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  1. Hello to the community, I've been reading and browsing this site for a while, but hadn't ever formally joined. I've been taking medication (Paxil then Effexor) for the past 15+ years. In the past year or two I've become much more emotionally healthy and have entered a stable place in my life. From many different discussions with different medical professionals (and from personal experience!) I know it is best to taper from a position of strength and relative good mental health and I've fought so so hard to get to where I am. I want to taper off of my medications to recover my emotions and to potentially try to become pregnant. I find that I've become much more emotionally blunted - I am neither happy nor sad about things that would be joyful/upsetting for most people. I am also at the age where many of my friends are having children, and would also love to have a child. From the literature searching that I have done, I've found many conflicting opinions on whether or not a pregnant woman should take mental health medications - Effexor XR in particular. I've consulted 3 MDs and one naturopathic doctor and have connected with MotherRisk at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. I have been told the following: My GP: you should switch to Celexa ( less side effects/ lower risk of birth defects/) 2nd Doctor: keep taking your medication (Effexor) - don't worry about it. Naturopathic doctor - difficult decision - there is no one right answer and each person must decide the level of risk that is acceptable to him/her and also balance your own mental health needs. SickKids RN - Keep taking your meds. Internet research - conflicting opinions, scary stories etc. Some children of mothers taking Effexor are born and have withdrawal symptoms. I want to stay out of judgement - I think everyone needs to do what is right for them. Right now, for me it feels right to try and taper. In the past 7 months I've tapered slowly down with the assistance of a mental health RN and Naturopathic doctor who advised supplements for the brain zapps. I feel like there are so many people who take medication for mental health, and so many women getting pregnant - but the issue of the two together is very rarely talked about, at least in my experience. If there is anyone out there who has gone through this issue, or has some experience I would love to hear about it. I have found a few articles, and I believe there was recently a film made called "Moms and Meds" although I haven't seen it yet... possibly because I don't want to sob quietly for 30 or 40 minutes before bed. https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/pg75mg/for-pregnant-women-with-mental-illnesses-medication-can-be-a-minefield Taking things one day at a time. Whee... Cokemachineglow
  2. Hi All- I'm new here. At 15 weeks pregnant I started having horrible insomnia and anxiety attacks. I ended up going to the ER for a psych consult- I've never had a psychiatrist or been on meds. I have dealt with anxiety and insomnia in the past but never to this degree. Was put on Lorazepam and Trazodone- I loved the lorazepam but as soon as I got in to see a psychiatrist I was told to CT immediately due to negative effects on the pregnancy. So I quit- it had only been about 2 weeks but I swear I experienced Benzo withdrawal- my anxiety went through the roof and I even felt suicidal on day #5 of withdrawal (something I've never experienced before) I decided to give Zoloft a shot- but low and behold it did not help my anxiety or depression and I had a lot of anxiety about taking the meds. I still wasn't sleeping more than 2-3 hours a night so trazodone kept getting increased but to no avail. Tried Nortiptiline for 2 nights- nothing. Meanwhile also CT'd trazodone (as advised by the psych) My psychiatrist was horrible- terrible bedside manner and her only suggestion was to increase Zoloft to 75mg and introduce Seroquel, That night my husband and I decided to stop trying to find a med to get me to sleep since I didn't want to keep going up the chain and get into the more potent drugs. I'm notoriously impossible to knock out and with being pregnant I wasn't willing to go there. Talked to the psych about tapering off zoloft- she said I could just CT that too. But since I'd been on the 50mg dose for 4 weeks I really wasn't comfortable with CTing ANOTHER drug. That's when I decided to do my own taper (my midwives are aware of it and i just stopped going to my psych all together) I really want to be med free by the time we have the baby (due 7/2) Plus I'd like to get my orgasms back! Currently I''m still experiencing insomnia (luckily not every single night is torture any more) very occasional anxiety attacks (usually during bouts of insomnia) and GI distress plus some irritability and intrusive thoughts at times. Anyways-that's my story in a nutshell. The taper went great at first but going from 25 to 12.5 has been really rough. Since I'm preg it's really hard to know what symptoms are from WD, pregnancy, or the original anxiety. I'm hoping to reach out the community here as most of the pregnancy groups I'm in are very "pro-med." I'm often the only person trying to get off the meds, rather than switching AD's 3-5 times and adding antianxiety meds to the cocktail. Sometimes the message is "hang in there til you give birth becasue then you can start taking benzos!" which I NEVER want to take again. Thanks for reading!
