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  1. On Effexor for two years. Cold turkeyed once, had terrible withdrawals so reinstated. Once I reinstated, I had even worse withdrawls but eventually stabilized. I switched to extended release effexor and tapered with beads. Got to 75% and felt worse. Reinstated before starting my second taper. Got to 50% but was tired all of the time. Switched back to the instant release since that’s what always worked for me. Finally quit cold turkey two months ago and am dealing with terrible withdrawls. Lack of pleasure, constipation and terrible anxiety. Not sure what to do. Since I’ve quit I’m not nearly as tired but I think me quitting so early brought on this constipation and inability to release my bladder. Debating on reinstating back to the 50% dosage I was on or maybe less to see if that helps. Or maybe trying it’s cousin drug?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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! 🙂
  8. InChristAlone

    InChristAlone

    I was in Lexapro 10 and 20mg (mostly 10) for 15 years. I was put on it when I was 19 after going through a breakup with my high school girlfriend. Also , I have dealt with minor anxiety issues most of my life and have a family history of anxiety and depression. Everything was going ok until I herniated a disc in Jan 2018. What felt like a nervous breakdown ensued. My GP stopped Lexapro cold turkey and started me on Luvox and this made things worse. I cold turkey quit everything for a couple months and things continued to get worse. My GP then put me on Effexor 150mg and Klonopin 1mg twice daily. Things improved for a while. After 6 months, I decided to taper Klonopin because I had found this site and benzobuddies. I am down to 0.25 mg of Klonopin daily and still on Effexor. I am living a life of waves and windows now. I am a middle school teacher and coach. Thankfully, God has strengthened me enough to continue to work through this WD process.
  9. Hello, Thank you so much for this site. It is really a lifesaver. I am trying to taper off of Effexor XR (Venlafaxine) after 17 years of use. In the past I unsuccessfully tried to get off of Effexor XR. My doctor attempted to taper me off in only one month. The withdrawal symptoms were so horrible that I went I back on the drug and the symptoms immediately stopped. I finally got up the courage to try to taper again. This time I tapered 4 times as slow as before, but clearly not slow enough. I was desperate to find relief from the severe anxiety attacks and insomnia side effect that I got when my Effexor was increased above 150 mg. The anxiety and insomnia immediately improved after each reduction. However, I still experience some anxiety attacks from the drug withdrawal. I am currently holding steady at 112.5 mg. of Effexor XR. I tapered from 187.5 mg. Effexor XR plus 10 mg. Viibryd, 300 Gabapentin and 25 mg. Amitriptyline (Elavil) down to 112.5 mg. Effexor XR. over the course of approximately 7 months. Gabapentin and Elavil were relatively easy for me to get off of. Probably because I was only on them for a year or two. The withdrawal only lasted 1 week after each dose reduction. The antidepressants however, were a different story. They have been hell to get of! Especially the Effexor. I reduced the antidepressant every 3 to 5 weeks by reducing by the lowest dosage pill. In June I had Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). This treatment helped me immensely. In fact I believe that it saved me. Before the treatment my depression was severe. The TMS decreased it to mild. It also helped with the anxiety a lot. It also helped some with sleep, fatigue and sexual dysfunction. If it was not for the drug withdrawal I really think that the depression would be in remission. I am happy that I am making forward progress, but I am frustrated that I continue to suffer withdrawal symptoms and it has been 6 months since I last reduced the Effexor. I am positive that I have PAWS. I am not sure but I suspect that I may have Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction. The withdrawal symptoms are no longer severe like they were but they are still significant. I read your post on up-dosing and reinstating. Thank you! for the advice! I would have not known better and tried to up dose way too much had I not read this. Based on the recommendation I decided to be cautious and up-dose at the lowest dose possible (1 beadlet or 0.4 mg.) It has been 1 week since up-dosing. The first night that I up-dosed I noticed that my heart raced when I drank a glass of wine and I had insomnia. I don't really know if these things had anything to do with the up-dose or if it was an effect from the alcohol. Other then this I did not notice any difference at all until today. Today I had more intense head zaps. It might be too soon to jump to any conclusions just yet. I am thinking at holding steady for 1 more week and then assessing. What do you think? Also, how would you recommend storing the beadlets? Do you think they need to be kept out of light? P.S. I hope my signature is not too confusing. Did I put it in the right place? I am very glad that I found this site and I hope that I can help others as well. Signature: 2002-2005- Effexor XR. 150 mg. 2006- (Jan.- June) increased to 225 mg. Effexor XR, July 2006? decreased to 150 mg. 2007- 2018- Effexor XR.- 150 mg. 2018- increased to 225 mg. Effexor XR, added Gabapentin 900 mg., added Amitriptyline (Elavil25 mg. 2018- (Sept.) Decreased Effexor XR to 187.5mg, added Zoloft 10 mg., (Nov.) tapered off Elavil, (Dec.) tapered off Gabapentin 2019- (Jan.) switched Zoloft to 10 mg. Viibryd., (Feb.) decreased Effexor to 150 mg., (March) tapered off Viibryd, (April) switched 37.5 mg. Effexor to 10 mg. Prozac then tapered off of Prozac.
  10. I was starting my third effexor taper 7/2015 -6/2016 and down to 3 mg untill nerve conditions of numbness, buzzing, tingling, burning and buzzing sensations in limbs started. I didn't know what was happening and neither did my doctors and thought I had some other illness such as MS, fibromyalgia etc. Did numerous tests with no diagnosis. Anxiety and insomnia was at an all time high so Doctor reinstated full 37.5 mg dose on 6/30 and up to 75 mg in 1 week. Because the nerve conditions also were not allowing me to sleep the doc gave me clonazepam. Later I was then given lyrica to help with the nerve conditions. but After a one week trail of lyrica in August I discontinued immediately due to some paradoxical effects of jerks and muscle fasciculations and also decided the clonazepam might also be a culprit and started a 4 week taper with the help of mirtazapine for sleep. While this was going on only through the course of my own research did I come to the conclusion that the nerve conditions I was suffering were initially from SNRI withdrawal symptoms. September faired better as the initial withdrawal symptoms seemed like they were being resolved after a few months back on effexor so then I figured the effexor was helping with that...Great! but.... As soon as I was done with the clonazepam some of the initial nerve symptoms I experienced in June have returned. Not sure if the clonazepam was masking it. So now my issue is that I'm at a higher dose of the effexor than when I started and the withdrawal symptoms has not been entirely reversed and don't know what to do at this point? Taper off effexor? I'm still using mirtazapine for sleep because because the nerve condition of either a jerk, adrenaline surge, numbness etc will keep me up. Please help me I'm desperate!!!
