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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. Hi to all users, Its been 3 full months after my last dose of Venlafaxine. In 2018 I've been on 10mg of Escitalopram for five months then switched on Venlafaxine for another six months. I started Venlafaxin with 37mg and came up to 150mg per day XR. On January 2019 wanted to get rid of the drug since i feel that not needed anymore. Jumped from 150mg-0mg in one month (I know it was too fast, but those days i felt very good and confident, hence rapidly tapering the dosage). The first month of withdrawal, I had severe psychical symptoms, like tiredness, headache, heart racing, anxiety. After these symptoms somehow subside, starting from the month 2 till today (now I am at 3 full months after my last Venlafaxine dose) I have constant headache (don' know how to describe, its not a regular headache, but something like head/nervous system tension) and decent anxiety. My waves and windows are very recognizable, since I have periods when I feel very anxious, depressive, sensitive to sounds, feel nausea etc. and there are days when I feel better (not by much but noticeably more relaxed, with more emotions and not so severe headache/tension). Want to hear from other users who pass through these similar symptoms with constant headache and anxiety which persist of days and weeks now, if some supplements can make the situation more manageable. Hope the day when we heal will come soon... Thanks
  3. Yogendra from India -- 24 years on various meds. Now on Desvenflaxine 50 mg Exteded Release I am from Delhi, India and was put on such drugs around 24 years back. Now I am 38 years. I have gone through worst experiences in my life. I had a brain stroke around 25 years ago that left my left half of body weakened and paralyzed. I some how recovered mostly from it later on. But have been on psych. drugs for last 24 years ON and OFF. Years back I was on around 10 tabs per day. And many times I stopped medicines cold turkey too but had to come back again when symptoms striked again with full force. I wish to come off from the meds. Currently for the last 6 months I have been on 50 mg desvenlaflaxine EXTENDED RELEASE tablet daily. I heard that extended release tablet should not be cut into pieces. I am in dire need of an advice how to wean off from medicines and live freely and calmly.
  4. Hello Surviving Antidepressant friends Around 18 months ago I posted this thread desperately seeking help for tapering gone wrong. I had been on a treatment dose of 300mg of Effexor, which I had reduced around 80%. I went to a psychiatrist to seek advice on tapering and bridging and he told me the amount I was on was almost nothing and there would be no issue if I tapered off over a couple of weeks. That caused the worst withdrawal I have ever had, including what felt like 48 hours of suicidal panic attacks and inability to sleep. My memory from that time is blurry. Anyway. After that I tapered back on to Effexor until the worst of the discontinuation syndrome subsided, which ended up being back up to 10mg, or 30 beads. I stayed that way for around 8 months before trying to go off again. I would take my dose every morning in the same place, around the same time, by pouring out the little beads onto my hand, counting them, taking them, then brushing my teeth. The next time I started going off I reduced by 1-3 beads every 3-4 days (more at the beginning, fewer at the end). I also conducted a little placebo conditioning experiment with myself, where I replaced the lost beads with white 100s and 1000s (I think Americans call them sprinkles?). I figured, after reading up on the classical conditioning mechanism in the placebo effect, that the eight months of "ritual" around taking the drug might be sufficient to allow the placebo sugar beads to have the same effect as the drug on my brain. Once there were no more drug beads I continued "taking" the 100s and 1000s each morning for a few weeks. I'm not going to recommend the placebo approach outright for obvious reasons (I am not a doctor or scientist; my understanding of the placebo effect is probably rudimentary). However, in my specific case, the experience of going from 30 beads to 0 beads, was a million times better the second time than the first. Other factors that likely helped: It was about 5 times slower than the first time; I had adjusted to the 30 bead dose before I started; I took even longer gaps between reductions of the last beads; I was not working as much as I went through this process. Now. While it was easier than the first time, it was still not easy. I felt churned up emotionally and was super irritable, I had rage flashes, my anxiety increased hugely, anhedonia returned, I had nausea, and my muscles, particularly in my legs, spasmed and twitched, often violently. I could, however, sleep for the most part, and none of these symptoms got too much in the way of life (granted I was not working very much and I work for myself anyway; it would have interfered if I worked for someone else). It helped to know that if I could just get through those few weeks then things would probably get better. These symptoms lasted around 2 weeks after the final drug dose, which was early April 2017. And things did get better. For me, most of the side effects of the drugs have now gone. Most significantly, my sense of self and my creativity have returned. It had felt like they were being numbed or muted by the drugs, and I couldn't access them. Off the drugs I now have access to them. Similarly, my ability to enjoy sex has improved, and I don't feel like that side of me is muted either. The above is really tremendous; feeling like yourself again instead of a weird muted robot alien is a big relief. However, while I consider the drug withdrawal to be 100% successful and 100% the right decision for me, I should caveat that with the following context: The drugs appeared to be muting extreme unresolved emotional distress, both from childhood stuff and from rape and sexual assault from a few years ago. The pain from this sort of exploded when the drugs went away. My primary diagnoses are anxiety and major depression, but it appears even those were symptoms of childhood stuff. When I came off the drugs it was the first time I had been drug free in around 13 years. I am highly sensitive and have a big emotional world, but I never learned how to regulate stimulation and emotion, and then had it muted by drugs. When I came off the drugs the emotions and stimulation were pretty extreme and often overwhelming. I took from that that I should learn skills of emotion regulation though, rather than that I should go back on the drugs. Even with only 3-4 months of practice, I am hugely improved and the emotions and stimulation overwhelm me much less frequently. (Now they inform my creative work and my service work, and are real positive assets for me, albeit ones that