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  1. First, excuse me for my English, I speak just French. I’m new on this group and would share my story. My story with shrink medications: It’s the most important rules, the golden rules if you want quit all this crap with minimal damage: stay on the original molecule and taper SLOWLY. I’m destroyed now because I have follow my Dr in this process: 1. Ten years on Tramadol and two years on Klonopin due to neurologic pain after a failed surgery. 2. Almost CT withdrawal of the two molecules , at this time I don’t know a clue about Ashton Manual and withdrawal, I trust my doc 3. Results: depression, anxiety, seizures, ...DR ad Olanzapine and Cymbalta (first time in my life that I take antipsychotic and AD) 4. Results: suicidal ideation, I inform my doc, he up the dosage of the AD! 5. Result: Suicide attempt two weeks later, cardiac and respiratory arrest , 2 weeks in intensive care at hospital 6. They give me Effexor, Pregabalin high dose (Lyrica ), Fentanyl, massive dose of benzos 7.Result: serotoninergic symptômes, they stop CT the fentanyl and Tramadol but ad Trazodone and sleeping pills 8. Results: psychosis, seizures, panic attacks, bowel obstruction and direct to ER! 9.Result: they cut CT the Effexor, Pregabalin, Trazodone and start with anSSRI (fluvoxamine), sleeping pills, Propranolol for tremors and heart rate, and start to cut the benzos but at a rythm of 25% each week. 10. Result: panic attacks, sweating, tremors, insomnia, suicidal tough, akhitisia, enable to eat (lost 30kg in 6 months), depersonalization, weak as hell! 11. Result: 10 weeks in detox clinic...they continue to cut the benzos but 50% each week!!! I talk with the Addicto in charge about Ashton and Breggin, about FB group... Never hearing this!!! 12. Result: back to home with SSRI but nothing else, BUT PAWS off hell: insomnia, dizziness, POTS, PSSD, PTSD, DEPRESSION, CNS AND GI SYSTEM DESTROYED, Anhedonia,SEIZURES, PANIC ATTACKS, ... 13. Result: my Dr stop the SSRI CT and reinstate pregabalin and another SSRI. 14.Result: more anxiety and insomnia. Dr CT the pregabalin: hell 15.Result, I change of Dr and search for a treatment with plant medicine Iboga, change my diet due to benzos belly and all damages due to AD and tapering the SSRI. 16. Go in a clinic for treatment with plant medicine Iboga / Ibogaine. Overnight no more PAWS, insomnia, pain, anxiety, ... was a life saver! Iboga reset all neurotransmitters, like if I was a baby born. 17. Return to home with no PAWS, no medication , but weak, tired and depression (My mistake is that I tapering to fast the Last SSRI, at this time I just want do die but my instinct say to me to microdosing with plant medecine Iboga or psilocybin...but was to down to follow my instinct) 18. Back to the shrink who give me SSRI ( insomnia, anxiety returns, give me Mirtazapine, but adverse effects, ad pregabalin and CT after 3 months, back on benzos too and ad Quétiapine into the cocktail...) I have two lovely kids and a wonderful wife, but I have lost everything: my job, my health, my family... because I’m just able too stay on the couch with horrible symptoms, kindling effect, and pain all day long, sometimes I can eat but the GI system is so painful and destroyed that I can’t assimile nutrients correctly. When I can sleep 2-3 hours it’s a very good night for me, but usually with a lot of nightmares and sweating... Today I have received by mail the decision of health services of my country: I’m considered as 100% invalid. IN CONCLUSION: FOR THE PEOPLE WHO WANT STOP SHRINK DRUGS: 1. SLOW TAPERING DON’T GO CT 2. STAY ONLY ON YOUR ORIGINAL MOLECULE 3. DON’T STOP MULTIPLE MOLECULE IN SAME TIME 4. DON’T FOLLOW IN ANY CASE THE DR ADVISE ABOUT TAPERING OR DIAGNOSIS DURING WITHDRAWAL 5.DON’T AD NEW DRUGS IN THE COURSE, NEVER! ONLY TIME, HEALTHY DIET, EXERCISE, SOME VITAMINS ARE THE KEY 6.GO **** YOURSELF ALL BIG PHARMA AND DOCTORS WHO WORK FOR THIS. MY SON, MY DAUGHTERS AND MY WIFE HAVE NOW A VEGETABLE IN PLACE OF A FATHER. THANK YOU VERY MUCH MOTHER****ERS! HOPE THERE IS A DIVINE JUSTICE AFTER... Good luck for everyone 🤞🤞🤞hope you will be better than me. ❤️❤️❤️
  2. Hello to all. Thank you for this site. I'm sorry to all who are suffering through this. Back in August I was down to 112.5 mg of effexor from 187.5 when my doctor put me on 30 mg of prozac to help with my taper. Over a few weeks I developed seratonin syndrome and had to stop both at once on Sept 19th. I've been going through withdrawal ever since with it getting worse every morning. It is extreme in the mornings now. I found a fb group and started reintroducing effexor starting with 8 beads on Thursday Oct 15th. My main most disabling symptoms are extreme nausea, vomiting, dry heaving, diarrhea, and feeling extremely hot and prickly electric type shocks to my body. Any advice that anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated. I plan to hold at this dose for a week and then go up if not stable.
  3. Hi everyone, After many months of reading and gaining some hope and encouragement from the stories here I decided to join your great forum. Sorry, but this is a very long story. Im a 39 year old male from Australia and I have been taking ssri’s for GAD for the last 10 years. I started on Paxil 20mg for around 18 months and was switched to lexapro 10mg due to weight gain, sexual dysfunction and fatigue. Lexapro was a little better but I really didn’t feel like it was doing much apart from keeping the weight up and the motivation down. I am 6’2 and was always skinny, I never could bulk up. Paxil took me from 78kg and healthy to 100kg and always sweaty in around 12 months. I tried a few times to simply stop the meds but had no idea about withdrawal or tapering and always ended up reinstating due to awful side effects (rage, crying spells etc). The drs always said thats just how you are off the meds...... keep taking them for the rest of your life. They also upped my dosage a few times but I quickly went back to 10mg. In 2017 I felt lexapro wasn’t being effective so the dr straight swapped me to Valdoxan for a few weeks and I felt awful. They then straight swapped me to Prozac and around 4 days into taking that I woke in the middle of the night to terrible ringing in my ears. This was my first introduction to tinnitus. I freaked out and asked to be put back on lexapro. I reinstated at 10mg again and everything calmed down after about 7-8 weeks of hell. The tinnitus that was in both ears and the middle of my head reduced to a tiny amount only in my left ear. I now know this was likely my last chance at reinstatement working for me..... more on that soon. So another few years went past and the side effects of weight gain, heat intolerance, sexual dysfunction and the general feeling of “blah” were just too much for me to handle. I began a taper in January of 2019 and went from 10mg to 7.5mg for 4 weeks. I then went to 5mg for 4 weeks and finally 2.5mg for 4 weeks. I felt okay during the taper, my tinnitus was a little bit louder but not enough to bother me, I was more irritable and I had brain zaps. The real “fun” began around 12 weeks after the taper off the medication...... I had a panic attack and fell into one of the episodes that put me on meds in the first place. These were purely anxiety driven and I never felt depressed. I’ve had them since about 13 years of age and I always recovered from them and they lasted from 1 to 3 months usually. They would encompass intrusive thoughts, shakes and shivers, anxiety and panic only. So I decided to jump straight back on the lexapro 10mg thinking all these drs are right and I’m doomed to be on meds for the rest of my life. But something happened that didn’t happen before..... they didn’t work. After a few weeks I felt worse and my ears started to really scream, I had awful insomnia and a really bad eczema rash appeared on my chest and legs. I now know this as a severe reaction to the meds after too fast a taper and too fast of a reinstatement. If I had not jumped straight back on the meds I likely would have had to deal with wd symptoms only and not so many physical ones as well. So after 6 weeks of hell my dr upped my dose to 20mg and I waited another 5 weeks. That didn’t work either, just got worse. My dr referred me to a psychiatrist at this point and things got really bad. He upped my dose to 40mg lexapro, I stuck this out for another 5-6 weeks and it made me no better, actually worse. He then said ssri’s don’t seem to work for you now so let’s try Effexor. We cross tapered that with the lexapro over only a two week period and then all the way to 150mg of Effexor in only 3 weeks. I was desperate and wanted the pain and suffering to just stop. I did consider suicide a lot during this period and I had never