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  1. Hi, I'm new here I'm a 32-year-old woman from Denmark. I found you because I want to safely taper off of my low-dose Amitriptyline 10 mg. But as I read about withdrawal, I came across "post-acute withdrawal syndrome" or "protracted withdrawal" and I got chills because suddenly what has been happening since 2017 made sense! Long story short(er), I was on Venlafaxine/Effexor for 8 years because of generalized anxiety and body pains. In 2017 I tapered off from 2 capsules/150 mg, reducing with 1/4 pill every 2 weeks, so I was off them after a little under 4 months. (I didn't know about safely tapering off, only now have I come across your guide :)). By going off so "slowly" - well, compared to my doctor who told me I could do it cold turkey(!) - I didn't get the extreme side effects i would normally get when I would go up or down in dose. I felt the same when I stopped my dose and for the next 2 months, I was completely fine. But 2 months after I had taken my last dose, I started getting pain in my body, and after 2 more months, at the end of January 2018, from one day to the next I started having an extreme inner shaking/hightened fight-flight-response. It was like I had gotten a shock and I just stayed in that state every second of every day. Never being able to rest was so bad that I wanted to kill myself. It's so difficult to explain the sensation to anyone, so I usually use sleep deprivation as a related example: Sleep deprivation should be the worst form of torture and I get it now - stressing your body every second of every day is completely unbearable and you just want to die. I did sleep, though, but only 4-5 hours every night and I was never tired. My cortisol levels were high so I was checked for Cushing's (cortisol producing tumor) which meant I couldn't take any medicine to help me for 7 months because I needed accurate cortisol results (I didn't have any tumor, though). And also, nothing helped me, not benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, CBD oil or high doses of beta-blockers. After 7 months, my friend who had experienced the same "shaking" after a whiplash and after only a week had wanted to jump out the window from her apartment on the 3rd floor, recommended a low dose of Amitriptyline and that reduced the shaking by 30 % and after a month by 50 % (I only took 5 mg to begin with, though, and it worked after just a few hours, very weird). My symptoms then started to become predominantly psychological instead, like I would cry all the time. It opened up a deep developmental trauma wound that I started therapy for in December 2018. After that and body therapy like The Rosen Method, my symptoms are gradually decreasing. (I also have like 20 other symptoms, like body pain, fatigue etc.). Now, almost 2 years after I came off venlafaxin, I'm 50 % better than I was in December 2018, but my sympathetic nervous system is still firing too much. I thought that being on antidepressants for so many years, from I was 22 until I was 30 had made me so numb that I couldn't process all the stuff I had been through earlier in my life - and I still think that's partly the case - but now I see that there's an entire half of the picture I didn't know about!! That this must have been post-acute withdrawal syndrome!! So not only did I have all the past trauma that came up now that I didn't have something to artificially shut it down, at the same time my brain was also struggling with getting chemically back in balance! Woooow... #MindBlown! I don't even know what I feel... I feel so angry and want to sue someone, but that's not really possible I guess. I have missed work for almost 2 years, I'm only now starting a 10-hour internship. I can't believe you can go from feeling fine to 4 months AFTER you stopped the medicine get these extreme reactions. Has anyone else experienced something like that? And I still want to come off of the Amitriptyline, but slowly. It's only 10 mg, and this week I'm taking 9 mg. After I've done this for 2 days, I do feel some side effects like a bit of insomnia and hightened fight-flight, but it's minor. And might be because I made an oral solution from my tablets and now I read you should try to stay on your dose for 4 days before you reduce it. I did calculations based on the advice of the 10 % reductions of the new dose every month, and if I jump off at 0,1 mg, it will take me 43 months. It seems like a long time, but I would rather do this safely this time! Wow, I'm still in shock that it was protracted withdrawal symptoms that almost had me commit suicide, because no doctor could tell me what I was experiencing. I'm so glad I found you! And I also want to ask you if anyone has ever gotten completely over this syndrome, can your brain adjust completely? TIA
  2. I've been on the Ven for 7 years, along with wellbutrin and trazadone, diagnosed with GAD and major depressive disorder. I'm 99% positive the doctor, based off what she said at the appts, didnt know what she was doing and in just pulling out an encyclopedia picked out a med (Ven) and put me on a major dose that wasn't needed. I think I had some PSTD and after years of being in a fog mentally and checked out, decided it was time to kick it. Out of the 3 ven's I took daily, I dropped down to one pill a day while in Mexico, I handled it pretty well after trying to ween down without success previously. Maybe it was the awesome trip I was on, maybe it was sweating it out the whole time, I have no idea, but I only felt a little dizzy for that week and I was good. A few months later (actually 4 days ago) I went off the last pill cold turkey and have never been so emotional in my life. I'm starving even after eating to the bursting point, I've gone from a size 6 from my Mx vacation to a 12 and am losing it. I definitely got the withdrawl syndrome bad right now, myalgia, blurred vision, flu like symptoms, irritability, tingling sensations, vivid dreams, sweating, you name it. Please tell me someone that it is going to dissipate soon. Will my hunger even out? I cant go back on meds but I cant gain anymore weight.
  3. I need some advice. I was on cymbalta for 7 years and very functioning on it. I was reduced from 120 to 60 mg from my doctor and slowly started to mentally decline. Physically too, not able to eat. My doctor thought I was just depressed, which I know now I was in withdrawal from a dosage reduction. He tapered me off in 2 weeks and placed me on lithium and abilify. I hated being so sedated and shouldn’t have been switched to anything at the time, I know now. I was then taken off those in 2 weeks and placed on Zoloft. That had my heart racing so fast I couldn’t take it. I was on that for 5 weeks and felt like I was dying. Tapered off in 1 week. Now I have been on Effexor for 10 weeks. I know now that my brain has been kindled. It’s in no shape of getting any good effects from any medicine because none of them help, especially if I am in Protracted withdrawals all along from reducing the cymbalta dosage. I hate the Effexor. It has no positives and I know I cannot slowly taper until my brain starts to stabilize. I just have been on Effexor for 10 weeks, in Protracted withdrawal, and don’t know how my brain will stabilize while still on Effexor. I know this is going to require a lot of time to heal. I just wish I could slowly taper Effexor and then I would feel as if I am healing. I know now that I should not have allowed myself to take another antidepressant after cymbalta. I should have re-instated the 120 and slowly weaned off. Too late. Now i I feel like I have brain damage and cannot find any joy in life at all. I’m scared because I am barely functioning and I will never allow my doctor to give me another medicine. Which he is trying to. Please help!