require sensitivity and management.) I have the great privilege of being able not to work for a while while I recover fully, which is lucky because I cannot currently work. I put that down to unresolved trauma that has now come to the fore rather than drug withdrawal. I am doing deep dive work with my psychologist that is helping more than any other talk therapy I've done, and I think that work will be sufficient to return me to work eventually. I see her weekly. That work is also subsidised by the government because it is about recovery from sexual trauma, meaning for now I do not pay anything for it (another enormous privilege). I have a partner who is extraordinarily supportive and gets what is happening for me. He judges fair contribution to the relationship by reference to each partner's capacity, and thinks that because he has more capacity right now it is fair that he do more housework, financial contribution etc than me. This has allowed me not to push myself beyond capacity, which has meant I have recovered more quickly. In conclusion, while I am currently not working and my capacity to do a lot of things is severely restricted, I could not be happier that I am off the drugs. I feel like I have real issues (childhood trauma and sexual trauma) that require serious work, but now I feel like I am actually properly addressing them, instead of having them be muted yet just as destructive. I also no longer have the drug side effects interfering with my ability to enjoy things, make music and comedy, have intimacy with my partner, meaning recovery feels more authentic and there is more joy in it. Things still hurt a lot, but my world feels real in a way it wasn't on the drugs. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't come off these drugs before. In simple terms: I have hope. I can experience joy and enjoyment. I am excited about what the rest of my life might bring. Even while I know that I am in the middle of pretty extreme emotional upheaval and trauma processing, life is better than it has ever been. I am finally able to be fully, authentically myself, in ways that the drugs (and the trauma and mental health issues) got in the way of. I am optimistic.
  5. Caspur

    Caspur: history

    I have been taking Venlafaxine at 75mg per day for about 6 years. The side effects were becoming too annoying to contiune - mainly flat, blunt unemotional mood, drowsineess during the day (i would fall asleep at my desk whilst working (at home)) and frequent urination, especially at night, which interrupted sleep too much. I have successfully tappered off venlafaxine once before after about 10 months treatment. I did it over 9 months without any issues. Buoyed by that success, i thought i could do it again and embarked on a taper using broken pills and liquid preparations prescribed by my doctor on the UK NHS. I only took 4 months this time which wasnt that sensible , as i now know. The taper ended 5 weeks ago today (24/11/17). Since then i have experienced many and varied discontinuation symptoms both physical and emotional: - physical - nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, dizziness and swimmy feeling in the head; mild visual disturbances; mild but constant headache; mild tingling sensation in the face - emotional - depression, anxiety like i've never experiened before for no aparent reason, irritability, poor concentration; mood swings over a very short time period for no apparent reason etc The semotional symptoms come and go. I will have one or two good days followed by 2-4 days of feeling depresed, anxious, etc On the up side i do feel like im experiencing real emotions like i havent felt for year I have mananegd to control some of the symptoms with supplements such as tryptophan. i also take fish oil, B vits, vitamin C and D I exercise a lot - run 5-6 km per day and try very hard to eat well; lots of fruit and vegetables etc Any suggestions for help would be gratefully received!
  6. Hi, in march I decided to go to a shrink after dealing with depression/anhedonia for a couple months. I was put on paroxetine 30mg and olanzapine 2.5mg. During my last visit with my previous doctor I told her I still had anhedonia, to which she replied: "let's increase the olanzapine to 5mg, you'll sleep better". I told her: "I dont think blocking my dopamine receptor further will resolve my anhedonia". Anyways, I decided to find another doctor who told me I could just cold turkey the current 2.5mg because I don't need it. I also started venlafaxine 75mg to see if it alleviates my anhedonia. Any advice regarding the olanzapine? Thanks in advance for the replies, and sorry if my post is not very organized, I am not very good at writing.
  7. Hello everyone, I'm not quite sure which topic the following issue and question belongs to .. so please let me know if I should post this in another topic / category. As described in my signature, I completely stopped ingesting venlafaxine after about 3 months of tapering - I know, too fast, I was never informed about withdrawals or the need of a slower taper by my physician. One week after the last pill, various withdrawal symtoms such as brain fog, blurred/limited or "constrained" vision, OCD, tiredness and vertigo all appeared at once. Everything lasted for about 1 month and then, like all of a sudden, the withdrawals just stopped or became much milder. This period, which I like to refer to as my withdrawal "honeymoon," lasted for about 2 weeks. After this, the withdrawal symtoms started to come back, yet this time much more severe. I don't know if it has to do with the 2-3 glasses of champagne I had in New Years (I doubt so), but ever since they came back, they have slowly gotten worse. In the beginning I could still work, see friends and do other things people do in the leisure time but now I am on the sick list since three months, I can barely go or stay outside very long because all my symtoms (especially my visual symtoms) gets worse and my body and brain gets tired really fast. I am home most of the time. I try to exercise and to go out but my symptoms allow me to do very little things before it gets too hard for me. Now I ask you people who know this better than me - is it common for the symptoms to get worse over a period of time (for several weeks/months) before things hopefully turns around and you start feeling better again? I know that I may be a little messy in my explanation and I have certainly posted this in the wrong topic, but please know that I am suffering from a bad brain fog and that I am trying my best. I have already visited an ophthalmologist and I did get my brain scanned and they could find nothing. Still, I'm worried that there may be something else that causes my symptoms, which in turn was caused by effexor. PS -I have tried several supplements and have found that soy protein powder and magnesium tables relieves some of my symtoms. Thank you all in advance, and sorry for the messy text!
