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  1. 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. 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. 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. (See discussion of Effexor and Pristiq dosage equivalency starting http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__42249 ) 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: "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.
  2. Hi everybody, I am in my mid 40s and I have had dysthymia and recurrent major depression episodes since I was 16. Needless to say that I have been on lots of antidepressants over the years for short and long periods. I have had also periods without medication. Now I am on venlafaxne (AKA effexor) 150mg/day. I think that I started taking it in 2014 but I can't remember for sure. Now I feel that after these years its benefits have decreased, it has pooped out basically and, what's worse, it has slowly, very slowly making worse my sex life. I din't realize at first but my libido has gone down and down and unfortunately it has made for me very difficult to get an orgasm. Further, I believe that has de-sensitized my penis, not completely but I am sure it has because I feel so much less when I touch myself or have sex. I hope that these problems are reversible but I have read of PSSD, so I am worried. I have just started tapering venlafaxine today, I am cutting the 150 mg tablet of 1/4, it's not a very precise thing unfortunately, the tablets are not made for being cut. Anyway I am thinking to stay on this dosage of about 112,5 mg for about 10 days before going on 75 mg for further ten days, then I would go on 37,5 for ten days and eventually I would stop. Is this schedule too ambitious? I need your advice please. Thanks for reading this
  3. 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 .
  4. 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?
  5. Ok My name's Adam. I'm 48. I suffer with A&D. I was on 40mg Citalopram for about 8 years. My psychiatrist moved me on to Effexor about 10 weeks ago. The drug hasn't agreed with me, and I'm n the process of tapering off. I was initially on 75mg immediate release (sold tablet), and was taking one a day (people have said this should have been a split dose. Anyway, that's in the past. My tapering history is that I've been taking 3/4 of a tablet - about 58 mg for the last 4 weeks. I think my depression has worsened over last 2 weeks, BUT that may be attributable to life's circumstances.(divorce). My questions are: 1. Am I withdrawing from Effexor, or perhaps SSRI's in general? i.e. Is this really a Citalopram withdrawal considering I've only been on Effexor for a very short time. 2. How slowly should I taper off Effexor, and in what increments? 3. Do I need to split my dose and take twice a day? At present I'm taking the 58mg in one dose Answers to the above and any other advice appreciated. Thanks Adam
  6. Moderator note: link to uncomfortablynumb's Benzo Forum thread Hi Everyone, About 9 years ago I jumped on the psych med-i-go-round. It was my last year in university studying human kinetics - I was really stressed, not getting much sleep, not eating very well and consuming way too much caffeine. I pretty much crashed and burned with anxiety and depression over probably a 4 month period. It was possibly due to years of stress and not knowing exactly what I wanted to do after graduation (to continue studies or find work). I was rock bottom, not being able to focus on anything and the anxiety was so bad that I isolated myself. That is when I first saw my psych. I was prescribed Celexa and that did nothing. It was my first drug and I was desperate and only gave it probably 3-4 weeks. Then I was put on Effexor. It worked wonders in about 3 or 4 weeks at 75mg or 112mg. I was back to my old energetic self and focused. I came out of my shell and was socializing again. I finished my degree and decided to forgo post-grad and start up my own business as a fitness trainer. The next 3 years were going well as I was building up clientele. Outside of work I was involved in long term relationships. Effexor was working pretty consistently. When it lost effectiveness, I would up my dose and be fine pretty soon after. I forgot to mention I was taking a pre-workout supplement (NO-Xplode or another) while on Effexor (which is probably a no, no) to give me an extra energy boost. Perhaps the meds were losing their potency and I needed another boost because coffee was not helping. Effexor then started to poop out on me. I would relapse into depression/anxiety for longer periods and upping doses was useless (I believe I went up to 187.5mg). We then tried augmenting Abilify without success. Then I