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  1. 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 .
  2. Hello everyone! I am 26 years old. I tapered off 150 mg XR a little to quickly. I was on it for about two years. I was off completely for about a month. But the anxiety kept getting worse. The pressure in the top of my chest and bottom of throat. It's hard to describe. Also it was hard for me to speak. I was extremely irritable and edgy! I felt dead and wanted to die. The withdrawal just made me feel this way. I took 25 mg IR yesterday. This morning I took 25 mg. This afternoon i will take the second dose of 25. How long do you guise separate your doses of IR? I am also going to do the 10% deduction of the current amount. I am doing the math, this is going to take a very long time! But that's ok, my fault for taking it. When i get this low is it best to make it into liquid form? I watched the video and I understand. in 4 weeks my next dose will be 22.5 mg.
  3. 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?
  4. Hi I took effaxor for 5 months 75mg. I stopped 4.5 months ago and still stuck with PSSD. How hopeful should I be, do people here recover substantially from PSSD?
  5. New here, so will hope to fill in fuller history later. I am 71 and have had depression to varying degrees 1977 to date. Managed to work full time 1964-2001, though. 12 years on irregular shift pattern 1964-1977. Last month, went to new younger GP who arranged blood tests, (after I had given him my list of ill-health symptoms!) Blood, mostly OK, but indicated low folic acid, he said. I am on 5mg daily folic acid tab for last 5 weeks. I do feel better (carrying out lots of small projects in my retirement). Had so many ups and downs in last 40 years, though, that I think this may be a placebo effect. However, a more positive side of me thinks I may be on the way to breaking through the wall where "the drugs don't work anymore" at 225mg Venlafaxine slow release. I have been on Losec (Omeprazole 10mg) for decades, too. I read that it can spoil your absorption of certain vital items in the vitamin B family, at least? Thanks for reading, all.
  6. 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?
  7. Hi guys, So here I am after being off antids for about 6 months, having tapered too quickly and suffering the consequences. I was latterly taking Citalopram 30mg, Lamotrigine 150mg and Venlafaxine 75mg. Summer 2015 I was officially diagnosed with major depression, which had obviously been there for a long, long time but had at that time got particularly bad. This was due to psychological issues, alcohol and drug abuse but wouldn't shift despite years of work fixing these. Now I know the long term citalopram use was probably making the depression worse. Around that time I saw 4 different psychologists and got 4 different opinions on how to recover/which meds to take. This of course was a ridiculous situation so I took matters into my own hands, taking what I thought was the 'best' advice and integrating it with my own research and experience . Following the 'advice' of one of the psychiatrists I added 75mg of Venlafaxine to the Citalopram and Lamotrgine. At the same time I'd heard about l-methylfolate so gradually ramped up to 15mg daily with b-6 and b-12. I know starting 2 things at once is not advisable but I was desperate and could hardly function. Within a couple of weeks something kicked the worst of the depression into touch which was a massive relief. After a couple of months on the 3 med cocktail the side effects were really starting to get to me so it was time to get off this stuff. Yes, I know, I did it all too quickly which is why I am where I am now....I should have listened more closely to the advice here :-) Hoping for a little advice and encouragement about my nervous system which in the last 3 months or so has got worse even though I stopped all meds 6 months ago. The lamotrigine taper had me shouting angrily at my wife a number of times - the intensity of the rage was incredible but passed quite quickly. She was very brave to be able to get through that! Citalopram taper was surprisingly easy. The final stages of the Venlafaxine withdrawl was tricky. I was down to 1 bead and if I didn't take it within a few hours I'd get head zaps, restless legs etc. At some point I had to stop so I did and put with these symptoms for a week or so. After all this I was however very fatigued which has improved to an acceptable level over the last 3 months. The fatigue was probably also due to recovering from the major depression. Right now I have anxiety issues, very easily stressed/snappy, can't sleep more than 5 hours a night and impossible to catch up with sleep during daytime as on the verge of dropping off I wake with intense terror/fear. Often trouble breathing properly, tight stomach and I am very sensitive to noise, light and touch. I also have panic attacks when the stress is high in my life. These have been occurring for a long time though and haven't really changed with changes in meds. Having done years of therapy and some bodywork I know that these are physical symptoms and I have quite a healthy psychological make up. I also do a lot of things to look after my physical and mental health which I won't go into here. On the plus side, I don't have the general low mood caused by taking Citalopram for years, blurred vision, muscle tightness, sexual problems, cognition and memory problems, sense of not being fully present + other well known side effects from these meds. I am having thoughts about re-introducing a very small amount of Citalopram or Venlafaxine - not sure which one of these is causing the nervous system issues - probably both. I'm aware that the likelihood of this helping after 6 months is low, but I'm willing to try to alleviate symptoms. Advice on this is very welcome! As my name suggests, I do finally feel alive after 16 years on these meds - something about taking them was just not 'right'. Even though I'm suffering right now I'd rather be here. I hope this gives some encouragement to others and also serves as a warning about what happens when you taper too quickly! Thanks to mods and users alike for this wonderful resource. Cheers
  8. I have been on citalopram since 2009 then it stopped working. The Dr put me on citalopram and mirtazapine combination which worked for a while then that stopped working. The Dr then put me on mirtazapine and Venlafaxine 150mg XL combination which workes for a while again ans then stopped working. The Dr put me on amitriptyline 50mg saying thay would be the best drug for me while i took 8 months to slowly remove each bead from Venlafaxine capsule to come off it. As soon as I took my last beed i went into crazy angry depression. The dr increased my dosage of amitriptyline from 50mg to 150mg but the side effects were horrible and at this point i got sick of these meds and decided to quit CT. I had horrible withdrawal symptoms and i started acting like a child and not being able to walk, had balance problems. I reinstated back to 50mg amitriptyline since april 2018 and i have been getting worse. I cannot sleep. My vision is so badly affected that i have grainy vision and floaters have increased dramatically . I see after images and it's as if the lights have been turned off. When i begin to fall asleep, i start to have dreams before i actually fall asleep and my brain keep. Waking up just before i am about to sleep. I cannot follow conversations, I mishear things all the time. I am totally dependant on others and i feel people think i have gone crazy. I don't know what to do i am getting worse and worse. I often trip, lose my balance. I hardly have any short term memory and cannot do simplest of things. I cannot even watch anything on TV as i cannot follow.it I'm having major concentration problems. I don't know how. I'm writing this. I cannot work or drive. Please you have no idea how i am putting these sentences together. I need urgent help. Please advice. I have no energy, no appetite. If I'm posting this in the wrong place, please accept my appology as I can hardly read and understand things. P
  9. rhanch