been like this before when taking medication. My beautiful partner kept me here with her love and grace. I stuck with the Effexor for 7 weeks and it was just hell, dizziness, insomnia and mini seizure type things were a daily occurrence. I was couch bound and I still had tinnitus screaming away every day. He wanted to up the dose more but by this stage I knew that my body was not accepting any of these meds, I even said to him I think I am having a reaction to these meds. His answer was always that they just make you feel worse before better and that we can keep upping the dose...... That was the last time I saw him, I went back to my GP and asked to try Zoloft in a last ditch attempt to gain some stability and sanity. She cross tapered me to Zoloft and it seemed to calm things down a tiny bit but I was still so, so sick. I made it up to 100mg and was on Zoloft for 3 months before massive amounts of diarrhoea hit me (colitis) plus I was still struggling with SI, tinnitus and now bad depression for the first time in my life. All the fun stuff that comes along with bad reactions to these meds. My Dr CT’d me off the Zoloft and started me on Remeron 30mg..... this one was ok for my sleep issues but made me irritable as hell and didn’t have any effect on the SI, depression and tinnitus. I lasted 6 weeks on it before breaking down again and seeing the Dr. She mentioned Paxil...... like I said, I was desperate and since it worked 10 years ago maybe it would pull me out of this living hell I was in. Since the first episode after WD in June of 2019 and the living hell my life has been, I started Paxil 20mg in April 2020..... this lasted all of 12 weeks and I CT’d the Paxil in July 2020 due to all the above still happening. I happened to come across the SA website in June this year After desperately searching for answers. I’ve read and learnt a lot from everyone and now understand what has happened to me the last 12 months. How I should have tapered waaayyyy slower, how I should have reinstated waaayyy slower and how screwed up our medical system and the makers of these drugs are. I have been med free for 9 weeks and even though I still have loud tinnitus, depression and a host of other Awful symptoms, I have improved more then any time I was on meds. I’m bloody scared of what’s ahead but I will NEVER touch another psych med again in my life. I assume reinstatement is beyond my body now after what it has endured. I hope to be able to vent a little here on my bad days and keep reading the encouraging stories of success whilst pushing on with my life and the healing process. Thanks for taking the time to read my book.... 😂 And thanks to the creators of such a great site.
  4. Hey. So I’ve been on Effexor for around 13 years. I decided this year I was going to try and taper off. All went well at first, although I should have tapered for longer. Had my last pill in June. Since then I’ve had only very little withdrawal symptoms up until about 2 weeks ago. It started with tingling skin all over, pins and needles, a little panic, hot/cold flushes etc. so I decided to reinstate to try and deal with the withdrawals. My doctor advised I go back to my original dose of 37.5 mg. I did that Wednesday and since then my withdrawals have been out of control! I have had insomnia for the past 3 nights (no sleep at all) panic, heart racing, sweating, shakes, tremors, constant ringing in my ears. Horrible. So instead of taking a full dose again I tried to cut it down to half. Ended up in the ED last night. They said to stop the Effexor all together and use Valium until my withdrawals get better. But my doctor today said he thinks I stay on a low dose of Effexor and use Valium when needed. I’m confused on what to do, but can’t keep going like this with no sleep! Anyone else had this happen??
  5. I'm desperate for help and advice. I've been in protracted withdrawals for almost 4 years caused by Effexor. Doctors tried to cover up the withdrawls with different drugs which made it worse. I reinstated Effexor after being drug free for 6 months as the wd were unbearable (I didn't know at the time that it was to late to reinstate) I managed to stabilize a bit but it also made things worse. After the reinstatement I became hyperactive, developed akathisia and became suicidal. I'm at 14 mg now but I've hit tolerance. I'm dreading every time I take the dose cause I start to hallucinate when the drug kicks in. Any advice of what to do would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  6. Introduction topic: ☼-mranxious-3-months-off-effexor-xr-6-years-on Heyyyyyy 😊 I am alive !!!!!! Out there living a life that I am proud of and comfortable with. Pheww I am one of the blessed ones to have breached the other side and lived to talk about and YOU WILL TOO !! That was one hell of a ride. One that is FAR FAR FAR in the rearview mirror 🙃 If you have read my story, you will know that I went through literally the most traumatic event in my life and that was "Effexor Withdrawal". From start to finish I was unsure I would make it through this time, but here I am and let me tell you "Its a process". This will not happen overnight...BUT if you make the right moves, eat healthy and take your vitamins, time will heal, only time BUT everything you do in the mean time will make the difference in the end. Here is what I did : -Increased Omega 3:6:9 daily -Lots of purified water -Maximize sleep if you can and set a goof environment to be able to sleep(No sleeping drugs) -eliminated processed foods and to a whole food plant based lifestyle(THE BIGGEST GAME CHANGER for me and healer I believe* -Cut out all toxic people -light walks/bikes/swims daily(Key word "light". -meditation- daily(Prayer as well daily) -Church -daily mantras "I will heal" "I will get better" "I am getting better" -Reading books, occupying my time -Multivitamin and mineral support tablet I went from being a very anxious person once off Effexor for months and months of withdrawal , to now years later, a fully functional human being again 😎 I fully believe that in order to fully heal, you need to be fully off any pharmatheuticals (Per doctors orders of course, my disclosure) ughh 😋 Oh yes and find a good doctor that will listen to you and meet your needs "YOUR NEEDS". I have found a wonderful doctor and he is all about my plant life and healing and he is all about me living my best life drug free. Whatever you are going through right now, just know it gets so much better. It can takes months to years to recover. Realize this is your journey and a special one. Myself personally believes that god has transformed my old life into my new life and I can't be ever more thankful and grateful. One hell of a adventure but "hey" I love who I am more now and have grown exponentially since this ordeal. I have days where I cry happy tears over the smallest things, butterfly on a flower, old person smiling, to the breeze blowing off the lake , to the food on my plate. I never appreciated it before Effexor and I took it for granted, now it just happens and i love it 😊 I guess it all depends how you look at it, but when things get grim and they will, come back here, read my story and just know you are all in good hands😊 The effort you put out now in the throws of this awful withdrawal, will eventually become the reward you see in your future !!!!! YOU ARE GOING TO RECOVER MY FRIENDS, ALL OF YOU !!!! STAY CALM AND SOLDIER ON, stay safe and always consult your doctor before making any moves and if they don't listen to you : FIND A NEW ONE !!!! But always stay in close touch with them please 😎 This website has been a game changer and so are all the admins* Beautiful hard working volunteers 🧡💛💚💜💖 *Taper, taper, taper your mediction , this is most important, don't rush a taper just because you start feeling good. It will catch up to you, stay the course 😎 or possibly suffer grave setbacks * *Feel free to message me* MR. A
  7. Hi. My i came off effexor pretty quickly in 2017. I must say i.m doing a LOT better than then. Alto even decided i.m in recovery mode now, i sure think i am. Might anyone know if after coming off far too quickly it may.ve caused my n.s to not be able to properly control my blood pressure? I notice it when i get up from sitting or from bending over at times. You know, the dizziness? Sometimes it.s strong, others not so strong and sometimes not at all. This only started after I came off Effexor. Another thing, i did have those awful muscle feelings that i imagine almost everyone has. I really think i still have them to less a degree in my right butt muscle and hamstrings. Does this sound possible? Any wisdom would be greatly appreciated and please don.t be in a super rush to reply as i know there will be many here in more need of help than me. Gus.
