff into my body. Now I am paying the piper, and paying a lot. I found this site a few weeks ago, and have been looking for others who have severe physical WD symptoms. I may be lucky in that I have no emotional or cognitive symptoms, or unlucky in that I seem to have all of the physical ones. First 3 days off, my feet and calves swelled up like water balloons, along with neck and shoulder pain 24/7, which is still ongoing, but better. Muscle spasms in thigh muscles that made me actually scream one night during first week off. Chest tightness (muscle spasm?) that almost sent me to the ER several times. Shortness of breath has not gotten better so far, and insomnia is very severe. I feel terrible in the morning and all day until around 5 PM, then I seem to have a surge of wakefulness that lasts until 1 or 2 AM. Fatigue will not let up. I can't reinstate Effexor, as the side effects while taking it were much the same as WD, only less severe.
  9. It has been years since I took medications, I was 16 when I took them in 2009, and went through a few different brands. I have copied some of my introduction story to make things easier for me. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5232-%E2%98%BC-hello-charliebrown-script-free/#entry67166 Starting with Fluoxetine 10mg for 1 month. Then Venlafaxine for 1 month at 75mg then, 3 months at 150mg. 1 month of Clonazepam 0.5mg as I was tapered off Venlafaxine and onto Sertraline 50mg. Then I took Sertraline 100mg for 4 months. Still experiencing panic attacks, agoraphobia and paranoia. I went to the hospital during a panic attack and was given Lorazepam 1mg for 1 week. This is when my psychiatrist added Risperidone on top of the Sertraline. Risperidone started at 0.25mg for 3 days, then 0.5mg for one week, raised to 1.0mg for one week. After two weeks I had a check-up I told the Dr. I wasn't feeling anything and I believe he may have misinterpreted that as "no effects" but when I said it I meant that I felt no emotions. My dose was raised to 1.5mg daily. After 3 days of 1.5mg I began experiencing Akathisia with no relief of anxiety. With no options in perceived sight I took all of the remaining Risperidone. Approx forty 0.5mg pills. My Parents caught me and called 911. At the hospital I was given charcoal and passed out, waking hours later. After being discharged I continued to take Sertraline as prescribed for 2 months. With no reduction in my anxiety and my emotions being basically non existant I decided to "take the good with the bad" and feel some kind of emotion. Over the next month and a half I slowly weaned myself off Sertraline. Popping open the capsule and throwing away 3-5 tiny XR beads a day. So that's my age, meds and taper strategy. How long it took to regain all my emotions and bodily functions is a hard one to answer. It took about 6 months before I felt much of anything. Then the bad emotions came back, sadness, anger. Slowly over the next two years I had many days that were blank and void of anything, days full of sadness, but also days where a light would shine and I would be happy. Feelings were coming back in waves and leaving again. I joined this website in late 2013 and at that point I had some emotional range, a libido but no sexual pleasure. So i guess it took about 3 years off medications to regain a good emotional range and my youthful lust. I'm finally writing this success story because in the past year the lack of sexual pleasure and anhedonia are not a problem for me anymore. The feelings slowly came back in waves, sometimes weak, but getting stronger and stronger. Now I feel great when I hug someone or see a friend smile. Sometimes the feelings can even be overwhelming. Like my heart is ready to burst. I don't know what else to add except, it's been almost 7 years since I took medications and I am a whole new person! Don't give up hope! Things are constantly changing, even if you don't notice. I didn't notice the change until it was right in my face!