  4. Wow! First of all I would like to say how relieved I was to have found this forum. For the years I've been struggling with this I have gotten so tired of other people (including doctors and therapists!) telling me that what I've experienced isn't possible and that I'm either making it all up or still sick. Everything started in my junior year of college. I had struggled with varying levels of depression and anxiety for most of my life, even resorting to SI when I was younger, but had finally hit a point where I thought that I needed some professional help. Looking back, I'm sure that the sudden drop was situational as much as anything. Most of my friends had moved away or graduated, my family was going through some money trouble, and I was working more hours to be able to be more self-sufficient. I started to become more withdrawn and my academics started to drop. I was an A and B student so this was very stressful to me. Thinking I was being proactive and doing the right thing, I went to my school's counseling center who then referred me to the campus clinic. The psychiatric nurse practitioner prescribed Prozac (20mg). About two weeks later I was hit with the worse anxiety I had ever had. I barely left my house unless I had to for class or work, would start shaking at random times, and had near constant chest pain. I tried to wait it out but eventually gave up and went back. She switched me to lexapro(20mg). This seemed to do the trick so I stayed on it though the end of the semester and over the summer. Unfortunately, when I started back up at school I started to struggle again. I'd tried to make positive changes in my life: made some new friends, got in contact with old ones, and started trying to date. Then, as it happens all too often in college, the guy I was seeing got me drunk and took advantage. This led to me having a bit of a breakdown and my friends urged me to go to the hospital. While there they switched me to zoloft(50mg), remeron(15mg), and lorazapam(2mg as needed). This is where things start to get really wonky. At first I thought it was helping but about a month after I got out of the hospital I started having these intense intrusive self-harm thoughts. Violent and strong enough to scare me. I had a medication review and those three were dropped and I was put on WellbutrinXL(150mg). Again things were better for a little while but about a month later started to go south. The intrusive thoughts were back and I had started to feel very unlike myself. Impulsive and disconnected. I later learned that this was probably a kind of dissociation. One night all of the stress and darkness got to me and I impulsively decided to chase the rest of my pills with half a bottle of vodka. It was strange because I wasn't trying to kill myself, the mindset was more: "I wonder what this will do. It can't be worse that what I'm already feeling." It didn't feel real, like it was happening to someone else. That put me back in the hospital where I then dropped out of college and moved back in with my parents. I had to be on a wait list but eventually I started seeing a new psychiatrist who decided to diagnose me with Bipolar based on the impulsiveness and out of character behavior I had while taking Wellbutrin. She called it agitated depression or mixed mania. At the time I believed her. I was scared, desperate, and seriously doubting my sanity, and I felt like I couldn't trust myself. She started out by prescribing me Abilify(15mg) and Effexor (75mg). This was my second nightmare. A few days later I started having akathisia and had similar feelings of impulsiveness and feeling out of control. When I told my doctor she urged me to wait it out which led to me relapsing into SI for the first time in over 6 years to cope. That combination was obviously stopped and I had the most physical withdrawal symptoms that I had so far. I couldn't leave my bed for two days I was so nauseous and dizzy. I feel like I should point out at this point that I was on most of these medications for max of a few months and didn't taper at all. Cold turkey then right on to another. Next on the list was Latuda(40mg - 60mg). My insurance ended up not really covering that one so what I ended up on as my final medication was Lithium. This was a blessing in a way because it didn't really do anything, which turns out, is what I needed. At one point I was up to 1600mg a day to control my "symptoms" which I'm now convinced was almost entirely side effects mixed with withdrawal. That dose completely destroyed my short term memory. After finally stabilizing, I had gone back to school and this was making classwork almost impossible, so after much debating the dosage was stepped down to 800mg. Finally, in the summer of 2017, I took a summer job working at a research station in the forest. After a lot of solo time hiking in nature I had an epiphany. This was the best I had felt in years and that all of my serious problems started after I sought "help." When I got back to see my doctor I told her my plan to stop taking medication. She was extremely judgemental and basically told me I'd be back when I had a relapse and just told me to tapper off with the what I had left (about a weeks worth). I'm very happy to say that she was wrong. All I've done since then is get better. I still struggle with some depression and anxiety but if that is the trade off I will gladly live with that. After a year and a half of being free of psychiatric drugs I'm surprised at the difference. On medication I was dissociating, having panic attacks, paranoia, and suicidal ideation. I felt like a complete basket case. It's terrifying to me how easy it is to get stuck in a downward spiral like that. Not ONE of the doctors or therapists that I'd seen even considered that the medication could be what was causing me to get worse and worse. They just saw worsening "symptoms" that they had to "get ahead of" and I believed it too. Now, even that the worst is over, the experience still haunts me. I feel so guilty about the way that I behaved and I have no idea how much was my fault versus the medication. I know that it was a factor but I remember making the decisions to hurt myself and destroy my life and I'm not really sure how to live with that. I have nightmares where I'm back in the worst of it feeling like I'm slowly losing my mind and I have permanent scars from the SI. I saw a new primary care doctor recently and the first thing she tried to do was get me back on mood stabilizers after seeing "bipolar" on my chart. I don't know how to get that removed or if I even can. The only people who believe me are my friends and family who saw me go from a somewhat stressed young adult to nonfunctional almost overnight. I know that this hasn't ruined my life... but it certainly feels like it sometimes. I'm sorry that anyone else had to go through this hell but I'm so, so glad that I'm not alone in this. Even now I'm not sure that I'm completely recovered. I guess time will tell.