switched to Pristiq which also didn't work. Then it was onto Wellbutrin to no avail. I ended up reintroducing Effexor and it worked again with the break. Not as well, but I was functioning. I began abusing pre-workout supplements just to keep me my normal energetic, positive self. Again, Effexor pooped out after a couple years. Over the next few months, I tried Zoloft and nortriptyline and another med. At this point, I was sent to a specialist. He changed my diagnosis to bipolar II even though I exhibited signs of bipolarity until I was on medication. He suggested different cocktails with lithium or Latuda. I refused. I made the stupid decision with my original psych to try Effexor one more time. Surprisingly, another break from it and it worked again. Not as well, but still got me up and going. I stayed on it for a year and weaned off this April this year. I was fine med-free for a couple months, then anxiety/depression reared it ugly head in July. Another foolish mistake I made was to go back on the Effexor from mid-July until September. I had to keep increasing the dose until it was clear my "go-to" drug was no longer an option. I began weaning off rather quickly by decreasing 37.5mg each week. I went to half of 37.5mg, then nothing. I have been completely off Effexor for the last 10 days. This is one of the longest bouts of depression/anxiety for me. It has been 4months. I have had to stop working (as I usually do when I am in this state). My job requires energy, positivity, focus. It is also a social job and depression/anxiety kinda make that impossible. It really is depressing that I have had so many relapses that it screws up my career. I wonder if I didn't go on meds in the first place if I would have relapsed. I had to wean off the drug while severely depressed/anxious. I think this has made the experience worse. I am experiencing bad insomnia, and what I think might be depersonalization (my senses seem altered, hard to describe - dream-like). I am also feeling like my mind is blank. Usually I have a nice flow of thoughts and can start conversation but it seems impossible now. It is very uncomfortable and I have isolated myself from friends. I also cannot find pleasure in ANYTHING. My concentration and memory are not very sharp. When I have weaned off in the past I do not remember it being this extremely awful. I have a few questions: Can the brain recover and balance itself? Is there anything I can do to move things along faster? Or is it probably best to explore other medical options? Should I get extensive bloodwork or an MRI done? Sorry this was such a long intro. I applaud you for reading this because it is not the most exciting story.
  7. I tapered from effexor 150 mg over 12 days, 11 weeks ago. I experienced nearly every acute side effect eg. derealisation/depersonalisation, euphoria, vertigo, tremor, intrusive suicidal thoughts, akathisia, blurred vision, crushing pressure in head, pins and needles in forehead etc. 2 weeks ago I started to feel increasing numbness in my forehead and cognitive problems with working memory etc. consistent with chemical lobotomisation. As of 10 days or so ago I am experiencing nausea, extreme intermittent confusion, memory loss, sweating, restless legs, heart arrythmias and tachycardia. I'm very frightened and don't know whether reinstating at a low dose could make things worse although its difficult to see how things could get much worse at this point. I feel as though I'm in late stage dementia and I'm 35. I have no appetite and have lost 10% of my body weight over the last week, from 54 kg to 49 kg at 167 cm. Has anyone reinstated this late from a rapid taper and found it beneficial or did it make things worse? Please help me I'm absolutely desperate.
  8. magnesi

    Achilles tendon pain

    Hello, My Achilles tendon of the left leg hurts a lot (the one of the right leg only a little). I've been trying to avoid impact, warm up well before exercising and apply heat (cold worsens the situation), but the pain is getting worse. I can not even walk without limping! I'm almost reaching 50% of my initial dose of 150mg venlafaxine (Effexor) and somewhere around the 40% I started having muscle and joint pain. During my withdrawal from benzodiazepine last year, this type of pain was my main problem. At one point I became bedridden. Will it be the same with the antidepressant? I'm very scared! In particular, I don't know what to do in relation to my Achilles tendon pain. Should I see a doctor? I am sure he/she will prescribe a bunch of medication, muscle relaxants, etc. that I do not want and can not take, and perhaps some useless and time consuming physical therapy. Has anyone had this kind of problem? What did you do? Thank you for your ideas!
