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  1. Been on venlafaxine XR for 7 or 8 years. My ex wife recommended I get on it to control some minor anxiety and to help me control my temper. It worked wonders for her, so why not me too. I went to my PCP and asked him if it would help, he said yes and prescribed 75mg. About 1 or 2 years ago I went from 75mg to 37.5 mg. Didn't have to taper or anything and had no withdrawal symptoms. I am in a point in my life where I now believe I no longer need this medication. My PCP said I could just stop taking it since I was on the lowest dose. Well, I knew that wasn't going to work since I had 1 week a while ago where I didn't take it, basically because I just forgot to, and had HORRIBLE withdrawal symptoms. So I started going what I do best, googling, and I found this site. So I decided to figure out a way to wean off of it slowly and keep my dr in the loop, just in case. Originally I emptied the beads out of 7 capsules, 1 at a time and counted them. They were between 93 and 106 beads in each capsule. So I decided to drop down to 90 beads for 3 weeks. Then I would try reducing by 5 beads per pill for a bit and if I handle that well, then I could try 10. Once I got down to 20 beads or so, I figured I'd just start removing 1 or 2 beads since the percentage of beads is much higher with that low of a total. But then yesterday I came across this. http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/12797-effexor-capsules-vary-in-bead-count-and-weight/ and this http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/1596-using-a-digital-scale-to-measure-doses/ Is this microtapering only for people who are super sensitive to drops? More importantly am I ******* up my brain by doing a certain number of beads rather then by weight? Since apparently 90 beads can be a different mg dosage of drug in each capsule since the pills are filled by weight and not number of beads. If I need to weigh every capsule, I'm fine with that, as I'll do whatever it take to get off this drug. Thanks.
  2. 1968creative

    1968creative: Tapering advice needed

    I’ve been on many different A/D’s for over 20 years. Currently on 150mg/Venlafaxine XR for the last 2 years. I’ve also been on benzo’s for the same amount of time. (Mainly Valium). I’d like to come off the Venlafaxine first, but have a couple of questions. 1. What is the recommended taper regime? 2. Accepting we’re all different, what can I expect by way of withdrawal reduction symptoms? My anxiety is already Sky-high, and my mood is not good. 3. Bit of a controversial question... but is it reasonable to say/think that possibly the people in this group are the ‘unlucky’ one’s? And for the purpose of explaining what I mean... Is it possible that 90% do it without serious bother, and this group is for those understandably struggling? I don’t know. The only reason I ask is that whilst it’s acknowledged as one of the harder A/D’s to come off, some people can’t praise it enough, and others are going through hell, often having to reinstate. 4. I don’t know whom to turn to re. Supporting my withdrawal, as the general consensus amongst psychiatrists is that you can come off in say 5 weeks or so, and at the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got people saying take one bead out a week etc. 5. Finally... I’ve heard about something called the Prozac bridge. Has anyone tried this? In summary, I’m scared! Thanks Adam
  3. My introductory post. I have a sleep disorder associated with Fibromyalgia. Fibro also is associated with anxiety and depression and inability to relax the muscles. So, Venlafaxine has been a real help for me to live a normal life for 20 years. But I'm 68 and want to get off. Today is the 6th day following a failed tapering, my second. My first tapering was a year ago. I have a terrible sleep disturbance: I have a panic attack while falling asleep. My husband is helping me find a better psychiatrist, one who is experienced with both a sleep disorder and tapering. But this time around as I tried to fall asleep a loud buzzing sound and vibrating sensation occurred inside my right nasal passage. As I type this I am aware it sounds unbelievable. It's so embarrassing. "Doctor, I have a bee in my nose." Well, I googled "my own snoring wakes me up" and found Sleep-Doctor http://sleep-doctor.com/blog/does-your-own-snoring-wake-you-up-from-sleep/ . Anyone have a similar weird sleep disorder? I bet it was due to tapering - some kind of neurological trauma. I'm exhausted. Last night I finally slept through the night.
  4. Hi Everyone, I found this forum through the recent New Yorker article and have already found it very helpful. Here's a brief version of my story... I was put on Effexor XR at the age of 15 to treat severe anxiety (I was given a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder). At the time I was dealing with teenage hormones and a suicide in the immediate family and having regular panic attacks. As I got closer to 30 I decided I wanted to know what life was like without them, and wondered if being put on them at such a young age had impacted my emotional development. I felt like I had reached a point of relative stability in my life (stopped drinking, good support system). Going off Effexor ended up being a disaster - in hindsight it seems like it was a very fast taper and I reached the point of not being able to get out of bed in the morning due to anxiety. I found a new psychiatrist who put me on Lexapro and Xanax (not every day, to take as needed). I felt very good on Lexapro but I gained about 50 lbs in one year. She then added Wellbutrin into the mix, which didn't make me feel as good. I felt very agitated and had a hard time concentrating. At this time my psychiatrist was fixated on my weight and wanted to increase my Wellbutrin while going down on the Lexapro. We'd have arguments about it where I tried to explain how bad the Wellbutrin made me feel, despite the weight loss benefit. Eventually we parted ways and I am now trying to taper off everything for the first time in my adult life with another psychiatrist. I'm currently 4 weeks off Lexapro and on 100 mg of Wellbutrin. I am in therapy weekly in addition to seeing my psychiatrist monthly. I started taking fish oil after reading this site and am trying to integrate some dietary changes in addition to my regular yoga/meditation practice. I struggle with feeling a lack of agency over my own life and feeling helpless. The constant focus on and discussion of my weight over the past few years has also not been great. On my bad days I have feelings of hopelessness and despair and occasional depersonalization. I don't have an expectation that I will feel great all of the time, I just want to feel some level of control over my mental and emotional state. Reading this site helps me because I feel like I am not alone. You guys have already helped me so I want to say thank you and I hope I can learn more - the concept of windows and waves is really useful. Today is a window which is why I'm able to write this - I've had two good days and that feels really encouraging. In the meantime if there are any suggestions for additional supplements or lifestyle changes I'm all ears!