  5. Hi everyone! Don't know where to begin... I've been on and off (mostly on) antidepressants since the birth of my son in 2013. My history is so similar to many here, jumping from one drug to another. I've tried to withdraw from SSRI's/SSNRI's four times and have ultimately always ended up back on them because what I thought was a return and worsening of my depression was most likely pretty significant and scary withdrawal symptoms. To summarize, I usually last about 6 weeks and then all of a sudden am unbearably irritable with increasing suicidality, which is the one symptom I cannot handle and have always returned to drugs at that point. Or some life stressor sends me over the edge. It breaks my heart because, like many here, my withdrawal symptoms are worse than the (postpartum) depression that landed me in this mess of drugs. I was never suicidal before, I was having an adjustment disorder and some PTSD following the difficult and traumatic birth of my son. I needed support and counseling, not drugs thrown at me to make me functional in the mess of my pain. What compounds this is the fact that I have PCOS, which in itself can contribute to anxiety and depression. It's hard for me to tease the two apart- I wonder, is this a PCOS thing or is this my depression? The last time I tried to taper effexor was when I had been off birth control for about 5 months and had been feeling really good. BUT, I know the pattern now for that too- every single time I quit ocp things are awesome for about 4-6 months and then the walls come crashing in (periods disappear, moods worse, skin breaking out, hair loss). The hormonal derangement compounds any issues I am having with mood or anxiety and I am back on oral contraceptives now and will be for awhile, I'm not even thinking of stopping those at the moment. Although I'd very much like too...xsighx Right now, I have stupidly followed my primary card md's advice of the two week every other day taper and am two weeks post my last effexor 37.5mg. Prior to tapering, I had been feeling really good and truly want off these drugs. I did not do this under my md's supervision or suggestion because at this point I feel like I know more about this subject than he does as his only suggestions are basically to taper off or go back on them at full dose. I have definitely been experiencing withdrawal symptoms during this time- hypomania, insomnia, increasing irritability, and headache are my biggest complaints. The headaches have basically stopped and I'm trying to reign in my spending and obsessive behaviors (no one needs to be on amazon.com until 4am!). However, I feel like my irritability is remaining the same if not getting worse and unfortunately my children get the brunt of that. Work is fine, relationship with my husband is fine, but I am having a difficult time dealing with my 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old. (Although tbh, I imagine anyone with kids this close in age and at this age in particular would struggle) I find myself yelling at them more than I would like and becoming frustrated with innocuous behavior; that I am not handling my feelings and emotions well. 😢 This is heartbreaking and worth considering going back on the effexor but I don't want to. I have no doubt that I tapered too fast as I did not properly educate myself on the best way to get off this drug. After spending considerable amounts of time on this site, I reinstated at half the granules in my 37.5mg capsules. I just did this tonight and I will continue to take this dose and slowly work back the time I take this drug to be back in the morning. My symptoms are kind of subtle, more mental than physical sensations, and I was wondering how will I know if this dose I've reinstated at is good? I know I need to go back on the effexor and stabilize for awhile before thinking of tapering again. Any advice/suggestions/insight into reinstating at half 37.5mg? How do I know if that's a good dose to reinstate at? I'm not sure where to go from here, although the next couple days will hopefully give me some clues. Thank you to everyone here, although I am new to this community it has helped me so much already to see other people sharing the same struggles and helping each other to get better together. ❤️
  6. InChristAlone

    InChristAlone

    I was in Lexapro 10 and 20mg (mostly 10) for 15 years. I was put on it when I was 19 after going through a breakup with my high school girlfriend. Also , I have dealt with minor anxiety issues most of my life and have a family history of anxiety and depression. Everything was going ok until I herniated a disc in Jan 2018. What felt like a nervous breakdown ensued. My GP stopped Lexapro cold turkey and started me on Luvox and this made things worse. I cold turkey quit everything for a couple months and things continued to get worse. My GP then put me on Effexor 150mg and Klonopin 1mg twice daily. Things improved for a while. After 6 months, I decided to taper Klonopin because I had found this site and benzobuddies. I am down to 0.25 mg of Klonopin daily and still on Effexor. I am living a life of waves and windows now. I am a middle school teacher and coach. Thankfully, God has strengthened me enough to continue to work through this WD process.
  7. 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.
  8. I was 22 when I went to the doctor because of a broken heart. He put me on effexor. I had faith in our medical system then, I don't these days. He did not even think the birth control I was on was causing a problem nor did he test for any nutrient insufficiency. It was a brief few minutes. I was crying over a break up and that was all he needed to see and hear to pack me up with several trial boxes full of effexor XR. It seemed like the end of the world and I wanted the pain to stop so I put my trust in my doctor and took the pill everyday until I got pregnant a year later. It was a difficult pregnancy. I was not aware I had a genetic mutation in my MTHFR pathway. I don't even know if that pathway was studied much back then...I am 38 now. Just so you have a time line. I don't know if they were aware that antidepressants made the lack of folate worse. No wonder I had preeclampsia and was on bed rest for the entire 3rd trimester. I felt like crap and was at risk for heart attack and stroke. They had to induce 2 weeks early. She was definitely worth it. Her father, however was not. I needed to go back on effexor after the pregnancy to deal with his abuse. In the end, I wound up with PTSD and he sat 6 years in prison. I had developed a drinking problem at this time. I was out of control. The second pregnancy helped me reel it back in. I went off the meds and did not go back on them until I was unable to handle the stress anymore which was about 2 years post partum. I had 2 daughters, I was working as much as possible and in school full time. My significant other was trying to "hook up" with other girls and my second attempt at a family was failing. They added trazadone this time so I could sleep. Instead of dealing with the problem, I numbed it. My behavior changed a lot. I lost interest in the things I was working so hard for, I became compulsive even more than usual, the alcohol abuse returned. The failing of the family sealed everything. I lost it completely, cut myself so badly and tried to commit suicide. I ended up spending a week in the psych ward where they changed up my meds and added abilify and buspar to the cocktail. Apparently I had gone from just depressed to bipolar. I got off the medication after I found myself pregnant for the 3rd time. I married this one. Love him to death too. After I had my 3rd daughter and even during the pregnancy I was having what I thought were a return of my old bipolar symptoms. I went back on all the meds believing they would help me. They actually made me lose control a bit more and eventually I felt so lost and sick that I knew it was time to get off the meds and actually work towards a happy, healthy life. I was weaned off everything except trazadone. I requested to stay on it for insomnia. I had not been able to sleep for years without a sleep aid and it worked for me. The initial withdrawl was bad. I was on the couch for atleast a month after taking my last dose. I made it through. Shortly after I began developing gastrointestinal issues. I was always nauseated and would have stomach