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  1. Hello folks and sorry for my silly english! My antidepressants history starts at my teenage years (depression, social anxiety disorder) and after trying escitalopram and fuoxetine, I got prescribed venlafaxine ("the one that helps when others have failed", the gp said). It did help, and now that I have built the life I'm comfortable with and no major stress triggers on sight, I decided to go off venlafaxine. Reasons are that my emotional life had gone unnaturally smooth, like being "just ok" all the time. Also, my sexuality was non-existent. I tapered off waaay too quickly, I know it now. I took only 31 days to taper off completely. But I had no bad withdrawal symptoms, just the brain zaps and nausea, but I found cyclizine very helpful with that. Of course I started to get emotional symptoms too, I was very short tempered and had massive anger bursts. Some days I was feeling little low, but nothing massive. I couldn't dring any coffee for about three months, got so sick from it. After 4 months of being completely off venlafaxine, I got my first big bad wave. It lasted a week, when I was unable to go to work and just suffer in my bed. Symptoms were palpations and racing heart, nausea, anxiety, crying spells, insomnia, need to pee every 15 minutes, diarrhea, brethless feeling... Was that all? Anyhoo, I went to see physician and thankfully he somehow understood my condition and gave me one week off so I could rest at home. He also prescribed propranolol for my heart problems (which have helped alot) and said that if this episode of mine won't go away, I need to start taking venla's again with small doze. I refused, not going to give up yet! After that wave, I had almost two months of feeling completely normal. Like my own self! But then, the second bad wave hit. This time it was different. More difficult and scary. I had the same symptoms I had in the previous wave, but also these frightening episodes of de-personalization,feeling of losing my sanity and night terrors. In those episodes I have been very close to call an ambulance. Thank god my partner is a huge support for me and with his help I have been able to get through these attacks, that lasted sometimes few hours and sometimes about twenty minutes. Now I'm once again feeling normal, thank goodness. I wanted to share my progress here, because I felt I owe this to you, since I have got massive help from this forum. So thank you guys! I'll report if something comes up. This is a long journey.
  2. Hi Everyone, This is my first post; however, I've been reading posts and discussions for a couple of years now. You'll see from my signature that I stopped venlafaxine a little over three months ago after tapering for about a year. I didn't follow the 10% guideline too closely, but my symptoms weren't too horrific. This is my third time attempting to rid myself of ADs. I've been on ADs for about 20 years. Overall, it's going much better than the first two times. But at this point it's still rough. The physical symptoms have mostly gone away. Although I have to be very careful about how much caffeine and sugar I can ingest. I can have very little before the negative effects kick in (nervousness, trouble sleeping, depression). Alcohol is a real no-no for me as well. Also my sleep is still not great. Although I feel like I can't complain too much since most nights I get about 5-6 hours a night. The worst part that remains is the emotional symptoms: depression, anxiety, fear, and generally having no idea who I am anymore. I feel like I woke up from a dream and someone else - a drugged version of me - chose this life that now I am totally unfamiliar with. Everyone seems like a stranger. I feel like I'm learning everything again. Although I've been able to keep up with work, socializing is extremely difficult and I fear I'll be losing a lot of friends during this process. Usually now my favorite thing to do is be by myself and watch TV. Prior to stopping meds I was a fairly social person. And there's a horrible sense of isolation, which is why I'm writing today. It feels like no one understands what I'm going through. There are a couple of friends I've shared my experience with, and while they're understanding they haven't been through it. There's nothing like talking to someone who knows what the withdrawal process is like. Well, actually, I don't know what that's like because I've never spoken to anyone who has gone through this. But it is wonderful to read the discussions on this forum. I am continually amazed at people's bravery, eloquence, and even humor expressed while going through the nightmare of withdrawal. Thanks for "listening." BF
  3. Hi all, I'm starting to taper off Venlablue after 3.5 years. Long story but they put me up to 300mg a day (4 x 75), before realising after 2 years I had a severe vitamin D deficiency which was the cause of my problems. I now have to get myself off these pills which I shouldn't have been on in the first place! When you pull apart the Venlablue pills there are 6 mini capsules inside of 12.5 mg each according to the PIL. I'm assuming the easiest/smoothest way to taper off would be to remove one of these mini capsules each week or so? I asked the pharmacist who said I should start by taking 4 x 75mg pills, 5 times a week, and 3 x 75mg, 2 times a week. Surely this would lead to more of a fluctuation in the amount of the drug in my system (and therefore more withdrawal symptoms), than simply removing one 12.5mg mini capsule per week? Or have I missed something? What would you recommend? Also, after 3.5 years, are there any recommendations on how long I should aim to take to taper off completely? Or should I just go one step at a time? Many thanks, Tom