  10. Hi, you can call me AprilShowers. I was put on Venlafaxine (Effexor) in the millenium due to a period of depression. Was on it two years and tapered off with no problem and gradually depression got managable and life went on. Then my mother died of cancer and my depression came back more suicidal and severe. I tried citalopram with horrible side effects and continuous suicidal feelings before being changed to venlafaxine which had worked for me before. And it worked again, more or less. I got stabilised and although it took a long time the suicidal thoughts receded and I just had bad depression. Last year after five years on venlafaxine I was having bad heart palpitations and my psychiatrist thought it might be beneficial to change medications as I thought it might be being caused by being on an SNRI. I switched to mirtazapine which I was on a couple of weeks and felt good at first before it made me very suicidal. Panicing and needing to not feel that way anymore I stopped taking it cold turkey. After I began to have withdrawal issues I tried to get onto prozac (fluoxetine) in the hope that it would help, it didn't, it exacerbated the symptoms. I was in full withdrawal syndrome, massive dumps of cortisol turned my body to acid, I was urinating blood, I couldn't eat or sleep and the shakes were exhausting. It was completely debilitating and I did little but lay on the sofa for five months trying to distract myself with TV shows. Life got a little better in increments and with the help of this site which I read without joining I was able to understand what was happening to me and try to support my body. I thought maybe I'd been lucky to have gotten through this and was hoping to build my life back to some semblance of normal. I managed to get back to the point I'd been on while I was on the antidepressants. Still depressed, still not coping well with life but able to function a bit. I had hoped to build on that. A couple of weeks ago I started getting mad anxiety, possibly triggered by the shock of the news of terrorist attacks in Paris although I guess if I'm honest I was feeling a bit overwhelmed before that. Whatever happened, I was having a hard time and took a couple of small doses of lorazepam two nights running to get some sleep and mellow the panicy feelings. Of course they got worse after that and now I have the full cortisol dumping into my system again and I'm back on the sofa wishing for a different life and a better body. I've been in touch with my care co-ordinator who isn't seeing me until next week and she says that without me being willing to take medication there's not much she can do. I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow to try to rule out any underlying medical reasons (I had an infection before all this happened and have recently become diabetic, have PCOS and have had previous anemias, heart palpitations and thyroid blips) but I'm not holding out much hope and unsure how to try an explain to the doc what is happening with cortisol dumping into my body. I know all they can offer for the symptoms is lorazepam or similar drugs and I think that would just make my problem worse. The early morning shuddering and feeling of waking in abject terror is the pits, the shudders are exhausting, like parkinsons and then taper off during the day but still with a low level of tremor and feeling of panic. I've got no saliva, I go hot and cold, my stomach is acid, I'm wetting myself with the level of fear hormones in my system and am having to wear pads and I'm constantly going to the bathroom, I'm not doing very well at all. The fact that this is happening for the second time is extremely disappointing, I've had thoughts of not wanting to live like this. I feel very alone, I live alone and I'm scared of losing all I've gained. I'm here to find hope. I need to give this awful life I'm forced into some value and give myself some value. After five years living on benefits, trying to overcome depression and not really coping with life I feel like I have nowhere to turn but here to find people who believe and understand what I'm going through. I am desperate to believe this is just a blip and won't last as long as before but it's been getting worse every day like the reverse of when it happened the first time when it was very bad and I gradually felt relief. I'm finding it hard to trust I will recover. I have nothing to do but hope I can again. Supplements I take omega 3 in a high dose which has helped me manage my depression. vitamin C magnesium with calcium. Occasional other supplements. Am thinking of just stopping all but the omega 3.
