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  1. Hello, I'm new to this forum and I'm working toward tapering off of 225 mg of venlafaxine. I am a 70 year old male, that has been very active and health conscious. My weakness has been depression. I previously had two periods of feeling depressed that involved obtaining an antidepressant from my general practice doctor. I would get to the point of feeling spacey and or lethargic, then do talk therapy to get back off of the drug. These where phase one antidepressants, and I would taper off slow over say 4 to 6 months without noticeable side effects. These events occurred between 2005 to 2008 per notes I still have. I retired from Highway Engineering March 1, 2014. Many emotional events piled upon me during the next five months. The stressors where; retiring and adjustment period, daughter coming home to live with us and get a divorce, a vicious son in law (being divorced), one or two other more minor stressors that I do not recall, and a huge spiritual crisis in which I felt I had not lived as graciously as God would have wanted me to. In July 2014 I became fixated on thinking about all these things. I sat in a stupor for days, lost 15 pounds, thought the devil was speaking and accusing me of my wrongs and tempted me to deny God and just die. My wife asked me If I had thought of suicide and I admitted that I had. She called 911 and got help. They took me to a hospital and put me on suicide watch till they could transfer me to a psych ward for treatment. I was confined for a week and given many medications. I also had a physical problem that they dealt with. I was released to an out-patient psychiatrist. The psychiatrist told me he would take me off all the previous medications except for increasing my dose of venlafaxine to 225 mg. I have been on venlafaxine for four (4) years. In May 2018 I stopped drinking all alcohol and also stopped experimenting with legalized cannabis. I quickly felt a bit more energy. I put this energy toward searching the internet for information about venlafaxine and antidepressants. I have learned much, but still want to keep learning. My Psychiatris agreed to allow me to get off Venlafaxine October 4, 2017, after telling him repeatedly about my desire to and why. He reduced my venlafaxine from 225 mg to 150 mg. The short of it is that I did not make it, and went back to the full dose. After learning more about how to decrease slowly, I am ready to try again. I have sought the help of my general practice doctor, who is supportive and has reduced me to 187.5 mg. Since I know that a 10% reduction is better, I cut open a 37.5 mg capsule, counted the beads, and took 40% of those beads, 15, and added them to the 187.5 mg, for a new total of 202.5 mg. I'm also taking daily notes of my physical and mental state, and dosage. I will see my general practice doctor monthly. I will be also talking to my Psychiatrist about my plans. I plan to start talk therapy also. Does anyone have any advise or comments?
  2. Greetings to all! It took 5 years for my brain and nervous system to rebalance and heal after taking Effexor for 14 years. Nasty stuff. One of the hardest to discontinue. But it is possible! I tried to d/c it a few times over those 14 years but had to keep going back on it because I couldn't function. I didn't understand enough about withdrawal and how all this works. But as we all know we reach a point where our souls know we do not need this drug and will do whatever it takes to get off it and stay off it. It's a ride through hell that's for sure but you can do it!! As we all know, it's a lot worse at the beginning of withdrawal. I only had about 3 days of windows over the years. But I could feel symptoms slowly getting better over the last year till it starts being noticeable that the crud may still be there but it's more manageable. And the last 6 months it kept improving until I couldn't believe that the buzzing in my head was gone and the fear and anxiety were gone. The brain fog and fatigue also slowly start improving. There may always be a little residual fatigue and brain fog but I'm also 66 yrs old - ha! We have no idea how brave we are to go through this to live an authentic life drug free. It finally happened this year around May. And as you know it was many years of a nightmare I could not have imagined. But it will happen!! I am here as proof. I have my life back and am finally able to travel to see my family out of town and live a normal life again. Acceptance, perseverance, surrender, humor, love - it's all part of living each day well. Just continue to take care of yourself the best you can. Walking in nature is SO HEALING. That is what saved me. And taking every stress out that you possibly can. And lots and lots of prayer. My heart goes out to you - Hang in there - you will make it. 🙏😘
  3. Extremely severe PSSD at 20, need help ASAP I had been on venlafaxine for 3 years up until February when I was told by my doctor to taper off over a span of a few weeks. I had no withdrawal symptoms initially but since around May a very large amount of physical and mental symptoms have manifested and gradually seemed to have gotten worse over time. I have been on 150 mg of wellbutrin for about a month after being admitted to the psych ward due to the mental state I am in, helped quite a bit in the early days but seems to have worn off or is making me worse. Currently taking magnesium and fish oil to combat head issues, but I just can't take this anymore and its only been a couple months of symptoms when many others here have had them last for years - Severe brain fog, constant - Short-term memory loss, unable to remember names and faces of anyone new I meet - Regular migraines, three times a week and usually develops towards end of day - Pressure feeling banded around head, constant - Visual snow, even more severe when eyes are closed - Blurred vision - Extremely severe dullness of emotions, totally unable to feel love, happiness, anger. Crying is extremely difficult and takes effort and extreme distress. Cannot even laugh. Constant - Total loss of creativity, unable to come up with original ideas - Mind feels completely blank and thoughts are not racing like they used to. Did improve with wellbutrin but not even close to 100% - Inability to compile thoughts, not capable of thinking of even half of these symptoms without writing them down ahead of time - Social skills completely disappeared, went from being talkative to socially paralyzed and cannot come up with the words to say. Maintaining conversations causes mental agony, have to fake emotions - Difficulty finding words I previously used regularly in my vocabulary - Extremely severe depression, feeling of total hopelessness all the time. This DID NOT develop until after other head symptoms, head issues popped up during a content period of my life - Feeling of dizziness and strange vision when moving head back and forth - Occasional severe confusion and total disorientation. Happens probably once every few days for an hour or two - Feeling of being in a dream or a daze, feel like I'm spectating someone else living my life - Extremely vivid dreams, seem more real than reality - Occasional sensitivity to light - Total loss of appetite, eating anything more than a very small quantity of food makes me nauseous. This developed about two weeks ago, much later than other symptoms. Went very quickly from eating a lot to eating nothing - Total lack of interest in any hobbies that I was in love with a month prior - Irregular stool, liquid most of the time. - Constant exhaustion - Muscle weakness and soreness - Nausea - Heart pounding when I lay down, distracting when I try to sleep - Heart palpitations - Sharp chest pain. - Insomnia, have been taking melatonin to put me to bed but I wake up very early in the morning and cannot go back to sleep due to how horrible I feel - Brain zaps, seem to have lessened recently but were often - Stiff neck - Total loss of sexual interest. Extremely difficult to get and maintain an erection - Shriveled penis - Pins and needles sensation occasionally in fingers - Stiff neck for a few hours a day - Lower back pain - Itchy red bumps popping up all over - Derealization. Hoping to God that this is just a bad dream or a hallucination. I feel like a shell of myself to say the least, feel as if I have died Much of this was copied from my post on the pssd subreddit from a few weeks ago, I would write a new summary of my issues but my brain has gotten so much worse that I am seriously struggling to even read and write and I am totally forgetting what medications I am on and such. I honestly do not even care about the sexual or other physical side effects because my head condition is so awful. I am in total crisis mode and need relief like right now, I don't know who to turn to because people in my life just do not understand what is going on, I have been to the hospital 4 times in the past couple months for these issues and have been given a different and stupid diagnosis each time, the last time was when they had enough and put me in the psych ward for a week. I did not want to take any meds but I felt it was forced upon me with how bad my condition was and I have been totally stuck on wellbutrin since. Its helping a little but I am terrified about staying on it as I believe my condition will worsen as it has and I am also terrified of going off of it because my condition will also worsen then. I have been to several doctors and psychiatrists and they are just trying to give me more ssris and such and do not believe I am still having withdrawal from venlafaxine. I have completely lost all sense of self and my memory is getting worse and worse by the day, I am forgetting the names of family members and massive events that happened in my life. In my hopsital visits I was blood tested every time, urine tested every time, given a CT scan on my brain, EKGs and such and nothing came up abnormal except for magnesium being low. My brain is in such bad condition, it feels like I am completely incapable of feeling any sort of stimulation and I am clearly declining mentally and emotionally on a day-by-day basis. I am on the verge of trying re-instatement or just going back to the hospital so they put me on more drugs because this is so unbearable I don't even know if I can last another day. Caffeine, alcohol, and small amounts of junk food have caused me severe crashes and I am extremely hyper-aware of literally everything I put in my body. I do not feel anything besides pain and fear, I know there probably isnt much that people here can help with but I am looking for a miracle here. This is unbelievable pain and if I make it through this it will certainly be the most I will ever have to struggle in my life, but I am seriously doubting my ability to recover due to the severity of my case and it seemingly getting worse. I have appointments with a neurologist and GI doctor but they are backed up and it will be 6 weeks until I can see them. I live with my parents because I'm 20 and cant work or drive or do anything in this condition and they are also going through torture because of how unbearable it is to be around me like this