  3. Hi all, My signature basically sums it all up. I am experiencing terrible withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing 150mg Effexor XR. I wish that my psychiatrists had told me about discontinuation syndrome before they pushed these drugs on me. I am wondering when the discontinuation symptoms will go away. The symptoms are severely affecting my ability to work, and I cannot afford to lose my job. I REFUSE to go back on the drug. I would rather die than start this process all over again. The drugs never did anything to improve my mood and simply made orgasms impossible for the last 3 years of my life. Now I am worried that I am going to suffer from these symptoms for the rest of my life. This, of course, is all compounded by my pregnancy hormones. This is my first pregnancy, so I have nothing to compare it to, but many of my symptoms, particularly the neurological ones (brain zaps, spontaneous muscle twitching, dizziness, delayed brain response) can only be attributed to Effexor withdrawal. I just wish that I knew how long to expect this to continue so that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am very discouraged by the fact that I am seeing many people taking years to fully recover. My husband, family, and friends do not understand because they have never had to go through this. I feel totally alone. Katie
  4. Hi everyone - I'm so glad to have found this community. I've been working with a psychiatrist but the quick taper became a nightmare and I'm looking for support from people who are actually going through this. I'm a 37 year-old female, and about 6 months ago I realized that if I have any hope of starting a family, I'd better get moving. Of course, I had no idea that getting off antidepressants would be such a long haul and I'm still coming to terms with that disappointment. I did okay up until the Effexor XR 37.5mg every other day recommendation, which of course, was a complete disaster. Luckily I only put up with it for a week before I decided it was ridiculous and that I couldn't live like that. I had excessive fatigue and generally felt drunk and out of it. I couldn't even follow the plot of a TV show without my boyfriend having to explain it to me. I was taking 4 hour naps in the middle of the day. I couldn't work at all. I was extremely irritable. I went back up to Effexor XR 37.5mg daily and thought I was back to stable three weeks later. The psychiatrist switched me to Effexor IR 25mg. Another psychiatrist friend suggested splitting the dose, which made a ton of sense, and made me even more wary of my original psychiatrist for not having advised that in the first place. Since Feb 1, I've been on Effexor IR 25mg, which I split into morning and afternoon doses. I'm definitely experiencing withdrawal symptoms, but at least I don't feel like I'm dying at this point. The biggest one is probably brain fog, but it isn't nearly as bad as before. The headaches and fatigue are definitely a component, but again, not as severe as before. A new symptom is this weird leg tingling/numbness, mostly in my quads. I can tolerate these symptoms but not if they get any worse. I'm hoping for some advice on where to go from here. Should I stay at the 25mg and hold here until the symptoms are completely gone and continue to taper from there? Or should I go back up to the 37.5mg? Or some combination of XR and IR? Either way, I intend to taper once I stabilize, and obviously go much slower from that point on. What is the general consensus about IR vs XR tapering? Also, if anyone can provide advice about pregnancy, I would really appreciate it. Once I'm off these stupid meds, how long should I wait before trying to get pregnant? I realize that I need to be as emotionally stable as possible, but there is remarkably little information out there about specifically how long one should be off Effexor, etc. Any cheer-leading would also be appreciated. Like I said earlier, I've taken quite a hit after finding out this is going to be a protracted process. : ( I will need some real encouragement to continue on in a slow and steady fashion. But I desperately want to be successful so I will do what is necessary! Thank you for listening! -turbidblue
  5. Hi, I am 37 years old woman, having one kid age of 7 and was put on Effexor 4 years ago since I got very anxious due to the lack of sleep and tiredness (the child did not sleep well at night for the first 3 years of his life). I was feeling very good for 1 year on Effexor 150 mg. So, I asked my doctor if it is ok to get off the tablets because we wanted to have another baby. She said yes and said to gradual discontinue the tablets for 2 weeks. I took longer time and gradual tapered them for 1.5 month. In last days of tapering I got withdrawal symptoms and was put back on the Effexor again. That was 3 years ago. I could not stabilize at the previous dose (having waves and windows), so additionally I got mood sabilizer Quetapine 100 mg to take at night . I still could not stabilize. So the doctor raised my dose to 225 mg. The anxious was getting bigger and bigger. The waves and windows still remained. One year ago I realized that I am a victim of the combination of withdrawal symptoms and symptoms of raising the dosage. This combination stressed my nervous systems so much, and I have decided to start to live without the tablets, since I have never experienced such symptoms before taking the first tablet. So this is how I went: - In one month I gradually won off the Quetapine for sleeping and slept good - in 3 months : from 225 mg to 150 mg of Effexor - in 3 months: from 150 to 75 mg of Effexor - for last 6 months I have been tapering my last 75 mg of Effexor (I have only 8 beads to get off, 1 bead / per week) 2 months ago I was hit by a major withdrawal symptoms, but that did not get the courage out of me. All of my last 3 years I have windows and waves and have learned alot through them. They do not frighten me anymore, although they are very hard to deal with sometimes. And now I have a question: I still want a second child and since I am 37 I do not have much time. I hope I get off my last 8 beads successfully. BUt what I am afraid is that: - what if I continue to have waves and weaves for another years and got pregnant: can my waves have any affect on my child? (I know this is not a medical forum, but any advice from women being in the same situation would be fine to hear) - if my nervous system settles, do you think the birth of the child and lack of the sleep can trigger the nervous system again to start to react as it does today? Some people say: go ahead, have another child! But I am afraid what consequences this withdrawal symptoms can leave to my body. Despite to that my wish to have one more kid is so strong!!! And that keeps me going on in the waves. I just wish I was at least 5 years younger and have more time to heal my nervous system. What is your opinion? Thank you.
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