  8. Hi group, may I introduce myself? I have had social anxiety and energy depression since childhood. I’ve been on Effexor since 1996 (24yrs!). This last month, I braved a medication review and the psych Nurse Practitioner added 2mg Abilify to boost my mood. The first pill took away all my body pains in an amazing wave... in a couple days I had more energy and less procrastination... but on day 11, I had shooting head and chest pains, scary blood pressure of 155/86 and heart rate of 100. My vision had zigzags in it. Of course I stopped taking it and called the Psych NP office. She told me that there was No Way a baby dose of 2mg could have caused the cardiac issue, and I should see primary care physician. I knew that Abilify has a long 4 day half-life (6day for some people) so I decided to wait and flush it out for 2 weeks. I drank hibiscus tea and went off caffeine and took some blood pressure meds as needed. The pains largely persisted. The psych NP then suggested I switch to Effexor’s potent daughter, desvenlafaxine (Pristiq). There would be a reduction in milligrams from 150 to 50mg but the overall effectiveness was supposed to be equivalent with less side effects (possibly not as likely to raise blood pressure). Since brand Effexor has become SO expensive and generic doesn’t work well for me - I agreed to try the des-venlafaxine. On the 3rd day I took a day nap and cried a little. On the 4th day I was wild with anxiety about my chest pains and sobbed when my physician let me come in for an EKG. The MD encouraged me to keep going on the Pristiq for 2 weeks, and keep working with the psych NP. The MD also made me feel more secure since the EKG and her other checks were OK. I was just freaking out, basically. So... The baby dose of Abilify caused a strong seratonin reaction in me, and dropping Effexor for its daughter caused a strong withdrawal reaction in me. I didn’t know what to think until I found this site, SA.org. What a giant help to get real information for once! Yes, SSRI and SSNRI’s have very, very strong effects on the body. I think I’m going to hold steady for a while, scared from these 2 bad experiences (btw I am being referred to a cardiologist). But I know now about NMT 10% dose tapering and that it is OK to remove the beads in Effexor, and OK to repackage in gelatin capsules...for when I am ready to try tapering. But is it worth trying Pristiq? Is it worth the hard shaky effort and strain to my relationship to go off Effexor??? My memory is shot and my blood pressure is high. But will they get better?
  9. cocacolaeyes Hi all, I found this forum from someone who mentioned it on reddit and thought I would come to share my story and learn from others. I had a really bad episode of dissociation and depersonalization in August of 2019 due to weed. I have a history of panic disorder and GAD so this was a very scary experience. By October, I decided I couldn't handle it on my own anymore and was put on Cipralex (lexapro for my American friends). I started on 5mg for 1 week and eventually got up to 15 mg. Unfortunately, I found the drug to be very numbing and left me feeling like a zombie. I was immediately switched with no taper to Effexor XR in February of 2020. The medication worked wonders however, I started having a rare side effect of orthostatic hypotension. I felt constantly dizzy, my blood pressure was dropping lower each day. My doctor decided he would rather I just get off medication entirely as I clearly am too sensitive to the effects of them. We decided on a plan to work with my therapist and lifestyle changes to manage my anxiety going forward. Now for the scary part... Today was my first day off the medication entirely. The taper plan recommended by my doctor was to go down to 37.5mg for two weeks and then today I could stop taking it. We tried this a month ago but I had really horrible withdrawal. The brain zaps were constant, I felt ill, I was panicking. This time, he has recommended a slower taper of taking 1 pill of 37.5mg every other day for a week, then 1 pill every 2 days for a week and so on... I know a lot of people do not recommend this style of taper, and prefer the bead counting. I asked my doctor about that method and he said it would be difficult and time consuming and would rather I stick to this method. I trust my doctor a lot and he has been immensely helpful in the past and has never misguided me. I am currently waiting for the horrible brain zaps and panic to set in again. I am very afraid of how I will get through this taper. I want off the medication so badly but the last time I tried to get off it was so scary. I also keep scaring myself by reading horror stories of people who have had lasting side effects from the withdrawal for years and am terrified that will be me as well. If anyone has any kind words or stories of hope they can share or even some advice it would be much appreciated. Thanks for reading!
  10. Dear all, This has been put off for all too long. I am a 40-year-old male living in Scandinavia. Over the last twenty years I have been prescribed various SRI’s mainly to counter anxiety that debuted as a major panic attack in my early twenties during a stressful time in my life. It is like this experience opened a door that I have never been able to shut again. The anxiety has been there in varying degrees since that day. I am sure some of it is fueled by the fear of anxiety, but it feels like something broke that day. The switching between different drugs over the first ten years was mainly done to counter side effects like fatigue and feeling like a zombie most of the time, not wanting to get out of bed in the mornings, not being able to keep up any good habits and failing to establish structure in daily life. This has put me out of the job I used to love so much, and I am now on social welfare. The fatigue, flattened/decoupled feelings and the sleep disturbances has been interpreted by the doctors as depression, dysthymia, bipolar depression and so on. I have been in treatment for this over the years, but nothing has been successful over time. I have suggested doing a tapered withdrawal over and over but have always been told to postpone. Well, now I cannot wait any longer. I feel like my life has been put on hold for way to long already. I have been on Venlafaxine since 2012. 75 mg in the beginning. The anxiety was somewhat held in check, but I felt like a zombie. The only thing that would momentarily burst me out of this bubble was drinking some beers on the weekend. (Dopamine?) The dosage was increased to 150 mg to activate the noradrenergic component of the SNRI. I ended up in the Emergency Room with an ECG due to the feeling of unregular hearth rhythm. A blood test revealed that I have a CYP mutation that makes my liver metabolize more of the active compound than the average, so 37.5 mg for me might be a normal maintenance dosage. Over the last eight years I have been varying the Venlafaxine dosage between 75, 50 (removing beads) and 37.5 mg. Sometimes up to counter increasing anxiety, then down again to try to counter the side effects. In 2017 I was determined to taper off and I asked for a switch to Citalopram that I weaned off two times before several years ago. The switch was done directly replacing 37.5 mg Venlafaxine with 10 mg Citalopram. It felt like a shadow had been lifted and my energy levels increased severely. After a few days, the anxiety really set in. After four weeks, the dosage was increased to 20 mg and the anxiety decreased but I mostly laid in bed. A week later the dosage was decreased again to 15 mg, but I felt even more depleted. The doctor concluded that I had to low levels of serotonin and recommended to switch and back track to Venlafaxine steady state. So, I did. Thinking there is never really the right time to go through a tough withdrawal, I started reading up on the subject now. My wife is very supporting, and we agree that the lingering questions we have had over the years, asking how much of my troubles are due to side effects of SRI’s needs to be answered. Googling a transition to Fluoxetine (Prozac) for the longer half-live and an easier(?) withdrawal led me to this forum. If I ever forget to take the Venlafaxine one night I get electric zap's and nervousness around noon the next day. I am a bit overwhelmed now by all the information, the stories of people still in recovery for several years after their last dosage and to be honest I am really scared.
  11. Hi, I’m currently on 150mg of Effexor-XR and 30mg of Mirtazapine. I’ve been on Effexor for 10 years, and the Mirtazapine was added around 2 and a half years ago. I spoke to my doctor about tapering off the Effexor. He suggested that I taper 37.5mg at a time. I started about 7 weeks ago. I’ve got down from 225mg in the last 7 weeks. My last 37.5 taper started 17 days ago. But the last week I have been experiencing delayed depression, irritability and heightened anxiety. I coped better during my first taper. I’m worried that I’ve slipped back into depression again. But at this stage is it normal to feel like this? It’s very confusing to know if it’s withdrawal or depression coming back. I thought the withdrawals may have been over after 17 days? I’m new to this forum, and it sounds like I have tapered Off to big of a dose. Once I have stabilised I will only taper 10% by weighing with scales. Hopefully I level out soon because I’m starting to question the process!