  4. from: http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/24/woman-shares-coming-off-antidepressant-ruined-life-7255570/ When Tabitha Dow was six, she had her first migraine. Now and again she’d be stuck with headaches, but when she hit 29 they became more regular and more severe. Soon her migraines were debilitating, so she sought out medical support at the National Migraine Centre in London. There, Tabitha was advised to ask her doctor for the antidepressant Venlafaxine at a maximum dose of 150mg. She was told that this would help not only with her migraines, but also with her persistent low moods. ‘This was the start of my downfall,’ Tabitha tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Neither the neurologist, nor the GP who subsequently prescribed the drug, explained that it was extremely chemically addictive. ‘I was not told how long to take it for, it was prescribed indefinitely, and there was no mention that coming off the drug would likely result in severe withdrawal symptoms and a need to taper off like you would heroin. ‘Neither mentioned that one of the common withdrawal effects of Venlafaxine are migraines.’ Venlafaxine didn’t work to help Tabitha’s mood, so after a year, she decided she wanted to come off it. Asking her GP about a plan to taper off the antidepressant, Tabitha was told that the medical professional had ‘no idea’ how to proceed. ‘I was completely by myself,’ says Tabitha. She followed the instructions recommended by her GP, but was quickly confront with severe and debilitating withdrawal symptoms. The plan the doctor recommended was fast and drastic, and Tabitha feels she was left completely unprepared for what she was about to face. Tabitha before withdrawal. Picture: Tabitha Dow) ‘The migraines increased dramatically and on top of these I developed intense crushing pressure in my forehead which was constant and unbearable for months,’ Tabitha remembers. ‘I also experienced chronic fatigue, internal tremors, startling easily, sensitivity to light and sound, sensory overload, anger, brain zaps, pressure behind my eyes, tired eyes, extreme fear, panic, confusion, being unable to speak, being unable to move, my brain feeling sick, my heart beating fast when I stood up, mental turmoil, night terrors, hypnagogic hallucinations, night sweats, gasping in my sleep, feeling unwell after a bath/shower, severe difficulty waking up in the morning, feeling drowsy and stuck until several hours after waking, feeling drugged and toxic after napping and sleeping, a sensation of my brain moving from side-to-side, squeezing/tight sensation inside my head, right eye-brow pulling upwards, a chemical “metally” sensation in my forehead, vibrating and electrical sensation in my head, being unable to cope with everyday tasks, deterioration in mood, agitation, feeling like my brain was shutting down, light-headed when I stood up, feeling like my body was rocking as if on a boat, feeling catatonic, scrambled thinking, feeling as if there was a block in my thinking, difficulty planning, difficulty carrying out sequential tasks, and feeling detached from my environment.’ Having found out that she has a lesion in the frontal lobe in her brain, Tabitha believes she may have even had a seizure during this time. ‘I’ve had two episodes where I couldn’t speak,’ she says. ‘It felt like an electrical storm in my head, which I’ve read is what a seizure feels like.’ Tabitha during withdrawal. (Picture: Tabitha Dow) At first Tabitha didn’t realise that her symptoms were the direct result of withdrawal from Venlafaxine. When she asked her doctor for help and her test results came back normal, she was offered no further support. ‘I was left to cope alone,’ she says. NICE's current guidelines on Venlafaxine, and what Tabitha wants to change: ‘Associated with a higher risk of withdrawal effects compared with other antidepressants. ‘Gastro-intestinal disturbances, headache, anxiety, dizziness, paraesthesia, tremor, sleep disturbances, and sweating are most common features of withdrawal if treatment stopped abruptly or if dose reduced markedly; dose should be reduced over several weeks.’ Tabitha suggests that the recommendation to reduce the dose over several weeks isn’t accurate. It takes months to come off the antidepressant safely, and two years later she’s still experiencing debilitating symptoms. She notes that NICE’s guidelines also fail to mention that Venlafaxine can cause withdrawal symptoms even when not stopped abruptly, and tapered off in accordance with GP’s tapering guidelines. Unable to work, Tabitha had to quit her job and leave her flat in West London to move home with her parents, so they could look after her. She lost everything – her job, her health, her home, and yet, she says, doctors still refuse to listen to her struggles. The doctors Tabitha has seen don’t believe that withdrawal can cause the severe symptoms Tabitha listed. The only psychiatrist she could find to back up her claims is Dr Healy, who’s dedicated his time to researching the effects of Venlafaxine’s withdrawal symptoms. Dr Healy wrote a letter to Tabitha’s GP confirming that she was experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms, but Tabitha says she’s still not receiving any help. It was only when Tabitha found a Facebook group dedicated to Venlafaxine withdrawal that she learned she wasn’t alone in experiencing her symptoms. Scrolling through the group, Tabitha found comment after comment repeating her experience, listing a ‘crushing pressure in their foreheads every single day’, that feels like your head is ‘in a vice’ or you’re being ‘smashed in the head with a brick’. ‘It’s ruined my life’ (Picture: Tabitha Dow) ‘It wasn’t until I joined this group and saw that there were hundreds of people in the group all experiencing the same symptoms as me,’ Tabitha tells us, ‘and that I realised that my symptoms were caused by Venlafaxine withdrawal. ‘I told two GPs that I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms from Venlafaxine. One didn’t comment but agreed to refer me to see Dr Healy, the other disagreed even once I had written evidence from Dr Healy.’ Doctors Tabitha has seen believe that the symptoms she’s experiencing are not the result of coming off Venlafaxine, but are simply her original condition returning. We spoke to a psychiatrist with experience in Venlafaxine, Dr Cosmo Hallstrom, who told us that it’s one of the most popular antidepressants out there, and is generally regarded as the most effective. While legally, GPs are required to give patients all the information regarding drugs they prescribe, Dr Hallstrom says that the reality is quite different. ‘A doctor’s interest is to get patients treated, and to persuade them to take medication that will help,’ Dr Hallstrom tells Metro.co.uk. ‘So maybe they don’t start listing off all the possible side effects.’ He notes that a GP’s perception of risk is different to that of a patient, and doctors may be reluctant to note all the possible risks in case it puts a patient off getting help. Two years later, Tabitha is still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. (Picture: Tabitha Dow) SSRIs do have withdrawal symptoms, Dr Hallstrom explains, but these tend to be short-lived. He states that data shows that in the majority of patients who believe they’re having withdrawal symptoms, what they’re actually experiencing is the return of their initial condition. He does admit, however, that there’s a chance some people may experience genuine withdrawal – but recommends a simple ‘test, retest’ as a way to check it out. ‘I understand that a lot of patients might not want to take the medication again, having been through a bad experience,’ Dr Hallstrom says. ‘They say “that stuff’s poison”. ‘But if it is withdrawal, when they start taking the drug again their symptoms should disappear within 24 or 48 hours. That’s a simple test.’ But having been ‘traumatised’ by her experience, Tabitha is reluctant to go near medication again – especially as Venlafaxine didn’t work to remedy her depression in the first place, and she doesn’t want to be tied to taking medication for the rest of her life. Two years on, she’s still debilitated by withdrawal symptoms. She’s unable to work, relies on PIP and ESA benefits, and is now trying to raise money to fund alternative therapies to help her cope – not only with her side effects, but with her thyroid cancer, which she was diagnosed with in the last few years. It’s the withdrawal symptoms that concern her most. MORE: HEALTH Are burpees really the one exercise you should never attempt? What if you want to stay sober after Dry January? OPINION Why we should be talking about menopause from a young age Weird reasons you might be spotting or having a longer period than normal ‘I’d rather have thyroid cancer than go through coming off Venlafaxine,’ Tabitha tells her. ‘Thyroid cancer doesn’t cause any symptoms. Withdrawal ruins my life every thirty seconds. ‘I have really bad cognitive symptoms. It was like my brain had been drugged. ‘I feel like my intelligence has gone, along with my memory.’ Naturally, the experience has put Tabitha off taking medication. She now relies on alternative therapies, but as this is a huge financial burden, she’s taken to GoFundMe to ask for help. Now, by sharing her story, Tabitha hopes she can affect change. ‘It’s too late for me,’ she tells us. ‘Taking Venlafaxine has ruined my life; I’ve lost my income, my social life and my independence. ‘But I would like doctors to believe me. I’d like them to listen. ‘I want there to be better information about coming off antidepressants and I want there to be a change to the NICE guidelines, so no one has to go through this again.’ Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/24/woman-shares-coming-off-antidepressant-ruined-life-7255570/?ito=cbshare Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
  5. How should I go about tapering off Effexor when I'm already unstable / Effexor is making things worse? Ive never felt as bad in my life as I have while on Effexor - I'm very anxious and depressed all of the time. I was on 75mg (4 weeks) with no improvement so of course doc upped my dose to 150mg (5 weeks now) which has been terrible. I heard "it gets worse before it gets better" but I have had zero improvement with no signs of improving and worse depression/anxiety. I don't believe this is the drug for me and I want to taper off but I'm not mentally well. I understand then 10% method but I feel since I'm having such a bad reaction, is that worthy of a faster taper? Ive been on for a little over two months, my taper will be longer than my time on? Just ready to quit ths the drug that has done absolutely nothing and has made me feel worse. I'm on 200mg Trazodone for sleep - but that is a battle I will tackle when stable off Effexor for a long time. Sleep for me must be preserved during this time.