  5. Hi. I was on Venlafaxine for 4 weeks - 2 weeks at 37.5mg and 2 weeks at 75mg but I had a bad reaction to it so my doctor changed me to 29mg of Fluoxetine. I had to take 37.5 of Venlafaxine with the Fluoxetine for a week and then stoo the Venlafaxine. I have been on just the 20mg of Fluoxetine for 2 weeks and feel awful! I am sweating, shaky, nauseous and anxious. Is this the withdrawals from Venlafaxine or side effects of Fluoxetine please? Would appreciate some advice and how to deal with it. Thanks.
  6. Hi everybody! I am Julz, a 33 year-old female - polydrugged to my eye-balls Ten years ago, I fell into anorexia and depression, soon unveiling terrible anxiety. I was referred to a psychiatrist (in France) who prescribed me medication and also gave me psychotherapy. Regarding the medication, different combinations and doses where tried and I eventually found myself on a prescription which seemed to suit my troubled mind (Escitalopram, venlafaxine, clonazepam and diazepam) - did it ever do anything? I still haven't got a clue. I trusted this doctor. This is my initial prescription: Escitalopram: 20mg 20mg 20mg - (yes, that is 60mg...!!!) Venlafaxine(MR): - - 75mg - Clonazepam: - 2mg - 2mg Diazepam: - - - 10mg Time passed and psychologically, a lot changed. I moved away from where I used to live, totally changed my environment, and went for a fresh start. But I was still taking my medication as prescribed. My General Practitioner (in charge of my prescription in my new environment) convinced me to lower the Escitalopram (on the grounds that it was "bad for my heart") and I managed, between 2011 and 2013, to come from 60mg/day to 15mg. How? By jumping 5mg at a time every now and again. I had no idea... again, I more or less trusted this doctor who was willing to prescribe me the drugs I was clearly physically dependent on. The withdrawals I experienced were uneventful. I did feel something was happening but within a few days, I always felt the same as before the drop. Between 2010 and 2014, a LOT had changed as I finally got an MSc BUT I had fallen into terrible exhaustion and had no life. How did I get my degree? A struggle every day. I then began to question this cocktail of drugs, I'd been on them for 10 years and was still taking them as prescribed because I was physically dependent. That was clear enough! It then hit me: my meds were probably incapacitating me rather than providing any help! The realisation came as in January 2013, after I managed to lower my Escitalopram intake from 20 to 15mg/day in a single 5mg step (...), I began to feel even more tired during the day, exhausted - I simply had to nap every single day. After some personal research, I went to my GP and told him I didn't believe in keeping our focus on the Escitalopram because it seemed that the more I decreased it, the more sleepy I'd get during the day, considering my benzo intake (at that point, I was taking 3 hours' naps), and I could not live like that! Fortunately, before I was able to drop a pill here and there as instructed by my GP, I found the BenzoBuddy website and managed to find a taper method to gradually come off clonazepam. From December 2014 to July 2015, I came from 4mg to 2mg and am now below 1.9mg and still tapering off successfully. I decided to join Surviving Antidepressants as I want off ALL any medication which alters who I am. I believe in other ways to manage my weaknesses - I am not ill, I have a tendency to be anxious and this is not new, I was an anxious child but I had emotions too. I'd like my emotions and my whole life back... I realise I know NOTHING about anti-depressants, I surely did not know about Escitalopram's potency and am still in shock from the news. My initial plans (supported by a psychiatrist I saw in February 2015) were to come off clonazepam (bz), then diazepam (bz), then Escitalopram, then Venlafaxine. In the light of what I read on this wonderful site, I wonder whether I should stay of Valium (diazepam) while at least tapering off Escitalopram, when I am done with clonazepam... I realise I need knowledge myself because sadly, doctors haven't been helpful at all... so far... Thanks for welcoming me on your wonderful Forum! Julz xxx
  7. Hi guys, So here I am after being off antids for about 6 months, having tapered too quickly and suffering the consequences. I was latterly taking Citalopram 30mg, Lamotrigine 150mg and Venlafaxine 75mg. Summer 2015 I was officially diagnosed with major depression, which had obviously been there for a long, long time but had at that time got particularly bad. This was due to psychological issues, alcohol and drug abuse but wouldn't shift despite years of work fixing these. Now I know the long term citalopram use was probably making the depression worse. Around that time I saw 4 different psychologists and got 4 different opinions on how to recover/which meds to take. This of course was a ridiculous situation so I took matters into my own hands, taking what I thought was the 'best' advice and integrating it with my own research