  4. Hi all, This is something of a splurge, because I have had a rough time lately. Effexor has essentially brough my life to a shuddering halt, and I don't know where to turn. Every move I've made recently seems to have made things worse. I'm in my early 40s, and I've taken a 25 year tour of the medical profession in respect of mental health. I can't say it's helped much. I've tried a lot of things - CBT, workgroups, 6 different types of antidepressant (fluoxetine, sertraline, amitriptyline, quetiapine, citalopram, now venlafaxine) mindfulness, counsellors, therapists, etc. The improvements have been very limited. Rewind to March. I'd been on Effexor modified release (225mg per day) for close to 5 years and, encouraged by my therapist, decided to taper off and see what the unmedicated state of play was. I did it under doctor's advice of a 4 week period which turned bad, side effects-wise (itching, aching, headaches, nausea, suicidal ideation), about 2 weeks in, and the doctor tacked on another week. The side effects were still awful all the way to 0mg, but I was advised to push through. From 0mg, I struggled through 4 more weeks without the side effects diminishing, and the mental side was horribly bleak. I eventually decided enough was enough, and got back in touch with a doctor. In order to curb the side effects at least, it was suggested I'd need to reinstate up to a certain dose (75mg was recommended for modified release), at a rate of 37.5mg every 5 days. Some of you will guess what's coming. Going back on was even worse - my body had an adverse reaction and I was basically writhing in discomfort for the best part of two weeks. I've never been through anything like it. The worst of those adverse effects lessened after 4 weeks, but mentally, my mood is extremely unpredictable and my outlook remains very fatalistic. I've not been able to work during this period, which is frightening, and I don't know how long this will last. My money is going to run out entirely in a couple of months, and then I'm *****. Other factors happening are obviously complicating things. I'm currently estranged from my family, as therapy caused me to take a step back, and look at how I've been treated by them in the past. I also have a situation with a tree in my garden that is slowly collapsing and threatening to fall on a nearby industrial estate and cause thousands of pounds worth of damage, but birds are nesting in it, so there's nothing I can do right now. I'm working to get it declared unsafe by the local council, so it can still be cut down, but this outcome is apparently very rare. It's worth mentioning that I became aware of The Withdrawal Project and Surviving Antidepressants during the 37.5mg reinstatement disaster, and other such anecdotal advice websites. My conviction all along the line is that my taper was way, way too quick, and I've spent a lot of time thinking about what stablization at a particular dose means - I guess in this case it could simply be that my condition might be horrible, but it's consistent in its level of horribleness. They've given me a lot to think about for a future tapering attempt at least. The biggest problem is that I don't know how to proceed. My doctors have given me bad advice, but I am also mindful that these groups are anecdotal - it seems as if I need to press forward to going up to 75mg as originally advised, but Surviving Antidepressants doesn't appear to recommend that. The only doctor I've consulted more than once on this issue (the others times were emergency appointments, and who you get is a lottery) is not available until the 26th, and the last week has been so **** that I can't take the idea of doing nothing in the meantime. I have the capsules with the 12.5mg beads in, so I'm mulling over the idea of microdosing up to 75mg over the next 4 weeks. That I've ceded control to this medication over the years without realising it is so frightening, and my future feels incredibly uncertain. **** is just too crazy at the moment. I don't know what to do.
  5. Hey there! This is my first time posting on this platform, so I hope you'll forgive me if I'm in breach of any protocols or haven't used the space appropriately. I tried to read as much as I could before diving into this, but frankly, there's a lot of stuff to sift through, and it got overwhelming at points. So, if I've erred, please, don't hesitate to let me know so that I might make amends. Anyway! My signature pretty much says it all. I've used Venlafaxine (Effexor) to treat social anxiety disorder and chronic depression since I was about 21-years-old (I'm now 30), often bouncing between 150mg and 225mg to varying degrees of success, and with little issue save for some of the nastier side-effects. In my case, those side-effects were weight gain, loss of energy, libidinal ones, and if I miss my dose by even a few hours, the worst brain zaps imaginable. There's been very little interruption of this medication, save for one spell of going cold turkey for a few months, and a few quick run-ins with Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Escitalopram (Cipralex). Ultimately, I kept coming back to Venlafaxine because it worked better than any other medication I'd tried, and I could live with the side-effects even if I'd rather not. So from about 2017 onward until the spring of 2021, I kept on Venlafaxine at about 150mg without interruption. The side-effects really started to weight on me in the months leading up to that spring, particularly the weight gain. I figured that there had to be a better way, and I'd heard great things about Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), so I thought I'd give that a shot. I consulted with my doctor who said that we could do this without issue, but would rather I tried Vortioxetine (Trintellix) instead because of the prohibitive cost of Desvenlafaxine. His plan was to taper off of 150mg of Venlafaxine over a month, and then immediately switch to Vortioxetine. It seemed like a good enough plan to me because, well, I didn't know any better. This, of course, was when my life got ruined, it seems almost irreversibly at times. Simply put: I did not take well to the Vortioxetine. It was an awful, awful experience. I had more panic attacks in my first two weeks on that medication than the rest of my life combined. I'd lost the capacity to think or to speak or to remember anything. I was in constant discomfort. It was like my life had been turned completely upside down. Worse still, I started to develop pure obsessive compulsive disorder, something that hadn't really been a thing for me to this point in my life. I tried and I tried to stick it out, but I had to quit after a month. I couldn't bare to live like that. And my doctor threw in the towel and told me to talk to a psychiatrist. So I did precisely that. I had to wait a month, though, at which point I was without any medication and I suffered such debilitating withdrawals that I had to go to the hospital. I didn't really know what was going on at the time and I'd never felt worse in my life. But, eventually I got through that, and I spoke with a psychiatrist at the hospital. They told me that Vortioxetine was a terrible choice on my doctor's part, and my experience was pretty much par for the course. She said it's by far the worst medication for people with anxiety or social anxiety. She also wasn't particularly fond of me tapering off of Venlafaxine for a month when I'd been using it for the better part of a decade. I started taking Desvenlafaxine on June 1, 2021, with a dosage of 50mg for two weeks, and then up to 100mg. And it didn't really do much for me, which was devastating. I'd wake up having panic attacks. I'd have regular panic attacks throughout the day. On top of it all, I'd developed tinnitus. My social anxiety was in an awful place. I tried to stick out for as long as I could before I threw in the towel on that and switched back to Venlafaxine -- the devil you know, right? The switch back to Venlafaxine offered some relief, but I didn't feel anything like I used to before this whole ordeal. I was still an anxious mess. My pure OCD compulsions remained, another devastating blow. I felt spaced out constantly. It was a better experience than I'd had on Vortioxetine or Desvenlafaxine, but hardly a good one. This would still register as the worst I'd felt from a mental health perspective at any point in my life prior to last spring, when this medication SNAFU turned my life upside down. Worse still, I couldn't really get my dosage up to a helpful level. I seemed to feel worse when I moved up to 75mg. It was like my body and my mind couldn't handle this drug that at one point was a feature of my every day life for years at a time. So, I went back to 37.5mg, feeling awful constantly. Anxious, depressed, suffering pure OCD compulsions... it felt at times like I'd lost my mind. And as it became clear that this wasn't doing much for me, I started to slowly wean myself off of Venlafaxine, one half-bead at a time. I'm now down to one bead, which is about 12mg, if I'm not mistaken. I've felt better as I've weaned down, if only slightly, which is both good and bad. I still feel awful relative to where I was before this medication ordeal started last spring. And I really do need this medication to get through day-to-day life. My situation feels hopeless. I'm watching personal and professional relationships deteriorate because I can't handle even the most rote social engagements without freaking out completely. I've contemplated taking my life on a few occasions, and came very close to doing so last November. I've spoken to a psychiatrist who wants me to try starting Sertraline, but frankly, I'm kind of terrified given my experiences the last few months. I just don't have anymore room for my life to get worse before, well... I don't even know. Any advice on what to do? I'm totally at a loss here, feeling failed by my doctors, and in a hopeless loop that leaves me feeling awful on day-to-day basis, unable to live the life I did at this time a year ago.