  9. Hi I am new to this forum. I have read through many posts and gained some very helpful info and it is comforting to know I am not alone. Looking some advice regarding my current AD regimen. I have OCD and depressive symptoms. Was started on Effexor XR by GP for mild low mood ( probably anxiety was more of the problem) after returning home from foreign charity work trip early due to homesickness in 2001. Had a number of years of anxiety and obsessive thinking (no psychology/counselling input) following severe depression in a close relative and then a long period of doing better. Anxiety and obsessive thinking on occasions throughout this period (looking back this was probably worse than I would care to admit to myself). Significant problem with anxiety; attended psychiatry and resulting (unsuccessful) change to citalopram and back to increased dose of Effexor XR 150mg. Further better period until 2012. Change in job circumstances requiring long hours shift work, long daily commute at same time as second child being born. Developed constant abdominal pain and subsequent reduced sleep, increased anxiety and lowering of mood over 2-3 years (but retained interest). Changed Effexor XR to sertraline equivalent dose by GP (to see if Effexor XR responsible for abdominal pain). Reduced work time and then had to stop working for a period due to pain (investigations all normal - likely IBS). Changed job (better hours) and had short period of relief from all symptoms. Further abdominal pain, recommencement of OCD symptoms. Developed increasing loss of interest, reduction in motivation and low energy. Return to psychiatry - nortriptylline added - no improvement. Medication changed or doses increased (see signature below) - no improvement. Weaned off Effexor XR over 5 weeks (during which I felt much better for about 3) and 2 weeks on nothing before commencing the MAOI Nardil. During those 2 weeks and first few of commencing nardil had brain zaps, nausea, dizziness, temperature dysregulation and severe OCD symptoms (worst I ever had). Nardil over a period of 3-4 months increased up to 120mg daily - intolerable side effects including insomnia, unable to pass urine or stool, dizziness, weight gain, panic attacks for first time. It was during this time I realised that it could be the medications that were not helping and potentially hindering my mental health. Recommenced Effexor XR at dose of 150mg. Have now been on effexor XR 150mg since Jan 2018. Symptoms since then have included increasing levels of: fatigue, brain fog (at times severe), low mood (I truly believe I was never severely depressed until I was on the high doses of ADs), loss of interest in everything, poor motivation and concentration, no libido. In the last 2 months I have had a couple of episodes of derealization, increasing levels of brain fog, nausea, headache, flu-like aches, dizziness on occasions, constipation, intermittent facial twitching around the eye, irritation (the slightest thing irritates me)/agitation. Now having crushing episodes during the day of what I would describe as severe fuzziness of the head where I feel like I lose focus mentally and visually, become more agitated, cannot seem to move my body without extreme effort and have racing thoughts (?depressive ruminations ? OCD). After reading many forum posts it seems I have gone from high doses of antidepressants to half that dose in a short period of time and that is far too fast. However I have now been on this dose for 5-6 months and wondering is it too late to re-increase the dose slightly to decrease more slowly? Also I have read that the 6 month period after reducing or going cold turkey the symptoms seem to get worse so is it better to ride it out longer at this dose hoping to stabilise and not lose the reduction I have made. Truly my days at the moment are largely unbearable and I feel very dysfunctional yet through years of pushing myself can manage to look after activities of daily living. But not sure exactly what would be best to do. I have tried to be concise here but it looks like a long post - apologies. This forum is great and thanks for all the great advice and encouragement. Wishing all who are here the best in their recovery. Salvo
  10. Hi All, I've been reading up on the forum for the last few months and decided i might put a post in as would be keen to hear your thoughts and also share my experience. I've been on Effexor XR for around 10 years in total. Original condition was OCD - obsessive thoughts about food poisoning and my food being drugged - didn't help that i would feel strange after eating food & then become anxious / paranoid about it. This resulted in depression along with inability to function in social settings and a downward spiral. Originally was on Paxil in the beginning which didn't really work and then was transferred to Effexor XR 150mg. Have been on 75mg for the last few years though. In all honesty the effexor worked great and it helped me pull myself together and make a good life for myself. Education, job, family etc. Then about 2 years ago i thought that my life was going really well, so i didn't need the effexor any more. Attempted to stop it without tapering which didn't last long due to the brain zaps. Then tried a second time by a slow tapering process over 6 months from 75mg to nothing. Got off it without too many side effects (brain zaps and irritability, brain fog mainly). The brain fog was a bit of an issue and i just didn't cope well with stress any more. An incident last year at work got me back on to the effexor and i started to feel better. Until.... About 3 months into starting the effexor again i started getting strange physical symptoms including numbness and tingling, nausea and the OCD returned - would only get the symptoms around 2-3 hours a night after eating and taking my effexor. Now i did change brands of effexor (generic) during that period and to be honest i cant remember if i took generic effexor or the branded one for the previous 9 years. I honestly don't know if these symptoms were caused by the effexor though or by something else. With the strange physical symptoms and resurgence of OCD i decided i would quickly taper off the effexor. I went down 60mg to nothing (erratically cutting dose amounts as quick as i could) in about 4 weeks. Its now been 2 months and i have had plenty of strange symptoms including hives, numbness / tingling in limbs, memory loss / confusion, headaches & constant pressure in forehead, some nausea, tightness in chest, strange physical sensations and stabbing pains, feeling like ive had allergic reactions. The WORST symptom i have experienced is derealization - I've been in a state where everything i see seems surreal and often wondered if i was actually in a coma. This seems to have gotten a little better over the last week so i hope to god that its not a permanent thing. The brain fog is quite annoying and affecting my ability to do my job - i work in IT so not being able to concentrate is a real problem. From what i have read on the forum i wouldn't class my experience anywhere near as bad as what some other people have been through. I would say the symptoms have ranged from mild to moderate, but i guess without knowing how long this is going to go on for its a bit depressing. I've been using fish oil and magnesium / b vitamins which seems to have helped - fish oil got rid of most of the brain zaps. I do have some questions for other people who might have gone through similar experiences. Has anyone tried using st johns wort during the withdrawal phase to counter effect the effexor withdrawal? Is a small re-instatement of effexor likely to result in a bad medication reaction after 2 months of not having it? Has anyone had the derealization symptom during withdrawal? Is this likely to improve? I had a cholesterol level test whilst i was on effexor which returned a high result. After coming off the effexor i had a second test done and my cholesterol was back to normal - no diet change or new medications etc. I read somewhere that effexor can increase cholesterol levels? I guess im at an impasse at the moment. Ive got a bit to loose if i cant 'pull' myself together. Getting off medications all together would be great, but if it means i need to battle this for a long time and possibly loose my job and have it affect my home life i may need to consider re-instatement of at-least a small dose or some other alternative. Im reluctant to try other drugs as effexor is the devil i know. I also know that if i restart the effexor and the symptoms go away and everything returns to normal im likely to stay on it for the rest of my life as i wont want to gamble with coming off it again. Anyways thanks for reading & if you have any thoughts or similar experiences feel free to share =)
  11. New here, so will hope to fill in fuller history later. I am 71 and have had depression to varying degrees 1977 to date. Managed to work full time 1964-2001, though. 12 years on irregular shift pattern 1964-1977. Last month, went to new younger GP who arranged blood tests, (after I had given him my list of ill-health symptoms!) Blood, mostly OK, but indicated low folic acid, he said. I am on 5mg daily folic acid tab for last 5 weeks. I do feel better (carrying out lots of small projects in my retirement). Had so many ups and downs in last 40 years, though, that I think this may be a placebo effect. However, a more positive side of me thinks I may be on the way to breaking through the wall where "the drugs don't work anymore" at 225mg Venlafaxine slow release. I have been on Losec (Omeprazole 10mg) for decades, too. I read that it can spoil your absorption of certain vital items in the vitamin B family, at least? Thanks for reading, all.
  12. Hi everyone! So I was on 75mg 1x non-extended for 14 years. I got sick in May with diverticulitis (blame the Effexor for GI issues) and Went off my med because I couldn’t keep it down...I know😔 So fast forward to the past 10 months it’s been hell. I was doing okay (ish) up until September when the panic attacks started (never had those before.) After exhausting all hormone and blood work I decided I had to go back on something. I was a successful business owner. I’ve tried many drugs and they all give me Wired energy within the first 2 days. I was hospitalized in October because pristiq Wired me so much. I have been through so much. I have tried TMS also gives me crazy anxiety. I’ve seen functional doctors, have done genetic test to see what’s wrong with my genes. I had to go back to psychiatrist yesterday because something is wrong. Did Effexor ruin me? Any guidance? I just need my life back. Has anyone had this kind of reaction being off of it? Am I still detoxing?