  6. Hello, TL;DR I've recently reduced my Venlafaxine fairly quickly(over a month) from 225mg to 75mg. @75mg I'm a little nauseous, anxious and have diahrrea but it's bearable Should I keep it at this level (bearable) till it settles, or should I go up 37.5mg to 112.5mg for a while? Sorry in advance for the essay, it's been a long road. I was going through a rough time last year and was put on Venlafaxine(Age 28, no previous psych experience). After the first dose I vomited and went into severe reaction, not sleeping, psychosis. Fortunately my parents were over visiting for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately my parents took me to a psychiatric ward because I didn't sleep for days on end and couldn't function. Here in Germany it is more common to be in for longer periods of time, I ended up there for 4 Months. The doctors kept putting me on more and more different medications. I was on Mirtazapine(15mg), Escilatopram(??), lorazepam(3mg), Lamotrigine(200mg) and finally Venlafaxine(225mg) again(with Lamotrigine and Mirtazapine and Pipamperone, a first gen antipsychotic). A lot of this was due to me not describing how badly these drugs were messing me up. I do have a fear that I may never fully recover from this assault on my central nervous system but here's hoping. The final diagnosis was bipolar but a lot of the manic behaviours I displayed, I had never had before antidepressant treatment. I managed to get off the Benzo (lorazepam), Pipamperone and Lamotrigine fairly easily. Lamotrigine was giving me splitting constant headaches so I had to axe that fairly soon. I went back to work in January and have been doing a staged return which will finish with my full 8.5 Hour day in May. Fast forward to now. I've been off the Lamotrigine completely for round about a month not entirely on the wishes of my outpatient Psychiatrist. No negative effects and mentally feeling quite stable. I've been on venlafaxine now for 6 months and have decided to start a reduction in this too as I have not felt positive effects from any of the SSRI/SNRI drugs that I was on, including Venlafaxine. I will still be taking Mirtazapine because I feel it helps with my sleep problems. I may cut that out sometime in the future but definitely not now. I have successfully reduced my dose to 75mg for 2 weeks and I'm feeling a wee bit queezy, headachey and off (lots of toilet breaks at work) but not too much. My plan for the moment is to ride it out at this level for a couple more weeks before I make the next jump (1.5x37.5mg, bead counting method) Because I have light WD symptoms, should I go back up another half dose, or should I just ride it out until I'm stable?
  7. tacomaprime

    tacomaprime: 40 years old, scared as heck

    So I have GERD and my gastro dr recently put me on a month of a PPI . I don't know that I'll be on it long as I've already started having watery diarrhea. (sorry if this is TMI) My question is since PPI's basically shut down all your stomach acid producing cells, will I have issues with absorption? Tonight I thought I found one of the beads in my stool. But I couldn't really tell 100%.
  8. I suffered from depression and was put onto fluoxetine (Prozac) about 10 years ago. Did 2 months on increasing doses but was having no effect. Easy switch to citalopram. Upped to 60 mg. Seemed to control depression quite well for quite a while. About 7 years ago citalopram stopped being effective enough so got moved to venlafaxine (Effexor). Venlafaxine worked, but whenever I missed a dose (took extended release version and always took about 8am) i'd get a headache by about 2pm. Since about June last year i've been coming off V. 225 to 150 jump I made without any problematic withdrawal symptoms. Tried 150 to 75 and got bad symptoms, so back to 150. Managed to get hold of Effexor brand with the beads (instead of generic pills) and titrated down to 75 mg over 7 months. I did a slow taper some weeks at only 1.5 mg down, others up to about 5 mg down, depending on what was going on in my life. Hit 75mg mid - January. As i'm not currently working I thought i'd try a more severe drop to speed it up whilst I can spend whole day in bed and don't need to concentrate as much. Did 15 mg week 1, then 15 mg week 2. Got side effects (headache, light-headedness, insomnia, lethargic - so the usual). Upped from that 45.5mg to 47.5 mg in hopes it'd cease symptoms. They got notably better, but by no means gone. I've been doing my research online and spoke with doctor and agreed to bridge with prozac. So taken: Yesterday: 10 mg Prozac, 47.5 mg V Today: 10 mg Prozac, 47.5 mg V + 3 mg V (additionally 3 mg V as felt light-headed). Getting a bit of nausia which I think is P side-effect (nothing I can't handle though) In hind-sight I probably should have re-stabilised on V before adding prozac, but it's started now. Any advice or thoughts on how to move forward from here would be appreciated.
  9. Can anyone share if while coming down off of Effexor XR and bridging and going to Prozac they had horrible panic and anxiety symptoms with numbness, tingling and weakness? I feel like I'm coming out of my skin and have a terrible dread, panic waking up. My feet feel cold at night, then on fire in the morning. I can't get any relief. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
  10. I have been on Effexor 150mg for about 3years now. I stopped cold turkey 3 days ago , ( yes i know it’s not right to do ) so being i’m on my 3rd day will they get better, worse or remain the same?
  11. Hi, everybody my docter want me to take the medecine to cure my symptom should I trust my doctor or not. Now I'm drugs free for 10 month and it get better from last 2-3 months ago. I take the fluoxetine before for 7 month and I'm quite because of my emotion is so stable and don't feel anything like everybody in this form but my social phobia still occur now so I'm not sure should I trust my doctor? or I believe myself and fight with it without the medicine. Thank you ) moderator note: Valosine is a brand name for venlafaxine
  12. Hi there, everyone! I just joined today and have been a bit disheartened to find no advice for those who no longer have the option to taper. I was put on 225 mg Effexor for one month in October of 2016. After serotonin syndrome (which has similar effects to severe withdrawals) my doc had my taper over only 5 days. I was unaware that a new and more dangerous condition was replacing the old. I am still struggling with severe GI, psychological and nerve issues. GABApentin 300mg daily seems to bring the only relief. At several months past the year mark I am terrified that this is my life now. Like many on this sight, it's hard to see a future worth living for. Has anyone had success recovering from long-term damage?