and experience . Following the 'advice' of one of the psychiatrists I added 75mg of Venlafaxine to the Citalopram and Lamotrgine. At the same time I'd heard about l-methylfolate so gradually ramped up to 15mg daily with b-6 and b-12. I know starting 2 things at once is not advisable but I was desperate and could hardly function. Within a couple of weeks something kicked the worst of the depression into touch which was a massive relief. After a couple of months on the 3 med cocktail the side effects were really starting to get to me so it was time to get off this stuff. Yes, I know, I did it all too quickly which is why I am where I am now....I should have listened more closely to the advice here :-) Hoping for a little advice and encouragement about my nervous system which in the last 3 months or so has got worse even though I stopped all meds 6 months ago. The lamotrigine taper had me shouting angrily at my wife a number of times - the intensity of the rage was incredible but passed quite quickly. She was very brave to be able to get through that! Citalopram taper was surprisingly easy. The final stages of the Venlafaxine withdrawl was tricky. I was down to 1 bead and if I didn't take it within a few hours I'd get head zaps, restless legs etc. At some point I had to stop so I did and put with these symptoms for a week or so. After all this I was however very fatigued which has improved to an acceptable level over the last 3 months. The fatigue was probably also due to recovering from the major depression. Right now I have anxiety issues, very easily stressed/snappy, can't sleep more than 5 hours a night and impossible to catch up with sleep during daytime as on the verge of dropping off I wake with intense terror/fear. Often trouble breathing properly, tight stomach and I am very sensitive to noise, light and touch. I also have panic attacks when the stress is high in my life. These have been occurring for a long time though and haven't really changed with changes in meds. Having done years of therapy and some bodywork I know that these are physical symptoms and I have quite a healthy psychological make up. I also do a lot of things to look after my physical and mental health which I won't go into here. On the plus side, I don't have the general low mood caused by taking Citalopram for years, blurred vision, muscle tightness, sexual problems, cognition and memory problems, sense of not being fully present + other well known side effects from these meds. I am having thoughts about re-introducing a very small amount of Citalopram or Venlafaxine - not sure which one of these is causing the nervous system issues - probably both. I'm aware that the likelihood of this helping after 6 months is low, but I'm willing to try to alleviate symptoms. Advice on this is very welcome! As my name suggests, I do finally feel alive after 16 years on these meds - something about taking them was just not 'right'. Even though I'm suffering right now I'd rather be here. I hope this gives some encouragement to others and also serves as a warning about what happens when you taper too quickly! Thanks to mods and users alike for this wonderful resource. Cheers
  8. Hi I took effaxor for 5 months 75mg. I stopped 4.5 months ago and still stuck with PSSD. How hopeful should I be, do people here recover substantially from PSSD?
  9. rhanch

    finding my way

    I've been taking antidepressants, nearly as long as they've been around. Following a psychotic break - clinical depression, which might have been predicted, given the circumstances and looking back at it. I was first prescribed Sinequan by my family GP - a tricyclic drug considered at the time the latest medical miracle. It seemed to work and brought me back to earth, though it may have been just as much a result of a change in circumstances. The thing is, the fact that it seemed to work against the closest thing to absolute hell I could have possibly imagined created the fear that going off it would return me to the same state. So I continued taking it, in larger or much lesser amounts but continuously, through the coming decades. The ssri's came on the market and books were written declaring the latest and most important, culturally transforming chemotherapeutic drugs. I threw my hat in the ring and decided to try Prozac. Was quickly thrown into some sort of dissociative/ serotonin syndrome state and quickly retrieved the hat. My GP eventually retired and had to shift to a psychiatrist to ensure my supply of antidepressants. He more or less turned me into his psychiatric guinea pig. "I believe it may be prudent to throw Abilify into the mix at this point." "Well, you're the expert." Or so he figured. The upshot: I'm currently taking 150 mg Buproprion,150 mg Venlafaxine 50 mg Trazadone & 5-10 mg of Diazepam. Though I haven't taken any Venlafaxine for a few days because I believe it has left me with ED. I have a lot of opinions and insights into what led me to where I am today, but leave that for later. Thank-you for your attention and/or feedback.