aches. No one thought it was from withdrawl or from the trazadone I continued to take. I carried on in my health quest. I began running and cleaned up my diet. I fell in love with Crossfit and added that to the mix. My gastrointestinal problems continued and got worse. I started eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet. It helped a little. Then I woke up one morning with distorted vision, extreme fatigue, and a general feeling like I had the flu...but it wouldn't go away. I worked with a gastro thinking that something horrible was going on in my intestinal track. Blood work, a colonoscopy, ct scans, numerous emergency visits could not pin point anything wrong. It was a mystery. I thought I was dying at one point. Until I decided it was time to go off of trazadone...and miraculously after I was weaned off all the brain fog, headaches, fatigue went away. My gut did not improve much. But I then had an idea what was causing my issues. I was diagnosed with IBS and it was driving me nuts. I was not aware I was still going through withdrawls nor did I associate the deterioration in my mental state with those withdrawls. I thought, my gut was great when I was on effexor. Lets try it. My body rejected it twice. My gastro tried a low dose of elivil which my body also rejected. I worked out that weekend and woke up on Monday and all the symptoms I had before had returned times 10. I felt like I had fried my brain. I have been trying to recover for the past 6 months. I did see a lot of improvement after working with an integrative doctor. We are trying to increase my serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. My adrenals are shot. My cortisol curve is really messed up. The ability for my body to regulate blood sugar levels was horrible for a long time. But is better now. I can have coffee again in the morning when I need it most. I sleep more than I don't these days. Sleep hypnosis works like a charm to help with the racing thoughts at night. My gut has improved, but my diet is super clean and I try and exercise when I am feeling well enough to. I take methylfolate for my mutation and we are working on getting my body to synthesize B6 better with a ful spectrum of aminos I take as a bone broth protein supplement. I still have waves. They were manageable up until this week. I am having a really bad wave. Migraine, my thermostat is not working right (either freezing or sweating), muscle aches, horrible vertigo, vision problems, balance is off, muscle weakness, fatigue yet cannot sleep well. And the emotional roller coaster has not been fun. I can't wait to get off that ride. Horrible panic, paranoia, fear, anxiety, akathisia, and obsessive behavior, cannot handle any type of stress at all. My poor 13 year old got the brunt of it yesterday. I yelled at her because she needed me to pick her up from school because she was not feeling well. I could not handle the change in my morning plans. I apologized later that night, though. I do try and explain what is happening. This is what it is like, though. I know this is a lengthy post, but I feel it is important to tell my story and I am not going to sugar coat things at all. This whole process has been horrible. It is a nightmare for me and for my family. I just have faith and hope that one day I will wake up and I will be healed...atleast I hear that is how things are suppose to happen.
  9. 36year old man. Married, no kids. I've been on SSRIs for 15 years now. I've been tapering off them for 5 years. Effexor was what I took for depression, anxiety. From 2004-2014 I gradually took more and more until I got to a point where I couldn't be prescribed a higher dose (can't remember specific, will ask doctor). The plan was to get onto a different ssri, but I had to taper down to a lower dose before I could bridge with prozac. The withdrawal was awful and the more I learned about psychotropic drugs the more I wanted off completely. I have strong feelings of worthlessness and shame. I'm embarrassed to look anyone in the eye. I've exercised, meditated, changed my diet, take supplements, see a therapist, i've established a support network, cbt, affirmations, rigid self care program. Still hate myself. Still get suicidal thoughts. I want to try life with no antidepressants. Maybe that's it. I think it's actually the drugs that are keeping my depression from lifting. I hope. I've been aware of the forum for years and finally decided to post. I feel alone in this withdrawal from time to time. I haven't been to a support group in months. My phone never rings and I like it that way. I want to hide from everyone. I don't know anyone else quitting their meds. Feels like I'm losing my identity and I just don't care enough to build it back.
  10. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE TOPIC BEFORE GOING OFF PRISTIQ. Pristiq comes in insufficient dosages to taper. Do not alternate doses of Pristiq to taper -- this will cause the levels of this medication in your brain to go up and down and is second only to cold-turkey in causing withdrawal symptoms. AND DON'T COLD-TURKEY EITHER!!!!!!!!! To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and post-discontinuation prolonged withdrawal syndrome, as with other psychiatric drugs we recommend reducing Pristiq by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this: However, Pristiq is difficult to taper "at a more gradual rate" as it comes in only 3 dosages: low, average and excessive -- and officially, the tablets cannot be split. PROTEST THIS DANGEROUS DRUG Phone Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, to make a complaint: (800) 438-1985 in the US Pfizer has not provided any specific information on how to taper from a dosage of 25mg Pristiq, the lowest available dosage. They may suggest alternating dosages to taper Pristiq. Don't do this -- it's like playing ping-pong with your brain. File a complaint about the difficulty of tapering off Pristiq -- the range of dosages is inadequate. Also complain to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. Pristiq is Effexor's fancier sibling Pristiq is a drug made of Effexor's (venlafaxine) active metabolite, O-desvenlafaxine. Pristiq is to Effexor as Lexapro is to Celexa -- a tweaked and more powerful isomer molecule. In effect, Pristiq is concentrated Effexor. See http://www.primarypsychiatry.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=2464 According to Pfizer http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=497, Pristiq is available in extended-release tablets of 25mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg; the most common dosage is 50mg. Unlike Effexor, which is metabolized primarily by liver enzyme P450 CYP2D6, Pristiq is metabolized via conjugation and liver enzyme P450 CYP3A4. It attains peak plasma concentrations in about 7.5 hours. As a chemical, before it's put into an extended-release tablet, desvenlafaxine has a half-life of around 11 hours. Pristiq's extended-release formulation According to this paper, the extended-release formulation releases desvenlafaxine over 24 hours. The mean half-life of desvenlafaxine, without the extended-release formulation, is around 11 hours. The extended-release formulation is a monolithic matrix -- it's in the glue that holds the tablet together, not in the coating. I confirmed this in a phone conversation with Pfizer medical information (1-800-438-1985). (Thank you, oaklily, for this information about the matrix formulation.) Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. This is called a monolithic matrix tablet. If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. When the tablet is CRUSHED, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability. A Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. (Here is a description of the similar matrix formulation for quetiapine XR (Seroquel XR) .) OPTIONS FOR TAPERING PRISTIQ Since medicine knows nothing about tapering Pristiq, the following are all informal suggestions. Try any of them at your own risk. Please let us know how you do by posting in this topic. Cut up Pristiq tablets Despite the warnings not to cut it up, from reports on the Web, cutting up Pristiq tablets does seem to work for some but it makes others ill, possibly because of "dose dumping." According to Pubmed on Desvenlafaxine: "....The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool...." The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. If the matrix is destroyed, the entire dose is released at once or "dumped," instead of being gradually released through the matrix formulation. Without the extended-release matrix, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. To avoid "dose dumping" of the entire dose, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. Cut-up Pristiq seems to sometimes cause stomach upset, which may be reduced by taking it with food. Now that the 25mg tablet is available, cutting it into quarters gives you the option to taper by 6.25mg per step. If you are taking 100mg Pristiq or 50mg Pristiq, you may wish to request part of your prescription be written for 25mg tablets. (For insurance coverage of multiple dosages, your doctor most likely will have to specify taking Pristiq in "divided doses.") You may find you need a precise way to measure your tablet fragments. See Using a digital scale to measure doses As you get down to a low dose, you may wish to switch to Effexor to more precisely control dosage decreases, see below. Reducing from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg Pristiq Drug switches incur additional risk. Before trying a switch to Effexor or Prozac (fluoxetine) from 100mg Pristiq, it's probably wise to go down to 50mg Pristiq first, or 25mg if possible. Combining whole tablets, with their extended-release qualities, with tablet fragments probably makes "dose dumping" less likely or noticeable. You might use a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to make the first reduction to 93.75mg 2nd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 87.5mg 3rd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 81.25mg 4th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet to go to 75mg 5th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to go to 68.75mg 6th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 62.5mg 7th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 56.25mg 8th reduction: a 50mg tablet If withdrawal symptoms occur, some people have found taking an additional fragment of a tablet can smooth the transition from one dosage to another. Another way to get from 100mg to 50mg or 25mg is to combine Pristiq tablets with a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor (see below). Once at 50mg or 25mg, stabilize for a month at least and consider your plan for the next stage of tapering. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules or a liquid by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this. See getting-custom-dosages-at-compounding-pharmacies-us-uk-and-elsewhere ) If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. One of our members had a desvenlafaxine liquid made by a compounding pharmacy. Most likely, this compounder used pure desvenlafaxine succinate powder to make this liquid, as desvenlafaxine tablets contain a glue that might resist being made into a liquid. But he may have a way to grind tablets up to make a suspension. A liquid would have to be immediate-release, with a half-life of around 11 hours. Generally, you'd take a drug with that short a half-life twice a day. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. In principle, this would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets: Crush the tablet Make sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder Weigh the powder for a dose with a digital scale Put the powder into an empty gelatin capsule to make it easier to ingest Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular immediate-release Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. Alternatively, you might substitute Effexor XR, which is released gradually like Pristiq and needs to be taken only once a day. You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (If you've just quit Pristiq and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may wish to reinstate a LOWER dose of Effexor XR, such as 37.5mg, to start. This may be enough to stop withdrawal symptoms and avoid a kindling reaction.) The psychiatrist who writes the 1boringoldman.com blog reports success in switching one patient from Pristiq to Effexor, then tapering Effexor, here (see comments) Another psychiatrist said when he tried this, the switch from Pristiq to Effexor was "seamless." Dr. Stuart Shipko posts here: Advice from a psychiatric pharmacist I have been corresponding with a professor at a prominent US university pharmacy department. Here is his best guess at how to taper Pristiq (he does not want his name published): Then taper off fluoxetine (Prozac). See Tips for Tapering Prozac Advice from Dr. Stephen Stahl, author of the manual Essential Psychopharmacology In his widely read psychopharmacology manual, eminent psychopharmacologist Stephen Stahl advises titration by crushing the tablets and mixing in fruit juice, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__14799 According to our member oaklily, Stahl is wrong. Making a liquid from Pristiq does not work, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__24822 Dr. Stahl intends to correct his book, according to this correspondence 09/15-9/16/13 with him: Use a combination of Pristiq tablets and Effexor liquid Pristiq cannot be made into a liquid, but its close relative immediate-release Effexor (not Effexor XR) can. You may be able to go off Pristiq by taking part of your dose in lower-dose tablets and part in liquid Effexor, gradually converting to all-liquid Effexor as you get to lower dosages. This may offer a convenient and gradual path off Pristiq. Only regular immediate-release Effexor can be made into a liquid (see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) ). As immediate-release Effexor has a short half-life and is usually dosed twice a day, you may wish to take the liquid portion of your dosage later in the day. For example, if you are taking 100mg Pristiq, you may wish to take your daily dose as one 50mg tablet and the rest later in the evening as a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. You can titrate the liquid by 10% of your daily dosage to taper until you get to 50mg. Then you can take a 25mg Pristiq tablet with the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. When you get to 25mg Pristiq, you might switch to splitting the tablet and taking the rest in Effexor liquid and so on until you are taking only liquid Effexor. To do this, you will have to request a prescription for Effexor tablets as well as Pristiq from your doctor. "Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant Any drug change incurs additional risk. A switch to Prozac from Pristiq may not work -- they are very different drugs -- or you might have adverse reactions to Prozac. Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a sibling of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq. Attributed to Joseph Glenmullen, the "bridging" technique is described by a doctor here http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2005/ph1354.htm Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac: The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Later, taper off Prozac. At least Prozac comes in a liquid. To do this, consult a doctor knowledgeable about this technique.
  11. I feel devastated still - nearly 8 years after a brutally swift taper from Effexor. I did not know better then. Apparently nor did the doctor. Seven years at 150 mg of Effexor - then down to zero in about five days. Obviously my story is a lot longer than this and all kinds of hellzone has happened between then and now ... involving another drug I was forced on for many months because of the protracted withdrawal. (which these doctors do not believe in as you know) And I have only just learned that what is included in what I have been suffering for a while now, has a name - vulvodynia. (then there is the burning sensation throughout various parts of the rest of my body). I am so scared because life is over if this is all there is now. Surely there is some kind of wonderful holistic herbal miracle remedy to take or something - a solution for CNS damage. I am drug-free now and want to stay that way and wish I always had been. Unbelievably for all of those years I didn’t really know what I was really taking - I never gave informed consent. If I had the knowledge then I would never have given consent at all. Meanwhile I need to heal or there is no life left.
