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  1. Hi all, thanks for having such an amazing and helpful forum!!! I was prescribed Venlafaxine (Effexor) for anxiety and depression (moderate in my opinion). I started taking it. I'm so stupid... I had read about withdrawal symptoms, but I wasn't imagining it as so awful. After 5 days I got bleedings from the uterus, even though my period wasn't due. They were about as strong as a normal period, but more painful. The GP (doctor) made me stop Effexor. After 2 days I started to have the symptoms everyone reports: Crying, suicidal, self harming, fits of rage, nausea, dizziness, heart racing, trouble breathing. My GP didn't know anything about withdrawal symptoms and wanted to admit me to the psychiatric hospital. I sent him a bunch of information and finally convinced him to leave me alone and deal with it myself. I think he feels a bit guilty now, but that doesn't help me.... It's day 9 after stopping and my brain is still totally messed up. Question to you all: Do you think I need to go back on Venlafaxine and taper down slowly to prevent lasting damage to my brain? I also got some Sertraline from the GP, which I could use to switch to temporarily. I think even if the bleeding comes back, I can handle it. Iron values are ok. I had thought that after just 5 days of taking Venlafaxine, the withdrawal should be short and mild. But after reading a lot, I'm getting a bit scared. Any advice welcome! Laura PS: I really think I had a guardian angel who sent me those bleedings and made me stop before I took the medication for longer.
  2. I am new to surviving antidepressants. Because my Internist did not authorize refill for Effexor xr 150mg for 7 days, I was forced into snir discontinuation syndrome. I did not know there was such a thing until then. I have since researched on line and have found out quite a bit. Did you know that brain zaps/brain shivers is discribed in Wikipedia? Anyway,. I got them plus a lot of other debilitating symptoms. I have since weaned myself off over a months period of time (probably too fast), and have now been without for 2 days. I am so irritable that I can hardly stand to be with myself. Plus I get cold very easily and feel like shivering, but don't. I also have a few brain zaps, but they aretolerable. I am determined to not take one more bead of Effexor xr, and would appreciate the support of anyone who is going through or has gone though Effexor xr withdrawal.
  3. Hi all, Thank you for letting me join this wonderful fountain of knowledge. I have been on Effexor since late 2008, when I was 20 years old. My first long term relationship had just ended and I was understandably an emotional mess. I was also alcoholic at the time and using a lot of recreational drugs, which didn't stop the doctor from providing me 75mg of Effexor XR. I loved it at first because I literally felt high. I had tried other antidepressants in the past but none had worked, whereas with Effexor I just seemed to have so much energy. Fast forward to 2011, I am in residential rehab for my alcohol and drug addiction problem. The counsellors there suggest it might be a good time to try coming off my meds- 300mg Effexor and I also taking 25mg Seroquel at this point, as I was unable to sleep on the Effexor. I am referred to a completely incompetent psychiatrist who gives me a taper programme which takes me from 300mg to nothing in a month. Not knowing any better, I complied with his insane schedule. Within a few weeks I was kicked out of rehab for out of character, rageful behaviour. Back home, I slowly lost my mind. Couldn't leave the house without feeling like I had a target sign painted on me- I felt everyone was looking at me and talking about me. I lost my temper at the drop of a hat over minuscule things. No one around me realised what was happening. My memory of this time is hazy, but I do remember being home alone one night and suddenly becoming obsessed that there was a government conspiracy to give people heart attacks by putting too much salt in food. I was walking around the kitchen in circles screaming, unable to stop. I considered the possibility of hanging myself to make it stop. Luckily I called my boyfriend instead and found another website which is no longer active, who advised me to go straight to a doctor and resume the Effexor at a maintenance dose. I did this and was put back on 75mg. The damage was already done and I fell into clinical depression. A month later I decided I couldn't be more miserable that I was and relapsed on alcohol. Luckily I got straight back into a 12 step programme and have been sober since that relapse. But I struggled with the after effects of that withdrawal for many months. i have been absolutely petrified to try coming off Effexor again since, despite many side effects including palpitations, mental confusion, dry mouth, bad breath, constant clenched jaw and every type of stomach complaint. I fell pregnant in 2014 and came down to a quarter of a 37.5mg tablet during pregnancy. I wanted to come off it entirely, but my relationship was very unstable and I was being constantly triggered (we have now split up). I was devastated to not be able to breastfeed my daughter, but I felt the Effexor presented too much of a risk to do so. I went back up to 37.5mg shortly after her birth. She is fine and healthy today, but the responsibilities of single motherhood have left me terrified to attempt withdrawal again. However, since giving birth I have found that the Effexor now has a sedative effect on me. I now have to take it at night time, or I am almost passing out during the day. Sometimes I forget (I'm insanely forgetful now, which fairly sure is a side effect of long term