  10. So I figured its time i start a thread on what I'm dealing with. I was on PP for a cpl years but was tapering and keeping in touch with people while doing it. I tapered slowly for a yrs and a half until i got to ten beads and that was my last does at about months worth. Well, now im 6-7 weeks off effexor(paxil before that) after a long taper. The first two weeks seemed very smooth. I was in jamaica for week three and that was tough at points but i was still sleepin ok and feelin good when i woke up. How ever, i was getting strong anxiety late at night partly due to travellers anxiety and just general anxiety. Id say the next week, seemingly over night, i started getting insanely strong symptoms. Also, ive been using klonopin as well for 6-7 months at 1 mg a day and lately started using them every day or two days and noticed the symptoms worsened 5x times over. So i made sure i would use them every day and deal with one war at a time. They seem to help maybe 10 percent with what i think is a delayed effexor withdrawal. My symptoms are pretty much unbearable. Although i dont have the zaps the nausea, the wooshing or ringing in my ears like some people but ive been getting other almost indescribable symptoms like overwhelming guilt, extreme short fuse and temper, crazy mood swings, trouble focusing, sick feelings, extreme panic attacks that go from 1 to 10 in a heart beat. Ive dealt with anxiety and panic attacks all my life but this is on another level. Oh, and really messed up sleep problems. I mean I sleep fine when im asleep but cant sleep passed a certain time and im awaken by horrible dread, depression, earworms (songs repeating over and over like crazy) massive anxiety, mind racing, no energy, almost no libido and the worst are the intrusive and suicidal thoughts like harming myself or others, that give me even more insane anxiety cuz i have the thoughts. I would never act on em but they still really scare me. all of these symptoms come on strong and let off through out the whole day. I've been feeling this way now for 4-5 weeks my mind feels weak and im feeling hopeless. Im starting to have all these "what if" scenarios like "what of i act on these thoughts one day if i just can't take it anymore"(worried ill be like this forever) or will i end up like one of those people who cant deal with life anymore and i do something bad to myself. Like i said theyre thoughts and ive never harmed myself and am terrified by the thoughts. It just seems like normal things(worries or anxieties)are exasperated 100%. And its worse cuz i cant get my mind off of them becuz theyre so overwhelming . Im a very fit and active person. I have a personal trainer 3 days a week and a martial arts trainer 2-3 other days a week along with being in bands who have toured and made albums and played shows for 15 yrs. Now i dread just facing each day. I dread the nights( thats when my anxiety seems overpowering),going to bed and waking up. Ive lost interest in everything i loved literally weeks ago and it seemed to have happened over night....out of nowhere. Even my feelings seemed to have changed in a day for the girl im in a relationship with. The girl is my best friend along with being my gf. She is the best thing thats ever happened to me which makes me feel guilty of even thinkin like that, which in turn causes extreme anxiety. And i have doubts if i should be in a relationship at all but i know id feel like i couldnt live without her and she loves me and helps me so much with what im going through. Shes so supportive even tho she doesnt suffer anything. Im sorry for the rant but i wanted to get everything i could out. Can anyone relate or tell me if they think this is due to withdrawal? Im just lookin for some hope cuz lately i have none. Will i make it through and be normal again? Im living hell every day. Also the last thing is when i force myself to go to the gym, exercise seems to make all of these feelings even worse. The higher i get my heart up the worse i feel. Im so lost i dont know what to do. Im paralyzed.
  11. Hey all! This is my first post here and I'm so glad I found this forum. I've been feeling desperate for months. My question is about drug-induced derealization. I took the combo of Effexor + Valdoxan and only felt good for a month while being on them. In hindsight I almost seemed manic. Then, suddenly, I got very strong derealization that lasted for weeks. It lifted a bit for a few feeks and then came about again when I had a drink one night. I have now tapered off Effexor, I took my last pill about three weeks ago. Three days ago I also started tapering off Valdoxan. I take Oxazepam to cope with the symptoms. I feel like I broke my brain for good. The only other time I've felt derealization was when I ate a hash brownie and clearly it was too much for me. I used to be a caring and fun person before going on the antidepressants. Right now I feel like I'm just completely empty inside. I do and feel things because I know I have to, but I seriously don't care about anything at all. When I do feel emotion, it's mostly fear or worry. Has anyone else expierienced drug-induced DR? Did it go away when you started to withdraw from the drug? How do you cope with this?
  12. Hi, I am new to talking about my story with Venlor. I was prescribed Venlor by a GP for anxiety and panic attacks 11 years ago. Venlor made me feel tired, brain fog, dizzy, memory problems, anxiety,,, so I decided to wean myself of. I am now 6 weeks off Venlor. Had crying spells, anxiety, night sweats while weaning of it. Started to excersize and eating healthier. Still feel very emotional and getting anxiety attacks. Still struggling with brain fog and sometimes feel I am off balance. Is there anybody that is going through the same things?
  13. naturalborn-successful-story hi i'm new at this forum and i'm brazilian, 20 years old, started effexor when i was 18 for depression, stayed on it for 8 or 10 months, with almost no side effects, after this tried going cold turkey , since then have been dealing with all possible kinds of side effects, i tried reinstatement on january of this year (after 4 months of wd) obviously didn't worked, stayed on them for more 5 months, went to rehab. tapered effexor there and started trazadone and seroquel. now i've been taking 150 mg of trazadone and 25 mg of seroquel, was kind of "ok" so tried to reduce trazadone to 100 mgs, wasn't able to sleep for 3 days, went back on 150 mgs, and added 2 mg of klonopin to use when needed, but since that abruptly quitting of effexor i haven't been the same, dealed with EXTREME anxiety (never was a problem before), SEVERE imsonia, sometimes 5 days without any sleep, chronic pain and numbess and poor coordination on the right side of my body. the left side seems ok, i have no idea why. derealization, poor memory, poor concentration, diahrrea, akastisia, poor stress tolerance, emotional numbess, brain zaps and brain fog, anyway i have been dealing with pretty much all the symtoms you can come up with, pretty hopeless, desesperated, regreted, scared, feeling like it will never be the same. i really want to know what you guys think, is there any hope for me ever being the same again?