  12. Hi everyone! Im really thankful I came across this support group. Although I wish I came across it sooner :/. Anyway here is a brief history: 150mg fluvoxamine for 5 yearsDoctor had me taper off in 1 monthExperienced WD and reinstated Fluvoxamine after 6 weeksTried to slowly taper over 7 months and ended up switching to Effexor 75mg xr. Now I am on 37.5mg xr of Effexor for 1 month with still experiencing severe Emotional numbness, anhedonia, and pain/pressure, and low sex drive. Please help... Idk if I should increase dosage/ switch medication until the WD symptoms go away and then slowly taper? What have yall found to be the best tactic? The WD symptoms that Im experiencing right now did not go away when I reinstated Fluvoxamine and got a little better when I switched to Effexor 75mg. I love you guys, keep up the great work!
  13. Mainly writing to say thank you to Surviving Antidepressants and the one person who posted having successfully gotten off Zyprexa. I was nearly there, had gotten off, then had delayed withdrawal symptoms, akathisia, and while really struggling and nearly ready to give up, I tried to see whether anyone had successfully gotten of this drug and found one person here. I also found the invaluable information here regarding how to do it (pill crusher, weigh scale) and IT WORKED! I have been off Zyprexa since July 2018, got myself off valproic acid last February and off Effexor last September. So just looking for information regarding some legacy effects and hoping to provide someone looking for answers with hope. Psych med history: Benzodiazepine 2002 - 2005 Paxil/Effexor 2000 - September 2019 Zyprexa 10 mg 2002 - July 2017 Valproic acid 500 mg January 2010 - February 2019
  14. Posting this to encourage you that it can be done. I didn't think I'd recover from my horrible withdrawal. I was going to try and reinstate, but it seemed like it was too late, everything was already so screwed up and it felt like was no going back at that point. I was on Effexor for 18 years. I went on it the first year it was released in the US. It's been almost 10 years now since my last dose. I gradually tapered over a two year period and I did pretty well up until I was down to less than 10 beads, and then my nervous system went totally haywire and it took years to recover. The two main problems I developed from quitting were very bad anxiety and disturbed sleep. I would wake up anxious after like two to four hours of sleep. Sometimes, I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep at all. Both sleep and anxiety gradually improved, in an up and down manner. The anxiety eventually went away. Sleep improved, but I'm not the best sleeper. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, but was unable to tolerate cpap. I usually sleep about five or six hours a day, and sleep straight through. On good days, I'll sleep more than six hours straight through. On bad days which aren't that often, I'll sleep less than five hours. But when I don't sleep well, I no longer freak out too much about it. I would probably say my average sleep is something like 5.5 hours, but it's straight through and I wake up calmly instead of in a panic. Below are a few things that helped me. Wishing you all the best of luck with your taper and great health. 1. This article somehow really helped me with anxiety. I mean I think it made a huge difference. I don't remember if I heard about it here or on another group, but I'm glad I found it. I remember reading at the time that it had a profound effect for some other people too. It's called "Nothing Works, A Letter To Myself." http://nothingworks.weebly.com/ 2. For sleep, I use a sound machine. Here's the machine I originally used. Eventually I ended up making my own custom solution with an old laptop. But this machine worked well for me, and I gave one to my mother and it made a give improvement in her sleep too. Link: Lectrofan 3. Meditation. I started seriously meditating at some point during my taper, and never stopped. I try to do it twice a day everyday. I did/do it more for spiritual/religious reasons, but I've got to think that it must have helped in some way regarding anxiety and maybe even sleep too. ADMIN NOTE Tom's Introductions topic is here
  15. I don't come here anymore, but somebody just sent me a PM asking how I was doing. I joined near the beginning of the site, and only posted a few times. I'm more of a lurker type than a poster type. I'm a quiet person in real life too. I used to be on the old paxil progress forum before it shut down. Anyway here's an update to give hope and a few tips. It's almost 10 years (October 2010) since my last dose of effexor. I was on it for 18 years.The two main problems I developed from quitting were very bad anxiety and disturbed sleep. I would wake up anxious after like four hours of sleep. Both sleep and anxiety gradually improved, in an up and down manner. The anxiety went away. Sleep improved, but I'm not the best sleeper. Was diagnosed with sleep apnea, but was unable to use cpap. I usually sleep about five or six hours a day, and sleep straight through. On good days, I'll sleep a over six hours straight through. On bad days which aren't that often, I'll sleep less than five hours. But when I don't sleep well, I no longer freak out about it. I would probably say my average sleep is something like 5.5 hours, but it's straight through and I wake up calmly instead of in a panic. That's about all I can say I guess other than a few tips which I will list below. There will be a couple links, but I'm not affiliated in any way with them. If I think of anything else, I can add it later in the replies. Wishing you all the best of luck with your taper and great health and happiness. 1. This article somehow really helped me with anxiety. I mean I think it made a huge difference. I don't remember if I heard about it here or on paxil progress or what, but I'm glad I found it. I remember reading at the time that it had a profound effect for some other people too. It's called "Nothing Works, A Letter To Myself." http://nothingworks.weebly.com/ 2. For sleep, I use a sound machine. Here's the machine I originally used. Eventually I ended up making my own custom solution with an old laptop. But this machine worked well for me, and I gave one to my mother and it made a give improvement in her sleep too. Link: Lectrofan 3. Meditation. I started seriously meditating at some point during my taper, and never stopped. I try to do it twice a day everyday. I did/do it more for spiritual/religious reasons, but I've got to think that it must have helped in some way regarding anxiety and maybe even sleep too.
  16. My story begins in 2006. I was having migraines & nerve pain. I went to a headache clinic & was given Effexor. I was desperate for relief and so started a prescription of 225 mg/ day. I continued to take it for several years as I didn’t want the pain to return. One day, I came across an article that told of the writers difficult experience coming off Effexor. I researched online & found out how hard this med was to stop & of course, was very upset by this info. Several times I asked my dr if I could stop, but the taper protocol was always a three week stop and based on what I read, I was afraid to attempt it. I stopped going to the clinic but continued to get refills from my pcp. I decided I needed to reduce and end my use of this med, and so in September 2015 I successfully tapered to 75 mg without any problems. Jan 2016 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I stayed on 75 mg until treatment finished. In September 2017 I reduced to 37.5 with no trouble. In September 2018, I opened the pills and further reduced to 18.75 for one year. This past September I dropped to 9.375. In January of this year , I thought, I’ve done it. I’m off this drug & stopped it. Two weeks ago I began having terrible anxiety & obsessive thoughts, feelings that I haven’t had for years. After researching I realized I came off too quickly. All that work & I screwed up. The anxiety became too much & from the info on this site I decided to reinstate this weekend. I even screwed that dosage up initially, but fixed it. I’m hoping this will help. I just want to say I’m terrified. I’m 62 years old. Is this my next few years? My daughter is getting married in October & I want to be there for her. What bad timing! I keep beating myself up for being so close & then just doing it wrong. I feel so defeated & frightened. I don’t even know why I took this drug for 14 years. Maybe I should have just kept taking it to avoid withdrawal. Maybe I should stay off the internet.