  6. Hi, I have been struggling with hearing sensitivity and eye issues ever since I made the mistake of listening to my neurologist and trying Effexor, and then upon recommendation of a psychiatrist, Prozac. Both were for short time periods. I am a little more than 4 months out of my last prozac dose. Ears/Hearing: hypersensitive to certain sounds - sudden sounds, sharp impact sounds, crinkling plastic wrappers etc. High pitched tinnitus that is generally not too instrusive and can be better or worse but always there. No hearing loss as of post-Effexor, pre-prozac. Eyes: “tight” feeling that is somewhat better than a few months ago but still not normal. I probably have some visual snow, and my night vision is worse because it’s like my eyes are amplifying light that’s not even there. Constantly bloodshot and dry eyes - taking restasis but opthamologist didn’t see any other eye issues. Balance: generally ok but occasional unsteadiness. Other: Mild constipation: gastroenterologist didn’t see anything wrong. Some TMJ pain and minor random muscle twitches. Occasional facial tremors that are better than a few months ago but not gone. Frequent trouble sleeping- falling asleep, getting enough sleep or deep sleep. Basically I believe that these drugs hypersensitized me. I sincerely hope that this hypersensitivity will decrease over time. I have seen some improvement vs say 2 months ago, but I have a long way to go. I have read on this site that it can take a long time for the nervous system to calm down. I believe that I am generally improved on magnitude of sensitivity vs say 2 months ago, but I am clearly not on a “some people take as much as a month to recover” timeframe.
  7. Hi my name is Alberto and I’ve tried a ton of ssris and antipsychotics over the past 7 years. Most recently I had a really bad experience with rexulti that gave me akithsia (which went away once I discontinued thank gawd) and my current ongoing bout with Effexor. I’m in a bit of weird situation in that I wasn’t in it for long and am looking for help as I’m at wit’s end and am seriously inching closer to suicide due to my symptoms. I started Effexor June 24 75mg. I immediately noticed really bad headaches and nausea but stayed he course as “that’s the side effects for 2 week”. By 5 days in the headaches had gotten really bad but I also had started getting burning sensations across my whole body and head. After dealing with this for a few days we reduced my dose to 37.5. The symptoms continued and got worse so we discontinued Effexor Monday 7/4. The first two days were a continued hell of body burning headaches nausea anxiety shortness of breath etc. The intense while body burning thankfully went away 2-4 days later tho lighter leg burning remained. The anxiety and shortness of breath have slowly gone away too but the headache and nausea feel worse/like they’ve stagnated. I’m two weeks post stopping this hell drug (for me) and almost a month since starting it but my nausea and headaches are just insane and making it impossible for me to live a good life and function well. It’s really impacting my work but most importantly my wife and kid. Has anyone every heard of or experienced anything like this? Did it go away, when? Did anything help you manage the symptoms til it did ? I have this fear that this is going to be a chronic thing I have to live with forever and tbh I won’t live long if that’s the case. The klonopin, zofran, and advil I take to manage do a meh job and I’m at wit’s end. Guess I’m looking for some success stories related to this and advice to help me get on the right track and ultimately save my life. Thank you and sorry for the really dramatic post, I’m just really hurting.