  14. In Feb of this year I decided that the cons of Adderall were no longer to my benefit and decided to quit cold turkey. I spent a month weak, tired, irritable and unable to cope with all the "noise" of everything that was happening around me. Driving, shopping, even conversations felt like too much to handle. They say that Adderall is not addicting but it is, maybe not in the physical sense for some but in the emotional sense I became heavily reliant on the pills just to be around people, to get out of bed; basically just to do the simple things that "regular" people get up and do day after day. When I was first prescribed Adderall about 7 years ago, every few months I'd purposely stop taking them for an entire wknd just to reassure myself that I could stop. To be continued.
  15. Hi all, thanks for having such an amazing and helpful forum!!! I was prescribed Venlafaxine (Effexor) for anxiety and depression (moderate in my opinion). I started taking it. I'm so stupid... I had read about withdrawal symptoms, but I wasn't imagining it as so awful. After 5 days I got bleedings from the uterus, even though my period wasn't due. They were about as strong as a normal period, but more painful. The GP (doctor) made me stop Effexor. After 2 days I started to have the symptoms everyone reports: Crying, suicidal, self harming, fits of rage, nausea, dizziness, heart racing, trouble breathing. My GP didn't know anything about withdrawal symptoms and wanted to admit me to the psychiatric hospital. I sent him a bunch of information and finally convinced him to leave me alone and deal with it myself. I think he feels a bit guilty now, but that doesn't help me.... It's day 9 after stopping and my brain is still totally messed up. Question to you all: Do you think I need to go back on Venlafaxine and taper down slowly to prevent lasting damage to my brain? I also got some Sertraline from the GP, which I could use to switch to temporarily. I think even if the bleeding comes back, I can handle it. Iron values are ok. I had thought that after just 5 days of taking Venlafaxine, the withdrawal should be short and mild. But after reading a lot, I'm getting a bit scared. Any advice welcome! Laura PS: I really think I had a guardian angel who sent me those bleedings and made me stop before I took the medication for longer.
  16. I am new to surviving antidepressants. Because my Internist did not authorize refill for Effexor xr 150mg for 7 days, I was forced into snir discontinuation syndrome. I did not know there was such a thing until then. I have since researched on line and have found out quite a bit. Did you know that brain zaps/brain shivers is discribed in Wikipedia? Anyway,. I got them plus a lot of other debilitating symptoms. I have since weaned myself off over a months period of time (probably too fast), and have now been without for 2 days. I am so irritable that I can hardly stand to be with myself. Plus I get cold very easily and feel like shivering, but don't. I also have a few brain zaps, but they aretolerable. I am determined to not take one more bead of Effexor xr, and would appreciate the support of anyone who is going through or has gone though Effexor xr withdrawal.
  17. Hi all, Thank you for letting me join this wonderful fountain of knowledge. I have been on Effexor since late 2008, when I was 20 years old. My first long term relationship had just ended and I was understandably an emotional mess. I was also alcoholic at the time and using a lot of recreational drugs, which didn't stop the doctor from providing me 75mg of Effexor XR. I loved it at first because I literally felt high. I had tried other antidepressants in the past but none had worked, whereas with Effexor I just seemed to have so much energy. Fast forward to 2011, I am in residential rehab for my alcohol and drug addiction problem. The counsellors there suggest it might be a good time to try coming off my meds- 300mg Effexor and I also taking 25mg Seroquel at this point, as I was unable to sleep on the Effexor. I am referred to a completely incompetent psychiatrist who gives me a taper programme which takes me from 300mg to nothing in a month. Not knowing any better, I complied with his insane schedule. Within a few weeks I was kicked out of rehab for out of character, rageful behaviour. Back home, I slowly lost my mind. Couldn't leave the house without feeling like I had a target sign painted on me- I felt everyone was looking at me and talking about me. I lost my temper at the drop of a hat over minuscule things. No one around me realised what was happening. My memory of this time is hazy, but I do remember being home alone one night and suddenly becoming obsessed that there was a government conspiracy to give people heart attacks by putting too much salt in food. I was walking around the kitchen in circles screaming, unable to stop. I considered the possibility of hanging myself to make it stop. Luckily I called my boyfriend instead and found another website which is no longer active, who advised me to go straight to a doctor and resume the Effexor at a maintenance dose. I did this and was put back on 75mg. The damage was already done and I fell into clinical depression. A month later I decided I couldn't be more miserable that I was and relapsed on alcohol. Luckily I got straight back into a 12 step programme and have been sober since that relapse. But I struggled with the after effects of that withdrawal for many months. i have been absolutely petrified to try coming off Effexor again since, despite many side effects including palpitations, mental confusion, dry mouth, bad breath, constant clenched jaw and every type of stomach complaint. I fell pregnant in 2014 and came down to a quarter of a 37.5mg tablet during pregnancy. I wanted to come off it entirely, but my relationship was very unstable and I was being constantly triggered (we have now split up). I was devastated to not be able to breastfeed my daughter, but I felt the Effexor presented too much of a risk to do so. I went back up to 37.5mg shortly after her birth. She is fine and healthy today, but the responsibilities of single motherhood have left me terrified to attempt withdrawal