  17. Effexorless

    Effexorless: Hope

    Hi Everyone! I am so happy that I found this forum. I have so far not had anyone that could relate to what I am thinking and feeling. In the course of the last 23 years I have been on Prozac, Paxil, and Effexor XR. I never suffered from notable depression or anxiety while growing up. When I was 22 I was stalked for a year by a customer who used to frequent the restaurant/company I worked for. As a result I began to have panic/anxiety attacks whenever I was around a male, any male. I couldn't go to school, had issues at work, I couldn't even go to the convenience store if there was a truck in the parking lot because I knew there would be a male inside. I KNEW logically that these men I would encounter every day were not going to hurt me but my body would freak out. I would become so embarrassed by my response to men that I ended exacerbating the problem by anticipating the reaction and ultimately causing the reaction. I tried therapy and CBT to no avail. Finally I was referred to a psychiatrist who prescribed me Prozac and Xanax. I never could handle the Xanax so I never really took it. The Prozac seemed to help so I stayed on it for about a year and then weaned myself off with no noticeable side effects. Sometime later, maybe a year or so, I started feeling down and depressed so I went to see a new psychiatrist who decided to put me on Paxil this time. Just like before, I took it for about a year and then weaned myself off with no real issues. Then in 2001 I went through some major life changes. I lost my job, got married, got a part time job, bought a house, and found a new full time job. My marriage was volatile to say the least and didnt last very long. Somewhere around 2003 my marriage fell apart and I had a severe anxiety attack at work one day. In fear I reached out to my psychiatrist who tried a couple of drugs which I don't remember but eventually I settled on Effexor XR. So began my 17 year slavery to a drug I found myself unable to quit. Through the 17 years I found myself taking a drug that was so controlling that if I missed my dose by 1 hour I could feel physical withdrawal effects. I tried unsuccessfully to stop twice in the 17 years I was taking Effexor XR. I think at both times I was at a daily dose of 75mg. I managed to quit smoking after 20 years cold turkey so in my mind this was basically the same. Just stop taking it, deal with the withdrawal, put your head down and quit being a baby. Just DO IT! Well ... that didn't work. Both attempts ended with me in my psychiatrist's office wailing and begging for a prescription, saying if I have to take this drug for the rest of my life so be it! At different times throughout the 17 year course there were other drugs she threw at me because the Effexor wasn't helping me. There was some Lithium, Zyprexa, and others I can't remember the names of. All of the other drugs had horrifying results which I couldn't tolerate for more than about two days. My sister has been my rock and voice of reason for so many years. She always knew this drug game my doctor played with me wasn't right. After all ... I was perfectly fine and happy prior to being stalked. I had never needed a drug to be "normal". She watched me suffer and want to die rather than live one more moment feeling what those drugs made me feel, always the anchor I could reach out to in my darkest hours. So I lived in this place where my drug wasn't really helping me but I couldn't quit because the withdrawal was so awful it would actually make things worse. We tried changing the dose up and down over the years. I was originally prescribed "brand only" but after my insurance changed I couldn't afford the non generic. For a while my pharmacist could find the actual Pfizer "generic" not really generic stock, but after awhile we couldn't find it anymore so I switched to generic Venalfaxine. I can't say that I felt any difference between the generic and brand but they were both capsule form. The last 10 years or so have been basically just existing for me. On most days I didn't really care if I didn't wake up the next day. I am a very devout Christian so my faith saved me from every taking my own life but I would certainly pray for it to end. I saw no purpose in being here. My relationships with family, friends, and coworkers have suffered greatly. I had become basically a zombie. I had no feelings and I didn't care. There was no joy in life and everything, including taking care of my pets, was simply a job that I had to do. I had found a therapist a few years ago to help me deal with a bad break up with a long term boyfriend (not my ex-husband). I would see her off and on and she was always a little confused by the drugs my psychiatrist would want to try. There were times she would write me a prescription and I would fill it but out of fear I wouldn't take them. There had been too many bad experiences with other drugs. My sister and I had reached a point that we could no longer communicate. I was basically dead inside didn't really care. I knew logically that I wasn't ok, but what could I do? I was already taking a drug that was supposed to help, I was petrified of trying a new one, and I had a doctor that just kept pushing the prescription to me. Then ... about six months ago I had miscalculated my med check with my medication supply. I was going to run short by about three days. I knew I couldn't just stop because I had already tried that twice before. I rationalized that I could take the withdrawal if I spread the remaining drugs and took one every other day. I was currently taking 75mg per day which wasn't really a therapeutic dose, I simply took it because I couldn't stop. It doesn't take a rocket scientist at this point to guess how that turned out. I felt like I was going to die. The brain zaps, the flue like symptoms, the nightmares ... all making me wish I was dead. What that experience did do ... was piss me off!! I decided at that point I would no longer be a slave to that drug. The drug nor my doctor gave to craps about me. I became determined to not only stop taking that drug, but any psychoactive drug. I wanted to know who I was without any artificial influence. I told my doctor what I was going to do. Her response was no surprise, she advised against it. She wrote me a prescription for 37.5mg which was the smallest dose available. She wanted me to take the 37.5mg once per day for 4 weeks then stop. I took the 37.5mg for just under three weeks. I took my last dose of Effexor XR 37.5mg on November 27, 2019. I had a four day weekend ahead of me where I didn't have to talk to or see another human. I had no responsibilities for four days. All I had to do was get the drug out of my system and deal with brain zaps ... right?? Surely this was just like quitting smoking and I just needed to suck it up and muscle through ... right?? I couldn't have been more wrong!! I am happy to say that I didn't go back to the drug and I am three months and three days free from the evil hold of Effexor XR. I didn't know until the last week or so as I started looking for answers to my feelings that I could have continued to taper the 37.5mg down even further. My doctor certainly never told me that. I have tried to navigate the myriad of physical and emotional fallout as it comes. I initially had the horrid brain zaps, which after doing some looking around appear to be seizures in a particular area of the brain. That's scary!! The next thing I noticed was increased sweating, like constantly perspiring. I initially got really scared to be home alone. I would come home and check every closet and under every bed. I couldn't go to sleep because I was so afraid. I would set little boobie traps so that an intruder would wake me and the dogs so I could get my gun. I finally got angry at that whole scenario and decided that I wasn't about to let my home, my safe haven, become my prison. I refused to let myself look in the closets or under the bed and used CBT to overcome that fear. I began to notice shuddering when I would get a little happy or excited about something. I noticed a few people at work looking at me strangely but I would just play it off like I was cold, of course I was also sweating so ... go figure LOL!! It was about two weeks post Effexor when I had my first ahhh moment. I was walking my dogs which was something I hadn't wanted to do in awhile when I had the thought that I wanted to decorate for Christmas!! I hadn't put up Christmas decorations in YEARS. I loved to walk and look at other home's lights and reasoned that if everyone was as ba-humbug as me there wouldn't be any lights to look at. I promptly rectified that situation and not only decorated outside, but I put up my first tree in forever. That was the first sign to myself and my sister that something was changing in me for the better!! One of the next changes was my desire to return to wearing makeup and business attire to work. I work in the financial department of an orthopaedic clinic so had taken advantage of the ability to wear scrubs. As a result I had gotten very lazy with my appearance. I wore scrubs, wore no makeup, and stopped fixing my hair. I had also put on about 50 lbs. I had worn makeup about once per year over the last 10 years. I decided to change that. I went shopping and purchased new clothing for work. That was another ah ha moment for me and my sister. She called to invite me to go shopping with her. I said I would love to and we had a great day shopping and having dinner. After dinner she looked at me in a way that I can't really describe other than wonderment. Formerly had she called and invited me I would have gotten angry and lashed out at her. Why would she invite me to shop when I was horribly overweight? Didn't she know I had no desire to dress this ugly body in anything other than a pair of scrubs?? She admitted to me that she made the invitation and was fearful of my lashing out at her, but I am so thankful that she made the invitation!! Around the beginning of January I started wearing business attire, wearing makeup, and fixing my hair every day for work and I haven't missed a day since. I am almost ready to burn those scrubs ... but not just yet ;). After about a month I realized that the brain zaps and chills were significantly reduced and very sporadic. The next challenge was unrelenting anxiety. I noticed that I was constantly anxious, over everything. The constant anxiety started making me nauseous, and unable to sleep very well. I would wake up in the middle of the night and my mind would be racing. I had the feeling that I wanted to jump out of my skin. I had to MOVE my body! I began to doubt my ability to do my job at work. I have been doing that same job for 17 years, why all of a sudden did I feel unqualified?!?! In talking this new challenge over with my sister, therapist, and research online I came up with a plan to take CBD in the morning, CBD with melatonin and night, and CBT to stay the course. I also started trying to exercise more regularly. The exercise is great for relieving my anxiety, it helps me sleep, and it is helping me lose weight and feel better about myself physically anyway. The anxiety is almost under control now although I still have it, I seem to have found a way to reason it through. My latest challenge is I have come to hate being alone. I hate the solitude that I once embraced and I hate being alone in my head. I used to spend the entire weekend in my house completely alone and may not have spoken to another human for the entire weekend or longer if it was a holiday. Now I find the idea of going home and being alone abhorrent! I don't want to go home. I used to sit and watch tv for hours, now I can't stand the thought of sitting on the couch at all. I have wondered if I need a drug to be "normal". I feel that I have come so far and dealt with so much that surely I am near the end of the recovery. I am left with thoughts of "who am I"? Am I the same person I was before psychoactive drugs? If I am someone new, who is that and do I like her? Is it normal to have these thoughts?? It doesn't feel like it is normal. I find that I am no longer satisfied by my job and wonder should I change careers. I am angry at a system and a doctor that I feel stole 10+ years of my life. I read back through my emails at work and replay arguments with family and friends and feel so very ashamed. How could anyone stand me, I can't stand myself when I look back?? How did I go from a happy go lucky 22 year old to an angry, intolerable, feeling-less, zombie? The FEELINGS!! Oh my gosh at the feelings!! It happens so slowly that you don't even realize it is happening, this loss of being able to feel, sympathize, or empathize with others. So far I have refused the urge to run back to my doctor, or another doctor and get a band aid drug. I am so happy to have stumbled across the article in The New Yorker about Laura Delano and subsequently a plethora of insight and sources to run to. I know my story is nowhere near the level of some of the other stories I have read, but if my story can provide hope for even one individual I am thankful. I look forward to continuing to grow and learn this new person I have become and getting to know many of you.