  8. 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?
  9. Hello folks, Wow I came across this website and it definitely helped my outlook on this horrid process of withdrawling from Anti- Depressants. Here is my story. Life was good I was 23 years old, sitting in my University Class seminar, participating with my class, when out of nowhere all these feelings came rushing over me, people started to go sideways, couldn't really talk. Long story short I dropped out of University and went home to parents. I Went to an emerg clinic and was diagnosed with Generalized anxiety disorder(Gad). Immediately I was giving a prescription for Effexor xr 150mg, followed up with my doctor and was up at 225mg for awhile and 150mg for awhile over a 6 year period. I am now 29 years old, about 4 months ago the effexor pooped out, well it may have pooped out a year before that, but we all know how addicting it is. Went through the stigma , perceived personality changes, felt brilliant and ability to talk, got lots of good jobs, was able to be social, felt at times like it was a miracle drug, then slowly over time I lost my jobs, gf's , starting smoking marijuana heavily, took up smoking cigarettes and had anger and frustration issues, never had this before the medication. My doctor just refilled my prescriptions and never really questioned how I was doing on this medication. If I missed a dose one day I would have horrible symptoms. Long story short I feel effexor got me through the first initial espisode I had, but eventually ruined my social life, career life etc. It's been a tough trip. So after this medication pooped out 5 months ago I figured lets try to go off this and tapered off during a two months period.150mg to 75mg to 37.5 then half of 37.5 and then half of that,then off. I quit Effexor on March 22/2012 after being on it since 2005. Wow Lets just say after I came off it I felt so amazing, I saw everything in a fresh new light- like this is what life is like off this? Colors are brighter, Smell is better, everything changed for the positive after coming off it. Rose colored glasses you should say came off. I quit my 2 addictions of Cigs and pot immediately, was so proud of myself, fixed up debts that I wouldn't have touched on effexor. I felt like I had total control of my life, except for how to deal with these raw emotions , felt like a brand new person. Until... The 3 month mark being off Effexor, wow. Anxiety, Insomnia( not sleeping til 730am), not being able to look at somebody and talk to them in a normal light( was never a issue all my life). One week ago I tried Wellbutrin for 5 days and then withdrawled off it 150mg xl. It was just making me more anxious etc. Now the biggest problem I face is feeling like my memory/words have disapeared, can't make sentences or think of what to say and this was never a problem in my life and it's bothering me big time and I don't know what to do, as I feel like my brain has been messed up by 6 years of effexor highest dose 225mg but mostly 150mg. How do I get this back? I need some good responses here because I feel like a complete dummie as my mind has been erased. Thank you for reading this extremely long post, but I didn't want to leave anything important out, and I really want to move on with a life that I can accept and enjoy. Where has my memory gone? Will it comeback? How long if so? My words and ability to talk to people and come up with things to say? Very scared, What can I do? Use to be so smart I am Martin and that is my story, Glad to be a part of this group (29 years old) ^6 years on effexor , now 3months off 2005-2012 , March 22/2012 Off Effexor
  10. I was starting my third effexor taper 7/2015 -6/2016 and down to 3 mg untill nerve conditions of numbness, buzzing, tingling, burning and buzzing sensations in limbs started. I didn't know what was happening and neither did my doctors and thought I had some other illness such as MS, fibromyalgia etc. Did numerous tests with no diagnosis. Anxiety and insomnia was at an all time high so Doctor reinstated full 37.5 mg dose on 6/30 and up to 75 mg in 1 week. Because the nerve conditions also were not allowing me to sleep the doc gave me clonazepam. Later I was then given lyrica to help with the nerve conditions. but After a one week trail of lyrica in August I discontinued immediately due to some paradoxical effects of jerks and muscle fasciculations and also decided the clonazepam might also be a culprit and started a 4 week taper with the help of mirtazapine for sleep. While this was going on only through the course of my own research did I come to the conclusion that the nerve conditions I was suffering were initially from SNRI withdrawal symptoms. September faired better as the initial withdrawal symptoms seemed like they were being resolved after a few months back on effexor so then I figured the effexor was helping with that...Great! but.... As soon as I was done with the clonazepam some of the initial nerve symptoms I experienced in June have returned. Not sure if the clonazepam was masking it. So now my issue is that I'm at a higher dose of the effexor than when I started and the withdrawal symptoms has not been entirely reversed and don't know what to do at this point? Taper off effexor? I'm still using mirtazapine for sleep because because the nerve condition of either a jerk, adrenaline surge, numbness etc will keep me up. Please help me I'm desperate!!!