  13. Hello SA members, I am new here. Before June 2017 I was taking Lexapro/60mg and Lithium/600mg, I stopped cold turkey, did well for 2 months but ended up going to the ER for insomnia, was sleeping less than 2 hrs. at night. I didn’t know anything about withdrawals weeks ago; the doctors don’t talk about it, they just want to put you on something. I spent 10 days in the Psych ward in Sept/2017, they started me on Remeron 15mg and Effexor 37.5/75/112.5/150mg, after I left the hospital my psychiatric increased to Remeron 45mg and Effexor ER 150mg. Since I started Effexor ER 150 noticed hyperactivity episodes, so the Dr. decreased to 112.5mg and I have been trying to stay on 75mg I want to start to taper them and when I stop my final doses I want to replace them with supplements and vitamins. It's been only a month since I started taking Remeron and Effexor. I am scared and confused of what to do and how to do it. Please help.
  14. 1968creative

    1968creative: Tapering advice needed

    I’ve been on many different A/D’s for over 20 years. Currently on 150mg/Venlafaxine XR for the last 2 years. I’ve also been on benzo’s for the same amount of time. (Mainly Valium). I’d like to come off the Venlafaxine first, but have a couple of questions. 1. What is the recommended taper regime? 2. Accepting we’re all different, what can I expect by way of withdrawal reduction symptoms? My anxiety is already Sky-high, and my mood is not good. 3. Bit of a controversial question... but is it reasonable to say/think that possibly the people in this group are the ‘unlucky’ one’s? And for the purpose of explaining what I mean... Is it possible that 90% do it without serious bother, and this group is for those understandably struggling? I don’t know. The only reason I ask is that whilst it’s acknowledged as one of the harder A/D’s to come off, some people can’t praise it enough, and others are going through hell, often having to reinstate. 4. I don’t know whom to turn to re. Supporting my withdrawal, as the general consensus amongst psychiatrists is that you can come off in say 5 weeks or so, and at the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got people saying take one bead out a week etc. 5. Finally... I’ve heard about something called the Prozac bridge. Has anyone tried this? In summary, I’m scared! Thanks Adam
  15. My introductory post. I have a sleep disorder associated with Fibromyalgia. Fibro also is associated with anxiety and depression and inability to relax the muscles. So, Venlafaxine has been a real help for me to live a normal life for 20 years. But I'm 68 and want to get off. Today is the 6th day following a failed tapering, my second. My first tapering was a year ago. I have a terrible sleep disturbance: I have a panic attack while falling asleep. My husband is helping me find a better psychiatrist, one who is experienced with both a sleep disorder and tapering. But this time around as I tried to fall asleep a loud buzzing sound and vibrating sensation occurred inside my right nasal passage. As I type this I am aware it sounds unbelievable. It's so embarrassing. "Doctor, I have a bee in my nose." Well, I googled "my own snoring wakes me up" and found Sleep-Doctor http://sleep-doctor.com/blog/does-your-own-snoring-wake-you-up-from-sleep/ . Anyone have a similar weird sleep disorder? I bet it was due to tapering - some kind of neurological trauma. I'm exhausted. Last night I finally slept through the night.
  16. I just happened upon this site and I am really glad for this resource. I am attempting my second taper off Effexor right now. I just started trying to go off 150 mg (I actually decreased from 225 about 2 years ago and never had the courage to try). I started seeing a therapist who practices energy psychology and feel I have the support now to give this another try. Already I feel tired, foggy, off balance and have had a headache for the last 24 hours (only on day two). I am taking 75 mg every other day instead of 150. The Effexor has capsules so it’s hard to cut down so slowly unless you’re a chemist. It feels good to have a place that other people are going through the same thing I am, and it’s good to know other people acknowledge how hard this can be., My doctor certainly did not warn me the first time I tried (going from 225 to 0 in about a month). Wish me luck...