  11. reask

    reask

    High BP caused by abruptly stopping Effexor and also getting worse while tapering
  12. Grayskies

    Feels like waking up

    I have just read almost all of “Prozac backlash” and It kind of blew my mind. I am sure this is old news for most of you on this site, I just had no idea. I also had tried to go off Effexor pretty much cold turkey and basically was a ball of nerves, sobbing uncontrollably the whole time. I thought at the time, “my anxiety must really be this bad, i guess i really cannot function without my AD.” OMG. I had no idea this was such a universal experience for people to go through such difficulty when trying to get off them. And to try to do this without any coping skills too? That was entering a losing battle. I am now seeing a therapist and I feel empowered to do this for the first time in my life. Having this community is really great too, to know it’s hard to do for all of us. For the first time in my life I suddenly see that this has been a lie I have told myself for years, that I need these to function. I always assumed “some people need meds for mental health and some don’t.” Reading this book demonstrating the actual figures for people who manage their depression/anxiety without meds is truly uplifting for me. I have had a rough month trying to start the taper. Someone tried to attack me at my job (this has never happpened to me before) and I was quite affected by it, starting to feel my anxiety sky rocket even on my full dose. This event set off some really tough emotions for me as I already have a stressful job and have been working on ways to move to something less stressful for me. For financial reasons, I need to stick with it for another 1.5 years. I feel pretty angry and anxious the first few days after a taper, I have noticed and the lightening strike emotions are there. I think mindfulness and encouraging self-talk in preparation for this possibility is key for me. Like positive visulations, even practice (role play) like what will i say if XYZ happens. I am on 121.5 mg of my effexor right now which is the second taper I have done. Much of my focus has been on the bad sides of my withdrawal. I go to Zumba pretty religiously and yesterday in my class I felt something I haven’t felt for a very long time—- it was joy. I felt joyful as I moved, and used my body, and felt alive. I felt free. I realized that this feeling has been covered up for some time in addition to my demons I am now facing. I was sitting in the sunshine with my dog and drinking coffee, listening to the birds sing, and I thought.. this is truly a perfect moment. It has been so difficult for me to feel moved in any way for the last 7 years. And in the back of my head I can feel my anxiety telling me “this won’t last, you could still be in trouble, you could still be unsafe...” And I am letting myself just for now to feel alive, like I am waking up.
  13. mmcdonald21

    mmcdonald21: intro

    Hey, I've been trying to get off medications for a while now, to no avail. I'm currently on 30mg Remeron, 300mg Effexor, and 10mg Abilify. I also take a lot of vitamins and fish oil with a high concentration of EPA. I don't feel very good right now, and I've had periods where I've felt good, but I'm pretty sure they were just times that were flukes. I think the things that really help me are exercise, meditation, and to some degree, my vitamins and fish oil, but I really do want to get off of the medications. For over four years I've been reliant on these medications, and still I haven't felt very good at all during the time. I started getting off of my medications by taking 75mg less of the Effexor XR (I was on 375mg). I will report back how that goes. Any tips or advice would be much appreciated.
  14. Hello all. I've been shadowing this forum for a while, and I'd like to begin by thanking everyone involved (Altostrata in particular) for providing such a caring environment for all the battered brains out there. A lot of my questions have been answered already by virtue of all the great information here. Still, one feels a particular solace in telling their own story, and I'd like to do just that. I am twenty four, and I have been more or less continuously medicated since I was sixteen. I was a troubled and difficult teenager, and a drug addled and dysfunctional brain seems to be my reward. I've been prescribed various stimulants, but (thank god) I've mostly neglected them over the years. I've run the gamut of anti-depressants from prozac, to lexapro, and then onto Effexor. I don't really remember having any issues with the prozac and lexapro, except the sort of general malaise one experiences on those drugs. Effexor has been a different story. I've been on it now for about four years. A year ago I noticed a strange sort of free-floating despair from time to time, the sort of thing I'd struggled with years earlier in high school. But unlike before it's appearance was alarming and irregular, and it seemed somehow “unnatural”. It was clear something was changing, either my brain chemistry or the effect of the drug, or both. Whatever the cause, it didn't seem to have much to do with circumstance. A few months later I decided to come off the drug. I went down over a period of two months. The effects were highly unpleasant but not unbearable, the strongest symptom being fatigue. I was completely off the drug for about three weeks. The effects during those three weeks were slightly different than they had been while still weening. Along with the fatigue came a deep underlying anxiety, and a sort of anxious hopelessness that would wash over me