  11. Hi, I'm new here I'm a 32-year-old woman from Denmark. I found you because I want to safely taper off of my low-dose Amitriptyline 10 mg. But as I read about withdrawal, I came across "post-acute withdrawal syndrome" or "protracted withdrawal" and I got chills because suddenly what has been happening since 2017 made sense! Long story short(er), I was on Venlafaxine/Effexor for 8 years because of generalized anxiety and body pains. In 2017 I tapered off from 2 capsules/150 mg, reducing with 1/4 pill every 2 weeks, so I was off them after a little under 4 months. (I didn't know about safely tapering off, only now have I come across your guide :)). By going off so "slowly" - well, compared to my doctor who told me I could do it cold turkey(!) - I didn't get the extreme side effects i would normally get when I would go up or down in dose. I felt the same when I stopped my dose and for the next 2 months, I was completely fine. But 2 months after I had taken my last dose, I started getting pain in my body, and after 2 more months, at the end of January 2018, from one day to the next I started having an extreme inner shaking/hightened fight-flight-response. It was like I had gotten a shock and I just stayed in that state every second of every day. Never being able to rest was so bad that I wanted to kill myself. It's so difficult to explain the sensation to anyone, so I usually use sleep deprivation as a related example: Sleep deprivation should be the worst form of torture and I get it now - stressing your body every second of every day is completely unbearable and you just want to die. I did sleep, though, but only 4-5 hours every night and I was never tired. My cortisol levels were high so I was checked for Cushing's (cortisol producing tumor) which meant I couldn't take any medicine to help me for 7 months because I needed accurate cortisol results (I didn't have any tumor, though). And also, nothing helped me, not benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, CBD oil or high doses of beta-blockers. After 7 months, my friend who had experienced the same "shaking" after a whiplash and after only a week had wanted to jump out the window from her apartment on the 3rd floor, recommended a low dose of Amitriptyline and that reduced the shaking by 30 % and after a month by 50 % (I only took 5 mg to begin with, though, and it worked after just a few hours, very weird). My symptoms then started to become predominantly psychological instead, like I would cry all the time. It opened up a deep developmental trauma wound that I started therapy for in December 2018. After that and body therapy like The Rosen Method, my symptoms are gradually decreasing. (I also have like 20 other symptoms, like body pain, fatigue etc.). Now, almost 2 years after I came off venlafaxin, I'm 50 % better than I was in December 2018, but my sympathetic nervous system is still firing too much. I thought that being on antidepressants for so many years, from I was 22 until I was 30 had made me so numb that I couldn't process all the stuff I had been through earlier in my life - and I still think that's partly the case - but now I see that there's an entire half of the picture I didn't know about!! That this must have been post-acute withdrawal syndrome!! So not only did I have all the past trauma that came up now that I didn't have something to artificially shut it down, at the same time my brain was also struggling with getting chemically back in balance! Woooow... #MindBlown! I don't even know what I feel... I feel so angry and want to sue someone, but that's not really possible I guess. I have missed work for almost 2 years, I'm only now starting a 10-hour internship. I can't believe you can go from feeling fine to 4 months AFTER you stopped the medicine get these extreme reactions. Has anyone else experienced something like that? And I still want to come off of the Amitriptyline, but slowly. It's only 10 mg, and this week I'm taking 9 mg. After I've done this for 2 days, I do feel some side effects like a bit of insomnia and hightened fight-flight, but it's minor. And might be because I made an oral solution from my tablets and now I read you should try to stay on your dose for 4 days before you reduce it. I did calculations based on the advice of the 10 % reductions of the new dose every month, and if I jump off at 0,1 mg, it will take me 43 months. It seems like a long time, but I would rather do this safely this time! Wow, I'm still in shock that it was protracted withdrawal symptoms that almost had me commit suicide, because no doctor could tell me what I was experiencing. I'm so glad I found you! And I also want to ask you if anyone has ever gotten completely over this syndrome, can your brain adjust completely? TIA
  12. Hi everybody. My name is Gus from Australia. I think i may have found the right site here. I've been on effexor 150mg/day (most of the time. 200mg/day at worst times, 100/day at better times)for about 11 years, was on zoloft, aropax and citolopram for short times beforehand. I wish i'd found this site earlier as it has some great advice for tapering. Too late though as i've already done that with a set of ebay scales and a calculator. Tapered over about 4 months(yeah i know, too fast according to this site). Even still, a lot slower than the doctors would have me do it. I'd just got down to 75mg and a dr told me to go on 37.5 for 2 weeks then just stop. I took his precription to avoid an arguement and threw it in the bin once i got home. Once i got down to about 60mg/day i only dropped it by about 5mg/week. I've been on zero for just over 9 weeks. If my wife hadn't suggested i try her magnesium powder(as it may help with stress) i'd be a complete mess. This stuff really helps. Are there many people out there who can please tell me how long it took to get back to where you were before you started effexor? What kind of symptoms, waves and windows you had and how often did you have each and how long did they last each time you had them? Also, i've heard omega 3's are usefull. Can anyone please tell me how so? What do they relieve and how much to take? Any informed/positive replies are very welcome. Regards, Gus.
  13. I want to share my heart out,I want to share my life. I lived 31 yrs of life. the life of sadness,hurt,betrayal,getting used,unrequited love, Dream which gets shattered,Health which got lost,Financed which ruined,Engagement which break twice,Got fired from the job which I love.hope which I got lost in all these but just little remains… May be I am not a very strong guy, or below things are very little for other people but for me it really shattered me with the brain I have.I want to write here because of two reasons:- Please bear with my bad English. To get words of support. Others may learn something from this. Birth(Dec 1987):- Bully(15yrs) I was a silent kid,deeply introverted.afraid to go out and dominate the world.Never in my life I had more than 2 or 3 friends.Never associated with any groups anywhere.Because of my silent nature and understanding of the world differently relatives and neighbors thinks that I am not of sound mind and they normally called me “sirri” (a word which describe a person as stupid with no mind”).Even my family used to call me the same, this has impacted my childish mind deeply and my confidence sank to earth every time someone called me that.though I was good in studies but not very vocal and someone who bully others just because other one is not dominatable nature. I hate these types of person even up until now.and I also choose very very carefully to whom I can open. these things keep going on till I turn around 15 or in 10th standard. and that was really a sad time.but I forgot and moved on. My teenage love(8 yrs) Its starts in early stages when hormones change occurs. My first Love.real,pure,deep,full of emotions.absolutely overwhelming.till date I have not forget those days. she was in my class sat next to my desk. I fall in love or whatever you will say infatuation. she belongs to other community. I knew marriage is not possible. I never tried to approach or propose.I knew even if I propose she will not accept.I was not handsome or a topper or may be I was insecure.I loved her deeply . Did many things those times of school like pick some flowers on my way to school and put it in her desk,looking at her whole time during school,wrote a diary, wrote some poetry also for her.cried every other day at home that I will not have her in my life.I also did those stupid thing of writing the name of your beloved from blood in your diary.lol. one incident I remember one day our teacher asked us to perform some activities, every student performed something like dance or cracked a joke. when my turn came I sang a song ”yai zamin ruk jaaye aasma jhuk jaaye tera chahra jab nazar aaye” by looking in to her eyes directly without any fear , in front of whole class and also a teacher.there are many many memories of such type.I never had a problem because I never insist her for anything. everybody knows that I loved her so much whenever anyone asked me I accepts wholeheartedly yes. she knows it. the way she looked towards me I still remember. I remember the day of parting also . it was day of 10th class last day when I got the news that she will about to leave school permanently,I become extremely sad and I know anyhow I have to bear this pain of loosing someone so close and to look at her become a daily oxygen to me. I was in deep pain. that day I thought to tell her my feelings by my own. she used to go to home through same bus stand from which I go.every day. that day I waited at stand for about 3 hrs because she was enjoying with her friends, I was desperate that today I ll tell her my feelings as after this day I will never see her. I saw her coming. she saw me from a distance and she sensed also about things. I come directly in front of her and said that I wanted to say something to you which you already know all these years.she asked me to say it.I uttered those three words.she listened and asked me if anything more I wanted to say I replied No.she left in a bus. I stayed there dont know how much longer, felt like dead. then came back home.and cried hell.my sisters consoled me so much. I couldnt did anything. so I tried to save this as a sweet memory in my heart.later when I went in college then I got toknow that she took admission in Dental school, I got her number some how and from my college far away from home I called her at every festival of her and her birthday continiously 4 yrs . then she become dentist and I got the news that she is getting married.to one of my other class mate. I became habitual about this. acceptance was there.those were the days of orkut, I dont know how many of you young guys know about orkut. its like first social media site in India those days. later I saw her some times on facebook and now she is living happily with her husband and a daughter. I left her there and locked her there in my heart to never open it up.and got busy in another things. Science and engineering(3yrs) Once I passed 10th and she left me then I have so much anger and resentment that I put all these on studies.I was a below average student got just 60% in 10th and ours was a govt school, that time I cant write or speak a single sentence in English.but somehow as all good students left the school so I got the admission in science section in 2004, there were 34 students, I studied very hard and came first that year only 8 students passed. in the next year also I did so much hard work and came first in my Class Editori was not that I got very good marks but the resources and kind of teachers I have in my govt school I did my best and came first in 12th also with 70% marks. I was so much fearful of science but my mother who was always there for me encouraged