  8. Hi Everyone, I am just going to jump right into this. I developed anxiety 4 years ago after having several life crisis in a months time. My mom was diagnosed w Dementia. My little sister was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma.A childhood friend died in his sleep from heart failure. I tipped over from the stress. I went to my GP and she started throwing AD's at me to help silence the anxiety. The AD's only made me worse. I went to the ER one night after experiencing my first panic attack The ER Dr gave me a script for Ativan. I took it for four weeks and then stopped because I was feeling much better. A few days later my world turned on it's axis. I didn't know what was happening. My anxiety was worse, I was pacing, heart racing, Panic attacks daily.... I went to my GP and she said I needed to see a Psychiatrist. To get in to see anyone was 3 months. I started to spiral. I had no idea I was in withdrawal! I ended up in the hospital to get help for my anxiety. I was put on Effexor (75mg)and Klonopin (.25mg). I stabilized and was sent home. I did really well on Effexor. After 4 months on Klonopin I started to slowly taper off. I tapered over 3 months. The taper went pretty well. I was cutting and weighing my pills. 8 months after that I felt good and talked to my Psychiatrist about tapering off of the Effexor. She strongly recommended to go slow and we did. I tapered for almost 7 months. To be honest, the Klonopin was easier to come off of than the Effexor. She put me on Prozac before my last cut of Effexor. Tapered off of the Prozac over 3/ months. I still had some anxiety but it was tolerable. It felt AMAZING to be free of AD'S and the Benzo....then COVID hit and my mom passed away. Anxiety came back w a vengeance. I ended up back in the hospital after a very bad reaction to Zoloft. My new psychiatrist kept telling me to "push through," the first 3 months. I was back on Klonopin but now it was.50mg twice a day.The hospital took me cold turkey off of Zoloft and started me on Remeron and Trazadone. The next day they added clonidine. The klonodine didn't agree w my system at all and I was taken off of that in two days. They released me from the hospital 5 days later. I lasted two weeks on Remeron. I was so disoriented, confused, high anxiety and felt like I could become violent on them so they weaned me off of that over 4 days and put me back on Prozac. Prozac didn't help my anxiety, I had constant headaches for months! I did get an MRI and it was normal. I started to feel more and more depressed on it. I was on Prozac for maybe two months when my psychiatrist took me off of that (tapered over 6 weeks) and put me on Lexapro. I had to have back surgery during this. I did NOT take a single pain med out of fear of making my WD worse. At first I thought the Lexapro was helping? I was still having breakthrough anxiety so he bumped it up. My Psychiatrist retired and a new woman came in to take his place until they could find a new one. She bumped my Lexapro up to 25mg when I told her I was having major anxiety rushes, my face would get bright red, I wasn't sleeping very well. That increased dosage was the worst! I was like a zombie but w heightened anxiety. I couldn't work, I would sit at my desk and space off for hours! I felt awful. So, she told me to start tapering off of the Lexapro (4 weeks total! I knew better...) and she wanted to cross taper me onto Effexor. I started that and boy....the depression was BRUTAL! I was not sleeping well, could hardly focus, anxiety was high, my legs felt like jelly, my head would burn, I felt my brain tingle all the time... I was nearing the end of my rope. I was desperate for a Psychiatrist that CARED. The interim Psych left and a new one came in. She wanted me off of the Effexor because she felt it was too hard to come off of and if it didn't work for me, I would be in for hell. I told her I was scared to switch AGAIN and she assured me that switching to Duoloxetine was it's "sister drug," and I shouldn't have an issue. I trusted her. The last 3 months have been.... (How do describe this hell?!) a daily battle to push through hell on earth. I am still working, I can still function, I take care of myself, my home, my dog. I am a divorced woman with a 22 year old son. I live by myself with my Rottweiler. Life is so friggin' hard when you are trying to get thorough this mess. I now have a WONDERFUL and caring Psychiatric nurse practitioner who truly cares. She is holding me on the last 10mg of Lexapro until the Effexor/Lexapro WD calms down...IF it calms down. I should tell you that I can't believe I have pushed through the last year. My symptoms have been Burning in my head, headaches, tingling in my head, mood fluctuations, burning on my skin, bloodshot eyes, pressure on my chest, sensitivity to heat, depression, sweat easily, joint pain, ringing in my ears, no motivation, grinding my teeth, feeling mentally off at times, at the beginning I couldn't sit still, short tempered, at times in the beginning of the Lexapro taper, I didn't want to talk at times...like I almost couldn't, buzzing in my body, feel like I'm going crazy sometimes, anxiety rushes...etc I am interested in this group for support and the combined knowledge from it's members. I know that NO ONE can tell me when this is going to end. What I am hoping is that someone can tell me what I am going through is normal for all of the med changes? I am honestly concerned if I am still having problems because of the Duoloxetine? My anxiety IS better since I have been on it. I get 8 hours of sleep. I don't drink. I don't use illegal drugs, don't smoke. I eat pretty healthy. I don't exercise. It's tough to get out for walks when you feel like hell and I guess I save my mental energy to work. I know I have rambled on. My mind feels like it's in a vice and also these drugs affect how well I put my thoughts into words. For the most part I am a happy and well adjusted person. I feel like the last few years have been stolen from me because I faithfully followed Dr's instructions and thought they knew best...I was so wrong. Thank you for your time. Blessings to all of you.
  9. I dont have anything to say about myself because I have nothing to reflect on unfortunately. So I am sorry but this is a pretty heavy post. I have severely kindled myself beyond repair. Is this possible? I dont have anything left. I forgot to mention in my history that after going off my antidepressant rapidly a second time that I took benzos twice weekly along with other gaba supplements and took other supplements that raised serotonin and dopamine. Kindling everytime withdrawing from gaba meds/supplements .And not consistently taking them. I believe messing with my gaba system is what did me in. I also came off progesterone very quickly late February and that's what ended my life. After that I used benzo again once to sleep because I had complete insomnia for 4 days. I probably withdrew just from one dose. Was getting horrible sensations in my gut like terror/tickling/stabbing. Took more supplements to try to help...made it worse. The last supplement I knew it was the end. Took NAC which I have before in the past. For 5 days and I became so agitated I was beyond suicidal. The problem is I was already mildly anhedonic on meds then coming off I had more anhedonia and dp/dr. So it was hard to know what I was feeling when doing all this damage. The more changes I made the worse it got. Now I hit the end. I'm completely lobotomized but can feel this severest internal anxiety. Complete apathy.I feel Like in dying 24/7 but it's not a panic attack. Everything looks and feels exactly the same and I mean that at the severest level. And everything I do keeps making it worse. Everyday I eat, sleep, do anything...the internal Agitation and anxiety and anhedonia/brain dead feeling gets worse. I never feel comfort and dont feel anything except pain. I dont have normal anxiety anymore with physical symptoms. I do not connect at all to anything at any level. I dont know what it means to do anything. I think I've lost many connections in my brain. I have nothing to do. I look at the tv and see nothing and I mean with my mind. I cant talk about anything. I have no soul left. No recognition of who I was. I no longer get comfort out of anything at all. I don't know what i look like. I dont recognize myself..cannot see myself in the mirror like a person with dementia. I am so bored because there is nothing I can do. I cannot engage in anything. But the severe internal restlessness is the worst. If I never went off my med the second time last summer I would be so okay. Everything I do makes it worse. Even positive thoughts. Any stimulation. MRI made me 10x worse. I'm stuck in some void with severe panic and no person inside to help save me or reflect on past memories or emotions. Cant feel time at all, dont register days/nights/months. Brain doesn't register going from one place to another. It's all the same. I never relax ever. Extreme restlessness beyond anything. This last time I messed up my brain knew it was the end and i completely lost all connections. Cant use any higher thinking to help. I didnt want my life to end at 33 with a 2 year old daughter. I wish I was never put on meds in the first place. I was a highly emotional person who was sensitive. Musically inclined. I loved nature and connected to nature and animals. All that completely taken away since ive done all this. But even on antidepressants I still had me, although I was becoming less emotional over time. But emotions were still there. There is no feeling more dead than this. Theres nothing left for me to do and my brain has seen everything that has happened and cant unsee. At least in February before the coming off progesterone and then messing with those last few supplements I had something still. I could still eat with only minor problems and was working a couple days a week and slightly enjoyed going to friends house and I connected at some level with my daughter and could feel empathy. Is there anyone who can tell me what may be going on with my CNS?
  10. 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.