  13. My journey started 23 years ago when I had postpartum depression and my doctor told me I was bipolar. In and out of hospitals for the next 23 years and a barrage of medications. At one point I was on seven antidepressant two mood stabilizers and two anti-anxiety pills. I was still trying to kill myself or find a way to do it everyday. I was locked in my own mind of a living hell. About four years ago I decided to wean down from the medications to just Abilify and Effexor. The Effexor stay because everytime I try to wean off of it I never could because of the side effects. August of 2015 I was faced for the first time with not having insurance. I was unable to afford my effexor. I was forced into a withdrawal. For the next 4 months as most of you know I was in a living hell of vertigo throwing up aches and pains like I've never had before. As the vertigo and other symptoms subsided my pain became more and more excruciating to the point of intolerable. Now after a year-and-a-half at times I am unable to lift my arms. I have constant pain in all of my joints and muscles. Not just flu like pain but excruciating debilitating pain for I cannot function. I cry all the time because it is so intense. I have been to Mayo Clinic and all my test came back inconclusive. I'm actually extremely healthy. I've always let a healthy lifestyle and used to be a bodybuilder. Now I have pain everywhere everyday. So I asked the doctor if this could be a result of being on Effexor. He said absolutely. As I left that answer resonate I knew I had a friend who was a psychiatric nurse. I asked her the same question. Could I be experiencing this horrendous pain because of taking Effexor for so long. Her answer was the same. Yes. So for the last year of being off Effexor I have never been happier. I smile everyday. I had 23 years of my life taken away from me because of a misdiagnosis bipolar 1 and actuality it was just hormones. Now I'm free from trying to kill myself every day. Trying to survive everyday. Weaning off of the Effexor. And now I am faced with living the rest of my life with no quality of life period excruciating pain where I have to go to the emergency room constantly to get relief. Dilaudid Percocet Oxycontin nothing works for the pain. And I know it was due to the Effexor. I don't know what to do now. I don't know how to go on. But I will tell you I have never had one day and the last year of depression or suicidal ideation like I did when I was on Effexor. I'm so happy finally.
  14. Hi I was hospitalized for full manic episode with psyhotic features in July and I was put on lamictal 50 mg and clozapine 25 mg. I stayed in the hospital for a 3 weeks which for me was a horrible experience. The doctors did not giv e me any diagnosis at the time and after I got out I felt very dull and I decided to got off the medicine to feel emotions again. So I started to taper both medicines very quickly which ended very badly as I sunk into the deep suicidal depression and in august I ended up in the hospital again. I just wanted a doctor to write me an antidepressant(of course I knew nothing about antidepressants back then) but he said that it is probably better to stay in the hospital to see if it works. So I was in the hospital again with lamictal 100, clozapine 50 and the new psyhiatrist added 150 mg of venlafaxine. He also diagnosed me as bipolar( back then I did not know an ything about bipolar disorder ). I felt psyhotic, had nightmares and the whole hospital experience was depressive anyway. They also made me 2 ECT-s. After 3 weeks I got out and googled about bipolarity and everything made sense - the manic episode and the depression that follows it. I also found that I most certainly have to stay on lamictal. But I was not so sure about the others. I was very sleepy and dizzy all the time. The doctor advised to reduce clozapine. I cold turkeyd it and did not sleep a minute about 7 nights straight. The doctor of course did not believe that this is caused by the clozapine withdrawal. Then one day I decided to reduce the venlafaxine – instead of two tablets I took one and a half. Then in the evening I found out how terrible are the withdrawals from AD-s( migraine and throwing up). So I just continued taking them and have taken them for 3,5 month. I now started tapering again. My question – can I taper faster as I have been on AD-s for relatively short time? So far I have come down from 150 to 110 mg in a week and the withdrawal symptoms have been minimum. After the first day 10% cut I could not fell asleep as normally but no other physical symptoms. Yesterday I started to feel a little bit nauseous. My plan is to taper as quickly as possible from 150 to 37,5 and if I get withdrawal symptoms I slow down and hold. According to the graph of the SERToccupancy it should be relatively easy to taper down to 75 mg or maybe even to 37,5 mg. Then the fun part begins and I start to taper as slow as necessary.