  11. Hello future friends, I'm based in Brussels, Belgium at the moment. I am here because I've been tapering venlafaxine since June 2018. Started at 225mg (see more info in my bio section). I am completely stalled at 75mg. I tried a micro taper taking out one tiny bead from my Effexor XR 75mg capsule. But it brought on terrible unbearable withdrawal symptoms. It seems I have become hyper sensitive to this drug. I think it might have to do with a kindling effect (tapering quickly before in the past when I didn't know better) and the fact I'm a Highly Sensitive Person perhaps. The drop I did from 82mg to 75mg completely floored me for 9 months. I was unable to work during that time and was bed-ridden 50% of the time. I had flu symptoms, depression, severe anxiety, severe insomnia, dizziness, IBS symptoms, lack of energy, no motivation, severe headaches. It was MUCH worse than any of my depression or anxiety symptoms before. In short, it was hell. And even a drop of one tiny bead sends me back to this hell. It's so unfair and I'm so mad. So angry to have ever been prescribed this drug in the first place. I'm sure many can relate to that. Especially as it's never even helped me. How absurd. In any case, I feel very stuck. I would like to come off completely because I would like to try for a baby. And ideally, I don't want to be on this stuff. I think the only option for me now is to try bridging to prozac? That's the only thing I can think of. I will see a psychiatrist soon to discuss with them. Any advice or insights welcome. I feel I am being kept hostage by this drug. I cannot afford (either financially or otherwise) any more time off my work and my life - I'm doing a PhD and I need to finish it by 2021. So, yeah. I'm feeling very trapped these days. Thanks so much for reading! Best wishes, Marie PS. How do I post in the venlafaxine/Effexor thread? I went to the thread but couldn't see how I could post there.
  12. Hello, I was started on Effexor 75 mg a year ago for anxiety and OCD. I tried cutting my dose in half 2-3 months ago to 37.5 mg not realizing about withdrawal symptoms. I have never struggled with depression but since changing the dose have been really depressed. 3 weeks ago my doctor added Prozac saying it would help but it doesn’t seem to. I am so frustrated and feel like Effexor has caused me more problems than good. Since I tapered so quickly I don’t know if I should go back up to 75 on Effexor or increase my Prozac or what to do. I feel like my doctors aren’t sure what I should do either as he told me it’s up to me to decide my taper on my own thanks for your time and help in advance
  13. 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.
  14. I was given amitriptyline for severe insomnia and fluoxetine for cognitive function 30 years ago, after 6 months bedridden with Epstein Barr/Chronic Fatigue. Both were very successful, and I was able to return to work and later retire. I stopped amitriptyline a few years ago, no longer needed. Kept taking fluoxetine, which may not have been needed anymore. Fluoxetine "pooped out" early this year and I became very apathetic and anhedonic. I was put on 75 mg Effexor mid-April, without any washout period for the fluoxetine - neither I nor, apparently, my doctor, knew any better. It was very good at mood and energy improvement, but I had fairly bad physical side effects, and asked for lower dose. 37.5 mg still caused bad side effects. Like a fool, I stopped cold turkey one month ago. I knew I should count beads and taper, but simply could not force myself to put one more mg of this stuff into my body. Now I am paying the piper, and paying a lot. I found this site a few weeks ago, and have been looking for others who have severe physical WD symptoms. I may be lucky in that I have no emotional or cognitive symptoms, or unlucky in that I seem to have all of the physical ones. First 3 days off, my feet and calves swelled up like water balloons, along with neck and shoulder pain 24/7, which is still ongoing, but better. Muscle spasms in thigh muscles that made me actually scream one night during first week off. Chest tightness (muscle spasm?) that almost sent me to the ER several times. Shortness of breath has not gotten better so far, and insomnia is very severe. I feel terrible in the morning and all day until around 5 PM, then I seem to have a surge of wakefulness that lasts until 1 or 2 AM. Fatigue will not let up. I can't reinstate Effexor, as the side effects while taking it were much the same as WD, only less severe.