  11. I was started on Effexor XR in December 2001. Dose has been 150 mg since that time. That was the first time I have ever been on medication for depression, even though I have suffered with it quite a bit in my adult life. I tried to cold turkey off it in 2005. That lasted 3 days, and I went back on the 150 mg. The withdrawals were just too much. In 2009 I started using the generic brand because the cost of the brand name was too expense. When I started taking it I paid $81 a month. When I switched to generic, it was over $250. It is bad enough that we are held captive by a drug that is supposed to help us, but they make us pay through the nose for the torture too. I have had a lot more side effects since I started the generic. My life has just gone downhill since I started this med. It long ago quit working regarding depression. In fact, I feel like it has just added to it because of the way my life has deteriorated and my inability to function effectively. It is the typical stuff that comes with taking this drug. I can't think straight. Memory is shot. Job is in jeopardy because I am having problems making deadlines. My diet stinks. Paralyzing apathy. I feel like crap physically. I can't remember what it was like to wake up refreshed from a good night's sleep. I have basically been pretty much reclusive since I began this poison. I don't want to go anywhere, and I don't want anyone to bother me. That just isn't the me I was before the drug. It is all I can do to handle the things I need to. Forget about anything over that. It is getting increasingly harder to function, and if I don't do something about it now, I am afraid there will be nothing left of me very soon. So, I finally started on the 24th. I took 2 balls out of my capsule. I did it again on the 25th. I will be getting a scale to measure so I can know exactly where I am at. I have been on this drug for 12 years. I am so hoping I can function through this without many problems with withdrawal. I am so afraid it will totally rob me of what last little bit I have left to try to function. I am afraid that because I have been on it for so long, the mental damage has been done, and I will never get me back. Like most of us, I wish I had never taken this drug. Never, never, never!!! I am hoping that it doesn't take too long before I start getting some of myself back so I can function better. The other day I couldn't comprehend what a sentence said. I had to read it over several times. I had to type each word out on my computer in order to finally get it in my head. I can't go on like this. It has stolen 12 years of my life and it is not getting a day past what it takes me to wean off it!
  12. I have been on meds since I was around 18, I am now 33, I have been tapering off all my meds for the last year now, I have managed to get off venlafaxine xr 75mg which I tapered off for around 4 - 6 months, and quetiapine 50mg over the last 12 months, I was on 200mg at one point and also tapered off diazapam 10mg, and also propranolol 10mg, I have been off all meds now for nearly 3 months and have been fine, I have been at the gym most days and eating healthy, I was starting to look good again and becoming myself again, I have not been human while on meds for the last lots of years, I was finally starting to enjoy life and then the last few weeks my sleep has been getting very fractured and I have been waking up very early with extreme brain fog, it feels like my head is going to explode sometimes, now the last 2 nights I have not slept at all and feel like death, I even took 2 melatonin tablets and they did nothing, what on earth is going on? I am worried I have done some serious damage to my brain, I am too worried to go and get checked at the doctors as I could not handle news that I have some brain disease, I have read that meds can cause effects many months after, can anyone give any advice/peace of mind?
  13. Hello everybody, I'm a girl from Europe and I am having some troubles with withdrawal. I started taking Venlafaxine 75mg 10 years ago when I was still very young because of light depression and was pretty quickly upped to 225mg. 5 years ago I first started tapering. Down to 37,5mg in about 1,5 years and then stopped. It was pretty tough but mostly not completely debilitating until around 8 months of stopping when I started having severe insomnia and a lot of other difficult symptoms like DR, akathisia, anxiety (or maybe I should say terror), aches and a lot of other stuff. I thought I was going crazy. I was put on a few different antidepressants but nothing helped and I ended up with the Venlafaxine again on low dose. I was still feeling pretty bad on it and was not really depressed and could not stand being on it anymore so I tried to get off it several times over the next year but always had immediate insomnia and panic and went back on. Then I finally found this site and stayed on the same dose of 10mg for 8 months. I was feeling very bad for a while but I felt I recovered quickly so I made the decision to just quit it (I tapered the 10mg slowly over 2 months) around 8 months ago. The past months have been very hard but it was bearable, I got quite good at handling all the weird things that were happening to me, avoiding triggers as good as possible. The most persistent and horrible symptom is my insomnia. I never used to have any troubles with insomnia but since it started the first time I went off the medication, it never really went away. There were times when it was better but for 8 months now it takes me hours to fall asleep, often I wake up soon after. It was bearable because I would still get a couple of hours of sleep most nights but for two weeks now I am barely sleeping at all and of course that makes all the symptoms so much more difficult. I am freaking out a little. I try to stay positive but I tried pretty much all the advice on here and nothing seems to help. Before this started two weeks ago I actually felt like I was getting better, now I wonder if it was just a torturous honeymoon phase. I am so scared of my good sleep not coming back. How will I recover then I wonder? What if it isnt even withdrawal? I read other peoples stories but it seems most do not have this problem for so long or so severely and I am worried it wont go away anymore. I know it is part of WD to constantly question whether one will ever get better and I try to tell myself that it will but it is really hard right now. This whole thing is quite exhausting, this has been going on for so long and I am upset with myself for quitting so rapidly when I had finally stabilized a little. But I am trying to stay positive, hopefully someone has some advice. I have been browsing this site for a while now and it has helped me a lot, so thank you to everybody working here to help others through this time.
  14. Hello and nice to meet everyone. I have been reading as much as I can the past two days and feel like it is time to introduce myself. THANK YOU for everything you all have contributed, this site is a game changer. So many questions answered and a new journey begins. You can see my drug history and four month taper in my signature over the spring/summer (my psychiatrist at the time recommended two weeks, go figure). I had planned on a few crappy months going into this. Oh if I had only found this site first... Withdrawal didn’t kick in for at least two weeks, and slowly at first. I spent all of September and October dodging and weaving through good days and bad days, which I observed simply as “anxiety” (my original diagnosis) but with unusual physical symptoms. I journaled and kept calendar entries, mostly to record when I had to resort to Ativan (usually 0.5mg, occasionally 1mg). Other than for flight anxiety (two trips), I can count 17 times I took it over those two months, and only as a last resort. I had two sudden midnight “surges” (after feeling great) with shivers, out of control heart rate, even some diarrhea, which would last hours. I was convinced it was Serotonin Syndrome. The second one took me to urgent care the next morning for a heart checkup. A few days later a new psychiatrist then put me on Propranolol (beta blocker) as my primary concern was my heart. Propranolol immediately helped me observe and evaluate the “anxiety” I was experiencing which helped a lot. The new psychiatrist also had me stop 5-HTP after only a few weeks which was probably smart. I speak to him again this Friday, not sure what to share/ask given what I am learning here. I am now clear on the fact that I am riding waves of withdrawal symptoms, anxiety responds to the unusual feelings and emotions created by the withdrawal and adds its own icing to the cake, but I am focused on observing and not reacting, and doing my best to “ride it out”. The most unusual part of this “pattern” has been the timing of it all - usually kicking into high gear in the evenings after dark (earlier and earlier in my part of the world). I am nervous about traveling this weekend (short flight) but also realize I need to try and have as “normal” a life as I can stand under these conditions. My wife is awesome, understanding and super supportive. At 12 weeks in, I am not sure reinstatement is an option for me, even though I still have 5mg Trintellix in my drawer, and could try taking microdoses. Leaning toward a no, but I realize I may have run out of time to make that decision? I have read almost all the “required reading” but would still appreciate an opinion on that one. Also considering stopping my multivitamin, turmeric and mulberry leaf extract and taking only my “Super Omega-3 Plus” (Fish Oil) and picking up magnesium pills. I just started the Probiotic so I could drop it too, but not feeling like it would impact all of this either way? I am intrigued by the Reishi 415 blend to get some non-psychedelic mushroom love. Lastly my wife and I are thinking about therapeutic float tanks (she would love to do it again) and I have begun using our hot tub as part of my daily routine, along with many failed attempts at meditating. Anxiety was never something I handled well to begin with, and I realize now I must absolutely be on my game to dance this intricate dance. I will post any new thoughts, findings and curiosities on this thread as appropriate. I appreciate everyone’s support! PS- I opted to not use the appropriate abbreviations as I wanted to easily share this summary with family