  15. Hi, Was on Effexor for 8 years following a divorce. It was causing anxiety and weird moods so I started a taper last summer. Started at 300mg single dose daily. Tapered 25mg each week and added 10mg of prozac to bridge. About 10 weeks later I was off effexor and on 40 mg Prozac. The taper was rough but not too bad, I slept a lot. Next 6 weeks I had moderate to severe brain zaps which faded away and then I started getting body aches, mood swings and a general crappy, tired, depressed feeling. That started Dec1, it's now 5 weeks later and possibly a bit worse. Also feeling slightly sick to my stomach and am eating a bit less. Right along I've been lifting and doing daily cardio. I eat only lean protein, good complex carbs, healthy fats (omega 6,9,3,) lots of vegetables and fruit and water. No sugar or excess complex carbs. Several small meals daily. Not really a health nut I just want to have a nice body. Very lean, muscular, good 6-pack. Once the body aches started lifting has been hard because it basically gets worse. So for the last few weeks I'm just doing cardio and eating clean but to be honest none of this helps at all with withdrawals as far as I can tell. I feel like crap and being jacked and eating plants and chicken breast all day doesn't help one damn bit. I think the overemphasis on working out and eating good is misleading when it comes to withdrawals. It's super important for health otherwise and it's great to have a killer physique but I'm not seeing any benefit with these protracted withdrawals. I started using ativan a few days ago, just a dose here and there to not feel so crummy all the time. But I'm going to have to try prozac soon to see if it will reverse these flu-like symptoms. The body aches are one thing but I'm getting some anxiety and depression as well and I've simply had enough. It's been over 2 months and if anything it's getting worse so I'm just about ready to give up and take some prozac. Very disappointing, I wanted to be free of these crap drugs. I've only held out this long because I'm working very part time. If I was working full time I would have had to have given up even sooner. The fatigue alone is crazy, I sleep all the time. Every day I wake up and feel great and slowly the body aches come then the anxiety. So stupid. None of my doctors have any clue either.
  16. I've been on antidepressants for close to 18 yrs. They were originally prescribed for severe PMS. The doctor said the Prozac was very safe. Ha! After several years, I tried a couple times to get off of the Prozac under my doctor's supervision, but each time I had withdrawal symptoms. I thought it was my depression returning, and took it as confirmation that my condition was permanent and that I would just have to be on meds the rest of my life. No one EVER explained about the possibility of withdrawal symptoms from the medication or that the symptoms may subside once my body adjusted to being without the medicine. I was on Prozac for about 7 years before it stopped working for me. Since I switched from Prozac, I've gone through multiple antidepressants (SSRIs/SNRIs but no atypicals.) Same vicious cycle: try something new, feel better, it quits working, up the dose, feel better, it quits working, try something new... You get the idea. My depression has gotten so much worse over the years. My doctor put me on Effexor, and I was flying high at the first follow up appointment. The next week, I was suicidal. Up the dose...add Wellbutrin... here we go again. I was feeling like I was running out of options, and I really didn't want to go the atypical antipsychotic route so I started looking online to see if maybe I could go back to Prozac and have it work for me again. I found this site's info on prozac bridging and tapering. I ordered the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. Both I and my husband read it. Wow! Why hadn't anyone told us this before!!! Talk about feeling deceived! (My husband and I are both science people. I graduated with a degree in premed and he is a PhD biochemist so we are familiar with evaluating scientific data. Whitaker was definitely not selling snake oil! It's scary to think that doctors don't even know this stuff.) My husband and I discussed it and decided that I would talk to my doctor about tapering off. I had my husband go with me to the appointment. My doctor thought I was nuts but agreed to order capsules for me so I could try tapering. I've been tapering 10% a month for over a year now. I've gone down from 250mg of Effexor (venlafaxine ER) to under 50 mg. I've had a couple times I've had to hold off on lowering my dosage until I felt better, but overall I seem to follow a pretty consistent pattern as far as my body's response to the cut in meds. About 2 wks after I cut my dose, I feel crummy: really irritable and lacking in motivation. After another 2 wks I've usually stabilized enough to cut the dose again. Just knowing why I'm feeling horrible helps so much! I hope to be down to the minimum effective dose in February. Yay! Then I'll need to taper off the Wellbutrin...
  17. Lilac

    Lilac

    I have not taken Effexor for just over a year after seven years of use . Even after all this time I am still experiencing windows and waves , obscessive thought patterns and a general apathy . The only light in this tunnel are the writings of Dr James Heaney . Has anyone else a similar story? I am so over it !
  18. I have been on Effexor xr for anxiety several times in the past 4 years as well as a small dose of seroquel at night but always stopped taking after a few months of feeling better. Normally 75mg to 150mg has helped me live life better and feel like myself again. Yet this time I started on 75mg 4 weeks in took up to 150mg and have been on it for 2 months and still feeling terrible. The last 2 weeks I have found myself crying uncontrollably at the drop of a hat. It's driving me crazy I don't want to cry but just can't seem to stop it from happening. Doctor has put the effexor dose up to the max 225mg which I started today. But if anyone has had the same experience with crying on effector I would love to hear how others have dealt with it as it is putting a lot of pressure on my day to day life and relationship.
  19. Bribarian

    Bribarian

    That's good to hear, I'm in the process of trying to get off of Effexor and it' hasn't been fun. I'm a bit depressed and experiencing a lot of mood swings.