  18. mod note: Gussy's introduction topic: Gussy: 9 weeks off effexor, wondering if it will ever end? I never thought I would be asked to write a story of recovery in the group I think of as the premier withdrawal group. The knowledge you guys have here is just out of this world. I don't know if it can be rivaled anywhere. When Alto asked me to write a story of recovery here one day I felt honoured and obligated to write something. I hope someone can gain something from this. It was at the start of 2017 after a failing journey i requested a blood test. The result of this showed me i could no longer trust what drs and specialists were telling me about the harmless effects of effexor and i knew i had to be off it. So before i joined here i did some research and decided on a taper slower than most drs but much faster than the 10% or less method. I really thought the real life experiences i was reading were people looking for sympathy and thought i.d be fine. Wow, how wrong i was!!! I realise a mod has to approve this so i want to tell you that i can.t write this story in one sitting. It.ll prob take many to do it with many edits along the way. I will add to it soon and then add to it again. I.ll submit this for now but save it on my phone too just incase you can.t approve it. Know that this can be done though. Gus.
  19. I have had an account here for a long time. I do not believe I ever did an introduction. I was just speaking with someone who recommended I come here. I am suffering in so many ways and I feel so alone. I am becoming more hopeless every day and am afraid I am going to end up in a hospital. I have little time to even write now because there is way too much going on in my life. I need help. There is no where to go for help. 1- I was started on high doses of xanax in 1997 and continued until they switched me to 4mg klonopin in 2013 during a hospitalization. CT off xanax for a few days which I thought I was going to die. Then Klonopin, which has wreaked havoc in my life and mind and body. 2- Besides these two benzos, doctors have tried their "cocktails" on me. I do not remember every drugs, but these I remember: First, the xanax and the klonopin. Plus they have pulled me off, put me on, rearranged etc over and over the following drugs: remeron, cymbalta, zyprexa, celexa, serzone, brintellix (I think they renamed trintellix), lexapro, effexor, prozac, trazadone, abilify, wellbutrin, ritalin, seroquel, latuda, pristiq, melatonin, ambien, paxil, zoloft, vistaril, vyvanse, lamictal, cogentin, rexulti, and more. I cannot remember all. Life is a blur for these past almost 25 years of polydrugging. Now I am on here for my son as well - we both need help 3- Recent trauma: 2014 youngest son starts becoming delusional and episodes of psychosis. 2015: my father is euthanized in front of me and my family because of other family member's decisions for him - even though he was not dying, was completely alert and had his mind. He was not in hospice. It is a long story and traumatic. 2015: son's psychosis getting worse with son and he moves to another state to live with his brother. 1-4-2016: my son (youngest of four) parked a car and sliced his throat open with a knife- cutting through his trachea. Somehow lived. Got out of car, ran up 7 flights of a construction zone to jump. Construction workers stop him. I get call from hospital and fly to that state the next day. Son had to have 4 hour surgery to put his throat back together. He was in medical for 40 days with trach and feeding tubes. Then in psych. Then they sent him home with me. The rest of 2016 was complete chaos of hospitalizations for him - did not realize it was the drugs they were forcing on him. I was stupid. They messed him up so badly - 30 days of overdrugging in a "stabilization" unit. (he was the MOST unstable here!) Upon D/C, they discontinued his meds and gave him an injection of Abilify Maintena. Severe reaction to this. No sleep, severe akathathsia, pacing the floors night and day, hardly eating -- exactly 2 weeks later - he was arrested. In jail 14 months where they tried multiple drugs on him. Finally putting him on Clozapine and Effexor. Then he was court ordered to a residential treatment center. The doctor there increased the Clozapine from 300mg to 500mg. 225mg effexor. He was getting through the court ordered program for 10 months. Then they ran out of his Clozapine. I really do not know all details because I have learned how corrupt they are. He was forced hospitalized. Day 1: forcibly injected with Haldol X2, Ativan X3, Versed X2, Geodon X1. While he was suffering withdraws from the abrupt CT cessation of 500mg of Clozapine and now the cessation of 225mg of Effexor - both forced upon him by the "professionals". Day 2: Forced injection of Haldol and ativan. I informed the hospital that he cannot tolerate haldol. But they continued to drug him up. Day three: Forced injections of Haldol X 3 and ativan X 3 and then they started giving him Benztropine. By the time I saw my son at visitation, he was almost dead and it was a gruesome sight. I will not give details but I know I suffer post traumatic stress from it all -- I had to argue with nurse to get help for him. He finally was rushed to CV-ICU. He had DX of respiratory failure, acute kidney failure with rhabdomylosis, dehydration, clozapine withdraws. The ICU doctor noted that they had to work on my son for 48 minutes to "stop vital organ system failure and stop further life-threatening deterioration of patient's condition". After ICU, it was awful - he was soon thrown back into psych. All visitation and phone rights denied him. He was kept in restraints, completely naked, hours on end. Med techs would hold him on the floor while other techs kicked and beat him in the head. They continued to forcibly drug him with thorazine, restoril, ativan, even adding depakote and eventually starting the clozapine again. I had to fight for him for three months. He still has health problems today. I am his caretaker but I need help. He currently is taking: 500mg Clozapine, 150mg effexor. 4- Me- I cannot even remember when I started to taper my meds. Everything is a blur. I started realizing how bad they are for me. Knew very little. I cut the lexapro dose in half - I think this was early 2017. And I cut the klonopin dose by 1/4. Still, since then, a few different meds were started but I would stop them CT. Then I started learning more. I read parts of the Ashton Manual. I have been on FB groups. I have actually received a lot of harsh treatment from some people in the FB groups, so I rarely go on any of those groups anymore. I have a scale now. I shave off my klonopin. I tried lowering the lexapro but ended up going back up to 10mg and holding. Want to get off klonopin. But I am not doing well at all. I am exhausted. cannot write anymore. I have waited years to even get this put in here. I hope it makes sense. I have tried liquid titration with klonopin - disaster for me. I hardly have time to even care for myself - son is urgent. I am just barely functioning. So that's that. Not how I would have liked to write it. but mind is jumbled I think. I feel misunderstood. Hope I am not misunderstood here. I feel very much alone. NIghtmares- terrible. depression like I have never experienced. extreme fatigue, but high demands on me. I have to function. No one cares or understands about my son or about me. My son needs to taper but I think he needs to wait until off probation - maybe April or May this year. Everything I read and see about Clozapine and the horrible labels they have assigned to him - it seems hopeless. I feel hopeless of ever getting off klonopin and lexapro. This is no way to live. I am making no sense. Not even painting the right picture...for people to understand. How does anyone successfully get off these drugs and get out of the control of the system? We live in FL and they are "Baker Act" crazy here. Baker Act is forced hospitalization. They even have police come handcuff and take children right out of schools to a psych facility. It is only getting worse. I do not know what to do. I want to be free of these drugs. Also, my son wants to be free of the drugs. We both want to be free from the control of this holocaust type system call psychiatry. I know a moderator has to approve. Maybe this was not written correctly. Just let me know what I did wrong. This took a lot of effort. Even reading takes a lot of effort and I even forget. So maybe i am not supposed to put all this in here. Just let me know.