  17. Hi everybody! I am Julz, a 33 year-old female - polydrugged to my eye-balls Ten years ago, I fell into anorexia and depression, soon unveiling terrible anxiety. I was referred to a psychiatrist (in France) who prescribed me medication and also gave me psychotherapy. Regarding the medication, different combinations and doses where tried and I eventually found myself on a prescription which seemed to suit my troubled mind (Escitalopram, venlafaxine, clonazepam and diazepam) - did it ever do anything? I still haven't got a clue. I trusted this doctor. This is my initial prescription: Escitalopram: 20mg 20mg 20mg - (yes, that is 60mg...!!!) Venlafaxine(MR): - - 75mg - Clonazepam: - 2mg - 2mg Diazepam: - - - 10mg Time passed and psychologically, a lot changed. I moved away from where I used to live, totally changed my environment, and went for a fresh start. But I was still taking my medication as prescribed. My General Practitioner (in charge of my prescription in my new environment) convinced me to lower the Escitalopram (on the grounds that it was "bad for my heart") and I managed, between 2011 and 2013, to come from 60mg/day to 15mg. How? By jumping 5mg at a time every now and again. I had no idea... again, I more or less trusted this doctor who was willing to prescribe me the drugs I was clearly physically dependent on. The withdrawals I experienced were uneventful. I did feel something was happening but within a few days, I always felt the same as before the drop. Between 2010 and 2014, a LOT had changed as I finally got an MSc BUT I had fallen into terrible exhaustion and had no life. How did I get my degree? A struggle every day. I then began to question this cocktail of drugs, I'd been on them for 10 years and was still taking them as prescribed because I was physically dependent. That was clear enough! It then hit me: my meds were probably incapacitating me rather than providing any help! The realisation came as in January 2013, after I managed to lower my Escitalopram intake from 20 to 15mg/day in a single 5mg step (...), I began to feel even more tired during the day, exhausted - I simply had to nap every single day. After some personal research, I went to my GP and told him I didn't believe in keeping our focus on the Escitalopram because it seemed that the more I decreased it, the more sleepy I'd get during the day, considering my benzo intake (at that point, I was taking 3 hours' naps), and I could not live like that! Fortunately, before I was able to drop a pill here and there as instructed by my GP, I found the BenzoBuddy website and managed to find a taper method to gradually come off clonazepam. From December 2014 to July 2015, I came from 4mg to 2mg and am now below 1.9mg and still tapering off successfully. I decided to join Surviving Antidepressants as I want off ALL any medication which alters who I am. I believe in other ways to manage my weaknesses - I am not ill, I have a tendency to be anxious and this is not new, I was an anxious child but I had emotions too. I'd like my emotions and my whole life back... I realise I know NOTHING about anti-depressants, I surely did not know about Escitalopram's potency and am still in shock from the news. My initial plans (supported by a psychiatrist I saw in February 2015) were to come off clonazepam (bz), then diazepam (bz), then Escitalopram, then Venlafaxine. In the light of what I read on this wonderful site, I wonder whether I should stay of Valium (diazepam) while at least tapering off Escitalopram, when I am done with clonazepam... I realise I need knowledge myself because sadly, doctors haven't been helpful at all... so far... Thanks for welcoming me on your wonderful Forum! Julz xxx
  18. I found my way here from the New Yorker article published online last week. Very thought-provoking and not exactly encouraging about this process. I started taking Effexor probably 18 or so years ago; it was my first antidepressant and worked well from the get-go. After 8 or so years I was feeling well enough that I wanted to quit taking it, so my medical person (nurse practitioner) advised me to taper VERY slowly. I was only taking 75 mg XR at the time, and she had me taper over 4 months. I was very impatient with the process but followed instructions exactly and never had a single withdrawal symptom. It went perfectly. A few years later, I was struggling with depression again and once more started Effexor. It worked as well, but I required a higher dosage (150 mg). Last year, my husband died and my depression deepened considerably. I gradually increased the dosage to 300 mg, which seemed to be working more or less. Recently, my therapist and I decided that it would be a good idea to get off Effexor and try Wellbutrin, as Effexor no longer seemed to be helping. My most recent attempt to taper off was a miserable failure; I had several nasty withdrawal problems and stopped almost immediately. One problem I have is that the dose I take now consists of a solid pill, not a capsule filled with tiny pills that I can divide into several doses. The directions say not to cut, chew, or otherwise damage the pill before taking it, so really gradual tapering is not possible. I have to use various sizes of pills to try and work around this problem, and it doesn't seem to be gradual enough. I'm hoping to get some practical help from others who have been through this themselves. Thanks for listening.