a few times a day. I decided after three weeks that I couldn't deal with the withdrawal symptoms anymore, especially since they hadn't show any signs of abating. I went up to 75 mgs, and was able to remain there for one to two months. The worst was over, though I still suffered from fatigue (I would often have to take a nap in the late afternoon) and began to have cravings for alcohol for the first time in my life. I imagine that my cravings were somehow compensatory, and I've heard of other people experiencing them while on or withdrawing from these types of medications. Eventually I went back up to 150 mgs of the Effexor, and after feeling a little drugged for a few days I returned to my normal self. It took a few more months to work up the courage to try to taper off again. This time I was prescribed 40 mgs of Prozac to “soften” the effects of the withdrawal. I slowed my descent a bit and two months passed before I reached 75 mgs. The symptoms were bothersome but tolerable throughout, and I managed to maintain a diet and mild exercise routine. Great changes were beginning to occur in my life around this time. I'd rather not go into lots of detail, but I'll just say that I managed to address certain things that had haunted me for many years. As these inner tensions began to dissolve the world suddenly seemed alive and brimming with meaning. Colors appeared more vivid, and everything seemed to be suffused with a kind of mystery. This period is somewhat hazy, but I think I must have been convinced by this shift that I would be able to quickly withdraw from my drugs, so strong was my sense of well-being. I took only a month to come off the last 75 mgs, and because of some mistakes while measuring my doses, my taper was somewhat erratic. This period was pretty horrendous. The effects of these drugs come so close to your basic 'poles of being' that it's really hard to describe them in any kind of reliable way. But there was a certain manic and anxious character to this period that had been mostly absent from the previous withdrawal. Some of these new symptoms came in waves, while others were more or less constant. Twice I got into very intense arguments with my father over dinner, both of which ended with me sobbing and hyperventilating (which is quite unusual for me). Sometime before the arguments I had felt a kind of mounting irreversible tension, one that quickly transformed into aggression. There was something strangely primitive and hyper masculine about it, like my mind and body were preparing to fight off an enemy or predator. Deeply strange stuff, I've never experienced anything like it. Once off the meds I only lasted a week before deciding to go back on the Effexor. Here I made another error. I was so panicked and anxious to get rid of my symptoms that I went back up very quickly. 10 mgs for a few days, 35 mgs for two days, 75 mgs for three days, and then back up to the full 150 mgs. Somehow it didn't occur to me at the time that I might have been rushing things. The first day back on the 150 mgs was wonderful. That earlier sense of joy and clarity returned, colors had that dark and enhanced quality again. I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude. But, to my horror, the “manic” type symptoms returned the next day. They returned, and then they seemed to get worse. Two to three times a day I'd have those indescribable surges of raw feeling, and a pervasive tense/drugged sensation returned as well. Fearing that I'd gone up too fast I quickly went down to 75 mgs, which seemed to help for a bit. But the surges and the tension remained. It's been about a week and a half since I've made this last switch, and the symptoms continue. I've read on this site that it can take three to six weeks to stabilize at a given dose, so it seems like I still have some time before I can expect any kind of peace. What's complicated this whole thing is this new way of seeing that's opened up to me. Not only do I have the fear that I'll never be “normal” again, but also a fear that this recent revelation will be torn from me. In short, I feel like I have more to lose now than I did before, that returning to “normal” would be just agonizing as not recovering at all. Still, I have the sense that the transformation I experienced is real and is a lasting one, and that it's just been obscured by the effects of the withdrawal. Plus “it” hasn't disappeared entirely, and at least once a day I'll feel that sense of peace, well-being and heightened interest in things seep through. Still, it's strange how little comfort those moments provide when the hell starts. I apologized if this was overly long or indulgent in any way. I have a few questions for you guys. Firstly, does any of this sound familiar? Am I within the range of what's considered “normal” for this kind of thing? (I think I am but it never hurts to be reassured) Should these new “manic” symptoms disappear eventually? It sounds like they're the sort of nervous system issues that Altostrata describes in his/her theory, though I don't remember all the details at the moment. My greatest fear is that I somehow won't be able to stabilize at this dose, and that I therefore will never reach a comfortable place from which I can withdraw again. Also, does anyone have any idea why my second withdrawal attempt was so different from the first? The addition of the prozac maybe? It goes without saying that my next withdrawal will be much slower. I don't have any more illusions as far as that goes. Also, I should mention that I'm no longer on the prozac. Thanks in advance for all comments! Wonderful place you've got here.