  20. Hi Everyone I just wanted to introduce myself. I have been lurking this forum for long enough now. 🙂 Male, 28 My story starts in November 2018 when I went partying with a few friends and consumed different recreational drugs (MDMA, Cocaine, Speed and Alcohol). I wasn't new to these drugs but I made the huge mistake to not test any substance and not dosing correctly. However I didn't feel bad throughout that weekend and the hangover was as expected. After four days the panic attacks and the depression started and it just did not get any better over time. A month later I had enough and went to my GP who immediately put me on Effexor and Seroquel. Later on Seroquel has been exchanged first to Mirtazapine and then Trazodone (see signature). The drugs definitely helped with the panic attacks but Side Effect were just unbearable I felt 40 years older, manic, aggressive, suicidal, without any motivation and completely emotionally numb. There was just no way I would stay on this horrible stuff any longer so I went cold turkey after two months. The first two months were kind of ok but I still felt drugged. After that the emotional symptoms kicked in and it became a fight for survival day by day. I will not go into detail about it because you probably all know what I am talking about. Sixth month later I made some progress, the symptoms became a little bit less intense and I had some windows. Over the next four months I made some further minuscule improvements, windows became longer. I started to feel kind of stable in my recovery, it gave me some hope that I didn't lose my job and my girlfriend throughout all this time. Next month I will be drug free for a year but it is still a massive struggle every day. Right now I seem to be in a long wave (5 weeks so far) with a great change of symptoms. The anxiety and the panic attacks have become a lot worse recently and there are a lot of physical symptoms like dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite and generally feeling miserable. I have become less active, less motivated to exercise but on the other hand I am also feeling kind of ok with it. Also my sleep seems to have changed quite a bit, I didn't have very bad insomnia so far only very intense and draining dreams. They are mostly gone now but instead I am sleeping two to three hours less per night. I try to see these changes as my brain being at work 🙂 I can't differentiate if I am still in Withdrawal or if this is the after effect of the recreational drug incident (any ideas?). All I can hope for is that my brain will heal the same way as it does if I had taken psychiatric drugs only. Throughout my life I only had a few bouts of mild depression and anxiety (and three mild panic attacks), nothing I couldn't cope with. I also have never been on any psychiatric drug. I will try to document my recovery in this topic. Massive thanks to the people of this forum without you I would probably have gone back on psychiatric drugs a long time ago. You can't imagine how much hope I got reading through these pages! 🙂
  21. I found this website several months ago and have read loads of it. I tapered venlafaxine 225mgs over 6 months, finishing 7 months ago-June 2019. I realise this was too fast, but I didn't know that at the time. I also was taking Gabapentin for nerve pain, but stopped it without too much trouble in November 2019.. I had really horrible anxiety between September and December 2019, but this has lessened and been replaced by a feeling of doom in the morning especially. I did not get many symptoms for the first 2 months. I feel very fragile and cannot predict from one moment to the next how I will feel. I do not know what I would do without this website. Also I am not very familiar with computers and do not know a lot of the terminology. What are "tags" in the box above? I take magnesium citrate and fish oil each day. I don't know if it helps, but it doesn't seem to hurt, so... I am in the process of tapering lansoprazole by taking beads out of capsules and am down to 3/4 of 15mgs. I should add that I decided to taper off the venlafaxine because I started to get panic attacks in December 2018 and worked out I was probably in some sort of tolerance withdrawal from it. I got alarmed when one of my GPs suggested upping my dose to 300mgs. I wondered how high the dosage would go.......,and when it would poop out again.
  22. Thankful to have come upon this forum and I’m thankful for all those contributing their time, experience, help, and care to so many. I just wish I would have found this a very long time ago. I consider myself an educated, intelligent woman. That I have been duped for so long could easily lead me to take it out on myself. I imagine it’s something I’ve known for a long time, but the “professionals” kept telling me that the recurrence of severe depression/anxiety after stopping the meds was just proof that I needed them, forever, and after so many failures, I believed them. I am about to turn 59 and have been on antidepressants for over 30 years. I will add a timeline to my signature very soon. My most-immediate issue involves the past 9 months and I was needing your help to try and decide what to do next. My next appointment with my psychiatrist is in mid-February. I’ve only seen him once before, but it was obvious he didn’t believe in slow tapers, although he did acknowledge withdrawals. In April, 2019, after being on Effexor for about 20 years, my then psychiatric nurse practitioner decided that I must be bipolar 2 since the medication was no longer working. She tried to convince me, even though I had never experienced hypomania. What transpired after that was a nightmare. I made a big mistake trusting her. Here’s the timeline of these past 9 or 10 months in a nutshell: April, 2019: Effexor 37.5 (had been on that dose for 2 years, but on Effexor for about 20) April 11, 2019 Latuda 20mg added to Effexor. April 22, 2019 Latuda increased to 40mg. Terrible panic (hadn’t had a panic attack in 20 years), terrible nausea, doom and gloom, facial ticks, etc. May 14, 2019: Latuda reduced back to 20mg. Still on Effexor 37.5. Panic and doom and gloom continue. May 27, 2019: Latuda reduced to 10 mg for 3 days then ct (per dr’s orders). Continue on Effexor 37.5. June 10, 2019: Rexulti added. Started w .5 mg a few days then increased to 1mg. June 5, 2019: Rexulti reduced to .5mg. July 1-24, 2019. Rexulti reduced to .25mg over couple of weeks then off. July 24, 2019: New psych had me CT off Effexor. When I brought up the idea of tapering it slower, she laughed, saying I was on almost 0 already. I should have trusted my gut, but didn’t. Within two weeks, I was in a crippling depression with lots of anxiety/panic and suicidal to an extreme. I can’t recall ever being this depressed, or that it was even possible to feel this bad. September 9, 2019, began Viibryd (low dose, not sure mg) via original psych NP. CT per dr’s orders on September 19 due to side effects. September 23, 2019, began Trintellix. Terrible nausea, pain. CT per dr’s orders on September 27. September 28, 2019, began 10mg Prozac. Helped calm the depression, but made me very anxious. Legs shaking up and down, inner agitation (not anger) October 24, 2019: Saw a new NP at the clinic of a new-to-me psychiatrist since I couldn’t get in with him until the end of December. She had me do a rapid taper of Prozac while starting on Pristiq 25mg for 10 days, then 50mg after that. Began having tinnitus, muscle pains, headache, neck pains, but depression and anxiety much better. December 26, 2019: Saw new psychiatrist. He wanted me to stop Pristiq (because of the side effects) by skipping it every other day for a week then switch to Cymbalta. I declined, knowing that my cns was already in an uproar. He then lowered my Pristiq down to 25mg. Without him knowing, I thought maybe cutting my pills to gradually lower to 25mg would be better. I took 25mg + 1/8th of a 50 (6.25) in the morning then another 6.25 12 hours later. I did this for 3 or 4 days but couldn’t take the side effects (stomach pain, tremors, flu, headache, etc). Decided cutting the tabs wasn’t going to work. Began just taking the 25mg tablet after those 3 