me that I can do it so I did passed it.in those 2 years i knew nothing about anything except studies I used to have one FM radio in my room some songs I hear every day like “love guru on radio city 91.1” if any of you remember.then after 12th was another struggle for career.Didnt know what to choose for further studies.I wanted to go to army.gave NDA also didnt passed.a friend came and suggest me to do coaching for engineering.I liked the idea it was the year 2006. I joined a reputed coaching in Delhi.studied day and night to pass the entrance.sometimes I got so much confident that I will do it sometimes i got frustrated.it was too much of studies for an avg student.year gone hopes begin. gave all engineering entrance examintation of delhi state and national level. like aieee and iit’s results came , didnt get selected in any one of them , got so much disheartened. you can understand how bad I was I got rank 131000 in AIEEE and for IIT I failed, DCE got 8000 rank.so no admission in any of these college. I gave uptu exam also and there I got 32953 rank and i got a change for counselling.Unfortunately there I made a blunder and even I was getting so many college in NCR Delhi region I put some college in sitapur in UP as my second choice because i foolishly thought that that were a govt college.and here begins a 4 year trauma of living in almost hell. Hostel life living away from parents If you read this far you must have understood what kind of a guy I am, so living away from parents and from New Delhi to a town of UP and college hosted in jungle and mostly the kind of people I interacted there.it was really not good. I was very much dishearted but being from a middle class family with so much of a hope from parents that my son will one day earn well and take us away from this life of hardship.I continued the battle and didnt drop out even if I wanted badly.there was not a single day in these 4 yrs when I didnt talked to my mother back home at every evening, I dont know how many times I cried that Its very very difficult to live without you guys.(tears just come to my eyes by just remembering those bad days.)Thank god he gave me one friend and a room partner with whom I was able to pass that worst time. I marked 8 lines in my diary and after every semester I crossed those one mark to able to see how much of it left to go back home. that was the best day when I was coming back last time and my family was very happy that there son became an Engineer, one more thing we with my friend decided that we will not have any affair or relationship and will directly marry. so no girlfriend type of a thing there also.Few attractions were there but I killed them and not regretting about that. Fear of studies and homesickness,Masturbation and Pornography,Falling into depression(11 yrs) This hit me bad when I was in 2nd year of age of 22yrs. I got very afraid that I cant continue in this engineering thing as this is very tough and even If I pass the exams still I will not able to do the real engineering job as this required so much brain I keep telling this to my parents and my father keep encouraged me that initially things looks tough but slowly it will get better.so I decided that whatever happen I will definately achieve this degree.I had so much pressure of homesickness(its that much you can understand that after coming back home in 2011 I have not left my hometown Delhi ), Pornography was there in college its normal thing even now I know.and I was not into these things that much. but I got addicted to masturbation like once in a week and pornography also. and I certainly believe that this masturbation and porn habit though it was not that much as with other people. it give me one of the deadliest disease which i cant even explain to you, whoever young among you is reading this I am warning you and pleading you, please leave these two devils completely out of your life else it will ruin you.this thing weakens my brain in 3rd semester i have got started rigorous hairfall,weakness of body and mind, but that time i was not able to understand because I got my body strength back in 2 days. for my mind it was normal but in reality this habit of masturbation causing deep harm to my body. which i was not able to control despite all my efforts.so in 2008 when I came back to delhi i got hit by mental illness there were symptoms severe headache, confusion,lost focus, memory issue, unable to take decisions and many more. this goes heightened also because i stuck in one more thing which is killing me, what is the true path of life,why so many religions and God and I wanted to know the truth I studied various religious scriptures also and I got so much feared that I cant die without knowing the truth.and I cant follow my parents religion without knowing for sure that it is correct or not.unfortunately I had to to a psychiatrist and here begins a trauma which is still going on they gave me that magic pill. a medications which can sort my mind out. I ,a young lad, trusted the doctors that yeah they are right in whatever they prescribe and in last 2 years of my studies this doctor gave me 7 different kind of antidepressents which numbed me actually. when I came back from college then I went to govt hospital in Delhi to a psychiatrist and he there stops all the medication and said that all this was not necessary and I was misdiagnosed, there I started with a small medication of just 10mg trusted this doctor and no doubt it helped me so much but over the years when i was stable in about 2014 i wanted to stop but my parents does not want me to stop and even my doctor. and I knew that this medication slowly killing me frm inside those who never use antidepressents can never understand what I am saying, just think that this tablet create a numbing effect on you or take away all your real emotions it makes you a zombie. and give you heightened emotions sometimes when not required also it hurt me so badly I cant even explain you some incident :- in one of my early interview I was crying sitting on footpath with fear that how will i be able to live this hard life.how will people earn.when I enter the room interviewer gave me a glass of water and ask me to come back after a month and dont panic. I was in so mch pressure of getting a job after my degree and it was tough. I got selected in one IT recruitment company and on third day i got so much un restless and fearful without any reason that i left my desk went to manager cabin locked my self inside and lie down on floor and slept and after 2 hrs manager open the door from different key and from next day they didnt picked me up for a job. Crying in washrooms is extremely common whenever my boss scold me or anybody hurts me.up until now.i never told anybody in my office that i am suffering from some brain disease else they will fire me I know. many more incident like this in my life. Searching for job after passing from tier 3 college and work till now(since 2011) this is a common story of many many guys of my type. Funny thing was that I didnt knew how to search a job and what a job is all about and how to plan a career , I knew nothing, first six month after completing a degree I left everything and just rested because I got exhausted and most probably this was a blunder. I was started searching a job and joined one of my friend in his company as Recruiter. after six month i got introduced by one of my relative of govt job and I shifted my focus in govt job preparation because the relative made a pressure on me to have a govt job cos he selected me for his girl.this i wll tell in next section in detail.then I joined a part time job in a call center because i was in another trauma as my first engagement broke and I didnt knew what to do ahead as one year already passed. so I worked there 14 months in just 4k rs pm. then I left to work in noida and good company call center and got ok amount 17500 pm worked there also 14 months till 2015 and then I was totally unsured what to do now, so I was getting promoted to quality manager there but after a degree that is not what I wanted to do so i decided that I will do a job in software anyhow.and after that I will decide further.so I left that job also and join another company in 20k pm worked there 6 months gathered all money then left and join one training institute in Noida and get my self trained there for 6 months and then gave interviews in IT companies as a fresher i had a 6 years gap. i got rejected by 11 companies and 12 one selected me. there I worked 2+ years. they have exploited me to the core and I was so much naive that I didnt understand that.I was a java guy and they asked me to learn .net so it was a do or die for me they gave only 3000 pm for training for first 4 months. i had my savings i never mind I wanted to learn . but i think now I stuck in wrong company . they trained me in .net then gave me a project of devops . i introduced devops by learning all by myself from internet whatever I can.created automatic infrastructure the best way I can alone. then they asked me to learn android then angular then big data omg it was overwhelming.I made one app backend its still live on playstore. and maintain many other . despite having my depression and other problems taking tool on my mental health. from last year oct 2018 many incident happened back to back that i asked my manager and ceo to give me off for a month they denied then i told them about my depression and they asked me to leave saying i am not able to work.they indireclty fired me in feb 2019. since then Its been 8 months i am at home. Engagement and breakup This was really tough when I came back in 2011 from college I went to one of my relative who is asst engg. in Delhi govt for guidance and help and he chose me for his daughter . I was on cloud nine . very happy . new graduate , got engaged to a beautiful girl , she is a lawyer. we fall in love. or I am wrong actually I fall in love. girls dont fall in love may be its very easy for them to move on . we got engaged for one year and as I told you earlier her father wish me to live as he asked me , he keeps me lecture every time.i got frustrated. I got a bit religious and the girl said to her father that he cant live with a religious type boy, I told her that now we are engaged dont do this , you will live the way you want to. but she got adamant and her father also.and said I become conservative and girls wants a handsome boys. i was just become simple nothing else. like simplest dresses , she doesnt like the way I dress. she asked me to change this or she will not live with me , I told her father that your daughter cant be happy with me why are you doing this to her. please stop. they dont want to stop but they want to change me , few things she said to me after a year of engagement which i still remember that , I ll have a dark future with you, why you come to my father for a job, I cant live the life of restrictions until this time I got so attached to her but I cant compromise on the way of life i am living.so I have to leave her . it was a big thing for all family and mostly on me because i was alone in this decision and my family is not in my support that time. they used to say “shadi karlo baad me jese marzi rahna who will say anything.” this breakup also shattered me , I have to move on I started a job in a call center parttime. Life in a call centre(2.5yrs) I think every graduate should work in call center for six month and not more than that. what I will write here about that it was also working hell.lol.every minute is counting 3 comapnies of call center I worked all same.they count every minute you go to washroom, toilet, outside, and thats also every day. its like work is not more on some day or less on some day. it s that work is there always.and its simply sucks.its only for high energy young