  15. It has been years since I took medications, I was 16 when I took them in 2009, and went through a few different brands. I have copied some of my introduction story to make things easier for me. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5232-%E2%98%BC-hello-charliebrown-script-free/#entry67166 Starting with Fluoxetine 10mg for 1 month. Then Venlafaxine for 1 month at 75mg then, 3 months at 150mg. 1 month of Clonazepam 0.5mg as I was tapered off Venlafaxine and onto Sertraline 50mg. Then I took Sertraline 100mg for 4 months. Still experiencing panic attacks, agoraphobia and paranoia. I went to the hospital during a panic attack and was given Lorazepam 1mg for 1 week. This is when my psychiatrist added Risperidone on top of the Sertraline. Risperidone started at 0.25mg for 3 days, then 0.5mg for one week, raised to 1.0mg for one week. After two weeks I had a check-up I told the Dr. I wasn't feeling anything and I believe he may have misinterpreted that as "no effects" but when I said it I meant that I felt no emotions. My dose was raised to 1.5mg daily. After 3 days of 1.5mg I began experiencing Akathisia with no relief of anxiety. With no options in perceived sight I took all of the remaining Risperidone. Approx forty 0.5mg pills. My Parents caught me and called 911. At the hospital I was given charcoal and passed out, waking hours later. After being discharged I continued to take Sertraline as prescribed for 2 months. With no reduction in my anxiety and my emotions being basically non existant I decided to "take the good with the bad" and feel some kind of emotion. Over the next month and a half I slowly weaned myself off Sertraline. Popping open the capsule and throwing away 3-5 tiny XR beads a day. So that's my age, meds and taper strategy. How long it took to regain all my emotions and bodily functions is a hard one to answer. It took about 6 months before I felt much of anything. Then the bad emotions came back, sadness, anger. Slowly over the next two years I had many days that were blank and void of anything, days full of sadness, but also days where a light would shine and I would be happy. Feelings were coming back in waves and leaving again. I joined this website in late 2013 and at that point I had some emotional range, a libido but no sexual pleasure. So i guess it took about 3 years off medications to regain a good emotional range and my youthful lust. I'm finally writing this success story because in the past year the lack of sexual pleasure and anhedonia are not a problem for me anymore. The feelings slowly came back in waves, sometimes weak, but getting stronger and stronger. Now I feel great when I hug someone or see a friend smile. Sometimes the feelings can even be overwhelming. Like my heart is ready to burst. I don't know what else to add except, it's been almost 7 years since I took medications and I am a whole new person! Don't give up hope! Things are constantly changing, even if you don't notice. I didn't notice the change until it was right in my face!
  16. 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 .
  17. Hi, you can call me AprilShowers. I was put on Venlafaxine (Effexor) in the millenium due to a period of depression. Was on it two years and tapered off with no problem and gradually depression got managable and life went on. Then my mother died of cancer and my depression came back more suicidal and severe. I tried citalopram with horrible side effects and continuous suicidal feelings before being changed to venlafaxine which had worked for me before. And it worked again, more or less. I got stabilised and although it took a long time the suicidal thoughts receded and I just had bad depression. Last year after five years on venlafaxine I was having bad heart palpitations and my psychiatrist thought it might be beneficial to change medications as I thought it might be being caused by being on an SNRI. I switched to mirtazapine which I was on a couple of weeks and felt good at first before it made me very suicidal. Panicing and needing to not feel that way anymore I stopped taking it cold turkey. After I began to have withdrawal issues I tried to get onto prozac (fluoxetine) in the hope that it would help, it didn't, it exacerbated the symptoms. I was in full withdrawal syndrome, massive dumps of cortisol turned my body to acid, I was urinating blood, I couldn't eat or sleep and the shakes were exhausting. It was completely debilitating and I did little but lay on the sofa for five months trying to distract myself with TV shows. Life got a little better in increments and with the help of this site which I read without joining I was able to understand what was happening to me and try to support my body. I thought maybe I'd been lucky to have gotten through this and was hoping to build my life back to some semblance of normal. I managed to get back to the point I'd been on while I was on the antidepressants. Still depressed, still not coping well with life but able to function a bit. I had hoped to build on that. A couple of weeks ago I started getting mad anxiety, possibly triggered by the shock of the news of terrorist attacks in Paris although I guess if I'm honest I was feeling a bit overwhelmed before that. Whatever happened, I was having a hard time and took a couple of small doses of lorazepam two nights running to get some sleep and mellow the panicy feelings. Of course they got worse after that and now I have the full cortisol dumping into my system again and I'm back on the sofa wishing for a different life and a better body. I've been in touch with my care co-ordinator who isn't seeing me until next week and she says that without me being willing to take medication there's not much she can do. I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow to try to rule out any underlying medical reasons (I had an infection before all this happened and have recently become diabetic, have PCOS and have had previous anemias, heart palpitations and thyroid blips) but I'm not holding out much hope and unsure how to try an explain to the doc what is happening with cortisol dumping into my body. I know all they can offer for the symptoms is lorazepam or similar drugs and I think that would just make my problem worse. The early morning shuddering and feeling of waking in abject terror is the pits, the shudders are exhausting, like parkinsons and then taper off during the day but still with a low level of tremor and feeling of panic. I've got no saliva, I go hot and cold, my stomach is acid, I'm wetting myself with the level of fear hormones in my system and am having to wear pads and I'm constantly going to the bathroom, I'm not doing very well at all. The fact that this is happening for the second time is extremely disappointing, I've had thoughts of not wanting to live like this. I feel very alone, I live alone and I'm scared of losing all I've gained. I'm here to find hope. I need to give this awful life I'm forced into some value and give myself some value. After five years living on benefits, trying to overcome depression and not really coping with life I feel like I have nowhere to turn but here to find people who believe and understand what I'm going through. I am desperate to believe this is just a blip and won't last as long as before but it's been getting worse every day like the reverse of when it happened the first time when it was very bad and I gradually felt relief. I'm finding it hard to trust I will recover. I have nothing to do but hope I can again. Supplements I take omega 3 in a high dose which has helped me manage my depression. vitamin C magnesium with calcium. Occasional other supplements. Am thinking of just stopping all but the omega 3.