antidepressant use) and then I have a choice of spending the whole day "shocking" or being a half passed out zombie fighting to keep my eyes open. I realised I can't carry on my life like this, I want and need my energy back. I've become completely reliant on coffee to have any kind of energy, so I'm always up or crashing back down. My daughter needs me to be fully present in her life, which I don't feel like I am a lot of the time due to this horrid side effect. I found this website and have been reading up on safe tapering, and on June 14th began the 10% reduction method. At the moment it looks like it's going to take about 3 years in total. I'm in no rush after my last withdrawal experience, I can't risk ending up in such a bad way as I'm all my little girl has. I have been dissolving the 37.5mg tablet in 75ml water, making sure it's all evenly dispersed, then removing 7.5ml (equal to 3.75mg) with an oral syringe. In the UK they no longer prescribe the slow release Effexor so as I can't do the bead method, this is the only accurate way I can really do it. Yesterday I had tingling in both hands all day then at night I had some brain zaps when I was trying to sleep which went all down my left side, which has made me wonder if I should maybe hold this dose for longer that a month. If anyone could advise me on this, I would appreciate it. I find my daily meditation practice my most valuable asset in keeping me sane so I'm hoping it will aid me in my withdrawal. If you have made it this far in my mammoth post, you are truly amazing! Love and healing light to you all x L
  4. Hi to everyone! A little about my story: -I was started on Effexor immediate release, 75 mg, about a year ago, in January of 2015. I wasn't even clinically depressed, I don't think - just a middle-aged lady dealing with life stuff, but coping fine, working, functioning. Had never had prior antidepressants . -Took Effexor 75 immediate release from 1/2015-5/2015, when the side effects (massive fatigue, weight gain, emotional numbness, among other issues) became intolerable. -Fast tapered 5/2015- 6/2015 over about 3-4 weeks. Did not receive adequate instructions from my therapist, just told to "taper slowly". -Terrible withdrawal symptoms for about a month, then settled down to: -daily brain zaps, usually dozens of times a day; comes on when I'm tired, haven't slept enough, about to fall asleep, or waking up. If I'm well-rested, the brain zaps are less frequent, but there hasn't been a day I haven't felt multiple, multiple zaps. -No improvement in this symptom (brain zaps) in the 8 months since I've been off Effexor -also feel continuation of the withdrawal symptom of vertigo/dizziness/mild "swishing" feeling in my head, especially when I'm not well-rested. I'm terrified that the brain zapping indicates permanent damage of some kind. I'm terrified that the damage will lead to unknown consequences in the future. I'm terrified that this will never go away. The symptoms aren't intolerable, in and of themselves; it's just the worry and the uncertainty that bother me. I'm happy to keep "waiting it out", but am losing hope. I really don't want to reinstate, but am considering doing so, in the XR formulation, as low of a dose as I can get away with, and then do a slooooooooooooowwwwww taper this time. However, I would only want to do this if there were NO WAY that these symptoms would go away without reinstatement of Effexor. So happy to have found this forum. If anyone has any experience with this situation or any advice for me, that would be awesome I'm especially wondering if anyone has had any luck with brain zaps going away after an Effexor fast taper - either waiting it out for a very long time, or success with reinstating/then slow tapering Effexor after such a long time with withdrawal symptoms. Thank you, and Happy New Year to all. Hopefully 2016 will be a better year for all of us!
  5. ZenBearCO

    ZenBearCO

    Not sure if I should be here or not, cuz I broke the rule here about stopping cold turkey. My story is that I tried to refill my prescription, but by 2 days later hadn't heard back. Called the pharmacy and they said the Dr. had not returned any of their calls. On a Friday morning I called my Dr., and they said I had to come in to get a refill because "Effexor is a controlled substance" (which it is not, but they wouldn't listen). Unfortunately, they couldn't see me until Monday, and by this time I had begun severe withdrawals (last dose taken that Wednesday). I spent the entire weekend in bed and in utter hell, but by taking Benadryl it helped a little. By Monday I had decided that I had already come this far and wasn't about to go back on the drug only to have to go through withdrawals again even on a taper. So it's been a little over a month, and the only hope I get is at this site, but I don't know if the advice is relevant because everyone here is tapering. Any advice for those who are already through the worst of the physical symptoms but having a really hard time with out-of-control emotions?
  6. I began taking a cocktail of psychiatric medications in 1995 and have tried twice to become med free only to fail and have to reinstate a month after tapering off all medicines. I always would taper with my psychiatrists help. I am very sensitive to the side effects of medicines and pray to become medicine free someday. My current psychiatrist says it is unrealistic that I will ever be able to not be on medications because I have been on them so long. I am looking for support and strategies to successfully become med free and stay med free. I successfully tapered off of Effexor xr in 2011 and in April of this year tapered off of klonopin. I am currently taking Cymbalta and trazadone.