  12. 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 .
  13. Hello everybody, I apologize in advance for my English writing, it wil not be perfect but i hope you can understand me! My name is Andi and i am from The Netherlands, i am 31 years old! I have a history with social anxiety and panic disorder although i can honestly say that as for as the social anxiety goes im doing a lot better, the only major problem i have is the fact that i have a lot of fear for the fear if that makes sense! Anyway i started using Lexapro in 2012 and the first 2 years i was doing fine, no issues whatsoever, after 2 years i started to get severe neck nerve pain, i went to the doctor many times and the only thing he said was that is was due to stress! After walking around with crazy nerve pain for about 4 years and ruling out everything i then thought it had to be the Escitalopram! So then i made the biggest mistake ever!!! I quit cold turkey in 2017! For the first couple of weeks i was feeling kinda sick like the flue but it was actually not really that bad! My neck was starting to feel better so i was actually happy about it and thought that i was gonna feel fine in a couple of weeks! Wow was i wrong!! After 4 weeks i woke up with tinnitus, and after about 5 weeks the bomb exploded! I had the worst anxiety and panic attacks ever!! Whey worse than before the medication! I had severe restless legs and could not sleep! I was extremely emotional and also agressive! I had never been like that before!! I then obviously started googling these issues and came across this site as many others, i read a lot of different stories and thought wel maybe i will get better in time! But after 4 months of hell i had enough! I basically made an appointment with a psychiatrist and the first day they gave me Effexor! They could have given me anything because i didn't wanna go a day longer! Anyway after 2 weeks i went up to 75mg of Effexor and yes my emotional problems where a lot better but once again i got extreme neck pain, even worse than before so i had to go back to 37,5 mg! After a couple of days my neck was feeling a lot better but anxiety wise i was not great! Not as bad as before but also not great! The biggest issue i had with the anxiety that came was this weird thing where i felt like i could not breath!! That was horrible! Everytime the doorbell rang at home i immediately could't breath! Before the medication my anxiety was never like this!! Anyway after dropping to 37mg of Effexor i still felt like choking sometimes however i was sleeping a bit better (not longer than 4 hours in a row) but atleast the restless legs where gone! Emotional wise i was still doing oke. So because i was to scared to come off Effexor i was on it for about a year until the end of 2018! At that moment i felt reasonable and the anxiety was also a bit better so i decided to gett off the meds because i was getting some annoying side effects once again! So i tapered down over the course of 3 months, i know some people will say that this is to fast but i was done with the medication because of the very annoying side effects like teeth grinding, not being able to sleep long and once again neck pain! Anyway in February of this year i had my last pill! So the first 6 weeks i was doing okay! I definitely felt some withdrawal issues like restless legs and emotional, irritated and things like that but not as bad as last year when i came off lexapro! But once again after about 7 weeks things got bad, i got a lot more anxiety and emotional and somehow my neck started hurting again, i also feel extemely irritated and annoyed very fast! I can get really angry if something goes wrong and i hate this because i have never been like this before! My anxiety is also through the roof and once again i cant sleep! So its been 4 months now and still no progress! I still feel like im surviving and have no life! I talked with many people, i have a new psychiatrist and when i explain my problem she looks at me like she doesn't care, she keeps saying that i am probably one of the very few people with these issues! The only option she gives me is to take other medication! I really don't want to do it but i will probably take an other medicine in August because i just cant do this anymore! Nobody reassures me or anything! They act like i had these issues before the medication but i know that is such bulls... I really start to hate doctors!! Anyway the only option i see is to wait until August because then i have been off the meds for 6 months, if by then there is no progression i have no other choice but to try an other medicine! Again i really don't want it but right now my life is horrible! I need reassurence, i still cant sleep! Why is it that when i started taking Effexor i could not sleep longer than 4 hours in a row and now i am off this medicine and i still have the same issue!? Is this permanent? Can these meds really damage you for life? Can anybody tell me will this get better and what is the timeframe? Thank you for reading!
  14. 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...
  15. 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.
  16. 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 =)
  17. Hello everyone Am I the only one who is housebound by visual symtoms? My visual symtoms are so bad I cannot go outside anymore. I cannot determine depth, light, and everything looks disproportionate, much darker and distorted, too close or too far away. It's like my brain cannot process the input of my eyes and If I walk around outside for more than 5 minutes, all these visual symptoms gets much worse and by forcing myself to keep staying outside my other symtoms such as confusion and brain fog also gets much worse! No ophthalmologist has been able to find anything wrong and I am getting both extremely scared and really, really sick of this. Could this be something else than withdrawal? Some disease? I haven't been able to go or stay outside properly for several months now.. I am 9 months off Effexor..