  18. reask

    reask

    High BP caused by abruptly stopping Effexor and also getting worse while tapering
  19. Grayskies

    Feels like waking up

    I have just read almost all of “Prozac backlash” and It kind of blew my mind. I am sure this is old news for most of you on this site, I just had no idea. I also had tried to go off Effexor pretty much cold turkey and basically was a ball of nerves, sobbing uncontrollably the whole time. I thought at the time, “my anxiety must really be this bad, i guess i really cannot function without my AD.” OMG. I had no idea this was such a universal experience for people to go through such difficulty when trying to get off them. And to try to do this without any coping skills too? That was entering a losing battle. I am now seeing a therapist and I feel empowered to do this for the first time in my life. Having this community is really great too, to know it’s hard to do for all of us. For the first time in my life I suddenly see that this has been a lie I have told myself for years, that I need these to function. I always assumed “some people need meds for mental health and some don’t.” Reading this book demonstrating the actual figures for people who manage their depression/anxiety without meds is truly uplifting for me. I have had a rough month trying to start the taper. Someone tried to attack me at my job (this has never happpened to me before) and I was quite affected by it, starting to feel my anxiety sky rocket even on my full dose. This event set off some really tough emotions for me as I already have a stressful job and have been working on ways to move to something less stressful for me. For financial reasons, I need to stick with it for another 1.5 years. I feel pretty angry and anxious the first few days after a taper, I have noticed and the lightening strike emotions are there. I think mindfulness and encouraging self-talk in preparation for this possibility is key for me. Like positive visulations, even practice (role play) like what will i say if XYZ happens. I am on 121.5 mg of my effexor right now which is the second taper I have done. Much of my focus has been on the bad sides of my withdrawal. I go to Zumba pretty religiously and yesterday in my class I felt something I haven’t felt for a very long time—- it was joy. I felt joyful as I moved, and used my body, and felt alive. I felt free. I realized that this feeling has been covered up for some time in addition to my demons I am now facing. I was sitting in the sunshine with my dog and drinking coffee, listening to the birds sing, and I thought.. this is truly a perfect moment. It has been so difficult for me to feel moved in any way for the last 7 years. And in the back of my head I can feel my anxiety telling me “this won’t last, you could still be in trouble, you could still be unsafe...” And I am letting myself just for now to feel alive, like I am waking up.
  20. mmcdonald21

    mmcdonald21: intro

    Hey, I've been trying to get off medications for a while now, to no avail. I'm currently on 30mg Remeron, 300mg Effexor, and 10mg Abilify. I also take a lot of vitamins and fish oil with a high concentration of EPA. I don't feel very good right now, and I've had periods where I've felt good, but I'm pretty sure they were just times that were flukes. I think the things that really help me are exercise, meditation, and to some degree, my vitamins and fish oil, but I really do want to get off of the medications. For over four years I've been reliant on these medications, and still I haven't felt very good at all during the time. I started getting off of my medications by taking 75mg less of the Effexor XR (I was on 375mg). I will report back how that goes. Any tips or advice would be much appreciated.
  21. 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
  22. Davie

    Davie

    Hello, I am a 64 year old man who has been on Antidepressants since my early thirties, I have tried most Antidepressant types from the older MSOI's the Tricyclics , onto the SSRI's none of which helped greatly! I was then introduced in 2002 to Venlafaxine 75mg tablets X2 per day ,these I had taken with little success until 2008 when I had a nervous breakdown and was immediately switched by My Doctor back onto Fluoxetine with no tapering advice given, the next 5 years were very difficult, lots of spells sick from work with Anxiety. In 2013 I was seen by a Pschyciatrist who diagnosed me with GAD and persuaded me to start Venlafaxine again as it was supposedly best for GAD. Naturally this did not work well so I tried recently (2019) to carefully wean myself off Venlafaxine over a two month period ( which was longer than my GP recommended) I was down to around 10 mg a day (1/4 of a 37.5mg tablet) for the last two weeks before stopping completely! I had a very good 4 week's after stopping, my Pschyciatrist was pleased I had successfully stopped and suggested I need no further Medication. A few days after meeting my Pschyciatrist I had a bad nights sleep and got up in the morning with Anxiety that would not go away and got worse every day - it was banging in my chest 24/ 7 and I started feeling suicidal as I could not bear the pain until I took a 37.5 mg Venlafaxine tablet and felt the Anxiety ease within an hour or so. I am now back on Venlafaxine 75mg XL along with 10 mg Diazepam a day to help my damaged nervous system repair itself. As I write this now I am 2 weeks back on the Venlafaxine and the unbearable Anxiety has now cleared but I still feel nervous & exhausted. My Doctor now says I will be on this drug long term as he has no other answers. My main concern is that this drug may continue to do irreparable damage to my nervous system and I can not get off it!