again. However, since giving birth I have found that the Effexor now has a sedative effect on me. I now have to take it at night time, or I am almost passing out during the day. Sometimes I forget (I'm insanely forgetful now, which fairly sure is a side effect of long term antidepressant use) and then I have a choice of spending the whole day "shocking" or being a half passed out zombie fighting to keep my eyes open. I realised I can't carry on my life like this, I want and need my energy back. I've become completely reliant on coffee to have any kind of energy, so I'm always up or crashing back down. My daughter needs me to be fully present in her life, which I don't feel like I am a lot of the time due to this horrid side effect. I found this website and have been reading up on safe tapering, and on June 14th began the 10% reduction method. At the moment it looks like it's going to take about 3 years in total. I'm in no rush after my last withdrawal experience, I can't risk ending up in such a bad way as I'm all my little girl has. I have been dissolving the 37.5mg tablet in 75ml water, making sure it's all evenly dispersed, then removing 7.5ml (equal to 3.75mg) with an oral syringe. In the UK they no longer prescribe the slow release Effexor so as I can't do the bead method, this is the only accurate way I can really do it. Yesterday I had tingling in both hands all day then at night I had some brain zaps when I was trying to sleep which went all down my left side, which has made me wonder if I should maybe hold this dose for longer that a month. If anyone could advise me on this, I would appreciate it. I find my daily meditation practice my most valuable asset in keeping me sane so I'm hoping it will aid me in my withdrawal. If you have made it this far in my mammoth post, you are truly amazing! Love and healing light to you all x L
  18. Hello. As in my signature (which I see may need to be edited for specifics): I went on Prozac in 1994, off two or three years later, but then seemed to need it again and was told I had the profile of someone who should be on it indefinitely. I was on from 1997 or 1998 until in 2014 I tapered off over several months. After a few months off, I developed constant fear with ruminations about death and the end of the universe. Went on Effexor in January 2015, switched to Cymbalta later to attempt to reduce tinnitus, switched back to Effexor again (no longer sure when, probably summer 2017). Then, I tapered off from November 2017 to mid-March 2018, then had a few weeks of dizziness and thumps in the head, then was fine. In mid-May 2018, the constant fear and ruminations returned. I immediately started on about 7.5 mg of Cymbalta (a quarter of the beads in a capsule), since it was what I had left from my US doctor (I'm in the UK for some months at least), then saw a doctor. I was concerned about future discontinuation syndrome with the SNRIs, so in discussion with the doctor I started on 20 mg Prozac on May 23. I wanted to overlap with the Cymbalta because I'd read Prozac is used for transitions, but the doctor said to stop the Cymbalta in case of overdose, so I stopped after a few days. After eight days on Prozac, I told her I remember that it takes a few weeks to build up but that I was struggling, so on June 1 she switched me to 30 mg of Cymbalta in hopes of faster relief. I'm afraid that because Cymbalta was what I still had left from my US doctor and I wasn't in the best mental state, I mistakenly told her that's what I'd last been on, but it had really been Effexor - unless I'm now permanently confused. Now, six days later, I'm feeling slight relief but still free-floating fear. I'm having some dry mouth, occasional heat at the back of my head, and fidgeting with my legs, all of which are manageable - but after some reading here, I'm wondering if I should lower the Cymbalta dose anyway. On the other hand, I'm desperate for it to take effect as soon as possible. I've been reading some of the other introductions that mention Effexor/venlafaxine and Prozac/fluoxetine and am wondering if I should immediately ask my doctor for a new prescription of Effexor to reinstate instead of proceeding any further with Cymbalta/duloxetene. I'm also wondering if I should try the Prozac again instead, though it had seemed to stop working and I've been off it since about May 2014 - but it seems safer than the SNRIs. By the way, I am American but currently in the UK, and in this system one has to start with a GP before a psychiatrist will accept a referral. My GP seems to know a bit (she was aware of possible cardiovascular effects and has ordered an EKG for me), but I doubt she knows enough (if anyone does). I'll have to find out if I can proceed to a psychiatrist more quickly if I use my US insurance (which will start in July) to pay privately. Thanks for any thoughts.
  19. Edie

    Edie: my story

    Hello, I'm Edie from Estonia and I struggeled with antidepressants for years now. I have also been addicted to Klonopin, but fortunately I'm free from it now. My worst enemy was venlafaxine. At first it really helped with my anxiety problems, but then one day it completely stopped working and soon I fell into a really dark depression, which I had not felt before psychiatric meds. I was sleeping all the time, had no feelings at all, no motivation- just tired and zombie-like. And ofcourse.. if I wanted to stop the medication I just couldn't. Every time the horrible venlafaxine withdrawal kicked in. I somehow managed to switch from venlafaxine to prozac and now I feel a little bit better. I have been on 10 mg of prozac for almost two months now and I think that soon I should make my first taper, but I am a little bit afraid of that, because of the big changes my brain has gone through the past months. 75mg venlafaxine to 10mg prozac was a really difficult thing to do - during the switch I had severe panick attacks, suicide thoughts, extreme pressure in head ect. The thing is that I'm not sure when I should start tapering. Should I do it now or wait a little bit longer? I also take inositol powder and 500 mg niacin in the evenings and I think that these supplements are helping a little bit with the anxiety.