  15. Hello Everyone, I'm so grateful for communities like this community. To know I'm not alone. There's so much I want to say though I also want to post an introduction today and my concentration is limited so I'll try to keep it brief. I apologize if it turns out to be a bit long. My first experience of psychotropics was in 1994 when I had moved to a new area, was laid off, and struggling. My PCP was a willing participant and prescribed various medications - Zoloft, Paxil, whatever was available at that time. Nothing seemed to do what I hoped it would do and I didn't go any further. I wish I could say that that was the end of the story. Several years later in 1997, I moved to a new area with a woman I had been seeing. Our relationship was not a healthy relationship and I was under a lot of stress at work, wasn't sleeping well, was having a bit of a nervous breakdown. I decided to make an appt with a psychiatri1st. By that time, I was convinced that medication was an answer to my dilemma. I believed the current narrative of emotional distress, depression and anxiety, neurotransmitters, and the need for medication to make up for what was missing. The first psychiatrist wanted to just put me on Klonopin, said it would do the trick. I knew a bit about benzos and thought this recommendation wasn't helpful. It didn't fit with my understanding of serotonin deficiency. I went to see a different psychiatrist who put me on Effexor, titrating up to 300 mg. He prescribed Xanax initially to help with sleep and anxiety during the day. I was willing to use benzos as a temporary measure. That made more sense to me. I look back with regret and anger that other options weren't offered for what really were normal existential challenges of work and relationship, something I wasn't equipped to handle at the time. Fast forward to the present. I've been on medication since. And I've had a lot of trouble finding a medication that doesn't have significant side effects. I've felt despair. I've been told numerous times that I would need to be on medication for the rest of my life. And yet changing medications is a nightmare. The side effects are a nightmare. I recently read a book called Pathological that prompted a deeper reflection and research on medication in general. That the medication may be my problem. I had already started titrating down on my current cocktail. I experience akathesia on Zoloft, the reason the Remeron was added. It's a bit of a shock that my psychiatrist seemed uninformed. He wasn't aware of akathesia as a potential longer term side effect beyond 1-2 weeks. If patients experience this, it passes, he said. He offered no explanation for why it was passing for me. I've wanted to titrate off the Zoloft for this reason though I haven't known what next. I've felt hopeless. This process is so tiring and disruptive. My psychiatrist is a good man though he doesn't have really good ideas about what to do. Just throw more things against the wall and see what happens as if this were a simple process. I started to believe that maybe I have Bipolar II and misinterpreted the akathesia as hypomania. I was on track to titrate down on my cocktail and look at mood stabilizers, something my psychiatrist was willing to try, when I came across the book Pathological. It changed my view in many ways. My dilemma now is best to proceed. I'm learning just how naive I am about psychotropics and titrating off them. In my efforts in the past, I've followed a more traditional titrating schedule and crashed and burned only to think I'd relapsed and needed that medication. I thought I was doing it more thoughtfully this time which in some ways I am compared to the past though I'm still moving fast. I seemed okay with Zoloft 25 mg and Remeron 15 mg. I went down to 12.5 mg Zoloft and the withdrawal side effects were too much to manage. I'm using liquid Zoloft and quickly went up to an intermediate dose of 17 mg which seemed to be okay. I thought at 17 mg I could go down a third at a time from 25 mg. Because the sedating effects of the Remeron were kicking in on lower Zoloft, I went down on my Remeron to 7.5 mg. It's been 2.5 weeks since that change. It's been hard. The biggest issue is that often I'm unable to think, concentrate. Brain dead. When it happens I'm dead in the water. I can't really do anything. I'm awake though my brain isn't functioning. I can think a bit though my brain quickly locks up, shuts down, goes dead and it's worse as the day progresses. It's a huge issue, making work harder, diminishing my quality of life. I like to read and my ability to read and enjoy it is absent. After reading an article by Adele Framer yesterday, I realized that my plan to not overreact, to name withdrawal for what it is, and just live through the awfulness may not be the best plan. That things may get worse and that there may be a better way. That I need to slow down. Expect that this is going to take much longer than I expected. In that spirit because I'm really struggling with withdrawal and it's having a big impact on my life, I thought that maybe I needed to go back up a bit on the Remeron since it seemed that things really got worse when I went down on it (though I could be experiencing some continued withdrawal from the Zoloft). I went from 7.5 to 11.25 mg Remeron last night. I woke this morning, feeling like I wanted to cry and cry and cry. Maybe this increase is too much. The article talked about kindling and sensitization and I wondered if this isn't why even small dose changes cause problems. My psychiatrist unfortunately is willing to be present as I titrate though his knowledge in this area is limited. My initial question is, Where to go from here with the Zoloft and Remeron to continue the titration? I know I have a lot to learn and am wanting/needing to learn. Also one burning question is, Is this issue with an inability to think, concentrate, and focus, this feeling that my brain shut downs so completely and I can't function, common and is there anything I can do to address this? If you've made it this far, thank you for listening and for any input you can offer. Best, st11
  16. Hello, desperate for help , should we continue or ride it out My daughter quit olanzapine 5mg cold turkey over two weeks ago and isn't doing well at all, all the withdrawal symptoms, should she start taking a low dose and tapper off or stick with it. She has us here to help with the anxiety and talk her off the cliff. we started vitamin ivs yesterday with vitamin b and NAC she does seem to be getting better but I'm afraid after all the reading ive done on how dangerous it is to stop cold turkey, She was on Seroquel and it wasn’t working at a high dose so they switched to olanzapine in June and it caused a lot of weight gain but she said it helped somewhat with psychosis. Not totally. I know the psychosis started right when she started tsking the meds but the doctor diagnosed her with depression induced psychosis so she thinks Shes prone to it. She was not nor has she been diagnosed with schizophrenia but now has some symptoms of the psychosis. she cant work or do much of anything but sit with us. She went away to collage 5 years ago, sometime over that time she got on anti suppressants and antipsychotics and adhd meds, she became very depressed, and they didn’t help. She is back home for now because she became so depressed. When she got home I saw said she was now in olapazine 5 mg and venlafaxine 150mg I started reading the olanzapine as she gained 50 pounds in less than two months. She ended up quitting cold turkey mid-August I didn’t know until she was crying to me and said she quit because I read the side effects and was crying all night threw out the nights with insomnia, lost will to live, derepressed, psychosis hearing she should die before us. Nausea. I notice twitching with the psychosis which I read was traditive psychosis from the withdrawal. She wants off a venlafaxine and he prescribed 75mg to taper from the 150 mg but were afraid to add anymore withdrawal symptoms if its going to be worse? Any advice with this? It seems the side effects or tapering but still full of guilt and anxiety and some psychosis. The more I read about cold turkey the more I'm afraid, we found a new psychiatrist here and her sent us home with all kinds of other prescriptions she was crying when we left, she doesn’t want to be on all the drugs so shes not taking them he wanted her to switch to aripiprazole 2mg and sertraline 25mg. should she take those to help taper off the olanzapine or get a lower dose of olanzapine? Should we stay the course or go back to that doctor and get a liquid olanzapine and go to 2.5 or lower for awhile, any advice welcomed. Thanks so much in advance
  17. Hiya everyone i was diagnosed with emotional unstable personality disorder back in 2011 and was put on quietipine and venlafaxine and they were slowly increased over the years. These medications completely changed who i was as a person i found i lost myself and they simply shut off all my emotions and feelings and i lived like a zombie who did nothing buy sleep for hours of a day and then sleep all night so i decided to come off them, i wanted to live again to feel again and to find who i am againd and now im currently 6 months into stopping all my meds. I was on 225 mg of venlafaxine and 200mg of quietipine . I have a feeling i have tampered too quickly but the thing is i really dont want to go back onto the medication. I started to tamper in july 2021 from both medications. i reduced by a bead on the venlafaxine every time i felt stable after a reduction. with the quietipine i used a pill cutter and reduced that way making a reduction everytime i felt stable. I did suffer withdrawal symptoms such as brain zaps, nausea, shakes, headaches, feeling anxious and hot and cold sweats. Fast forward to now and all them symptoms have gone away all except one the anxiety. Im frightened of everything even things i cant control I wake up every morning with tightness in my chest, im getting palpitations in my heart daily, i have this knot in my stomach that flips and does summer saults over the smallest things. I have ordered herbal tablets from holland and barrets such as ashwagandha and rhodiola as research shows that these seem to help. I really dont want to have to go back on the medication and reinstate as it makes me really angry, depressed, shuts off all my emotions and makes me like a zombie I feel like im scrambling for help as i dont like feeling scared, i feel like ive gone back to being a child in an unsafe situation and i can't take back the control Is there anything else i can do/take to get this under control .