  7. Hi. I'm tapering off effexor xr 150 mgs., which I've taken for I don't know how long exactly. I have, however, been on one thing or another for 27 years. The first one, nortriptyline (sp?) made a huge difference for me, like night and day, and I was thrilled to be able to feel like what I figured was what normal people felt like usually: "Sure, I got problems, but I'm not sinking into the floor over it. I can handle stuff. I'm okay." At that time, life had thrown several curve balls at once, and I went down and could not get up on my own; my coping strategies were not helping. I felt soooo okay when I started the anti-depressant, I would spend my grocery money to have access to it. However, epic constipation and feeling so heavy I could barely run, as was my habit, caused me to want to switch, which I did - several times over several years, usually to get away from sexual dysfunction side effects. I've stuck with effexor the longest. I tried to go off it a few years ago, but the withdrawal was awful, and I went back on it. Now, I've grown emotionally and psychologically in ways I never imagined, and I am giving this a go again. Today is day 19 of tapering down from 150. The first stage, I went down to ~100 mg. by my eyeballing it, for 15 days. I had read up, so I soon started taking a beefy B complex and fish oil. I did not experience bothersome symptoms until I went down to ~75 mg., where I've been for 4 days. Still taking the B complex and fish oil. And I started taking 5-HTP as suggested by The Mood Cure, to boost serotonin. And things are weird: teary over minor slights, electric-headedness, and frankly some fear. I really want someone to work with me closely in doing this, but don't have anyone. My family physician rewrote my prescription so that the capsules are 37.5 mgs. and I can taper on my own more easily, but all he said was, contact me if you have any questions about this. The Mood Cure is great, but I want the author's phone number in my contact list! I have an appointment through my insurer with a psychiatric NP - but it isn't until the end of May, 9 weeks out!! Right at this moment, I'm wanting to know whether to continue with the 5-HTP or switch to l-tryptophan to help with the crying feeling and the electric-head. Any ideas? Also, I am meditating at least once a day for 30 minutes, and walking fast for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Hello All, This may be slightly long but I think it's worth the read for those on/coming off ADs or with significant others on/coming off of ADs. I've been a member of the Topix discussion that was recently removed since around the middle of last year. Like many, my significant other was prescribed an AD (Effexor in this case) for generalized anxiety. This was in early February. The effects were almost immediate but as I was so unaware of the possibilities with these drugs I did not notice any troubling side effects. She had a lot more energy and her anxiety really was gone, but I did not know to relate this to emotional blunting. This girl was absolutely trustworthy and honest and I know this because we were together all the time and she hid nothing from me. We were inseparable. I came to eventually realize that within the first few days of taking Effexor she began to lose feelings for me, but that "give a ****" factor had already gone away and I was of no concern to her. Within a few months she had full blown mania, she was hyper-sexual and had begun cheating. There was no selection, just whoever would take interest in her. At the same time this started, she told me that she had lost her sex drive. I did some research, found this was a common complaint and decided to give it time. We didn't have sex for many many months, all the while she was sleeping with pretty much anyone who would give her the attention. She started drinking heavily almost immediately. I just had no idea that ADs could do this. Eventually I had a growing suspicion, but I could really find nothing online. It took a lot of very specific Google searches to find what I had suspected, but that was months into it. So fast forward after I found out about the infidelity (which was gut wrenching, agonizing, horrific to say the least - it took the life out of me). I had found the Topix discussion, printed many relevant pages and showed it to her. She almost laughed it off, she would not reply to any specific questions. Like most others, she felt new and more alive. Her friend base had changed, and many of them had been given a very different story than what was really happening. She told a lot of them that she was afraid of me, suddenly cops were showing up because her new partners were calling the cops on me, for absolutely nothing. She would scream and break things and hit me, when she had only had one beer (this stuff is BAD NEWS when mixed with alcohol). At a certain point she had not only thrown me aside, but her entire family as well. They did not understand what was happening, so I began to speak to them. In October her life had spiraled out of control and she decided to begin a taper, but only because everyone insisted and she really had no choice. For what it is worth, her doctors refused to believe me. They actually suggested we up the dose because "it wasn't working". So no help there. The withdrawal was horrible. We tried all the supplements and methods that work for some people, but they had no effect on her. She cut her dose slightly about once a month, the same week she would be softer but then the withdrawal would ramp up quickly. In this period she nearly moved out of the state with her old boss. She was planning on leaving me and I had no clue until I found an email and confronted her. That is when it really hit her. She tapered more quickly (perhaps too quickly) because she just wanted off the stuff. In December she finally quit taking it. She had the very horrible brain zaps, she was insanely moody and I was walking on egg shells non-stop. But I stuck it out. The delayed withdrawal hit around January/February but at this point she knew it was withdrawal. And she absolutely was pissed that she had been given a drug like this. She is more upset now than ever that this can happen. We found out two weeks ago that she is pregnant with my child. We are getting married, and she is dedicated to un-doing these things. We are starting over fresh. It is not easy, but it can happen. The best advice I was given was by btdt on Topix. She said do not hold them to their actions, they do not know what they are doing. My fiance echoes this sentiment now. She is more than angry that she let a GP talk her into taking these meds, and then would not listen when she was a danger to herself. But that is how the stories seem to go. Don't get me wrong, it hurts. And now that we're at the one year mark since this started, there are a lot of triggers that I have to really put in an effort into pushing aside. Simple things - songs, smells, places, weather, tone of voice, etc. I'll be around to answer any questions or comments. I want to help as many as I can.