people , it enhances your communication and stress management,more then six month is not good. Leaving the job and preparing for it after 6 years This was a big decision as I told you. I took it and succeeded. after a gap of six years and working hell of call center I think that now is the time that I have to move on to my job. and I took the chance. I started learning programing from for loop and learned 6 months all basic and algorithms, linked list and what not. Getting my first IT job as a associate software engineer(2+yrs) That was one of the happiest day of my life that I deserve my degree to some extent at least as out of 8 candidates that day I was the only one that was able to solve the programming problem and get selected.such a happy day it was. Rigorous learning again(2yrs) for 2 years I learned so much things, .net upto mvc. front end, devops, some big data,api, etc etc etc.. Emotional affair with married woman and heartbreak This I cant tell you what it did to me .its long story if you want to read I asked the question related to same on quora last year, that time idint knew that much worst ahead read link https://justpaste.it/41enq she broke me 70% almost. but good thing was I knew I am wrong in that just this one thing gives me strength to come out of this. Getting fired from my job This is what I was not able to bear and I informed to my bosses that I need a break and they gave me permanent break…..lol. Emotional affairs within girl other caste and fight with parents. another blow omg that time I was desperate for marriage so that I can free from this emotional and physical requirement. I got a contact from a girl from a matrimonial site and we talked around one month and she have all what I wanted , education looks religiousness. we met , we liked each othe and I though now things will get settled and I told her that I will not take anything in dowry and I jst want marriage asap , initially she was hesitant to disclose this in front to her parents before the assurance from my side. and I was 100% sure from my parents side that they will not deny at all. because of whatever happened with me . so I told her . and then I informed my parents but surprisingly my father denied completely and said that go and marry, but leave my house as the girl from other caste , i requeste them so much that after this much long i liked some girl whom i can marry and she knows everything about me , please let me do so. all my family member that time got hold of fake izzat. any how I agree my mother to atleast see the girl they went with me there home and as I know they rejected as our community wont accpet them. so I was very very disheartened but I kept my patience and trust on God that things will get better.It unable to start , i felt so much guilty , the girl cried for 3 days . I asked forgiveness said i can t go against my parents wishes. Second engagement and breakup From there they take me to there relatives who have many daughters to choose from someone and I chose one because I wanted to marry asap. they liked me then again we talked and my sister also to a girl . everyting going fine . the girl side very mch interested for this relationship they want to fix the engagement asap. the day before they are coming to fix this . I dnt want it to be fix on some lie. i called a girl and informed her about my health issue and career issue. they came and got reluctant and without fixing anything went back then after second day they asked us to come to fix things , I was again on cloud nine hundred nine that finally everything fixed. I told them that I have good experience and no problem of a job , i will have a job soon . and for my health I will try to stop the medications. but one thing happened in informing all these to them that I lost my value.and they now are taking me for granted. aisa behave tha jese ahsaan kar rahe hain…we all went there house for engagment , I bought a diamond ring for her , clothes for her of my choice. with my relatives we went there. its not in my mind but my relatives dont like there hosting and made a drama. there come too many things for next 2 days and finally they cancelled the engagement , I asked them to atleast once let me talk to her. what happened.but they didnt allow. I got bedridden for a month. Lost all hope and will to live in all these days my medications jumps from 10mg to 225mg. and it has its side effects also. after last incident I lost all my wish to live at all. I prayed god to please take me away from this world.Because I will never do suicide . its against my religion and believes. but inside me nothing left. this happened in june 2019 and I am able to do lil works in oct and writing now. i decided to left my medications also whatsoever. I will not live a live on medications.If i will live , It will be my own. though I dnt want to live at all this kind of life.I have lost my health career relationship. from last 6 months i dont have any money . my parents giving me just for survival. 1000 pm I am surviving. locked up in my room, left my medications to 66% just 75mg remains. it hurt my body very badly. when I woke up in morning there is a swelling too much of my face every day. i cant focus to do simple work on computer continiously for 3 hrs. but death has not yet occured. so i think still something remains on earth. i am trying to recover. and hoping that good days may come. I have not achieved what I dreamed of. I want to live on the lap of God. The most hurtful thing is my brain condition which is not able to handle simple stresses like above many people may handle above things easily. but its really tough for me now very much . I really dont know what is the life of happiness. though I am fortunate to have able parents who even can support me now.but from inside nothing left. now I am really afraid to continue in engineering because i fear more pressure on brain will do harm to my brain . and rest I dont know what to do. Recovering and never give up I also wanted to live a happy life like many others.I will not suicide. but I dont know until when I can able to handle these pressures.Because now my body and mind is not giving me enough support to fight these pressures.I know people have more hardships then me but its not comparable with anyone to anyone. Positive things in my life:- God Almighty My parents, super supportive, and very patient I love them Hope Good home with all basic facilities My lovely nieces and nephews I am proud that I achieved many things which I decided, like I didn't achieved many. Few good friends. Aur bhi bht hoga jo mujhe abhi yaad nahi aa rha. Thank you God Bless you all.
  14. Hi all I'm on day 3 of tapering off venlafaxine XL 37.5, only 2 beads out at a time,I will get a scales soon because It will only get harder the more I have to count out the beads .I am going to take it extremely slowly this time.I did a taper in march 2016 and it lasted till the june and i didn't go beyond 5 beads out each day before going back to 37,5. Its been a very tough time , I have extreme anxiety,extreme iratibillaty ,intrusive thoughts,. to name a few. What I have learned since that time is to have compassion for ones self and b very patient when doing the taper . My advice to everyone is don't ever believe u cant get through it .our nervous system and soul take time to heal Over the last 3 years I have learned and practice mindfulness ,it is amazing. It has helped me to calm down during a couple of flights to the UK when starting to panic. Today I had a bad anxiety attack but I was able to snap out of the attack fairly quickly because I have been practicing it and I recommend always getting out for a walk in the sun if u can and clear your mind. Please always keep your mind open to new ways to heal.We all now its hard but don't ever let anyone break your spirit. Total respect to everyone .
  15. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE TOPIC BEFORE GOING OFF PRISTIQ. Pristiq comes in insufficient dosages to taper. Do not alternate doses of Pristiq to taper -- this will cause the levels of this medication in your brain to go up and down and is second only to cold-turkey in causing withdrawal symptoms. AND DON'T COLD-TURKEY EITHER!!!!!!!!! To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and post-discontinuation prolonged withdrawal syndrome, as with other psychiatric drugs we recommend reducing Pristiq by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this: However, Pristiq is difficult to taper "at a more gradual rate" as it comes in only 3 dosages: low, average and excessive -- and officially, the tablets cannot be split. PROTEST THIS DANGEROUS DRUG Phone Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, to make a complaint: (800) 438-1985 in the US Pfizer has not provided any specific information on how to taper from a dosage of 25mg Pristiq, the lowest available dosage. They may suggest alternating dosages to taper Pristiq. Don't do this -- it's like playing ping-pong with your brain. File a complaint about the difficulty of tapering off Pristiq -- the range of dosages is inadequate. Also complain to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. Pristiq is Effexor's fancier sibling Pristiq is a drug made of Effexor's (venlafaxine) active metabolite, O-desvenlafaxine. Pristiq is to Effexor as Lexapro is to Celexa -- a tweaked and more powerful isomer molecule. In effect, Pristiq is concentrated Effexor. See http://www.primarypsychiatry.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=2464 According to Pfizer http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=497, Pristiq is available in extended-release tablets of 25mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg; the most common dosage is 50mg. Unlike Effexor, which is metabolized primarily by liver enzyme P450 CYP2D6, Pristiq is metabolized via conjugation and liver enzyme P450 CYP3A4. It attains peak plasma concentrations in about 7.5 hours. As a chemical, before it's put into an extended-release tablet, desvenlafaxine has a half-life of around 11 hours. Pristiq's extended-release formulation According to this paper, the extended-release formulation releases desvenlafaxine over 24 hours. The mean half-life of desvenlafaxine, without the extended-release formulation, is around 11 hours. The extended-release formulation is a monolithic matrix -- it's in the glue that holds the tablet together, not in the coating. I confirmed this in a phone conversation with Pfizer medical information (1-800-438-1985). (Thank you, oaklily, for this information about the matrix formulation.) Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. This is called a monolithic matrix tablet. If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. When the tablet is CRUSHED, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability. A Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. (Here is a description of the similar matrix formulation for quetiapine XR (Seroquel XR) .) OPTIONS FOR TAPERING PRISTIQ Since medicine knows nothing about tapering Pristiq, the following are all informal suggestions. Try any of them at your own risk. Please let us know how you do by posting in this topic. Cut up Pristiq tablets Despite the warnings not to cut it up, from reports on the Web, cutting up Pristiq tablets does seem to work for some but it makes others ill, possibly because of "dose dumping." According to Pubmed on Desvenlafaxine: "....The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool...." The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. If the matrix is destroyed, the entire dose is released at once or "dumped," instead of being gradually released through the matrix formulation. Without the extended-release matrix, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. To avoid "dose dumping" of the entire dose, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. Cut-up Pristiq seems to sometimes cause stomach upset, which may be reduced by taking it with food. Now that the 25mg tablet is available, cutting it into quarters gives you the option to taper by 6.25mg per step. If you are taking 100mg Pristiq or 50mg Pristiq, you may wish to request part of your prescription be written for 25mg tablets. (For insurance coverage of multiple dosages, your doctor most likely will have to specify taking Pristiq in "divided doses.") You may find you need a precise way to measure your tablet fragments. See Using a digital scale to measure doses As you get down to a low dose, you may wish to switch to Effexor to more precisely control dosage decreases, see below. Reducing from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg Pristiq Drug switches incur additional risk. Before trying a switch to Effexor or Prozac (fluoxetine) from 100mg Pristiq, it's probably wise to go down to 50mg Pristiq first, or 25mg if possible. Combining whole tablets, with their extended-release qualities, with tablet fragments probably makes "dose dumping" less likely or noticeable. You might use a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to make the first reduction to 93.75mg 2nd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 87.5mg 3rd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 81.25mg 4th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet to go to 75mg 5th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to go to 68.75mg 6th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 62.5mg 7th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 56.25mg 8th reduction: a 50mg tablet If withdrawal symptoms occur, some people have found taking an additional fragment of a tablet can smooth the transition from one dosage to another. Another way to get from 100mg to 50mg or 25mg is to combine Pristiq tablets with a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor (see below). Once at 50mg or 25mg, stabilize for a month at least and consider your plan for the next stage of tapering. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules or a liquid by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this. See getting-custom-dosages-at-compounding-pharmacies-us-uk-and-elsewhere ) If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. One of our members had a desvenlafaxine liquid made by a compounding pharmacy. Most likely, this compounder used pure desvenlafaxine succinate powder to make this liquid, as desvenlafaxine tablets contain a glue that might resist being made into a liquid. But he may have a way to grind tablets up to make a suspension. A liquid would have to be immediate-release, with a half-life of around 11 hours. Generally, you'd take a drug with that short a half-life twice a day. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. In principle, this would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets: Crush the tablet Make sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder Weigh the powder for a dose with a digital scale Put the powder into an empty gelatin capsule to make it easier to ingest Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular immediate-release Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. Alternatively, you might substitute Effexor XR, which is released gradually like Pristiq and needs to be taken only once a day. You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (If you've just quit Pristiq and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may wish to reinstate a LOWER dose of Effexor XR, such as 37.5mg, to start. This may be enough to stop withdrawal symptoms and avoid a kindling reaction.) The psychiatrist who writes the 1boringoldman.com blog reports success in switching one patient from Pristiq to Effexor, then tapering Effexor, here (see comments) Another psychiatrist said when he tried this, the switch from Pristiq to Effexor was "seamless." Dr. Stuart Shipko posts here: Advice from a psychiatric pharmacist I have been corresponding with a professor at a prominent US university pharmacy department. Here is his best guess at how to taper Pristiq (he does not want his name published): Then taper off fluoxetine (Prozac). See Tips for Tapering Prozac Advice from Dr. Stephen Stahl, author of the manual Essential Psychopharmacology In his widely read psychopharmacology manual, eminent psychopharmacologist Stephen Stahl advises titration by crushing the tablets and mixing in fruit juice, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__14799 According to our member oaklily, Stahl is wrong. Making a liquid from Pristiq does not work, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__24822 Dr. Stahl intends to correct his book, according to this correspondence 09/15-9/16/13 with him: Use a combination of Pristiq tablets and Effexor liquid Pristiq cannot be made into a liquid, but its close relative immediate-release Effexor (not Effexor XR) can. You may be able to go off Pristiq by taking part of your dose in lower-dose tablets and part in liquid Effexor, gradually converting to all-liquid Effexor as you get to lower dosages. This may offer a convenient and gradual path off Pristiq. Only regular immediate-release Effexor can be made into a liquid (see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) ). As immediate-release Effexor has a short half-life and is usually dosed twice a day, you may wish to take the liquid portion of your dosage later in the day. For example, if you are taking 100mg Pristiq, you may wish to take your daily dose as one 50mg tablet and the rest later in the evening as a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. You can titrate the liquid by 10% of your daily dosage to taper until you get to 50mg. Then you can take a 25mg Pristiq tablet with the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. When you get to 25mg Pristiq, you might switch to splitting the tablet and taking the rest in Effexor liquid and so on until you are taking only liquid Effexor. To do this, you will have to request a prescription for Effexor tablets as well as Pristiq from your doctor. "Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant Any drug change incurs additional risk. A switch to Prozac from Pristiq may not work -- they are very different drugs -- or you might have adverse reactions to Prozac. Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a sibling of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq. Attributed to Joseph Glenmullen, the "bridging" technique is described by a doctor here http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2005/ph1354.htm Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac: The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Later, taper off Prozac. At least Prozac comes in a liquid. To do this, consult a doctor knowledgeable about this technique.
  16. Hello everybody, I apologize in advance for my English writing, it wil not be perfect but i hope you can understand me! My name is Andi and i am from The Netherlands, i am 31 years old! I have a history with social anxiety and panic disorder although i can honestly say that as for as the social anxiety goes im doing a lot better, the only major problem i have is the fact that i have a lot of fear for the fear if that makes sense! Anyway i started using Lexapro in 2012 and the first 2 years i was doing fine, no issues whatsoever, after 2 years i started to get severe neck nerve pain, i went to the doctor many times and the only thing he said was that is was due to stress! After walking around with crazy nerve pain for about 4 years and ruling out everything i then thought it had to be the Escitalopram! So then i made the biggest mistake ever!!! I quit cold turkey in 2017! For the first couple of weeks i was feeling kinda sick like the flue but it was actually not really that bad! My neck was starting to feel better so i was actually happy about it and thought that i was gonna feel fine in a couple of weeks! Wow was i wrong!! After 4 weeks i woke up with tinnitus, and after about 5 weeks the bomb exploded! I had the worst anxiety and panic attacks ever!! Whey worse than before the medication! I had severe restless legs and could not sleep! I was extremely emotional and also agressive! I had never been like that before!! I then obviously started googling these issues and came across this site as many others, i read a lot of different stories and thought wel maybe i will get better in time! But after 4 months of hell i had enough! I basically made an appointment with a psychiatrist and the first day they gave me Effexor! They could have given me anything because i didn't wanna go a day longer! Anyway after 2 weeks i went up to 75mg of Effexor and yes my emotional problems where a lot better but once again i got extreme neck pain, even worse than before so i had to go back to 37,5 mg! After a couple of days my neck was feeling a lot better but anxiety wise i was not great! Not as bad as before but also not great! The biggest issue i had with the anxiety that came was this weird thing where i felt like i could not breath!! That was horrible! Everytime the doorbell rang at home i immediately could't breath! Before the medication my anxiety was never like this!! Anyway after dropping to 37mg of Effexor i still felt like choking sometimes however i was sleeping a bit better (not longer than 4 hours in a row) but atleast the restless legs where gone! Emotional wise i was still doing oke. So because i was to scared to come off Effexor i was on it for about a year until the end of 2018! At that moment i felt reasonable and the anxiety was also a bit better so i decided to gett off the meds because i was getting some annoying side effects once again! So i tapered down over the course of 3 months, i know some people will say that this is to fast but i was done with the medication because of the very annoying side effects like teeth grinding, not being able to sleep long and once again neck pain! Anyway in February of this year i had my last pill! So the first 6 weeks i was doing okay! I definitely felt some withdrawal issues like restless legs and emotional, irritated and things like that but not as bad as last year when i came off lexapro! But once again after about 7 weeks things got bad, i got a lot more anxiety and emotional and somehow my neck started hurting again, i also feel extemely irritated and annoyed very fast! I can get really angry if something goes wrong and i hate this because i have never been like this before! My anxiety is also through the roof and once again i cant sleep! So its been 4 months now and still no progress! I still feel like im surviving and have no life! I talked with many people, i have a new psychiatrist and when i explain my problem she looks at me like she doesn't care, she keeps saying that i am probably one of the very few people with these issues! The only option she gives me is to take other medication! I really don't want to do it but i will probably take an other medicine in August because i just cant do this anymore! Nobody reassures me or anything! They act like i had these issues before the medication but i know that is such bulls... I really start to hate doctors!! Anyway the only option i see is to wait until August because then i have been off the meds for 6 months, if by then there is no progression i have no other choice but to try an other medicine! Again i really don't want it but right now my life is horrible! I need reassurence, i still cant sleep! Why is it that when i started taking Effexor i could not sleep longer than 4 hours in a row and now i am off this medicine and i still have the same issue!? Is this permanent? Can these meds really damage you for life? Can anybody tell me will this get better and what is the timeframe? Thank you for reading!