  18. Started withdrawal from venlafaxine a month ago (cold turkey) after 1 year on it at 37.5 mg. Everything was normal and mild (dizziness, vertigo, and insomnia). In the fourth week, I started experimenting burning thighs, pretty unpleasant. I had to reinstate venlafaxine at 37.5, within one week most symptoms are gone (occasionally I get the burning, but once I take the dose it slowly goes away). I will start a tapering plan with my psychiatrist because I no longer need these meds. Is anyone suffering from the same symptoms? The burning sensation can be incapacitating...
  19. Hi all, Thank you for letting me join this wonderful fountain of knowledge. I have been on Effexor since late 2008, when I was 20 years old. My first long term relationship had just ended and I was understandably an emotional mess. I was also alcoholic at the time and using a lot of recreational drugs, which didn't stop the doctor from providing me 75mg of Effexor XR. I loved it at first because I literally felt high. I had tried other antidepressants in the past but none had worked, whereas with Effexor I just seemed to have so much energy. Fast forward to 2011, I am in residential rehab for my alcohol and drug addiction problem. The counsellors there suggest it might be a good time to try coming off my meds- 300mg Effexor and I also taking 25mg Seroquel at this point, as I was unable to sleep on the Effexor. I am referred to a completely incompetent psychiatrist who gives me a taper programme which takes me from 300mg to nothing in a month. Not knowing any better, I complied with his insane schedule. Within a few weeks I was kicked out of rehab for out of character, rageful behaviour. Back home, I slowly lost my mind. Couldn't leave the house without feeling like I had a target sign painted on me- I felt everyone was looking at me and talking about me. I lost my temper at the drop of a hat over minuscule things. No one around me realised what was happening. My memory of this time is hazy, but I do remember being home alone one night and suddenly becoming obsessed that there was a government conspiracy to give people heart attacks by putting too much salt in food. I was walking around the kitchen in circles screaming, unable to stop. I considered the possibility of hanging myself to make it stop. Luckily I called my boyfriend instead and found another website which is no longer active, who advised me to go straight to a doctor and resume the Effexor at a maintenance dose. I did this and was put back on 75mg. The damage was already done and I fell into clinical depression. A month later I decided I couldn't be more miserable that I was and relapsed on alcohol. Luckily I got straight back into a 12 step programme and have been sober since that relapse. But I struggled with the after effects of that withdrawal for many months. i have been absolutely petrified to try coming off Effexor again since, despite many side effects including palpitations, mental confusion, dry mouth, bad breath, constant clenched jaw and every type of stomach complaint. I fell pregnant in 2014 and came down to a quarter of a 37.5mg tablet during pregnancy. I wanted to come off it entirely, but my relationship was very unstable and I was being constantly triggered (we have now split up). I was devastated to not be able to breastfeed my daughter, but I felt the Effexor presented too much of a risk to do so. I went back up to 37.5mg shortly after her birth. She is fine and healthy today, but the responsibilities of single motherhood have left me terrified to attempt withdrawal again. However, since giving birth I have found that the Effexor now has a sedative effect on me. I now have to take it at night time, or I am almost passing out during the day. Sometimes I forget (I'm insanely forgetful now, which fairly sure is a side effect of long term antidepressant use) and then I have a choice of spending the whole day "shocking" or being a half passed out zombie fighting to keep my eyes open. I realised I can't carry on my life like this, I want and need my energy back. I've become completely reliant on coffee to have any kind of energy, so I'm always up or crashing back down. My daughter needs me to be fully present in her life, which I don't feel like I am a lot of the time due to this horrid side effect. I found this website and have been reading up on safe tapering, and on June 14th began the 10% reduction method. At the moment it looks like it's going to take about 3 years in total. I'm in no rush after my last withdrawal experience, I can't risk ending up in such a bad way as I'm all my little girl has. I have been dissolving the 37.5mg tablet in 75ml water, making sure it's all evenly dispersed, then removing 7.5ml (equal to 3.75mg) with an oral syringe. In the UK they no longer prescribe the slow release Effexor so as I can't do the bead method, this is the only accurate way I can really do it. Yesterday I had tingling in both hands all day then at night I had some brain zaps when I was trying to sleep which went all down my left side, which has made me wonder if I should maybe hold this dose for longer that a month. If anyone could advise me on this, I would appreciate it. I find my daily meditation practice my most valuable asset in keeping me sane so I'm hoping it will aid me in my withdrawal. If you have made it this far in my mammoth post, you are truly amazing! Love and healing light to you all x L
  20. Hello all, - Many years ago I started on Venlafaxine XR 75mg and got bumped to 150mg. - Was on that dose for about 10 years then tapered down to 37.5mg over about 2 years. - Had a wobble some years later and was put on Sertraline 50mg - been about 5 years since then. My current dosages are 50mg Sertraline and 37.5mg Venlafaxine (XR capsules). I would like to ultimately come off both. Which do you advise I taper off first? Thank you!
  21. I would really appreciate your comments concerning my situation. I have always stopped AD (Escitalopram) too quickly simply because of lacking knowledge in the previous years. Now I may be a bit smarter. Doctors always say it's the underlying disease coming back. It seems that I don't benefit from SSRI/SNRI anymore, at least I'm not willing to try anything anymore, I just want to get out of the current poison (Venlafaxine) in a reasonable time. Mainly SSRI was described to anxiety in a difficult life situation. Symptoms: Main concern is a pressure type of feeling in my head (starts in the morning) which started after stopping Escitalopram abruptly in 2021 after feeling really sick on the medication for 4 weeks. I have also some inner restlesness but not akathisia and occasional anxiety. The symptoms have got a bit better but some drugs (Seronil) seemed to make them worse and was discontinued. I may be on a protracted withdrawal from Escitalopram but I'm not sure. At the moment I don't actually know what Venlafaxine is doing, in a way it might have lowered the symptoms but days vary - not feeling stable. I think my central nervous system is a bit shaky at the moment and I really would like to have some suggestions/comments that am I going to the right direction if I try to stabilize on a small amount of Venlafaxine (12.5-37.5 mg) for some months before WD? I didn't want to start this drug but it just happened and that's done, can't go back. Sleeping aids: Melatonin, Magnesium and L-Teanin for the last 3 months (sleeping 3-6 h/night) Used to take sleeping pills (Triptyl, Surmontil, Mirtazapine and Benzos) occasionally but built tolerance and stopped them. I have never been addicted to above meds.