  20. I began taking a cocktail of psychiatric medications in 1995 and have tried twice to become med free only to fail and have to reinstate a month after tapering off all medicines. I always would taper with my psychiatrists help. I am very sensitive to the side effects of medicines and pray to become medicine free someday. My current psychiatrist says it is unrealistic that I will ever be able to not be on medications because I have been on them so long. I am looking for support and strategies to successfully become med free and stay med free. I successfully tapered off of Effexor xr in 2011 and in April of this year tapered off of klonopin. I am currently taking Cymbalta and trazadone.
  21. Hi everyone, I'm free of drugs for 10 monthes now. Withdrawal has been very difficult. I followed my psychiatrist instructions october 2014 : 150 mg venlafaxin + 30 mg mirtazapine : mirtazapine reduce to 15 mg November 2014 : mirtazapine stopped. Symptoms : I felt quite nervous, sometines crying about nothing but it disappeared within a week. December 2014 : 150 mg venlafaxin reduced to 75 mg. Symptoms : return of my libido (great ! ).. but this lasted only 15 days January 2015 : 75 mg venlafaxin 1 day and nothing the other day. Symptoms : short term memory problems, reduced ability to keep focus on my job. Increased appetite ( ). Sensitive to stress at work. Brain zaps and headache that disappeared within 2 weeks. February 2015 : drop down to 37,5 mg venlafaxin. Symptoms : the precedent, but increased problems of focus, increased sensitivity to noise, felt very irritable, brain zaps again as well as headache but disappeared within 3 weeks. March 2015 : drop to 0... nightmare ! So back to 37,5 mg after 7 days... April 2015 : start a drop down but more slowly : 37,5 mg to 27,5 mg. Same symptomes as previously. May 2015 : down to 17,5 mg Same symptombs as previously. June 2015 : down to 7,5 mg July 2015 : down to 0 mg. Symptoms : very irritable, flu-like symptoms and fever, diarrhea, mood swings : happy then crying about nothing 5 minutes later for no reason, anger crisis (I destroyed a door by punching it), brain zaps, headache, sensitivity to noise and light... it lasted 4 weeks before getting better. September 2015 : felt better but when back to work (I'm a teacher) : anxiety, irritability. I had a panic attack. My GP adviced me to rest and I stayed at home for 1 month. After that : felt much better. Could sport again. Happy because no more muscle and joint pain (that came with the medication and force me to stop my hobby : violin player and horse riding). I was very happy to be able to play violin again. But started to have migraine from time to time. Then a strange feeling with the muscle of my face : just like if my face became heavier and tended to "dangle" But then everything went wrong : mid january 2016 I was given a medication for my stomach, a proton pump inhibitor, to cure an antibiotics induced gastritis. I did not understand what happens but I was strucked by a deluge of severa symptoms : severe anxiety which turned into panic attacks, fever, tremors, extreme weakness, tingling in hands and feet, instable blood pressure, heart arythmia, abdominal pain and diarrhea, stomach pain, pain in the chest, shortness of breath, weight loss (10 pounds within a month), tons of gaz, excessive burping, reflux (that I did not have prior taking this drug)...I thought I was having a heart attack and went to ER but ECG was normal. Those symptoms has been described by some people who were given the same drug but my doctor don't believe me and say I'm depressed . It appeared that I have now gastroparesis (stomach which won't empty quickly enough) Now (march 2016) it's been more than a month that I'm unable to work. My mood is not depressed but I still feel very week, have arrythmia, muscle fasciculations, tinnitus, headache and strange feeling with the muscle of my face that seems to be "weak". Now I'm just wondering if the withdrawal could cause autonomous system disorders. I could read SSRI withdrawal do cause imbalance in sympathic vs parasympathic system. Don't really know what to do. My psychiatrist said I need to restart venlafaxin and add a medication for bipolar disorders (because of my mood swings). I believe I'm not bipolar : I never feel high. I just feel normal (I can go to school and teach, sport 3 times a weak) or completely disabled by anxiety issues... I tried to introduce the prolonged withdrawal syndrome but he told me it's just nonsense : withdrawal never last more than 4 weeks... which is not at all why I could read according to so many patients records.. I'm lost now and feel like a crap, miserable and alone. Does anyone had a similar bad experience several monthes after stopping SSRI ? (very sorry if english mistakes, it's not my mother language).