  23. Hi all , I am 8 months off reinstated sertraline for a month ( by doc) and Aripropazole. History Its around 4 years back when i passed out my college and not get placed even after making to finals in many interviews .. that i decided to write competitive exam for PG. I had taken coaching but just before exam I came back and found myself unable to recall things. My brain is just like nothing in it. I found myself in despair and stopped studying. This fog is happening all the time since my engineering but I managed to get average marks sometimes and sometimes very good . There is more in back history but I ll get to it later. So, my parents took me to a psychiatrist ( family known) and he put me to Olanzapine and one more thing. He diganosed me bipolar2. I got about 10 pounds on it but its not help . Meanwhile after 4 months, with the help of a relative , I got intern in a company and I moved out with fog to a distant city. TThere in a hospital, they put me on floxetine and Amisulpride for 3 months . Then i moved to a private psychiatrist ... where it starts getting haywire . He stopped fluoxetine and Amisulpride . And put me on Venlafaxine and Seroquel... As i was interning, i get usual heat racing in between job times but my doctor convinced me to stay with it . 4 months and I just started feeling agitated due to stress. It happened that I slapped a senior on abusing me and there I left a job I never happened to get physical in my school or college .. but it happened. Doctor told me to scrap the prescription he wrote of raising Venlafaxine. And he put me paroxetine + Oxcarbazepine. In his words , it is best tolerable and has lesser side effects. I managed to get a job by my own and cracking first time. But this time there is lot of work and culture pressure. Its a startup with full of politics . Boss and his boss .. all keep on putting things. Let office aside, I started feeling some well .. overly casual ... excited .. raged .. Iits about 25 mg Paroxetine and 300/600 mg Oxcarbazepine. I had unusual violent acts .. had hit a school friend .. insomnia.. I decided to leave the paxil by asking the doctor . He said half in a week and then other half a week to off. Thats when it all started , i cannot sleep whole night and with day light i start getting a nap. I left going office with fear of state i was in . I cannot wake and even if I .. i was too tired and angry . Doctor then gave me Mirtazapine which didn't help . I resigned job telling muly boss about all and came back home. It was Nov,2015. I start getting yhese uncontrollable rage that I locked myself in a room. Parents took to a local shrink who put me on Venlafaxine+ Mirtazapine(CRF), lamotrigine, resperidal, Seroquel. The NEXT Day I woke up so fresh .. all calm like 12 yrs back .. i was smiling happy.. but it lasted only 4 hrs .. and i am doomed again . I took those meds 10 days and i decided to go off. Physical Damage. I got brain zaps as sounds with eye movement .. While on Paxil I got severe neck stiffness and movement pains - which came out as Osteophytes. Anger , heart race , memory, fog , chest pains , fatigue ... All I beared for 4 months. Reinstatement after 4 months. Father took me to another psych who put me on Sertraline+ Aripropazole+ Seroquel. I started having increases restless legs than before and the doctor asked me not to go over net. After 2 visits and when he said it wslas Aripropazole for restlessness all time.. and he is cutting it . I stopped all meds . Withdrawals in 8 months. All first symptoms with some new like utter sensitivity in teeth. It is while breathe in most of the teeth . Muscles gone from forearms .. My left hands gone ulnar neuropathy and i got surgery done when no hope lived. Right hand has stiffness too . MAnger I am living with .. I have stopped talking .. I have decided to go sit on my Shop but I was unable to understand the talk . In spite anger biuts and memory makes it difficult to adjust. I keep forgetting people faces .. important talks . So i stopped . Now I am muted all the time with burst inside . Read success stories and play CoC. This is the most I can write now.
  24. Hello all. I've been shadowing this forum for a while, and I'd like to begin by thanking everyone involved (Altostrata in particular) for providing such a caring environment for all the battered brains out there. A lot of my questions have been answered already by virtue of all the great information here. Still, one feels a particular solace in telling their own story, and I'd like to do just that. I am twenty four, and I have been more or less continuously medicated since I was sixteen. I was a troubled and difficult teenager, and a drug addled and dysfunctional brain seems to be my reward. I've been prescribed various stimulants, but (thank god) I've mostly neglected them over the years. I've run the gamut of anti-depressants from prozac, to lexapro, and then onto Effexor. I don't really remember having any issues with the prozac and lexapro, except the sort of general malaise one experiences on those drugs. Effexor has been a different story. I've been on it now for about four years. A year ago I noticed a strange sort of free-floating despair from time to time, the sort of thing I'd struggled with years earlier in high school. But unlike before it's appearance was alarming and irregular, and it seemed somehow “unnatural”. It was clear something was changing, either my brain chemistry or the effect of the drug, or both. Whatever the cause, it didn't seem to have much to do with circumstance. A few months later I decided to come off the drug. I went down over a period of two months. The effects were highly unpleasant but not unbearable, the strongest symptom being fatigue. I was completely off the drug for about three weeks. The effects during those three weeks were slightly different than they had been while still weening. Along with the fatigue came a deep underlying anxiety, and a sort of anxious hopelessness that would wash over me a few times a day. I decided after three weeks that I couldn't deal with the withdrawal symptoms anymore, especially since they hadn't show any signs of abating. I went up to 75 mgs, and was able to remain there for one to two months. The worst was over, though I still suffered from fatigue (I would often have to take a nap in the late afternoon) and began to have cravings for alcohol for the first time in my life. I imagine that my cravings were somehow compensatory, and I've heard of other people experiencing them while on or withdrawing from these types of medications. Eventually I went back up to 150 mgs of the Effexor, and after feeling a little drugged for a few days I returned to my normal self. It took a few more months to work up the courage to try to taper off again. This time I was prescribed 40 mgs of