  9. Moderator note: Link to benzo forum thread: summitbound: Poly-drugged: Thinking about tapering an AD w/ benzo Hello, I'm brand new to this site. I've been so busy learning about benzo tapering (and suffering!) on benzobuddies.org that I have yet to tackle getting off any of my antidepressants. I've already been tapering the benzo for over a year. I know that the general rule is to taper off your benzos first, and then work on your antidepressants. That said, I probably have a year or more left on my benzo taper and I hate being poly drugged with three antidepressants. I'd like to safely chip away at at least one of them. I think the mirtazipine is really helping with my sleep during bezno withdrawal, so I don't think I want to touch it. It seems like the low hanging fruit would be the lithium, since it seems I'm on a less than theraputic dose at 675 mg. Thoughts? So far, I have been "blessed" during my benzo taper in that I have not suffered from depression, severe anxiety, or panic. So I do want to tread carefully. Thanks so much!
  10. 20 years on effexor and buspiron due to depression - anxiety. One year on lamotrigin. I started tapering in 2016 because of adverse effect. Effexor 150 mg to 75 mg by addwise from doc. No problems. Next on 37,5 and hell broke loose. Reinstated on 75 and kept it there. While tapering I was sat on lamotrigin 300 mg over a couple of month. No effect! Started tapering buspiron 10 mg x 2 august 2017 and is know on 6+6 Started tapering lamotrigin nov 2017 and is now on200 mg. After reading here I got in doubt. Am I tapering in the best way? Recomondation?
  11. Hi all! Finally had the time and courage to start to tell my story. I'm thirty-something year old woman from Finland. This forum has been really important to me on this dreadful journey. It's crucial to hear that you're not just imagining things and not alone in this. When my withdrawal really hit me the first time, I was so scared. I had heard of AD whitdrawal but didn't really know what to expect. I've never felt so deeply depressed and utterly hopeless than in some waves I've had during this whithdrawal. That really puts you in to the darkest place ever I have a wide range of symptoms, most of the Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist I have been under a serious stress on this past month and I have noticed that it has possibly made my symptoms worse again. But fortunately I have noticed some progress too. I also have been able to sleep almost the entire time. That's HUGE! Well, that's probably all I can write now. It's really tough to write in a foreign language with this braindamage, it has made me so slow..
  12. Hi, I just thought I'd introduce myself and let you all know my story and if it resonates with any of you. I was pretty low before starting antidepressants but they sent me down to a place I haven't experienced before. I was on Sertraline for a couple of weeks at its lowest dose (this caused me to have racing suicidal thoughts so I stopped), I was then put on Venlaflaxine which made me feel like I was a ghost, after I stopped I had extreme suicidal thoughts again, these thoughts have plagued me now for the past 5 months. initially I had these thoughts 24/7, now they come in waves. Hopefully I will be free of these thoughts one day, it's more the feeling I get when I have them, it's like it isn't me thinking them at all. Has anyone had something similar after stopping these drugs. All the best to you all Suttisan
  13. Hi all— New here, obviously, and new to forums in general, not so obviously (or maybe so still, idk). Here because I've been unable to (unproblematically) leave bed for the last 48 hours and I can't concentrate on much meaningfully (there goes my work): as a result I've been viewing a lot of content about withdrawal online (against my psychiatrist's pleas—I wonder what he wouldn't want me to know. . .) and found this forum linked in an article. See my signature for my history, and please feel free to share any information you think might be helpful. An abridged account of my woes: -Since midday Wednesday (first day w/o any poison) I've been experiencing the unique blend of motion sickness/brain zaps/heart palpitations that seem to come in waves (anywhere from every 10-15 seconds to 10-15 minutes) and with increasing intensity have been accompanied by nausea and aural interference (it feels like there are broken subwoofers in my head that, with each heart flutter/kick, respond: like how loud music from within a car driving by sounds from the outside). Hands and feet are also involved in these spasms, with less frequency. -I'm sad. Very sad. Was still feeling OK enough Wednesday night to watch a movie, watched my favourite movie (have seen at least 10 times), and cried (like wept cried) through most of it (for the first time). I don't cry in response to art, news, etc., ever. Highly irregular. -I slept almost all of Thursday. I'm a 6am 7 days a week type of guy, so sleeping in til 11, then sleeping ~1-5, and barely moving for the rest of the day is troubling. Not being able to read more than a page of a book even moreso (since that is what I do, for work and for pleasure). -My appetite is nowhere and eating is hard. Were it not for the intervention of my partner, with whom I am lucky to live, I don't think I'd have eaten very much yesterday and today. She woke me up to eat breakfast this morning (Friday), and after doing so I felt slightly stronger: I even flirted with the idea of leaving the house for the library. But I crashed about an hour later, just after I'd gotten dressed, and have been in bed or shower or toilet since. What I'm thinking about/dwelling on: -I'm feeling really stupid for having done this to myself (by way of trusting this doctor, of overlooking my anxieties about psychmeds) -I'm obviously feeling fear about how long these symptoms might last: I'm supposed to board a flight and spend 10 days with her family this Tuesday. . . -I'm wondering if it would be too hasty to get the few caps I threw out out of the trash and try counting out beads for a much slower taper like I've read about some of you doing, or if I should stay this course -I'm desperate for suggestions/spells/tricks to minimize the way these feelings feel in the interim, especially the nausea and shocks: I've tried two different raw ginger cocktails thus far to no positive effect and am taking 3x the vitamin D, B12, and omega-3 I usually do -I'm grateful that the stripe of withdrawal I'm undergoing seems to be primarily embodied and not psychoemotional (my anomalous weepfest the other night notwithstanding): so far I've had no return of suicidal ideation (like what I suffered beginning the drug last summer) and i more or less feel like I recognize myself (knock on all the wood) -I'm hoping that, given all the information and knowledge collected here, it is possible to not be totally in the dark against this thing: by which I mean, that there might be a way to tell, with some certainty, based off certain signs or makers or clues, that this will be over in a week; might take a month; seems bad and requires a different strategy and soon; etc.. . In sum: is there anything I should be thinking about that it seems like I've missed? not noticed? should look out for? Thanks very much for reading and responding.