  18. Hello, I have recently learned that my body is experiencing a toxicity of sorts from taking venlafaxine ER. I started taking the brand name, Effexor ER, back in 2002 at about 37.5 mg for panic attacks. I tried to come off of it after a few years and experienced extreme panic attacks and was told by my doctor that I might have to take it forever like a diabetic does insulin. I resigned myself to this. Throughout the years as my depression and anxiety increased, the doctor increased my doses and eventually I ended up at 300 mg in 2017. The doctor assured me that although that was the max dose, they could go up a little bit more if I needed. I was actually hospitalized in March 2018 for pneumonia but the reason they wanted to keep me at the hospital was because my heart rate was 160. The ER doctor said it is common for tachycardia when someone has pneumonia and so I was kept for observation. After I recovered fully, I was sent to a cardiologist. After all the testing imaginable, they could find no reason for my heart rate to be so high. They also reported that I now also had high blood pressure when I never had it before. Life at this time was hard, I could not sleep because my heart was pounding and I felt constantly buzzed. I also started suffering from constantly cold feet, so much so that I had to use a heating pad at night and put toe warmers in my shoes during the day. The cardiologist tested everything and had me wear a monitor, but gave me no answers. He actually mailed me a letter that said he could not find what was wrong but that he included a list of disorders that might explain my symptoms. I suspected the medication and took myself down from 300mg to 150 mg. I experienced a mild depression but nothing really noticeable when I did this. I started to search for a doctor that would do more than send me lists. I eventually found one early this year who listened as I described symptoms (tachycardia, high blood pressure, sweating, tiredness, extremely cold feet, low body temp, headache, eye pain, ringing in ears, restlessness, restless legs, memory loss) and then asked my medications. When I told him the drug name, he said he thought it was a terrible drug and that nobody should be on it. He said he believed all of my symptoms were related to a toxicity from this drug and we needed to get me off ASAP. He described my cold feet as being vasoconstriction from the drug. He believed the sweating and fatigue is from my heart rate. He put me on a medication to lower my blood pressure and heart rate and is keeping me on the 150 mg dose until I return from a trip overseas. When back, he plans to taper me very slowly although I cannot remember the taper he mentioned. At this point I feel angry that I ever listened to the doctor who said I need to be on it forever. Fernweh Venlafaxine ER 300mg straight down to 150mg Metoprolol
  19. hello i was on prozac for 6.5 years with addition of effexor, welbutrin and geodon for breif times. i am 2.5 years off and still in withdrawal. i was prescribed the meds for physical illness after getting epstein bar virus. the prozac, effexor and welbutrin were used for stimulant effects. the geodon was used to combat the side effects of the other meds.( like taking a downer to take edge oof of the uppers).i did not have mental illness before this i now dont know how much of the way i feel is from epsten bar virus? or if i recovered from the virus? is what i am feeling from med withdrawals. the only thing i do know is i have extreme anxiety, insomnia and akathesia now and i NEVER had this problem before the meds. i just dont know how much of my flu like symptoms/ feeling like i have a hang over is from the med withdrawal? anyone with expierence please let me know? i also get a lot of joint cracking and popping sounds. anyone else get this? does anyone feel flu like symptoms get worse after exercise. thanks for any info
  20. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread: Alejandro34: Clonazepam vision damage ? Is reinstatement still an option? I'm writing on behalf of my boyfriend who is going through a rough withdrawal symptoms. Hasn't been able to eat, sleep and he is unable to operate a computer right now. He has been off effexor for almost 5 months. Now he is is desperate and thinking about reinstating. His blood pressure has increased to normal high and sometimes high. He has very loud ringing in the ears. He can't eat or do any complex tasks. He sees distortions (things vent on his visual field), but his eyes are ok after confirming with his eye doctor. And he just seems to be getting worse. He has got much worse since the 3rd month off effexor. He took: Effexor XR of 150 mg for 4 years 2003 TO 2008 Bridge to Zoloft, took it from 2008 to 2011. Bridge to Prozac, from 2011 to 2012. Bridge to vibrid took it from 2012 to 2013. Then I was switched to effexor IR 200 mg from 2013 to 2016. Effexore XR 150 mg for 6 months and that's when he started to taper over a period of 11 months using his psychiatric method. Taking 150mg for 3 days then 130mg the next day, then repeat the 150mg dixe 2 days and 113 mg 3 days. Stay there for 2-3 weeks. And so on. We would like to know if reinstaiment is I still in the table and how likely it is to work for him. Thank you for any help and advice provided. Please pray for us.
  21. Hello all, My name is Chris, a 24 year old student currently living in the Netherlands. I started taking 37,5 mg of Efexor about 2,5 years ago, after being addicted to weed for about 5 years (I live in the Netherlands). I was suffering from heavy anxiety, making it impossible to function properly at school. The Efexor put me back on track and made me feel good again, up to the point where, about 4 months ago, i felt so good i did not think i needed the Efexor anymore. I discussed with my doctor about going off the medicine, after which he suggested that i first started taking efexor every other day. Right around the same time I started taking efexor every other day, me and my ex girlfriend were getting back together to give it another go. She said she supported me all the way on this, i felt good about it and after taking it every other day for about a month, i quit the efexor entirely. That's were it started to go wrong. due to the light withdrawal symptoms i was getting i was not able to give my (now ex girlfriend again) enough attention as i used to before (she really, really needs a lot of attention) and we had quite a couple of fights, resulting in her leaving me. But still, all in all, I felt like i could pull through and beat this thing on my own. Then, after about 2,5 months being entirely off the efexor I suddenly started feeling down again, did not have any will or energy at all to perform whatever tasks i needed to do.. the withdrawal symptoms had suddenly hit me with all its power. I went back to my doctor, and started taking methylphenidate to help me remain calm, as I also have been diagnosed with ADHD. This has helped a little, but i still don't feel anywhere near how i felt 6 months ago, when i was a social, fun guy with high confidence. Right now i'm having some relatively good days where i just get through my day without feeling large amounts of anxiety, but thats about it. My breathing is almost always way too heavy (im diagnosed with chronic hyperventilation) since quitting the antidepressants, i have bags under my eyes on a daily basis and sometimes i have chest pains. I dont even exactly know why i came here, or what my goal is by posting this, but it would just be nice to talk to people that understand what i'm going through right now. I sometimes think about just going back to the Efexor and start living the good life again, but wouldn't that be the easy way out?
  22. 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?