  15. I joined this site a couple of weeks ago. After finding that paxilprogress was no more. I was devastated. That site may have truly saved my life in some of my darkest moments. What is one to do? When essentially you've self-destructed in front of everyone you love; because of a nasty little "non-habit-forming" pill that's been shoved down your throat for decades. So here I am. Time (weeks really) has eluded me. I meant to reach out sooner. I'm just hoping I'm not reaching out too late. I feel like such a horrible failure. I know better than that at some level, know that maybe I failed but that I just have to pick up the broken pieces and keep moving forward. But I'm so I'll. I'm so weak. I'm so alone. And I feel so helpless. My life may not have been a picnic before the introduction of SSRIs. But this is one situation in which the grass was truly greener on the side of which I was already standing. Before popping that first "innocent" little pink pill, prescribed by a doctor who had seen me only once and only spent 10 minutes "getting to know me". I couldn't tell you who that doctor was, I never saw him again. Nevertheless he was the first in probably nearly a hundred who have insisted upon continuing the saga. And what better did I know? I was unhappy before the meds. I was often unstable on them. And I was clueless as to why I was saying and doing psychotic things (that I often didn't remember, or just have "snippets" of memory after the fact) and so violently ill when I decided I simply no longer wanted to take the pills. Or was even 12 hours late on a dose. (More about that and my travels down genetic testing road and CYP450 mutations later.) All that being said; Hello to all in these forums. I'm the antisocial one. The antisocial one that sometimes doesn't know when it's appropriate to shut up. Or how to appropriately ask for help. But if you've been through it (psych med-wise), I probably have too. And vice versa.
  16. Hi Everyone, I've been reading the site for a few hours and am really grateful for so many of the contributors who share so much of their time, heart, and knowledge to help others come off medications they no longer want to be on. I am going to start tapering off this weekend of 75mg of Venlafaxine, which I found out through another Dr. I never should have been on to begin with. I have an estrogen problem that cannot be solved with SSRIs and became diagnosed with severe depression after the birth of my first and only child who is now 6. I went untreated for 2.5 years until I had a suicidal desire in Feb 2016, after that incident I got a diagnosis and went on 50mg of Sertraline and later up to 75mg. I took Trazadone to sleep at 25mg due to the insomnia caused by the Sertraline. One of my sisters and my mother also suffer from depression and my sister mentioned Wellbutrin worked really well for her so I asked my Dr. to switch since I felt like an emotionless robot. My insurance wouldn't cover the name brand so she prescribed Venlafaxine at 75mg and I have been at that does for 1 year and 3 months. I will post updates here about my progress and look forward to reading about others too. I'm not sure how to do the signature with the dosage part but will try... 8/2019 - 75mg of Venlafaxine
  17. Hello everyone! I am 26 years old. I tapered off 150 mg XR a little to quickly. I was on it for about two years. I was off completely for about a month. But the anxiety kept getting worse. The pressure in the top of my chest and bottom of throat. It's hard to describe. Also it was hard for me to speak. I was extremely irritable and edgy! I felt dead and wanted to die. The withdrawal just made me feel this way. I took 25 mg IR yesterday. This morning I took 25 mg. This afternoon i will take the second dose of 25. How long do you guise separate your doses of IR? I am also going to do the 10% deduction of the current amount. I am doing the math, this is going to take a very long time! But that's ok, my fault for taking it. When i get this low is it best to make it into liquid form? I watched the video and I understand. in 4 weeks my next dose will be 22.5 mg.