  22. Hi, everyone! I'm Justin and...I need help. I've been experiencing complex physical symptoms since coming off Effexor 37.5mg in June 2021. To make matters worse, I have a preexisting physical problem that got worse when trying to treat the withdrawal symptoms. Things are very tangled now and I'm having trouble. 15 years ago, in 2007, I had a bizarre UTI/bladder infection that, upon resolution, caused weird lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). This caused anxiety, and after years of resistance, I went on Effexor 75mg in 2010. They worked: I could sleep and function again. I was on Effexor 75 for about 11 years, with a few short stints off the meds. Every time I tried to go off, I experienced sudden and severe sexual dysfunction. Clearly a withdrawal effect. I never had any sexual problems before or during my time on Effexor (save for difficulty orgasming on meds). In 2020, I finally managed to taper down to 37.5 without experiencing sexual problems. In early 2021, I started figuring out how to taper off entirely. My psychiatrist suggested we slowly add hours to the interval between Effexor doses. I ended up slowly adding hours over 3 1/2 months until I decided I was ready to stop. The result? Sexual dysfunction avoided! The downside? Other bizarre problems that I'm still dealing with now. I finished that taper in June 2021. Here's what happened: My withdrawal data Within 36 hours of taking my last dose, I lost all athletic conditioning. I had been a high-level tennis player and runner...and I could no longer run a mile or hit a few balls on court without getting dizzy, seeing stars, and feeling like I was going to black out and die. My feet/body simply would not move. I started peeing excessively in the early mornings. Yes, I already had weird lower urinary tract symptoms. These symptoms were new and different. These symptoms didn't improve for about 3 months. Because I am an idiot (and because I wasn't sleeping well due to the nocturia) I went down a Google rabbit hole and convinced myself that I needed pelvic floor therapy for the urination. Pelvic floor PT instantly made my preexisting urinary symptoms worse and the poor sleep I already had got even worse as well. I reinstated Effexor 37.5 at this point, hoping for some cure. Reinstating helped with 2 things: My athletic conditioning returned within a couple days. The excessive urination while sleeping subsided. However, whatever the pelvic therapy did to my preexisting LUTS stuck around, since it was not related to medication. The result? Even though I had reinstated and my mood was better, I still wasn't sleeping. I finally tapered off, using the "adding hours" method, and finished in November. The upshot? When I finished the taper, the exercise problems returned. They are not nearly as severe this time. The nighttime urination returned, as well. I now believe this is my autonomic nervous system reacting to medication withdrawal. My sleep quality is very poor, exacerbated by things like alcohol (even in moderation). All of this is made worse by my preexisting urinary problems. What I know I'm experiencing two problems whose symptoms somewhat overlap. Lower urinary tract issues made worse by pelvic therapy--this isn't meds-related, but it's part of my story. What I believe is autonomic dysfunction, causing exercise intolerance, poor sleep, and different urinary problems. I appreciate that my tapering has been much quicker than what you recommend. What's weird is that these tapers have been much slower than other tapers in the past, but those tapers didn't cause any of these catastrophic problems (other than sexual dysfunction). The problems I'm having trouble taking smart, well-meaning urologists through these complicated problems. I recently moved back home to Boston, where wait times for new patients to see GPs or specialists are horribly long (months and months). I do not currently have a psychiatrist, since I just moved and it's hard finding someone with any experience in medication withdrawal, let alone someone who's taking new patients these days. Has anyone experienced similar nervous system problems when coming off? Any ideas/input at all? I'm trying to treat the issues that aren't medication-related, but there's clearly something else still going on--these problems kicked in way too soon for it to be just a relapse of my anxiety. If you've made it this far, I appreciate it!
  23. Hello, first of all, excuse me for my English, which is not my language. I’m a 50 years old man, long term SSRI/SNRI user who is trying to survive after a lot of mistakes made with this poisons. First SSRI was prescribed me in 1998: a psychiatrist decided to solve my panic attacks, anxiety and fears to be sick with a 20 mg of paroxetine. My journey with SSRI began: I took paroxetine from 1998 to 2008; then escitalopram from 2008 to 2010; venlafaxine XR from 2011 to 2016. During this period, 3 or 4 times I attempted to stop but after six months free I reinstated the drug; my doctor said that the difficulty to stop was a problem of mine because “SSRI don’t give dependence” and anyway said “if necessary you can use it for all the life”. For sure from 2006 for me was IMPOSSIBLE to decrease paroxetine under 10 mg!!! From 2017 drugs seem not work as in the past: my doctor tries firstly with escitalopram (from december 2017 to august 2018), sertraline (from november 2018 to july 2019) and finally vortioxetine (november 2019 to february 2020). On february the 6th I took for last time vortioxetine which was giving to me just problems More than nine months have passed since then during which I experienced extremely heavy symptoms that reduced my mental energies and threw me into a profound discomfort that makes it increasingly difficult to carry out my normal activities. Some of the symptoms are those that I have already known in the past (although they present themselves in a more severe way): agitated anxiety; insomnia (I have occasionally taken xanax which fortunately I have used very rarely in these 20 years) and sudden and agitated awakenings; obsessive search for information and explanations about my malaise (via the internet). Others are new: an unbearable mood swings; a certain emotional lability (I get very easily moved and angry); physical symptoms such as fatigue with pain in particular in the legs and frequent palpitations. In the background then there are distressing thoughts for the future: evolution of my malaise (fear of irreversible damage to my nervous system induced by prolonged use of drugs). What seemed surprising was requent change in symptoms from week to week. At the end I found this site and with it a little hope: I have learned many things, even about my mistakes, and discovered that I’m not alone. Now I’m just surviving and my days are (very) often hard to pass, but there are moments (1 or 2 hours in a day) when I feel this journey through the hell is a long and necessary way to live again, to see the stars again. My long journey to healing has started, and I hope you would support me with your advice.
  24. 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
  25. Hello there,My name’s Andrew and I started with depression and anxiety in 1985 when I was 13yo and for some time under the care of paediatric psychiatry.After years of trying various meds the SSRI’s appeared and to cut a long story short I ended up on Sertraline,which I stayed on for about 24years(yes, I know it was a long time,but it worked quite well and it saw me through some very bad times).All of a sudden it stopped working,so my GP gave me Escitalopram,which stopped working after 5months,so Venlafaxine was tried upping it to 150mg S/R-This stopped working after 6months.After discussion with my Dr it was proposed that I might have antidepressant tachyphylaxis(?) and maybe I’ve stopped naturally producing enough Serotonin after years of SSRI use and coming off them completely might be a good idea,at least for a while.I started to lower Effexor in May and actually improved,this continued as I lowered the dose,I got down from immediate release 37.5mg one and half tab twice a day to a quarter tab twice a day by end of July.I seemed to be doing ok,but after several really stressful incidents a fortnight ago I sort of tipped over the edge and feel pretty bad at the moment.My Dr has upped Venlafaxine back to half a tab twice day and Trazodone nightly. I wake up early and can’t settle,I feel exhausted and generally ill,low mood,trembly(even though I’m not),lightheaded and diarrhoea.From reading some of the advice on here maybe I’ve done it too quickly,but I did feel fine doing it,until now.Sorry for long post,but needed to say it.I’m trying to ride it out,but for how long?
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