  14. Hi everyone! Finally got round to creating an account after months of just reading posts. Anyway, I'm currently on 18.75mg immediate release Venlaflaxine. Since The beginning of 2016. I was on the prolonged release tablet for many years ,the highest dose being 150mg for 3 years. I gradually reduced this down to 37.5mg ,with long holds in between ,the longest being 2 years. However since I went onto the immediate release I have felt a significant difference. I feel low in the morning and get better towards the evening, I've found this has impacted my decision making. Despite this I continued making reductions to where I'm at half a tablet at present. I've had a lot of ups and downs in this period eg relationship ended ,although I'm able to exercise and have managed to work, but not consistently. My sleep has not been the same since I changed over to the immediate release , which is very frustrating. I also feel any change to a routine I get into has a big effect on me physically and mentally. I'm also wondering if I could be in continual withdrawal because of the short half-life of the immediate release tablet? I really feel like I'm not getting better. I feel very depressed at times. I'm starting to think I should go back on the prolonged release tablet.perhaps it would restore some balance. Anyway I'd like to get some feedback, and I very much value having people to share my experience with. I
  15. Today begins the reduction from a 300mg effexor xr dose daily. My psychiatrist subtracted by 37.5. I have had missed doses by days and had paranoia, uncontrollable guilt and crying, nightmares, aggressiveness. So I am worried even 37.5 will be too much. Its hard to find people who understand the severity of these symptoms. Ive been on it for 13 years. Misdiagnosed depressed i ran around with mania and volatile aggression for 9 years. I have bipolar 2. Im currently on tegretol 400mg and lamictal 400mg daily. Wish me luck? Pray for me. Lol
  16. Hi All, My 16yo vivacious daughter ran into a bout with serious depression when she was 14. After a failed trial with Zoloft, her MD put her on Effexor (venlafaxine) 75mg ER. While a relatively modest dose, she took this medication for two years. She also took Lutera (birth control) during this time to help with PMS/menstrual issues. This past May we decided to discontinue the venlafaxine with doctor/psychologist's approval. Doctor gave us a very drastic and probably unrealistic taper program. We opted to taper more slowly than what doctor prescribed -- alternating between 75mg and 37.5mg, daily, every other day, etc then dropping to just 37.5mg. We hovered at 37.5 for a period of time, and then tried to taper from there without success. Since she was miserable even while tapering, and since from what I was reading (I hadn't yet found this site...) it seemed like even more modest tapering would not avoid the misery of withdrawal, we dropped from 37.5 to 0. She took her last 37.5mg venlafaxine pill sometime in late July. (She also discontinued the Lutera at some point over the summer, although I do not remember exactly when.) She was miserable for 8 days. Her biggest symptoms were nausea, headache, dizziness/vertigo, occasional vomiting (flu-like symptoms). She decidedly did not have anger, anxiety, or any other emotional/mood-type symptoms and only a few brain zaps toward the very end. After day 8, she was good for about 10 days, after which the dizziness, headache, vertigo returned -- this time for 3 days. After the third day of misery, she again was fine. Repeat this pattern, and we are now in what I call our fourth "episode" (I guess, the correct term is a "wave"?) of withdrawal symptoms returning -- again, no mood/emotional issues, but vertigo, queasiness, stomach pain, headache. We have tried to treat her symptoms with very little success -- dramamine, ginger, meclizine, tylenol, ibuprofen, Excedrin migraine, promethazine, pepto bismol. MD has been willing to consider possibility symptoms have been withdrawal-related, but seeds were sown at our last visit that we were getting close to the end of that window. In addition to anti-nausea medications, at last check-in (after 3d "wave") MD prescribed 10mg fluoxetine to use as a "boost." That worked one time, and since then hasn't made much of a difference. She has taken the fluoxetine 3x, and I would say all it did was serve to push off the inevitable. My daughter is home from school today, again, probably her 9th absence already this year (not even 2 months into school). I am at a loss at this point as to what to do to help her. The last "wave" lasted 5 days, and it looks like this current one is heading in that same direction (this is longer than previous 2 waves -- those were 3-4 day experiences). I will note that the onset of the "waves" seems to correlate to when her estrogen level would be at its lowest during her menstrual cycle. Curious? Does that suggest anything? Thinking that there had to be a physiological reason for what she was experiencing, I focused on boosting her seratonin/norepinephrine production (to replicate what the SNRI had been doing?) -- starting her on 5HTP and L-Tyrosine, along with magnesium and fish oil. Even when reduced to just the 5HTP along