  18. All of my symptoms in bolded, for ease of quick scanning for relevance by anyone interested. I have ended up on this website after lots and lots of google research to pin down the cause of my incessant symptoms of a low-grade migraine headache and constant nausea that I have been experiencing for 10 days straight now. My Migraine History: I have been getting migraines fairly regularly (about 2 or 3 each month) since middle school. but they are pretty mild, as migraines go. About 25% of the time, one will be preceded by an aura that is a lightening-shaped blind spot or blurry vision and then the headache will be very severe. And occasionally, one will be accompanied by severe nausea. But normally, my migraines are just quite painful headaches accompanied by heightened sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells. With ibuprofen and extra sleep, they are usually completely gone within 30 hours. During puberty and especially pregnancy, my migraines were more severe in all aspects: nausea, sensory sensitivity, and pain. My Venlafaxine Withdrawal/Discontinuation Symptoms: I did not connect these symptoms to the cessation of Venlafaxine until recently because 1. I did not know that physical symptoms could be related to the cessation of antidepressants. 2. The onset of symptoms did not occur until 5 days after my last half dose of Venlafaxine. 3. I was only on Venlafaxine for 27 days (including a half-dose for the last 7 days). I only made this correlation after several days of googling possible causes, and after including symptoms that I had previously dismissed as insignificant and inconsequential in my internet searches I started experiencing a persistent nausea that did not seem like food poisoning or stomach flu (no stomach cramping, etc.) 14 days ago. There were/are waves when the nausea is worse throughout the day, and a constant malaise otherwise. Unlike the stomach "flu" or food poisoning, there is/was no stomach cramping or urge to vomit. On the 4th day of no relief, I realized that it was just like the nausea I get that sometimes accompanies my migraines. I hadn't equated it with a migraine previously, because there was no headache. I started taking ibuprofen periodically, treating it as if it were a migraine. On about the 5th day, I could feel a headache "trying to set in", which is my usual precursor to an impending migraine (although historically the nausea, if it develops, does not come on until after the headache presents). Since then, I have had no improvement in symptoms. On about day 6, I started googling possible migraine prescriptions and was considering seeing my M.D. the following day, if there was no improvement. I also started googling the combination of all my other mild/querky symptoms to see what else it could possibly be, if not a migraine. These other sporadic symptoms had each seemed inconsequential as they had come and gone here and there, and were easily dismissed. But I was starting to realize they might be related. Muscle Weakness in my biceps that I had noticed when using a steering wheel or when filing through clothing racks while shopping. Crying and/or the feeling that I needed a good cry, without provocation, that felt very similar to PMS (although this was about 10 days after my last menses). Brain Fog in the middle of conversation. I will have to concentrate really hard to remember what the conversation is about, and what I was going to say next. I will forget what my husband told me just minutes ago. Word Recall Difficulty both while texting/typing (spelling) and in conversation (vocabulary). High Pulse Rate of 88pm, which was noted at the medical appointment that I had on the fourth day after my last dose of Venlafaxine, when I felt great. Chills Hot Flashes/Feeling Flushed Sinus Congestion which was present before, but is now much worse, especially at night. Nausea that feels like "Morning" Sickness when there is 0% that I am pregnant. Yes, 0%. At times, I can tell that I will feel better if I eat, and at other times I can tell that eating will make me feel worse. My best time of day is the first 3-4 hours after waking up. Shivers not related to body temperature this one I just experienced last night, and suspect (hope!) is more likely related to my inadverdently taking 2 different antihistamines (diphenhydramine and cetrizine) at the same time! Very pronounced and fast onset of "prune skin" on the soles of my feet, followed by Extreme itchiness on the soles of my feet Another really bizarre symptom that I think might have another cause. ??? I had sprayed the soles of my feet at bedtime with magnesium oil two nights in a row, as I have done in the past when experiencing a severe migraine. I did not bathe or shower until a third night. 5 minutes into my bath, my feet (and only my feet) were EXTREMELY pruny, as if I had been soaking for more than an hour! I have found nothing online indicating that this wierd fluke may be related to the magnesium oil, nor to antidepressant withdrawal/discontinuation. After the bath, my feet were excruciatingly itchy (just the skin, not the nerves) for at least 30 minutes! After much reading on this and other similar forums, I contacted my P.A. that has been assisting in my medication management for the last 3 months. I am going to reintroduce 5 beads of Venlfaxine tonight and see if it makes a difference by the time my afternoon appointment rolls around tomorrow. She is doubtful that any of these symptoms are related to the antidepressant, so I hope this works. I really hope that my experience, along with the litany of literature I will be leaving with her tomorrow, convinces her of this very real and very under-reported issue!