  20. I was started on Effexor XR in December 2001. Dose has been 150 mg since that time. That was the first time I have ever been on medication for depression, even though I have suffered with it quite a bit in my adult life. I tried to cold turkey off it in 2005. That lasted 3 days, and I went back on the 150 mg. The withdrawals were just too much. In 2009 I started using the generic brand because the cost of the brand name was too expense. When I started taking it I paid $81 a month. When I switched to generic, it was over $250. It is bad enough that we are held captive by a drug that is supposed to help us, but they make us pay through the nose for the torture too. I have had a lot more side effects since I started the generic. My life has just gone downhill since I started this med. It long ago quit working regarding depression. In fact, I feel like it has just added to it because of the way my life has deteriorated and my inability to function effectively. It is the typical stuff that comes with taking this drug. I can't think straight. Memory is shot. Job is in jeopardy because I am having problems making deadlines. My diet stinks. Paralyzing apathy. I feel like crap physically. I can't remember what it was like to wake up refreshed from a good night's sleep. I have basically been pretty much reclusive since I began this poison. I don't want to go anywhere, and I don't want anyone to bother me. That just isn't the me I was before the drug. It is all I can do to handle the things I need to. Forget about anything over that. It is getting increasingly harder to function, and if I don't do something about it now, I am afraid there will be nothing left of me very soon. So, I finally started on the 24th. I took 2 balls out of my capsule. I did it again on the 25th. I will be getting a scale to measure so I can know exactly where I am at. I have been on this drug for 12 years. I am so hoping I can function through this without many problems with withdrawal. I am so afraid it will totally rob me of what last little bit I have left to try to function. I am afraid that because I have been on it for so long, the mental damage has been done, and I will never get me back. Like most of us, I wish I had never taken this drug. Never, never, never!!! I am hoping that it doesn't take too long before I start getting some of myself back so I can function better. The other day I couldn't comprehend what a sentence said. I had to read it over several times. I had to type each word out on my computer in order to finally get it in my head. I can't go on like this. It has stolen 12 years of my life and it is not getting a day past what it takes me to wean off it!
  21. My doctor prescribed Venlafaxine (Effexor) for me 4 years ago after I complained that I was having hot flashes that caused my face to turn bright red. She told me the medication was an anti-depressant but that it was approved for off-label use to treat the flushing symptoms. I didn't get a second opinion, nor did I look into the side effects. I went blindly ahead. I didn't know how bad it would be to miss just one dose. During the first six months, I missed a few doses and the withdrawal symptoms would start within 10 hours. I didn't connect the symptoms to the missed dose. I thought that there was something wrong with my brain or my inner ear, but it would clear up the next day (because I took my dose). Eventually, I figured it out and I spoke with my doctor about it. She told me that I was in a small percentage of people who have that experience, but she advised against discontinuing the medication. And, by that time, I had to admit that it had helped my moods and my mild anxiety. I felt a lot more content, and I rarely felt frustrated or angry by small things. But ultimately, I got tired of worrying about missing a dose. I travel internationally and I worried that I'd lose medication (or have it confiscated) while in a foreign country and that I wouldn't be able to get a new prescription. And the missed doses (despite everything I did to prevent them) still happened, and they would set me back a half day. So I read a lot of information on this site, and I came up with a tapering plan. I'll post more about that plan in the tapering section. In short, it took six weeks and I suffered quite a bit. In addition to the physical symptoms (dizziness, brain zaps), I had terrible, dark moods. I wondered if I'd ever make it through and whether I'd permanently messed up my brain. But it was manageable, and I did make it through. I'm thankful that I found this site. And I'm thrilled to finally be free.
  22. I'm here to share my experience as I attempt to get this horrible drug out of my system. I've been on Effexor XR since 2001, started on 75 mg, up to 150 mg in 2002, and have been there for 10 years. In about 2009 I realized it was no longer working properly, and at the suggestion of my doctor, I split it into 75 mg twice daily instead of 150 mg in the morning. It helped with the strange morning symptoms I was getting (I'll explain in another topic, or later in this one). However over the last two years it has become clear the drug is no longer working as it once did. So I have decided to begin the process of tapering off, hopefully down to nothing. It's so nice to meet all of you! So many posts to read through on this very topic! It's great not to feel so alone. Looking forward to learning more from everyone here, hope I can help somebody else out soon as well.