  17. Greetings to all! It took 5 years for my brain and nervous system to rebalance and heal after taking Effexor for 14 years. Nasty stuff. One of the hardest to discontinue. But it is possible! I tried to d/c it a few times over those 14 years but had to keep going back on it because I couldn't function. I didn't understand enough about withdrawal and how all this works. But as we all know we reach a point where our souls know we do not need this drug and will do whatever it takes to get off it and stay off it. It's a ride through hell that's for sure but you can do it!! As we all know, it's a lot worse at the beginning of withdrawal. I only had about 3 days of windows over the years. But I could feel symptoms slowly getting better over the last year till it starts being noticeable that the crud may still be there but it's more manageable. And the last 6 months it kept improving until I couldn't believe that the buzzing in my head was gone and the fear and anxiety were gone. The brain fog and fatigue also slowly start improving. There may always be a little residual fatigue and brain fog but I'm also 66 yrs old - ha! We have no idea how brave we are to go through this to live an authentic life drug free. It finally happened this year around May. And as you know it was many years of a nightmare I could not have imagined. But it will happen!! I am here as proof. I have my life back and am finally able to travel to see my family out of town and live a normal life again. Acceptance, perseverance, surrender, humor, love - it's all part of living each day well. Just continue to take care of yourself the best you can. Walking in nature is SO HEALING. That is what saved me. And taking every stress out that you possibly can. And lots and lots of prayer. My heart goes out to you - Hang in there - you will make it. 🙏😘
  18. Hi all,[/size] My name is Lisa, I am a 30 year old female and I believe I've experienced protracted withdrawal. I plan on starting to taper off Effexor XR in July. Here is some of my history: [/size] Starting in 2005, I began taking Lexapro after my father got cancer and passed away 4 months later as I started having panic attacks. I am not sure when I went off Lexapro, but I know I was put on Celexa for a while as Lexapro stopped working and I have now been on Effexor XR for 6 years. In the past, when I go off an SSRI/SNRI, I end up going back on after some time because my panic attacks come back. After 6 months of therapy, I went off Effexor XR in March 2014 with a week of a half dose (37.5 mg) and then completely off, by the advice of a psychiatrist. Actually, the book she referred to recommended 2 days of a half dose and then completely off, but she extended it.[/size] Withdrawal was horrendous. Insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, dizzy, not able to concentrate, felt just SO out of it. Finally it was over in a week or so. But in late May 2015 (3 months later, thinking it was all out of my system and I was good), I had just gotten home from vacation and was about to get into the shower when BAM, I was suddenly so dizzy that I couldn't tell which way was up or down. This remained for 3 months day in and out and after a ton of tests (took meclizine (anti-dizziness pill) which did nothing, ENT looked at my sinuses/ears which were clear, inner ear tests which were normal, brain MRI which was normal), until I went back on Effexor XR in August 2014 by recommendation of a neurologist who said it was my anxiety coming back. During what I'm thinking was protracted withdrawal, I was dizzy constantly. I'd wake up from a deep sleep completely dizzy, it did not go away. I also had excruciating headaches at night and could barely sleep 2-3 hours a night because of this (I NEVER get headaches). I was also severely exhausted because of the dizziness - everything was harder, and the low amounts of sleep due to headaches. I did not understand because other than being upset of my state of being constantly dizzy, I really was not anxious. I was meditating, exercising (as much as I could - it was a feat with being dizzy), nothing significant going on in my life. I had also been going to therapy and made huge strides.. I still continue to go to therapy weekly and it's been about a year and a half now. I was so confused as to how this could be anxiety. Now I'm reading this site and I'm learning this was probably protracted withdrawal. After I started taking the Effexor XR again, within 2 weeks I felt totally better. Now that I have been back on Effexor XR since August 2014, and after learning what I've read on this site, I want to start a slow taper in July after my next vacation. My therapist believes I am ready and now I know I am after having a great suspicion that those symptoms were not due to my anxiety. I have read the advice boards and will be doing the 10% per month taper. I also will be going to the recommended doctor in Farmington, MI and have an appt with him at the end of this month.[/size] Has anyone else experienced the protracted withdrawal symptoms that I had? Any other advice or tips that you can share? I will be coming here often and hoping to make friends [/size] Thanks![/size]
  19. Hello, I am a 50 year old woman with a history of depression. Here is my story and it is a long one, be warned - if you aren't in the mood for a long history, skip this now LOL! I'm one of those people whose family relations have also had histories of depression, and depression became an issue for me from maybe 10 years old and up, though no one really recognized it. I became bulimic at 16 and remained so for much of my adult life until about eight years ago. My adult-hood has been one of perfectionism, low self-esteem and under-performing, with all the self-hatred that that generates. My first experience with medication came after a rough relationship where I ended up feeling suicidal. I was put on Prozac. I think back to that being the beginning of the rest of my adulthood with virtually no libido. A major move after marriage led me to more depression, and at that time Wellbutrin was being marketed heavily, so I asked my GP to put me on it. No tapering of the Prozac, if I recall. Wellbutrin didn't work, but now I realize it was probably in part because I was having withdrawal from the Prozac - not sure and I don't have a lot of memories about that period one way or another. I forget if I continued the Wellbutrin up to the next change, but I had gotten the flu which turned into pneumonia for a month, and when I went to the doctor after that long of not getting better, he said "you are depressed." Well, yes, I said, I am depressed because of being sick this long! And he said, No, you are clearly a generally depressed person and you should see a p-doc. So, I did, and that doc put me on Effexor. This was somewhere back around 11 years ago. I upped the dose as they directed. I never felt like my depression was well-controlled because none of the therapy I had over the years was CBT - talk therapy would make me feel better for the moment but no change took place, so the low self-esteem and negative thinking remained. I guess the Effexor somehow made my life more tolerable, but I never felt happy or satisfied with myself. Somewhere along the line I began to taper down on the Effexor, and I have very few memories of when, how or why, other than that I hated needing ADs, and my libido sucked. A move and the loss of an old dog sent me into another bad depression, but this well could have coincided with stepping down the Effexor. Three years ago, I lost my job, and then my husband lost his, but then he got a new one which required relocating to a very hot climate where we were able to afford a home with acreage, the first time we were ever able to own, but it was very rural and the isolation quickly got to me, with anxiety increasing for various reasons. Again, I don't remember the stepping down process, but two years ago a new GP refilled my Effexor but prescribed the non-extended release version. Since these tablets were able to be broken, I began taking just half (37.5 mg). Last summer I had a bought of shingles and became very depressed and stressed again from the pain. I also was clearly in menopause and having severe hot flashes. My whole adult life had been marred by low libido since going on Prozac way back when, and the shingles were actually on my private parts (tested positive for zoster, not herpes) and I became very concerned that I didn't want the rest of my life to be joyless where sex was concerned, so I decided to go off BCPs and Effexor. In hind sight, that was madness! I stepped down the Effexor, going to every other day with the 37.5 mg. I wasn't aware of any severe symptoms, and this was last summer. Well, meanwhile, I was going through some stresses regarding a health crisis with one of my dogs. I found myself totally scatter-brained, forgetful, unable to concentrate, and also I had trouble articulating myself, unable to complete thoughts when talking with people, words hard to reach. A friend told me he always thought I was ADD, and indeed at this time I was losing things, forgetting what I was doing halfway through doing it, easily distracted, etc. I'm also a total clutter-bug who can't face doing the dishes or cleaning the house, though I've been that way for years. I had started taking Sam-e and tryptophan as a way to up serotonin. I was having a terrible time with insomnia. So, I went to get tested for ADD. I tested negative, but the psychologist doing the testing said I didn't have ADD, but that I did have OCD, depression, and GAD. He said, the good news is that there are medications that can make you "normal!" I bit, and went to a p-doc on a list he gave me. She put me on Viibryd. I stopped the serotonergic supplements. The first week at 10 mg was ok, but when I went up to 20 mg as instructed, all hell broke loose! My insomnia worsened, with the most severe anxiety I think I had ever experienced! All night I was thrashing around with racing, troubling thoughts. During the day, I would have squirts of adrenalin for no reason. I had days where I was so distressed and troubled, I couldn't stand to exist. I had global anxiety about climate change, getting old, my parents getting old losing them some day, the drought and how horrible life was! I have never experienced anxiety like that in my life! I stepped the Viibryd back down to 10 mg for about a week and then stopped it, and went back on the supplements. This time I was trying to follow the supplement plan laid out in the Mood Cure, adding GABA and some other stuff. I'd do ok for awhile, but the insomnia was still bad, and the general feeling of being ill-at-ease was so disturbing, I just couldn't stand it. So, I stopped the supplements