  19. I feel devastated still - nearly 8 years after a brutally swift taper from Effexor. I did not know better then. Apparently nor did the doctor. Seven years at 150 mg of Effexor - then down to zero in about five days. Obviously my story is a lot longer than this and all kinds of hellzone has happened between then and now ... involving another drug I was forced on for many months because of the protracted withdrawal. (which these doctors do not believe in as you know) And I have only just learned that what is included in what I have been suffering for a while now, has a name - vulvodynia. (then there is the burning sensation throughout various parts of the rest of my body). I am so scared because life is over if this is all there is now. Surely there is some kind of wonderful holistic herbal miracle remedy to take or something - a solution for CNS damage. I am drug-free now and want to stay that way and wish I always had been. Unbelievably for all of those years I didn’t really know what I was really taking - I never gave informed consent. If I had the knowledge then I would never have given consent at all. Meanwhile I need to heal or there is no life left.
  20. I started Effexor (venflaxine) excuse my spelling 75mg and buspirone 7.5 mg on Wednesday last week. Friday night I had an adverse reaction. Skin burning, dizzy, tremors, rapid heart beat, dilated pupils, muscle stiffness, I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting right now. I did not take the meds after Friday night. Now Thursday (4am) I’ve been having withdrawal symptoms. Tremors, anxiety, insomnia, no appetite. I see my pysch today at 130. I actually went to the hospital twice in the same day because I could not sleep, eat, or relax. I couldn’t go to work but I am going to try today. I was wondering if maybe Prozac or sertraline would help me ease these withdrawal symptoms or if anyone else has experienced this after on three days of being on meds!!!
  21. After very careful tapering off, I have just completed 3 weeks without any Venlafaxine which I had been taking since 2005 In 2005, I had weaned myself off Seroxat but allowed myself to be bullied by my spouse (a sufferer from endogenous depression controlled by medication) and, at that time, work colleagues, into taking another anti-depressant. Happily retired for over 10 years, my spouse's depression under control and a general feeling of being over-drugged, I decided in April, in the spring, with the days lengthening, after discussion with my GP, gently to wean myself off the pills. I was hoping to do it all without having to own up to my spouse but my symptoms post stopping are quite severe and I cannot dissemble. So, while not announcing it from the rooftops or posting it on Facebook, I am telling my friends and family what I am up to to explain occasionally disconcerting behaviour. Unfortunately, both husband and sister have suggested what I am doing is not necessary though most friends I have told are most supportive. So here I am, weepy, upset stomach, off my food, aggressive being told by my nearest and dearest I'm depressed. i found this website and decided to get it off my chest. I know I am in for the long haul but I'm determined I'm not going to be dissuaded this time. I need to know what the real me is like now. Just need a pat on the head I suppose
  22. Hello all, My name is Chris, a 24 year old student currently living in the Netherlands. I started taking 37,5 mg of Efexor about 2,5 years ago, after being addicted to weed for about 5 years (I live in the Netherlands). I was suffering from heavy anxiety, making it impossible to function properly at school. The Efexor put me back on track and made me feel good again, up to the point where, about 4 months ago, i felt so good i did not think i needed the Efexor anymore. I discussed with my doctor about going off the medicine, after which he suggested that i first started taking efexor every other day. Right around the same time I started taking efexor every other day, me and my ex girlfriend were getting back together to give it another go. She said she supported me all the way on this, i felt good about it and after taking it every other day for about a month, i quit the efexor entirely. That's were it started to go wrong. due to the light withdrawal symptoms i was getting i was not able to give my (now ex girlfriend again) enough attention