  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 guys, So here I am after being off antids for about 6 months, having tapered too quickly and suffering the consequences. I was latterly taking Citalopram 30mg, Lamotrigine 150mg and Venlafaxine 75mg. Summer 2015 I was officially diagnosed with major depression, which had obviously been there for a long, long time but had at that time got particularly bad. This was due to psychological issues, alcohol and drug abuse but wouldn't shift despite years of work fixing these. Now I know the long term citalopram use was probably making the depression worse. Around that time I saw 4 different psychologists and got 4 different opinions on how to recover/which meds to take. This of course was a ridiculous situation so I took matters into my own hands, taking what I thought was the 'best' advice and integrating it with my own research and experience . Following the 'advice' of one of the psychiatrists I added 75mg of Venlafaxine to the Citalopram and Lamotrgine. At the same time I'd heard about l-methylfolate so gradually ramped up to 15mg daily with b-6 and b-12. I know starting 2 things at once is not advisable but I was desperate and could hardly function. Within a couple of weeks something kicked the worst of the depression into touch which was a massive relief. After a couple of months on the 3 med cocktail the side effects were really starting to get to me so it was time to get off this stuff. Yes, I know, I did it all too quickly which is why I am where I am now....I should have listened more closely to the advice here :-) Hoping for a little advice and encouragement about my nervous system which in the last 3 months or so has got worse even though I stopped all meds 6 months ago. The lamotrigine taper had me shouting angrily at my wife a number of times - the intensity of the rage was incredible but passed quite quickly. She was very brave to be able to get through that! Citalopram taper was surprisingly easy. The final stages of the Venlafaxine withdrawl was tricky. I was down to 1 bead and if I didn't take it within a few hours I'd get head zaps, restless legs etc. At some point I had to stop so I did and put with these symptoms for a week or so. After all this I was however very fatigued which has improved to an acceptable level over the last 3 months. The fatigue was probably also due to recovering from the major depression. Right now I have anxiety issues, very easily stressed/snappy, can't sleep more than 5 hours a night and impossible to catch up with sleep during daytime as on the verge of dropping off I wake with intense terror/fear. Often trouble breathing properly, tight stomach and I am very sensitive to noise, light and touch. I also have panic attacks when the stress is high in my life. These have been occurring for a long time though and haven't really changed with changes in meds. Having done years of therapy and some bodywork I know that these are physical symptoms and I have quite a healthy psychological make up. I also do a lot of things to look after my physical and mental health which I won't go into here. On the plus side, I don't have the general low mood caused by taking Citalopram for years, blurred vision, muscle tightness, sexual problems, cognition and memory problems, sense of not being fully present + other well known side effects from these meds. I am having thoughts about re-introducing a very small amount of Citalopram or Venlafaxine - not sure which one of these is causing the nervous system issues - probably both. I'm aware that the likelihood of this helping after 6 months is low, but I'm willing to try to alleviate symptoms. Advice on this is very welcome! As my name suggests, I do finally feel alive after 16 years on these meds - something about taking them was just not 'right'. Even though I'm suffering right now I'd rather be here. I hope this gives some encouragement to others and also serves as a warning about what happens when you taper too quickly! Thanks to mods and users alike for this wonderful resource. Cheers
  21. Hello everyone! I am 26 years old. I tapered off 150 mg XR a little to quickly. I was on it for about two years. I was off completely for about a month. But the anxiety kept getting worse. The pressure in the top of my chest and bottom of throat. It's hard to describe. Also it was hard for me to speak. I was extremely irritable and edgy! I felt dead and wanted to die. The withdrawal just made me feel this way. I took 25 mg IR yesterday. This morning I took 25 mg. This afternoon i will take the second dose of 25. How long do you guise separate your doses of IR? I am also going to do the 10% deduction of the current amount. I am doing the math, this is going to take a very long time! But that's ok, my fault for taking it. When i get this low is it best to make it into liquid form? I watched the video and I understand. in 4 weeks my next dose will be 22.5 mg.