with the magnesium and fish oil, anxiety was starting to become a problem. Switched to adaptogens (Rhodiola and Holy Basil) and the anxiety has disappeared and she seemed quite well-balanced until this latest "wave" where, again, it is the vertigo/nausea/headache trifecta that we cannot seem to remedy. Looking at working with a functional doctor at this point but very frustrated with what I am running into --- first available new patient appointments months out? (First place I called, could not get her in until March!!?) Wondering if a functional doctor can help? Any ideas, suggestions, hope? So scary to read of such long and painful experiences of others and the possible life-long consequences from these drugs. Realize we are probably paying the price for a poor taper (?) -- wish I had found this site sooner -- any helpful place to go from here? Thank you for reading.
  17. I've been taking Effexor for about sixteen months. It literally saved my life. I've never been on any kind of psychoactive medication before... well, I suppose opiates... but anyway. I got sick about four years ago. My doctor(s) at the time pretty much dismissed everything. And at a time when I needed some emotional support, my wife provided none. In fact she made things worse by yelling at me. A lot. I found myself crying all the time, and she would belittle me for crying so much. Eventually I found a new doctor and it turned out I had cancer. Long story. Now the treatments have ended and it looks like I won. But at the time I was still having the crying fits. My oncologist was no help. I did some online research and eventually asked my GP for Effexor, as it seemed to have the ability to help people "forget". I doubled my dose twice and have been at 150mg daily since January. In April (nearly a year on Effexor) I started feeling much better. It looked like I would probably be taking it for the rest of my life. A month ago I started having some abdominal pains, saw my GP and he ordered a scan. Turns out I have another cancer now. This kind of thing normally doesn't happen to me. Anyway, they have to cut me open and get past some organs to get to it. Radiation and chemo don't work on this one. Earlier this year I had some food poisoning and couldn't eat - or take Effexor - for a full day and started feeling this "swooshing" in my head. More online research. It's called brain zaps. So I need to have surgery four weeks from today. I will be unable to eat - or take Effexor - for several days. More online research. I just discovered surviving antidpepressants last night. There's an awful lot to read here. Today I am trying to start tapering off Effexor, as I have some 75 and 37.5 mg caps, so am hoping to go with 112mg daily this week, or maybe two weeks. My plan is to reduce the daily Effexor enough that if I can start Prozac I will be able to recover from the surgery without experiencing withdrawal at the same time. I see my GP on Thursday and will present the Prozac bridge. He is just a GP but has been willing to help me in any way he can, but last time I mentioned withdrawal from the Effexor he simply said "it isn't that bad". So as with practically everything else, it appears that I'm on my own.
  18. I am posting this on behalf of my husband who is quite unwell. I am in a very vunerable place watching my husband deteriorate so please be kind. We are in our 60's and have never experienced anything like this. My husband was administered antidepressants for depression over 30 years ago and has remained on antidepressants all this time. I cannot recall what they started him on but maybe 8 years ago he was moved to Effexor XR 75mg. When it was increased to 150mg - we noticed a lack of feeling and low libido. We discussed the idea of coming off the Effexor XR and did this with the aid of high quality supplements - tapering by reducing the beads over a year. There were horrible side effects - nausea, high anxiety and then the concentration started to be impacted. After six months of being off the Effexor XR he deteriorated very quickly to the point where he became Psychotic and he couldn't get his brain to think how to get himself into the shower. It was like his brain had frozen. He kept saying I am losing it! Unfortunately he was admitted to the Psychiatric Ward where they administered 10mg Olanzepine and 75mg Effexor XR then increased it up to 150mg. He was released after three weeks. He was on Olazepine for about three months and the Psychiatrist reduced him off that. Because he is still not stable the Psychiatrist was not sure whether to increase or reduce his medication. He has gone for the latter and we are administering 112mg every other day at around 10am this is our 3rd day (eg 150mg one day 112mg the next and so on). I am monitoring him closely and notice that he is so much more responsive in the morning and quite normal, although says he feels really tired. His memory and concentration has been affected. He has blurred vision. After his medication is given I notice he begins pacing, not as responsive to talking and becomes quite anxious. The Psychiatrist says he has had a relapse and has major depression. I don't know who to believe anymore but I just want my husband well again. Please help?