  23. Hi folks, After 13 years on SSRIs and SNRIs I stopped taking them due to parkinsonism, and it turned out that they were causing the rapid cycling up and down high to low mood swings in my bipolar disorder as well as the ramp up into mania. I didn't taper off as I read that it only affects the short term withdrawal syndrome and not the long term, plus as soon as I dropped the dose I went into the full rage and needed to get it over and done with as soon as possible (2 weeks of the bad bit). I experienced a number of symptoms including The Rage, Tardive Akithisia, Depression, Anxiety, Suicidal Impulses, Intrusive thoughts, Dissociation, Depersonalisation and a wrecked concentration span. I have started a website to collect some writings of people's experiences in long term SSRI and SNRI withdrawal, or of the rage in the short term syndrome. They would be a blog post of the whole experience rather than journal entries, maybe following up later with another post. I have started the site and put my experience on it (which needs rewriting) and was hoping to seek writings from folks on this site, if that's ok to ask folks to contribute? Support for my broken brain would also be nice. At one point I actually thought I was in hell. This is my site https://ssriwithdrawal.wixsite.com/discontinuation and I would love to hear your thoughts on the site, my writing and any ideas you might have. My email address is on the site, I hope this forum doesn't block my link, I would request that admin let it through as I am not a spammer, just a broken person trying to find meaning in other people's experiences. If the link is blocked you can email me at ssriwithdrawal *at* mail *dot* com (please let this though). For me this is my proactive way of holding it together, please help!
  24. Great Post, Thank You ! ["How I am coping with depression" by apathetic] Very informed, you know your stuff. I'm new to all of it, but an advid researcher, also very in tune with My body, So I knew all of this.... What I do not Know is, Should I be going from Prestiq 100mg to Effexor as of this past Wk. 7 days 50 mg Prestiq, w/ 37.5 mg Effex. Now, Prestiq every other day for 3 days, Then Stop .Then adding another 37.5 Effex, Not there yet, a few more days. I Am Petrified of Effexor Now !!! After Reading these boards. I had a Very Tragic Event, You wouldn't believe if I told you. Lawyers, traveling back & forth from West coast to East Coast, for the past 20 mons, hardly home, because of the Fight to save someone's life. So clearly Stress off the charts, PTSD Intensive out patient therapy.... My WD so far, Extreme OCD, Hyper as Hell, Can't eat, Haven't Slept in 22 mons, since.... Prestiq is a Nightmare HELL to get off of. I did it once, 4 yrs ago, then had to reinstate after a month. Plus I didn't it myself, Stupid, Cut them in half, Even More Stupid, which caused them to release at triple the forces, causing that extreme Anxiety, I never have suffered with Period, just as a WD symptoms. So Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm SCARED Now... I pray I haven't Already done damage by taking this Effexor in the last 8 days. That's how powerful a drug it apparently is. This I did not know...To Messed up to look into it myself, Not my usual MO, but I'm So out of it, just Not Myself !! I hear Myself Rambling on, instantly Grab My Mouth, to Shut it UP. I KNOW, I'm Acting Like a FREAK Thanx so much 4 your post
  25. I have been on Effexor xr 75mg for about 10 years. Prozac before that for a couple years. I was never depressed just had anxiety that I didn't know how to control and they just put me on pills. So I'm not really sure if the Effexor even works for my anxiety anymore because in the last 5 years I have had a few setbacks. The most recent one was after a bout of 4 months of working out and a death in the family. I have started experiencing ocd thoughts that I never had before and they in turn cause me anxiety. I also have been going through this feeling good one minute and then anxious the next. The thing that set my anxiety off a couple months ago this time was my husband and girls left to a birthday party and looking back I felt anxious when they left but hadn't had that anxious feeling in so long I didn't realize and then the next minute this thought popped in my head " I should just kill myself". Which then caused me to almost have a panic attack cause I am deathly afraid of dying and would never want to kill myself. Especially because my dad committed suicide about 15 years ago. ( I'm thinking that was one of the reasons I started having anxiety and panic attacks). I gave a tendency to read things and a couple months ago when researching coming off my meds I read this guys post that said he was only on like a month and all of a sudden out of nowhere had that same thought. So I was thinking maybe under stress my brain kinda threw that out there ?? Then I started obsessing about that thought and how I could ever think it. Then I really struggled for about two weeks and read a book on anxiety and how to cope which has helped a little. That thought and the anxiety put me out for like 2 weeks. Could have had a lot to do with the no sleep. Now weeks later I am still checking and making sure I don't feel that way. My mind just hasn't felt right. I also started having bouts of really bad insomnia all month instead of only around my monthly cycle. It's kinda weird cause when I'm really tired from not sleeping my brain slows down and I don't obsess as much. When I get good sleep it makes it easier for my brain to obsess and my mind feels like it's in hyper drive. I take my meds about 6 at night also. And about an hour or two after I take my pill I get kinda relaxed but that could also be just because I am so tired from being anxiuos. Then I start thinking maybe my body isn't metabolizing my pill correctly anymore. Ugh , I'm also in therapy but im not sure if he is helping. My psychiatrist said if I don't want to add anything or up my dose or take something different all I can do is therapy and stay on my Effexor for now and my problems might just be situational due to the death. But what if it's causing these weird problems with my brain? I'm so confused. I thought maybe I was turning bipolar. Or paranoid. I took one little tiny bead out yesterday. I know that's probably nothing but I need to start tapering to see if maybe it's the Effexor making me worse. I am also concerned about the bead sizing and I'm assuming the coating on the beads on certain ones are more due to the fact that they are time realeased. do I try to take out the same size each time?
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