  23. juelli

    juelli: intro

    Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - Juelli: klonopin tapering Hi, I was prescribed antidepressants and klonopin in the 90’s during some stressful life situations. In 2005 I did an uninformed, unsuccessful taper of my AD and klonopin, then was reinstated on Klonopin & Effexor. In 2011, I started another taper, still uninformed, but slower. I toughed out increasing symptoms, eventually stopping Effexor at just under 10 mgs November 2017. During Nov-Dec 2017, except for brain zaps, dizziness, I felt really good, better than before I jumped. I was taking K, but infrequently. However, in January 2018 my symptoms began to slowly increase and intensify: SI, depression, anxiety, insomnia, anhedonia, social anxiety, weight-loss, anger, cog fog, etc. I was working a very physically demanding winter job, which distracted me for several hours a day so I managed the season. I still was taking K infrequently...like a rescue dose every 4-5 days, usually .5 mg or less. By mid-April 2018, I crashed and convinced I was losing my mind, I started searching for suicide support groups on-line. I found Benzobuddies and the Ashton Manual. However, at the time I never considered that my AD discontinuation was a factor because I'd felt so good when I discontinued. I thought I was only dealing with Benzo withdrawal and focused on that. With support from BBs, I stabilized on a daily dose of Klonopin (1.5mg) and on June 1, 2018 using a homemade liquid Klonopin solution, I began a symptoms based, daily liquid micro-taper. I am currently at just under .6 mg K and figure I have 1-2 years left to taper. At first had more waves than windows but I worked hard learning coping strategies. I was able to work my winter job. About 6 weeks ago I suddenly began to have less intense waves and have slowly been able to increase the taper rate. Even though the waves are less intense I must work extremely hard at distracting myself from the symptoms but anhedonia, SI, depression, feelings of doom and being overwhelmed are always lurking. It is exhausting and life is not enjoyable. I have a healthy lifestyle and a supportive therapist who is anti-psych meds. I should mention that my husband, while supportive, has significant health issues adding to my stress. So, this brings me to my questions… Is stopping the Effexor at just under 10 mg considered a CT? Are my sxs due to the Effexor jump or the Benzo taper or both...and does it even matter? If it is from the discontinuance of the Effexor what is the healing timeline? (I'm guessing every one is different but perhaps there is a general pattern?) Could it be that the less intense waves are due to healing from the Effexor discontinuation after 18 months? Is there anything I should be doing differently to help me heal from the AD discontinuation? As I said, I am more familiar with Benzo tapering/discontinuation than ADs. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this introduction. Composing is very difficult for me, so please let me know if I need to clarify something. I look forward to your insight. J
  24. Hey everyone! Just wanted to introduce myself and let you all in on my journey and discontinuation of antidepressants. I am 28 years old and just ended an 11 year relationship with AD's. There was so much shame I felt being on these drugs. I felt like I was this great person because of the pills I was taking and nothing more. I wouldn't dare tell a soul I was taking antidepressants for fear that they would then see the pill and not me. Make sense? I said goodbye to Sertraline in November 2017. After completing yoga teacher training and having this new perspective of myself and my life, I started to actually feel the chemicals that weren't meant to be in my body. I had tried tapering off of Sertraline 3 times prior to the last over the past few years. The previous tries I would make it about a month or two before surrendering back to the pills to make myself feel better if I started feeling sad or uneasy. This time was different. VERY different. This time I started with intense research. I wanted to discontinue the dosage but this time was for real; I would do my homework and get off of these things once and for all. And what I found first broke my heart, made me angry and then gave me hope. The anger is still present when I try to find a reason 'why' people are enslaved to these prescription drugs. The research I found led me to this site, and I continue to research the effects and harms that these medications actually do to people, unbeknownst to them. The cause of our sadness is residual, stagnant energy trapped in our bodies from a traumatic event or life experience that changed our perspective of what is. When we take these medications, we are never actually dealing with the source of our problems, rather than masking it over with a clouded perception of reality. I used to love my prescriptions. Even after I would attempt to quit, that love would return after I felt 'better' taking them again. I was prescribed my first antidepressant when I was 16. I was missing a lot of school because I slept in too late. I just loved my sleep. Eventually, I was sent to the PCP to see what could be done about this sleeping problem.. Well, her answer was Citalopram (Celexa). This was the beginning of a battle I never wanted to be involved with but here I am. And P.S. the sleeping issue was not resolved in any way thereafter. To keep it short, I will just give you a brief history of how my dance with prescription drugs evolved after that: 2006 Celexa (Citalopram) 40 mg & Adderall XR 75 mg (a lot of the times more because I was heavily addicted) 2007 Citalopram & Ritalin (don't remember mg) .. soon after Vyvanse (don't remember mg) and finally to Amphetamine Salts due to unpleasant side effects from the Ritalin & Vyvanse.. ** indicates time period where Amphetamine Salts were prescribed 2008 ** Citalopram 40 mg-> Effexor XR 75 mg after a psychiatric evaluation (which I now understand was due to the medications and the effect they had on me mentally ... psh) 2009** Effexor XR 75 mg - Paxil (Paroxetine) 30 mg due to the INSANELY high cost of Effexor without insurance I was forced to wean myself off and switch 2010** Paxil 30 mg-> Sertraline 50 mg due to weight gain and lethargy 2011-2013 Sertraline 50 mg -> Wellbutrin (Bupropion Hcl) 75 mg due to sexual side effects and wanting to feel alive again 2013-2017 Wellbutrin 75 mg -> Back to Zoloft (Sertraline) 75 mg because the anxious side effects of the Wellbutrin made me uneasy and Sertraline seemed to be the only AD that had the least side effects at the time 2017 Sertraline 75 mg -> slow taper to 50 MG for two weeks -> halving the dosage & following this pattern until there was nothing -> 5 HTP 50 mg & 1200 mg Fish Oil NOW = 1200 mg Fish Oil and becoming accustomed to an Ayurvedic diet along with daily yoga practice**** this is HUGE and one of the main reasons I have remained clean from AD's Now, almost two months clean from prescription drugs I can say that there is still lots of work to be done. When you go through your teenage years and early twenties on AD's, you need to relearn how to interact and react as there is no longer that pill keeping you numb. Everything becomes real and raw. There are still days that I have my emotions consume my entire being in a negative way and I am still working on this. I WILL NOT GIVE UP. As of right now, it seems as though I am taking off from where I left off at 16 years old. This means emotionally and re actively along with maturity and sexuality. As many of you can relate, I could go on with this topic and how it has effected my entire life for ever and ever. There will be more posts that follow in regards to these drugs and how we can help each other become clean and free once again as we were made to be. Love and blessings to you all <3 we CAN do this..we are all in this together! LB Anti-depressants controlling tools of your system Making life more tolerable, making life more tolerable. The Unthinking Majority - Serj Tankian
  25. Hi I am new to this forum and this is my first post . I am currently on 30mg mirtazapine and 200mg of pregablin , I have been on these mess for about 3 to 4 months . I have just cut my mirtazapine from 30mg to 15mg and in the space of 4 days I have have horrible side effects , anxiety through the roof , shaking , lack of appetite poor sleep crying spells and the general feeling of feeling crap . The reason I have started to withdraw from the mirtazapine is that after 3 months I feel no benefit only get awfull side effects . No help with my anxiety and depression if anything it's made me more depressed . I have gone through withdrawing from Effexor and that was really tough , however just the drop for a few days of the mirtazapine has left me crushed , my doctor told me that mirtazapine was a easy drug to withdraw from , but after 4 days it has left me house bound . Has anyone got any idea on how I get through this or any experience in mirtazapine withdrawals
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