  19. I've been taking Pristiq 100mg (plus 5mg Somit to sleep and 100mg Activigil to wake up) for the past 3 years more or less. I've been trying to quit Pristiq for many months due to HORRIBLE withdrawals whenever I forgot even one pill. I got to down the dose to Pristiq 50mg after enduring two weeks of those horrible withrawals and then they were gone, luckily. Now I'm trying to figure out my next step. There's no Pristiq 25mg where I am from. My psych told me to switch to venlafaxine 75mg three days ago, not the XR, the regular. It has such a short half life that I'm having horrible symptoms as well, even though I'm taking 37,5mg in the morning and 37,5mg in the afternoon. I'm trying to figure out if this is the best way to quit Pristiq. She says I should stay with venlafaxine and taper down from it. I'm worried about feeling awful. I can't function. Should I stay with the venlafaxine or switch back to Pristiq 50mg and figure out something else? Should I bridge with Prozac form Pristiq? Should I stay with venlafaxine and THEN bridge with Prozac? Should I just taper down from venlafaxine? By the way, thank you all for describing so accurately all the discontinuations sympotms of the Pristq- the brain zaps, the headaches, the dizziness, the confusion. What has this done to us? I want out.
  20. Hello everyone, It feels good to discover this site - thank you all for being here. Right now I've run out of everything, my depression has swamped me, I'm exhausted. Doc queried increasing meds, I said no. I realise this would be a silly time to start coming off them, and I'm not thinking of doing that, but the need to stop meds is always in my head. I want to know everything I can about it, especially how to know when to start decreasing. My husband, who is beautifully supportive of me in every other way, is sure that the possible upheaval would be too much for our family. I worry about that too.
  21. Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - apuddle: Have any of you suffered from frequent urination and urgency while being on clonazepam? I'll try and keep it short because I feel cognitively blunted at the moment. Last year I was put onto 1mg of clonazepam at night. Then towards the end of the year I was put on effexor 75mg and It did nothing for me and I had no side effects. Near the end of last year it was decided to up my dosage to 150mgs of effexor. I was OK for a month or so. In January I was finally diagnosed with a new chronic condition and had my clonazepam upped to 6mg and was put onto abilify at 10mg. I can't give you exact times and dates but I would say that around February time I started to suffer from urinary hesitancy. It got to the point where I had to sit on the toilet for around 15 minutes until I could finally push the urine out. I tried to see if it went away within a few weeks but it didn't. So I tapered off of effexor and around the 37mg mark I could finally stand and pee (i'm male). Around a week or two later I was fully off of effexor and everyting seemed to be back to normal. Three weeks later, out of nowhere, I was sitting on my chair watching tv and had an intense urge to pee. it was awful. it felt like something had exploded in my bladder and I just needed to pee and never stop. I had a constant feeling of urgency, frequency and nocturia. When I tried to sleep, I would lay down and my bladder felt like it had pins and needles, which prompted extreme urgency and a feeling of my bladder being full. I'd get up, go to the toilet and only drips would come out. Awful! No matter what position I laid in I had that awful feeling in my bladder with extreme urgency. The strange feeling when trying to sleep eventually calmed down after 2-3 weeks, and I realised that not drinking 4-5 hours before bed really helped me get some sleep and stop the nocturia. I stopped the Abilify but nothing happened. It had no affect on my bladder and how it was feeling. I am now only taking clonazepam 6mg, but I should be taking 2 other meds but refuse to until I get some idea of what's going on. I have seen a urolgist. I Have had blood tests, urine tests, antibiotics, a camera down my penis and into the bladder, and a urodynamics test. Everything has come back clear! They have no idea what is causing it and are calling it idopathic. I have tried the medications for bladder spasms to they do nothing but make me constipated and dry my mouth out. So my life for the last 6 months has been nothing but peeing up to 20 plus times a day. Needing to urinate when my baldder fills with 100mls of urine and just feeling lost and hopeless. I find it very coincidental that I was having issues with my bladder on Effexor, and then 2-3 weeks after completely stopping this new bladder condition comes out of the blue. It'S also possible that abilify somehow did this to me. I am currently tapering off of Clonazepam and I am on 5.5mgs. I have so far seen no improvement when it comes to my bladder, and to be honest I don't expect to. I have done so much reading up on the drug (clonazepam, hoping, praying that it could all be down to the benzo, but it's just so unlikely. Surely I would have developed these symptoms during the 9 months I was on them. Unless they are somehow interfering my body healing itself after coming off effexor, but that was 7 months ago now. I'm angry and I refuse to believe that this just came out of nowhere! I'm a healthy 32 year old male who will now most likely have to live with this awful condition for the rest of my life, or eventually have a bag on my stomach. Has anyone else had similar problems? Anyway, that's me and my introduction. Thanks.