Prozac to “soften” the effects of the withdrawal. I slowed my descent a bit and two months passed before I reached 75 mgs. The symptoms were bothersome but tolerable throughout, and I managed to maintain a diet and mild exercise routine. Great changes were beginning to occur in my life around this time. I'd rather not go into lots of detail, but I'll just say that I managed to address certain things that had haunted me for many years. As these inner tensions began to dissolve the world suddenly seemed alive and brimming with meaning. Colors appeared more vivid, and everything seemed to be suffused with a kind of mystery. This period is somewhat hazy, but I think I must have been convinced by this shift that I would be able to quickly withdraw from my drugs, so strong was my sense of well-being. I took only a month to come off the last 75 mgs, and because of some mistakes while measuring my doses, my taper was somewhat erratic. This period was pretty horrendous. The effects of these drugs come so close to your basic 'poles of being' that it's really hard to describe them in any kind of reliable way. But there was a certain manic and anxious character to this period that had been mostly absent from the previous withdrawal. Some of these new symptoms came in waves, while others were more or less constant. Twice I got into very intense arguments with my father over dinner, both of which ended with me sobbing and hyperventilating (which is quite unusual for me). Sometime before the arguments I had felt a kind of mounting irreversible tension, one that quickly transformed into aggression. There was something strangely primitive and hyper masculine about it, like my mind and body were preparing to fight off an enemy or predator. Deeply strange stuff, I've never experienced anything like it. Once off the meds I only lasted a week before deciding to go back on the Effexor. Here I made another error. I was so panicked and anxious to get rid of my symptoms that I went back up very quickly. 10 mgs for a few days, 35 mgs for two days, 75 mgs for three days, and then back up to the full 150 mgs. Somehow it didn't occur to me at the time that I might have been rushing things. The first day back on the 150 mgs was wonderful. That earlier sense of joy and clarity returned, colors had that dark and enhanced quality again. I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude. But, to my horror, the “manic” type symptoms returned the next day. They returned, and then they seemed to get worse. Two to three times a day I'd have those indescribable surges of raw feeling, and a pervasive tense/drugged sensation returned as well. Fearing that I'd gone up too fast I quickly went down to 75 mgs, which seemed to help for a bit. But the surges and the tension remained. It's been about a week and a half since I've made this last switch, and the symptoms continue. I've read on this site that it can take three to six weeks to stabilize at a given dose, so it seems like I still have some time before I can expect any kind of peace. What's complicated this whole thing is this new way of seeing that's opened up to me. Not only do I have the fear that I'll never be “normal” again, but also a fear that this recent revelation will be torn from me. In short, I feel like I have more to lose now than I did before, that returning to “normal” would be just agonizing as not recovering at all. Still, I have the sense that the transformation I experienced is real and is a lasting one, and that it's just been obscured by the effects of the withdrawal. Plus “it” hasn't disappeared entirely, and at least once a day I'll feel that sense of peace, well-being and heightened interest in things seep through. Still, it's strange how little comfort those moments provide when the hell starts. I apologized if this was overly long or indulgent in any way. I have a few questions for you guys. Firstly, does any of this sound familiar? Am I within the range of what's considered “normal” for this kind of thing? (I think I am but it never hurts to be reassured) Should these new “manic” symptoms disappear eventually? It sounds like they're the sort of nervous system issues that Altostrata describes in his/her theory, though I don't remember all the details at the moment. My greatest fear is that I somehow won't be able to stabilize at this dose, and that I therefore will never reach a comfortable place from which I can withdraw again. Also, does anyone have any idea why my second withdrawal attempt was so different from the first? The addition of the prozac maybe? It goes without saying that my next withdrawal will be much slower. I don't have any more illusions as far as that goes. Also, I should mention that I'm no longer on the prozac. Thanks in advance for all comments! Wonderful place you've got here.
  25. I joined this site a couple of weeks ago. After finding that paxilprogress was no more. I was devastated. That site may have truly saved my life in some of my darkest moments. What is one to do? When essentially you've self-destructed in front of everyone you love; because of a nasty little "non-habit-forming" pill that's been shoved down your throat for decades. So here I am. Time (weeks really) has eluded me. I meant to reach out sooner. I'm just hoping I'm not reaching out too late. I feel like such a horrible failure. I know better than that at some level, know that maybe I failed but that I just have to pick up the broken pieces and keep moving forward. But I'm so I'll. I'm so weak. I'm so alone. And I feel so helpless. My life may not have been a picnic before the introduction of SSRIs. But this is one situation in which the grass was truly greener on the side of which I was already standing. Before popping that first "innocent" little pink pill, prescribed by a doctor who had seen me only once and only spent 10 minutes "getting to know me". I couldn't tell you who that doctor was, I never saw him again. Nevertheless he was the first in probably nearly a hundred who have insisted upon continuing the saga. And what better did I know? I was unhappy before the meds. I was often unstable on them. And I was clueless as to why I was saying and doing psychotic things (that I often didn't remember, or just have "snippets" of memory after the fact) and so violently ill when I decided I simply no longer wanted to take the pills. Or was even 12 hours late on a dose. (More about that and my travels down genetic testing road and CYP450 mutations later.) All that being said; Hello to all in these forums. I'm the antisocial one. The antisocial one that sometimes doesn't know when it's appropriate to shut up. Or how to appropriately ask for help. But if you've been through it (psych med-wise), I probably have too. And vice versa.
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