as i used to before (she really, really needs a lot of attention) and we had quite a couple of fights, resulting in her leaving me. But still, all in all, I felt like i could pull through and beat this thing on my own. Then, after about 2,5 months being entirely off the efexor I suddenly started feeling down again, did not have any will or energy at all to perform whatever tasks i needed to do.. the withdrawal symptoms had suddenly hit me with all its power. I went back to my doctor, and started taking methylphenidate to help me remain calm, as I also have been diagnosed with ADHD. This has helped a little, but i still don't feel anywhere near how i felt 6 months ago, when i was a social, fun guy with high confidence. Right now i'm having some relatively good days where i just get through my day without feeling large amounts of anxiety, but thats about it. My breathing is almost always way too heavy (im diagnosed with chronic hyperventilation) since quitting the antidepressants, i have bags under my eyes on a daily basis and sometimes i have chest pains. I dont even exactly know why i came here, or what my goal is by posting this, but it would just be nice to talk to people that understand what i'm going through right now. I sometimes think about just going back to the Efexor and start living the good life again, but wouldn't that be the easy way out?
  23. Ok My name's Adam. I'm 48. I suffer with A&D. I was on 40mg Citalopram for about 8 years. My psychiatrist moved me on to Effexor about 10 weeks ago. The drug hasn't agreed with me, and I'm n the process of tapering off. I was initially on 75mg immediate release (sold tablet), and was taking one a day (people have said this should have been a split dose. Anyway, that's in the past. My tapering history is that I've been taking 3/4 of a tablet - about 58 mg for the last 4 weeks. I think my depression has worsened over last 2 weeks, BUT that may be attributable to life's circumstances.(divorce). My questions are: 1. Am I withdrawing from Effexor, or perhaps SSRI's in general? i.e. Is this really a Citalopram withdrawal considering I've only been on Effexor for a very short time. 2. How slowly should I taper off Effexor, and in what increments? 3. Do I need to split my dose and take twice a day? At present I'm taking the 58mg in one dose Answers to the above and any other advice appreciated. Thanks Adam
  24. magnesi

    Achilles tendon pain

    Hello, My Achilles tendon of the left leg hurts a lot (the one of the right leg only a little). I've been trying to avoid impact, warm up well before exercising and apply heat (cold worsens the situation), but the pain is getting worse. I can not even walk without limping! I'm almost reaching 50% of my initial dose of 150mg venlafaxine (Effexor) and somewhere around the 40% I started having muscle and joint pain. During my withdrawal from benzodiazepine last year, this type of pain was my main problem. At one point I became bedridden. Will it be the same with the antidepressant? I'm very scared! In particular, I don't know what to do in relation to my Achilles tendon pain. Should I see a doctor? I am sure he/she will prescribe a bunch of medication, muscle relaxants, etc. that I do not want and can not take, and perhaps some useless and time consuming physical therapy. Has anyone had this kind of problem? What did you do? Thank you for your ideas!
  25. New here, so will hope to fill in fuller history later. I am 71 and have had depression to varying degrees 1977 to date. Managed to work full time 1964-2001, though. 12 years on irregular shift pattern 1964-1977. Last month, went to new younger GP who arranged blood tests, (after I had given him my list of ill-health symptoms!) Blood, mostly OK, but indicated low folic acid, he said. I am on 5mg daily folic acid tab for last 5 weeks. I do feel better (carrying out lots of small projects in my retirement). Had so many ups and downs in last 40 years, though, that I think this may be a placebo effect. However, a more positive side of me thinks I may be on the way to breaking through the wall where "the drugs don't work anymore" at 225mg Venlafaxine slow release. I have been on Losec (Omeprazole 10mg) for decades, too. I read that it can spoil your absorption of certain vital items in the vitamin B family, at least? Thanks for reading, all.
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