or 4 days. Symptoms improved immediately. Have been on this dose since. So, here I am now. The Pristiq 25mg is feeling like it’s too much, but, then again, I don’t know if it’s the Pristiq or withdrawals from all the other junk my body has been fed the past 8-9 months. It’s really not too bad, though. I have tinnitus, muscle pains in my upper body and arms, some mild restlessness, itchy eyelids, and I feel kind of drugged. I really expected to feel worse. I’m a poor metabolizer of serotonin (SLC6A4), poor metabolizer at CYP2D6, plus I have slow motility of my intestines due to surgery for a small bowel obstruction 7 years ago (caused by adhesions). Small dosages go a long way in my body. The other huge factor is this medicine is causing high blood pressure (162+/82+) and I just had open-heart surgery 1.5 years ago to repair a rare congenital birth defect. I cannot afford to have anything messing with my heart. I’ve been off all heart medications since 3 months after surgery. The psych and NP new all of this information. I had even checked with my cardiologist to make sure Pristiq was ok (before taking the first dose). He said it should be, stating that only a small % had issues with it. I need to get off of Pristiq and AD’s in general. I just don’t know what to do. I want to have a plan thought out before my next appointment mid-February (or sooner, if you think it’s needed). After spending a lot of time reading this forum, I believe my three best options are: Stay on Pristiq and taper down using compounded dosages. The problem is that I live in the middle of nowhere, rural community, and have tried to find a compounding pharmacy in my state who will compound Pristiq. So far, I haven’t found one who would agree to do it. I’ve used the compounding pharmacy finder link here in SA. I have not heard back from everyone, though. My body does not tolerate the cut pills. The main drawback to this option is my blood pressure. I think the reason Effexor didn’t affect my BP much was because at the low dose, the norepinephrine didn’t kick in. But, with the Pristiq, it must kick in at the lower dosage. This is my theory, anyway. Switch to Effexor. I like this option solely because it would be easier to taper, in my opinion. It would also be better for my heart, unless I had a bad reaction switching back. That’s the main disadvantage of this option...not knowing if I’ll have a bad reaction getting back on the Effexor after being off 5+ months. My hope would be that the Pristiq is close enough to Effexor and my CNS wouldn’t be too angry. Do nothing and stay on the Pristiq 25mg for a few months, waiting for things to calm down. Again, the main disadvantage is the unknown. I’m not sure I can stand this dose for too much longer. It just feels like too much. My fear is that if I stay on this dose it will wreak more havoc on my system. Then again, maybe what I’m feeling is withdrawals. Also, if I stay at this dose, chances are that my BP will remain high. I can go on BP medicine, but that’s another can of worms. What would you recommend? I’ll admit that I’m very scared. I know that, all-in-all, I’ve been pretty lucky these past few months. I also know it could go south at any moment. Thank you for taking the time to read this and sharing your expertise. Note: I also take Ambien 10mg nightly, clonazepam .125mg nightly, omeprazol 20mg daily (but in process of reducing to Pepcid otc), Synthroid 125 mcg and Premarin .625 daily (long story). Also 1000 vitamin D3. After reading this forum, I know I need to address the ambien, clonazepam, and acid reducers, at some point. Was taking B complex, a multi-vitamin, and fish oil for years before these past 9 months. Can no longer take them due to side effects. Tried taking a very small amount of b12 and a very small amount of magnesium glycinate. Both gave me a bit of anxiety so stopped taking them.
  23. Hi, I was on Effexor for 2.5 years (the last year only on 37.5 mg ) and also combined with Wellbutrin 150mg. I went off both in February 2019 with no taper because I was unaware at all that we could just not stop. There its been been a year of worsening conditions then the ones I even wanted to get off the medication for. I took some Effexor and Wellb a few times during the year, but usually just for a day or two (which I also know now is bad). I really don’t want to go back on meds, but I have sever dry eye, very lethargic, and worst of all a very flat and sad melancholy baseline. For those who were not aware of tapering and have been withdrawing for almost a year, does anyone have recommendations? I have already been eating pretty clean, exercise, and supplement with D, Mag, and Omega, but I basically feel awful every day. Anyone been thru this as well?
  24. Hey! So I’m about 2 years off of effexor on a fast taper (I was on max dose, went down to 0 in 4 weeks by advisement of my psychiatrist). 3 months after I suddenly had horrible debilitating symptoms, attempted to reinstate 3 times, and the 3rd time it spiraled my nervous system into the scariest most challenging physical symptoms I’ve ever had. After a few months I stabilized and was able to adjust my life as continue working without much issue, as long as I stuck to my routine. About a month ago I, without warning, had a severe and sudden downturn. My symptoms are now worse and more debilitating than when I first had the worst of it 2 years ago, and I now can’t stomach food without adrenaline spikes, blips in vision, migraines, and sudden tingling/burning/numbness of my left side. Of course I need to eat, but I’m wondering if anyone else has gone through this and has a way to get through not eating without getting into serious medical danger. My doctors don’t understand very well what to do. My nervous system is more sensitive than ever, and even the slightest mistake causes intense emotional and physical pain. I was on effexor for about a year before stopping, and I’m currently 26.
  25. Hello. I'm posting here because, like many of us probably, I'm in pain and I'm scared. I've been on various SSRIs for about...15 years or so, Seroquel for the last 7? Latest was Effexor for a few years, coupled with Seroquel. I tapered off Seroquel for about 6 months successfully, only problem was with insomnia at the end. 2 months or so I was free. November I ran out of my script of Effexor, it had been a few days. I asked my doc for something new because my depression was worsening, but I didn't want Seroquel because I've since kinda come to the conclusion that unless I'm psychotic (never been) I don't want to be on that hardcore of a drug, because of the insomnia (I left it for insurance reasons). Doc gave me Trintellix November 20 and said I didn't need to taper off Effexor. I was wary, but I went with it. The Trintellix seemed immediately effective for the depression, but it came with side effects. Diarrhea, itchy feet for a few days, and then the one I couldn't live with - water retention. I was on half the prescribed dose for 2 weeks before I stopped because the water was starting to make my chest hurt. Went back and she put me on Zoloft...and was dismissive of my continued diarrhea and weakness. I used Zoloft for 2 weeks, then stopped that three nights ago because of the continued diarrhea, and I'm now coughing. I'm...kind of improving. I have some energy now, not going to the bathroom every few hours. But I keep coughing these tiny little coughs that come with nothing. I read SSRIs can cause something called SIADH, some sort of problem where the body makes too much anti-diuretic hormone...and I'm also on anti-diuretics, which makes it more possible to get this SIADH. So now I'm just sitting here, on nothing for depression, coughing and afraid. I know this is probably just a temporary thing until my body gets back to some sort of homeostasis, sheds whatever water I'm retaining still (which I think is why I'm coughing), I'm waiting until the 1st when my new insurance kicks in and I can see a new doctor, but the broken part of my brain makes me worry it's permanent, that my heart's been damaged. Anxiety sucks. Anyone ever had water retention issues on an SSRI?
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