  22. Hi I took effaxor for 5 months 75mg. I stopped 4.5 months ago and still stuck with PSSD. How hopeful should I be, do people here recover substantially from PSSD?
  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. So I figured its time i start a thread on what I'm dealing with. I was on PP for a cpl years but was tapering and keeping in touch with people while doing it. I tapered slowly for a yrs and a half until i got to ten beads and that was my last does at about months worth. Well, now im 6-7 weeks off effexor(paxil before that) after a long taper. The first two weeks seemed very smooth. I was in jamaica for week three and that was tough at points but i was still sleepin ok and feelin good when i woke up. How ever, i was getting strong anxiety late at night partly due to travellers anxiety and just general anxiety. Id say the next week, seemingly over night, i started getting insanely strong symptoms. Also, ive been using klonopin as well for 6-7 months at 1 mg a day and lately started using them every day or two days and noticed the symptoms worsened 5x times over. So i made sure i would use them every day and deal with one war at a time. They seem to help maybe 10 percent with what i think is a delayed effexor withdrawal. My symptoms are pretty much unbearable. Although i dont have the zaps the nausea, the wooshing or ringing in my ears like some people but ive been getting other almost indescribable symptoms like overwhelming guilt, extreme short fuse and temper, crazy mood swings, trouble focusing, sick feelings, extreme panic attacks that go from 1 to 10 in a heart beat. Ive dealt with anxiety and panic attacks all my life but this is on another level. Oh, and really messed up sleep problems. I mean I sleep fine when im asleep but cant sleep passed a certain time and im awaken by horrible dread, depression, earworms (songs repeating over and over like crazy) massive anxiety, mind racing, no energy, almost no libido and the worst are the intrusive and suicidal thoughts like harming myself or others, that give me even more insane anxiety cuz i have the thoughts. I would never act on em but they still really scare me. all of these symptoms come on strong and let off through out the whole day. I've been feeling this way now for 4-5 weeks my mind feels weak and im feeling hopeless. Im starting to have all these "what if" scenarios like "what of i act on these thoughts one day if i just can't take it anymore"(worried ill be like this forever) or will i end up like one of those people who cant deal with life anymore and i do something bad to myself. Like i said theyre thoughts and ive never harmed myself and am terrified by the thoughts. It just seems like normal things(worries or anxieties)are exasperated 100%. And its worse cuz i cant get my mind off of them becuz theyre so overwhelming . Im a very fit and active person. I have a personal trainer 3 days a week and a martial arts trainer 2-3 other days a week along with being in bands who have toured and made albums and played shows for 15 yrs. Now i dread just facing each day. I dread the nights( thats when my anxiety seems overpowering),going to bed and waking up. Ive lost interest in everything i loved literally weeks ago and it seemed to have happened over night....out of nowhere. Even my feelings seemed to have changed in a day for the girl im in a relationship with. The girl is my best friend along with being my gf. She is the best thing thats ever happened to me which makes me feel guilty of even thinkin like that, which in turn causes extreme anxiety. And i have doubts if i should be in a relationship at all but i know id feel like i couldnt live without her and she loves me and helps me so much with what im going through. Shes so supportive even tho she doesnt suffer anything. Im sorry for the rant but i wanted to get everything i could out. Can anyone relate or tell me if they think this is due to withdrawal? Im just lookin for some hope cuz lately i have none. Will i make it through and be normal again? Im living hell every day. Also the last thing is when i force myself to go to the gym, exercise seems to make all of these feelings even worse. The higher i get my heart up the worse i feel. Im so lost i dont know what to do. Im paralyzed.
  25. Hello everyone! On March 16th (2019) I started taking Venlaflaxine (Effexor) 37.5mg in the morning. Unfortunately, the side effects are too much for me to handle, so this morning (April 2nd) I did not take it. I'm here to seek support and answers as I have no clue what will happen with my mind/body now that I stopped.
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