and started taking 37.5 mg of Effexor again. After three days, I was in serotonin syndrome almost to the point of having to go to the ER! I stopped the Effexor and got an appointment with another p-doc who is a DO and actually not into psych meds. He said I'd been through about 3 years' worth of med changes in a very short period of time and that my nerves were very sensitive and that I needed consistency. He went through the meds and supplements I had a history with, and told me which supplements were safe to take (non-serotonergic). Since I had not been able to eat and lost weight, and the insomnia was so bad, he put me on Remeron, saying it was a very gentle med that worked on a different part of the serotonin pathway, and that it would help with sleep and appetite. He started me on 7.5 mg and said I could step it up as needed, that it was safe up to 60 mg. Well, I felt much better and it was nice to sleep all through the night without anxiety again. Yeah! But after a week, I was feeling down again so started upping the dose. Two weeks later I was at 37.5 mg, feeling totally apathetic and on the couch, unable to do anything I had previously enjoyed in life. I couldn't understand why the med wasn't working anymore! I was in a desperate way and called this p-doc's assistant, the fastest way to get to him, he said. I left four messages and never heard back! I suffered through to my next scheduled appointment with him two weeks later, and suffering it was! My family members were greatly concerned. The only thing that kept me going through this spell was the fact that a therapist I had recently seen told me about Emotional Brain Training, which I joined. It was developed by Laurel Mellin at UCSF and is based on neuroplasticity and rewiring the brain. It was perfect for me because I lived in the country, was isolated, and the city is 40 minutes away, so I was able to get support from home with weekly phone-in meetings with a coach and group members, daily work online, and daily phone-connections with group members. I am not hawking this, but if you want to learn more about it, go to www.ebt.org. Anyway, EBT kept me from going down the tubes through all of this. When I saw my p-doc, he said "let's add Effexor back to the remeron since you tolerated it well in the past." I started on 37.5 mg. The day I took it, I was having a non-functional couch day, and I would say within an hour of taking it, my mood lifted, like a light switch had been flipped! It was miraculous! Now, everyone knows that ADs are supposed to take weeks to start working. I now realize that the reason it worked so fast was because I was in withdrawal and it was like a junkie getting a hit of the drug they are withdrawing from - instant fix! Ok, I know my story is long but the final chapter is here: I added the Effexor back about 12 days ago. I actually had one day, about a week into it, where I was on the couch again. The next day, I saw a third p-doc my therapist said I should see since I had such a bad experience with the last guy's non-responsiveness when I left those messages. So, I saw this new guy on Wednesday. I didn't yet realize that all of the craziness I had endured since last fall was because of the withdrawal. I was convinced that genetically, I just had to be on ADs, that I had relapsed in a big way. I did think that the Viibryd had damaged me, since I had never experienced anxiety to that degree before, nor had I had depression this debilitating. This new guy said, "let's stick with this for now, since you haven't been on the Effexor long enough to see how it will work for you, but I want to up it to 75 mg (thanks to that couch day). We may end up changing you to other meds, but let's see how this goes for now." So, I began taking 75 mg Effexor ER on Thursday. It just so happens that one of my EBT connection buddies is going through withdrawal from ADs that she was put on for post-partum depression 8 years ago. She told me about this, and referred me to a neat video about neuroplasticity on beyondmeds.com. Her point in doing so was to point out about how EBT is so dead-on about retraining the brain, but in fact I had locked on to concept of withdrawal, and I began to realize that this was so much of what I had and am still going through, and this is why the Effexor worked immediately! So, I am faced with the fact that I am now back on the drug that I was hooked on. For now, I need to be consistent and not change anything, though I am going back to 37.5 mg Effexor since I'd only been on the higher dose for a couple of days. I will ride this out until my next appointment with the p-doc in five weeks. I am worried that he will be one to poo-poo withdrawal. I feel like, for the first time in my life, I am getting the cognitive help I need to eliminate the poor self-esteem and my negative black and white thinking that has ruined my life and got me started on ADs to begin with. I feel this will be critical to getting off these drugs some day. I feel so grateful to the universe for bringing me together with my connection buddy who brought this all to light for me. And beyondmeds.com brought me here.
  20. Hi everyone! Don't know where to begin... I've been on and off (mostly on) antidepressants since the birth of my son in 2013. My history is so similar to many here, jumping from one drug to another. I've tried to withdraw from SSRI's/SSNRI's four times and have ultimately always ended up back on them because what I thought was a return and worsening of my depression was most likely pretty significant and scary withdrawal symptoms. To summarize, I usually last about 6 weeks and then all of a sudden am unbearably irritable with increasing suicidality, which is the one symptom I cannot handle and have always returned to drugs at that point. Or some life stressor sends me over the edge. It breaks my heart because, like many here, my withdrawal symptoms are worse than the (postpartum) depression that landed me in this mess of drugs. I was never suicidal before, I was having an adjustment disorder and some PTSD following the difficult and traumatic birth of my son. I needed support and counseling, not drugs thrown at me to make me functional in the mess of my pain. What compounds this is the fact that I have PCOS, which in itself can contribute to anxiety and depression. It's hard for me to tease the two apart- I wonder, is this a PCOS thing or is this my depression? The last time I tried to taper effexor was when I had been off birth control for about 5 months and had been feeling really good. BUT, I know the pattern now for that too- every single time I quit ocp things are awesome for about 4-6 months and then the walls come crashing in (periods disappear, moods worse, skin breaking out, hair loss). The hormonal derangement compounds any issues I am having with mood or anxiety and I am back on oral contraceptives now and will be for awhile, I'm not even thinking of stopping those at the moment. Although I'd very much like too...xsighx Right now, I have stupidly followed my primary card md's advice of the two week every other day taper and am two weeks post my last effexor 37.5mg. Prior to tapering, I had been feeling really good and truly want off these drugs. I did not do this under my md's supervision or suggestion because at this point I feel like I know more about this subject than he does as his only suggestions are basically to taper off or go back on them at full dose. I have definitely been experiencing withdrawal symptoms during this time- hypomania, insomnia, increasing irritability, and headache are my biggest complaints. The headaches have basically stopped and I'm trying to reign in my spending and obsessive behaviors (no one needs to be on amazon.com until 4am!). However, I feel like my irritability is remaining the same if not getting worse and unfortunately my children get the brunt of that. Work is fine, relationship with my husband is fine, but I am having a difficult time dealing with my 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old. (Although tbh, I imagine anyone with kids this close in age and at this age in particular would struggle) I find myself yelling at them more than I would like and becoming frustrated with innocuous behavior; that I am not handling my feelings and emotions well. 😢 This is heartbreaking and worth considering going back on the effexor but I don't want to. I have no doubt that I tapered too fast as I did not properly educate myself on the best way to get off this drug. After spending considerable amounts of time on this site, I reinstated at half the granules in my 37.5mg capsules. I just did this tonight and I will continue to take this dose and slowly work back the time I take this drug to be back in the morning. My symptoms are kind of subtle, more mental than physical sensations, and I was wondering how will I know if this dose I've reinstated at is good? I know I need to go back on the effexor and stabilize for awhile before thinking of tapering again. Any advice/suggestions/insight into reinstating at half 37.5mg? How do I know if that's a good dose to reinstate at? I'm not sure where to go from here, although the next couple days will hopefully give me some clues. Thank you to everyone here, although I am new to this community it has helped me so much already to see other people sharing the same struggles and helping each other to get better together. ❤️
  21. Hi Everyone! I decided to quit 20+ years of 75mg EffexorXR by tapering down over about 6 weeks. Which was surprisingly easy until I went bat sh*t crazy. That was the hard part... going crazy. I remember sitting on my laptop and suddenly feeling like I was a camp councilor at Crystal Lake and Jason was hot on my trial. Not kidding. I actually felt like I was in a horror movie. It was horrible. The craziest thing is that it didn't even cross my mind that Effexor had anything to do with it!!!! My sister gave me that idea. So, I reinstated my dose and tapered about 15% per month and found this forum. That went fine for awhile, but had to slow down to 10%. I'm about 12-18 months along on my taper and I'm down to 12 little tiny bbs!!!! As I write this I'm fine, but sometimes things are hard. Very hard. Over the last 6 months I think I've read every book and watched every video about tappering/depression/anxiety/supplements/therapy/etc. I cannot begin to thank those that monitor SA. You are amazing people and need to be recognized! And that is pretty much it. Oh yeah, I'm 50 or 51. I try not to think about it. So, I'm down to 12 bbs/day and I loath every cut. I know in three days I'm going to feel horrible. It seems that in the beginning the tapering was pretty easy, but as I get toward the end it gets WAY more difficult. Is this typical?