  22. University of British Columbia Pharmaceutical Sciences Student Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, March 21 2016, pages 31-33. Preparation of Lower Dosages of SNRI Antidepressants to Ameliorate Discontinuation Symptoms: Two Case Studies. Benton Attfield, B.Sc. (Biology), B.Sc. (Pharm) Lori Bonertz, B.Sc. (Pharm) Cory Hermans, B.Sc. (Pharm) Valerie Kantz, Senior Pharmacy Technician. Full text pssj-v03-i01_attfield.pdf Abstract There is a large body of evidence showing that adverse effects experienced with antidepressant treatment ameliorate over time and that disease-state symptoms improve for many patients. However, there is a paucity of information relating to how to stop these medications when a patient’s depression has remitted. Presented here are two cases that demonstrate the role pharmacists play in helping patients discontinue SNRI medications through the preparation of lower strength dosage forms. From the paper:
  23. Hi all! Finally had the time and courage to start to tell my story. I'm thirty-something year old woman from Finland. This forum has been really important to me on this dreadful journey. It's crucial to hear that you're not just imagining things and not alone in this. When my withdrawal really hit me the first time, I was so scared. I had heard of AD whitdrawal but didn't really know what to expect. I've never felt so deeply depressed and utterly hopeless than in some waves I've had during this whithdrawal. That really puts you in to the darkest place ever I have a wide range of symptoms, most of the Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist I have been under a serious stress on this past month and I have noticed that it has possibly made my symptoms worse again. But fortunately I have noticed some progress too. I also have been able to sleep almost the entire time. That's HUGE! Well, that's probably all I can write now. It's really tough to write in a foreign language with this braindamage, it has made me so slow..
  24. Hi all— New here, obviously, and new to forums in general, not so obviously (or maybe so still, idk). Here because I've been unable to (unproblematically) leave bed for the last 48 hours and I can't concentrate on much meaningfully (there goes my work): as a result I've been viewing a lot of content about withdrawal online (against my psychiatrist's pleas—I wonder what he wouldn't want me to know. . .) and found this forum linked in an article. See my signature for my history, and please feel free to share any information you think might be helpful. An abridged account of my woes: -Since midday Wednesday (first day w/o any poison) I've been experiencing the unique blend of motion sickness/brain zaps/heart palpitations that seem to come in waves (anywhere from every 10-15 seconds to 10-15 minutes) and with increasing intensity have been accompanied by nausea and aural interference (it feels like there are broken subwoofers in my head that, with each heart flutter/kick, respond: like how loud music from within a car driving by sounds from the outside). Hands and feet are also involved in these spasms, with less frequency. -I'm sad. Very sad. Was still feeling OK enough Wednesday night to watch a movie, watched my favourite movie (have seen at least 10 times), and cried (like wept cried) through most of it (for the first time). I don't cry in response to art, news, etc., ever. Highly irregular. -I slept almost all of Thursday. I'm a 6am 7 days a week type of guy, so sleeping in til 11, then sleeping ~1-5, and barely moving for the rest of the day is troubling. Not being able to read more than a page of a book even moreso (since that is what I do, for work and for pleasure). -My appetite is nowhere and eating is hard. Were it not for the intervention of my partner, with whom I am lucky to live, I don't think I'd have eaten very much yesterday and today. She woke me up to eat breakfast this morning (Friday), and after doing so I felt slightly stronger: I even flirted with the idea of leaving the house for the library. But I crashed about an hour later, just after I'd gotten dressed, and have been in bed or shower or toilet since. What I'm thinking about/dwelling on: -I'm feeling really stupid for having done this to myself (by way of trusting this doctor, of overlooking my anxieties about psychmeds) -I'm obviously feeling fear about how long these symptoms might last: I'm supposed to board a flight and spend 10 days with her family this Tuesday. . . -I'm wondering if it would be too hasty to get the few caps I threw out out of the trash and try counting out beads for a much slower taper like I've read about some of you doing, or if I should stay this course -I'm desperate for suggestions/spells/tricks to minimize the way these feelings feel in the interim, especially the nausea and shocks: I've tried two different raw ginger cocktails thus far to no positive effect and am taking 3x the vitamin D, B12, and omega-3 I usually do -I'm grateful that the stripe of withdrawal I'm undergoing seems to be primarily embodied and not psychoemotional (my anomalous weepfest the other night notwithstanding): so far I've had no return of suicidal ideation (like what I suffered beginning the drug last summer) and i more or less feel like I recognize myself (knock on all the wood) -I'm hoping that, given all the information and knowledge collected here, it is possible to not be totally in the dark against this thing: by which I mean, that there might be a way to tell, with some certainty, based off certain signs or makers or clues, that this will be over in a week; might take a month; seems bad and requires a different strategy and soon; etc.. . In sum: is there anything I should be thinking about that it seems like I've missed? not noticed? should look out for? Thanks very much for reading and responding.
  25. Hello to all, just found this site and I thought it might be helpful in my case. For a little more than a week I'm experiencing insomnia (wake up after 5 hours, today only slept few hours..), headache, lack of concentration, lack of appetite appeared yesterday. Times of crying, when I think about something emotional. I quit drugs in May this year, under supervising, but I think it's a relapse happening right now, right? Can you please give any comments on my situation according to the drug story? I feel very scared about what to do next. Don't want to go back to medication, but afraid that it could get worse the symptoms... Appreciate for any help! Sincerely
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