  22. On Effexor (Venlafaxine) since Fall 2016; taking 200 mg for the past 6 months or so. I've decided to stop the effexor, as I feel that it is no longer working. I picked up a prescription for 25 mg effexor yesterday, in order to taper by 25 mg every 3-4 days (as recommended by my psychiatrist). 9/26/18 was my first night of 175 mg; I felt okay the next morning, if not a bit dehydrated. However, over the course of the day, particularly in the evening, I began to feel out of it, naseous, and just weird (for lack of a better description). That being said, I also had not eaten much that day; however, I've never felt "weird" while not having eaten, as I did 9/27. I will continue with the 175 mg dose for the next few days to determine whether the symptoms were due to lack of food or effexor. I’m terrified to taper off it it. I’ve been reading about it, and the stories of tapering off are terrifying! However, I still read them just so I know the possibilities. What kind of tapering experience have you had? Was it good or bad? Has anyone tapered off with zero side effects? Thanks!
  23. Hi everyone, I am so thankful to find this forum. I have been on Effexor XR 75mg for 10 months as prescribed by my doctor for anxiety issues. I am another person that wished I had known more about this drug before I began taking it. I have been seeing my psychologist during this time and I am feeling so much better and ready to stop taking Effexor XR. After having no real idea what I was in for i began searching online as my doctor (who I now think has no idea what this drug can do when stopped) just gave me a prescription for the 37.5mg and said start them alternating days with your 75mg. This worried me greatly when i started educating myself more on the withdrawal symptoms. My very supporting partner both discussed it and after much research decided we will open up the 75mg capsule and start the long process of bead counting and 10% reduction. I feel much safer doing it this way than just dropping the 50% to 37.5mg. So here I am day 2 and all is well so far but I am strapping myself in and doing everything possible to make it less severe as possible. Exercising, cleaned up my diet, started taking vitamin supplements and fish oil. I would appreciate any other tips there is a lot of info around but I am always grateful for more. I am ready to be free of Effexor XR. My anxiety is in check so far and am feeling positive. Thanks for reading, Nikki.
  24. I have been on antidepressants 3 times in the last 14 years. Usually would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off with no problems. The last time I took them (2011), I needed the maximum dose of sertraline (200mg) to get an effect. After a year on it, I felt it was time to stop. The nurse insisted I had to keep taking or risked relapsing into severe depression. I tried several times to bring up the topic to no avail. After about 1.5 years on it, I cut the dose on my own to 150mg and felt ok for 2 weeks. But after I started having a dull headache that lasted hours, dizziness, serious cognitive difficulties and severe fatigue. I could not function and needed excessive sleep (12-14 hours/day). Tried increasing it again and the more severe symptoms got better, but the headache and flu-like malaise persisted for at least a week. I consulted with a psychiatrist. We tried effexor and cut on zoloft. Had no withdrawal symptoms, as I was cross-tapering. I was completely off the zoloft. Only took Effexor for about a month on a low dose (never past 150 mg) because it never helped with the symptoms of Atypical Depression I had. When I started tapering down the effexor, I got the dizziness and extreme fatigue again. When I would fall asleep, I found it extremely hard to get up. Literally felt pinned to the bed. Woke up more tired than I went to bed, even after 12 hours of sleep. Woke up dizzy and with a headache. I increased dose again and we're doing a slower taper over 21 days. The starting dose is 37.5mg. I experience dull headache that lasts hours, flu-like malaise, muscle tension, fatigue every day (with the occassional good day of no symptoms and the occassional day of much worse symptoms). I have learned to cope the best I can with these symptoms, but the fatigue gets unbearable at times. I sleep 12 hours at night and still feel tired and even drowsy during the day. I'm in grad school and it's hard and often impossible to study or even make it to class. I was supposed to decrease dose to 25 mg after 10 days on 37.5mg, but since I still have symptoms, I'll ask dr if I can postpone the decreasing... Im also concerned that the increasing apathy Ive had over the last 7 years might be due to antidepressant use. It could also be depression, but if it is SSRI use, its a very scary symptom that is not going away (has not gone away for more than 3 months in over 14 years since I started having depression/taking SSRIs). The only reason I can semi-function today is because I take nuvigil (a stimulant) 3 or 4 times/week. Without that, I can't do homework or clean or shower. Im extremely dysfunctional. I don't rely only on the stimulant though. I use it to give me energy and motivation and alertness that I use to do positive things, which improve my mood and further help with apathy.
  25. Hello all! After tapering, I stopped taking both Effexor and Welbutrin in August of this year. Although feeling overall more healthy without pumping these toxins into my body, I am finding the cognitive difficulties I am experiencing to be distressing. I feel that my memory and concentration have been severely impaired, and generally feel "dumb" and out of it. I've been taking fish oil and magnesium and go running several times per week. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this as well, and what helped improve these problems. Thank you!
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