  22. Hi all, It's been a crazy few months since August... and yet it feels like we barely started on this journey. Not really looking forward to next year based on what I've seen... Anyway, some background, my 62yr old mum has on and off over the years experienced stress related throat symptoms - difficulty swallowing, lump in throat etc. All her visits to throat specialists yielded nothing (except for a slight hernia hiatus w/ GERD, which she was put on a PPI long term for). Unable to find the source of her discomfort, she became more distressed by it, resulting in a vicious cycle of cause and effect. Eventually she got put on Fluvoxamine 150mg, Olanzapine 2.5mg and Nordiazepam 11.25mg back in 2018 Nov. Previously she has been rx fluvoxamine on and off since 2004, and seem to have always gone cold turkey off them whenever she felt better. Her pdoc never warned her not to do so, nor suspected that her repeated visits and complaints of symptoms may have been due to withdrawal. She was previously rx benzos PRN but never took them until the TID prescription in nov 18. Fast forward to 2019, she started exhibiting symptoms of what i now know was tolerance withdrawal from benzos, increasing anxiety and visibly fearful, things shes never had before. In Aug 19 she switched a pdoc believing that the previous pdoc's meds werent working anymore. The new pdoc cold turkeyed her off the antipsychotic as well as her benzo, but rx clonazepam to her to be taken PRN, but only if she really needs it coz it's 'addictive' and thus bad. She was also switched to mirtazapine 30mg. This switch resulted in a tsunami of acute withdrawal symptoms to appear. Within weeks of zero sleep and many many disturbing symptoms, she became suicidal. I got involved at this point, but was otherwise ignorant of the real danger she was in. I knew she was in withdrawal, I just didnt know withdrawals could be so dangerous or last that long. The pdoc reassured me that everything will be okay, and that she's already looking better than when she first came in! (Turns out, it was because she had a clonazepam just before the appointment. Duh!) When things didnt relent by the end of august, and she became actively suicidal, i grew concerned and admitted her to a psych ward. Bad mistake, because they misdiagnosed her as depression and did a major change to her cocktail of drugs again. They reinstated her on 10mg V, and switched her to 75mg Effexor XR, as well as loaded her on zdrugs for the duration if her stay(10+days). This mistake did help me figure out what went wrong though, as the switch to Valium helped me find benzobuddies and the ashton manual. Only then did the past month finally make sense. I was horrified at how arbitrary pdocs were making their adjustments to medications, and shocked that they would so blatantly tell me its her underlying illness that she has been masking symptoms of from me. Makes one wonder if she was so good at masking symptoms previously, why is she incapable of doing so now? 😕 They tried to cold turkey / rapid taper her off V again, but i insisted they reinstate her back on her benzo and do a proper taper instead. They agreed but only reinstated and discharged her with 8mg V with the instruction to taper her benzo at 1mg/mth. My discovery and obsession of benzo withdrawal has blinded me to the other two real dangers that she was in, that she was cold turkeyed off an antipsychotic, and put on venlaflaxine, a super short halflife snri. By the time I realize it may not just be benzo withdrawal, it was too late, she was already off olanzapine for 3 mths, and on effexor xr for the same amount of time. I raised my concerns, but the pdoc brushed away my concern again. These ill advised tapering instructions resulted in my mum entering a state of catatonia stupor in mid nov, and had to be admitted to the hospital for a week, after she couldnt stabilize on her 1mg cut to 7mg V. As of now, shes having a myriad of symptoms, including but not limited to dp/dr, akathisia, broken sleep, major brain fog cognitive dysfunction/memory issues, paranoia, confusion, dysphagia, anxiety, fear, panic, agoraphobia, constipation and other gi issues, and something im growing more and more concerned for, tardive dyskinesia (rapid eye blinking, chewing, lips smacking) which Im wondering if it was from the olanzapine cold turkey or the clonazapem use for 3 weeks after her first cold turkey. Most days, shes hardly present and would take a long time to register things i say, or execute simple instructions. Her cognitive skills fluctuates, but only from really bad to somewhat bad, never good or normal. Her anxiety has somewhat weaned but is still fearful and obsessively worried and paranoid. She bounced back from her catatonic state rather quickly, but is experiencing severe dp/dr and brain fog that hasnt relented for the 2 weeks since she got discharged from the hospital. Waves and windows throughout the day... Anyway.. her tardive dyskinesia concerns me... and got me reading up on more than just benzo withdrawal. Effexor has always concerned me, so on and off i'd be on SA reading up about it, but Ashton said to taper ADs after benzos so i never really questioned it, until I read the thread about tapering stimulating drugs first which got me thinking if we should get her off effexor first and do a long hold on her benzo instead... of course, i'm assuming her pdoc will be supportive but who knows 😕 Anyway... I'm currently holding her on 7mg V intil the end of the year, which will make it about 2+mths shes on that dosage. Will do a micro taper eitherway, drycutting V or counting beads for effexor XR. As of now, i started tapering her PPI omeprazole coz shes been on it for almost 4 yrs and that concerns me... as well as the Valium Interaction with omeprazole. for all I know, her anxiety and throat symptoms over the yrs couldve been caused by the PPI, coupled with her cold turkeying off her ADs on her own over the years, it seemed like a perfect storm waiting to happen... I wish back then I had known the things i know now, perhaps then she wouldnt be on these drugs or been cold turkeyed off them. It's painful to watch her usually high functioning self be reduced to someone whom I have to bring to the washroom otherwise she doesnt remember she has to urinate. I really miss her. I wish I had read up more, because I had the exact same thing happen to me in my early 20s with ADs and antipsychotics (had a BS bipolar II diagnosis and even had 10 rounds of ECT done to me) but I was taught to embrace my mental illness and work towards recovery... but I always kind of knew it was BS because I knew I didnt become suicidal or had behavioral issues until i started on psych drugs, and that I didnt fully recover until i was off them for a couple of years (I learnt to act normal so my pdoc would take me off them). Anyhow... tons of regret not researching more when I was younger, coz I can see clearly now what happened to me back then, and what is happening to my mum now. Sorry for the long post. Been feeling very guilty and helpless lately over her current situation, and cant figure out what the next best step should be. Anyway, I hope everyones doing ok and making progress in their own journey to recovery.
  23. Help777

    Help777: journal

    Effexor x12 years. Added lithium in sept 2015. Added prozac in october to help bridge taper from effexor as i started having symptoms. Started withdrawing effexor in September 2014. Over last 4 months i went From 112.5 to 14mg as of last week.. Last week I seemed to all of a sudden hit a wall. Crying uncontrollably constantly. Shaking, nausea, extreme fear and overwhelming need to cry. Ive read your site. Ive reinstated to 20 mg of effexor for last 3 days but absolutely no improvement. Im so scared. I cant go to work like this. Continuing prozac 20 and lithium 300. Please help.
  24. Hello all, I am a 27 year old male that unfortunately fell into the vicious SSRI/SNRI cycle about 7 years ago. Thinking back, what a blurr it has been. Not feeling like myself on or off medication, I’ve made little progress on personal development through the foundational years a 20 something year old is suppose to go through. I currently am not working, moved back home with my father, still have yet to finish college, not many friends or connections i.e. networking etc. . . I feel like these drugs have taken a lot from me. I originally got on the meds for some social anxiety I have experienced basically my entire life. My anxiety could stem from undiagnosed autism as I do fit some of the criteria to be on the spectrum. Then again everyone has some trait they evaluate autism on. After all, we are human. Anyways, over the last 7 years I have been on citalopram, escitalopram, sertraline, possibly fluoxetine (not sure on that one), and most recently venlafaxine. I took venlafaxine for about 1.5 years at 150mg before I started what I consider a slow taper. I’m not sure exactly how long the taper took, but I’m guessing about 7-8 months. I understand that’s not slow for a lot of you on this forum, but that’s what I was comfortable with. I am now almost 9 months venlafaxine free and it has not been easy that’s for certain. Extreme brain fog, fatigue, head pressure, feeling off balance, information processing issues, reading comprehension issues, problems staying focused on tasks, anxiety, disorganized thoughts, reduced vocabulary, and other issues. The ones I listed seem to affect me the most on any given day. Progress has been very slow, but I do believe I am making some headway. The last three weeks I have been mega dosing a highly concentrated liquid fish oil and that seems to clear up some of the issues I listed above. I should also mention that for the past 2 years I have been in the gym for 2 hours 5 days a week. Staying active does help clear symptoms but unfortunately they are short lived. I also eat lots of vegetables and low glycemic index fruits daily. Overall I have a pretty well balanced diet. I feel like these drugs have stole so much from me; missed opportunities, loss of almost all interests, lost girlfriends because I wasn’t emotionally available on these drugs. . . It just hasn’t been fun, let’s put in that way. Now I’m a 27 year old with basically no life experience and a lot of catching up to do. So I’m hoping these ugly days of SSRI/SNRI use and crazy withdrawals will all be a distant memory sometime soon!!! Before I go, I’m just curious how we can tell for certain that we are experiencing withdrawals from medication and it’s not just symptoms of depression. I’m 100% positive I didn’t have the symptoms we all experience prior to antidepressants so there is that evidence. But can anyone point me to some studies that have been done? I’m convinced this is the aftermath of the drugs but nearly all medical professionals will tell you otherwise. I even know some nurses that have used these drugs and got off them with little to no problems. So when I tell them how I feel, they just presume I am depressed or have some other psychiatric issue going on. I am a premed student by the way, so I do have some connections in the field of medicine. I have yet to have one medical professional agree with me about the meds causing these issues.
  25. 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?
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