    finding my way

    I've been taking antidepressants, nearly as long as they've been around. Following a psychotic break - clinical depression, which might have been predicted, given the circumstances and looking back at it. I was first prescribed Sinequan by my family GP - a tricyclic drug considered at the time the latest medical miracle. It seemed to work and brought me back to earth, though it may have been just as much a result of a change in circumstances. The thing is, the fact that it seemed to work against the closest thing to absolute hell I could have possibly imagined created the fear that going off it would return me to the same state. So I continued taking it, in larger or much lesser amounts but continuously, through the coming decades. The ssri's came on the market and books were written declaring the latest and most important, culturally transforming chemotherapeutic drugs. I threw my hat in the ring and decided to try Prozac. Was quickly thrown into some sort of dissociative/ serotonin syndrome state and quickly retrieved the hat. My GP eventually retired and had to shift to a psychiatrist to ensure my supply of antidepressants. He more or less turned me into his psychiatric guinea pig. "I believe it may be prudent to throw Abilify into the mix at this point." "Well, you're the expert." Or so he figured. The upshot: I'm currently taking 150 mg Buproprion,150 mg Venlafaxine 50 mg Trazadone & 5-10 mg of Diazepam. Though I haven't taken any Venlafaxine for a few days because I believe it has left me with ED. I have a lot of opinions and insights into what led me to where I am today, but leave that for later. Thank-you for your attention and/or feedback.
  10. Help777

    Help777: journal

    Effexor x12 years. Added lithium in sept 2015. Added prozac in october to help bridge taper from effexor as i started having symptoms. Started withdrawing effexor in September 2014. Over last 4 months i went From 112.5 to 14mg as of last week.. Last week I seemed to all of a sudden hit a wall. Crying uncontrollably constantly. Shaking, nausea, extreme fear and overwhelming need to cry. Ive read your site. Ive reinstated to 20 mg of effexor for last 3 days but absolutely no improvement. Im so scared. I cant go to work like this. Continuing prozac 20 and lithium 300. Please help.
  11. Hello, Part 1, Intro. I would like to start by sincerly thanking websites such as Survivingantidepressants for essentially helping me to understand my plight more accurately. I have found the success story sections to be particularly helpful, and have turned to these wonderful stories to help raise my spirits in times of utter hopelesssness. After lurking around on these websites, often too incapacitated to do much in the way of meaninful writing, I decided that it might be helpful to someone out there if I shared a little bit about myself. This is going to be a long post, and I understand that some folks going through the ringer will not be able to read this post in its entirety due to eye issues, or just information processing issues. I've been there, I couldn't read for probably a year in total. Nevertheless, I hope that you can eventually read this and garner some useful information, or at least some knowledge that you are not alone out there going through this unjust, cruel, and totally unecessary hell that we've been subjected and in my opinion, decived into undertaking. 2 Background. To give a brief background, in January of 2013 I was prescribed 50mg of pristiq, had a bad reaction to it, then switched to effexor 75mg for ~2 months, and then after requesting a medication that doesn't give me sexual dysfunction, prescribed 30mg of cymbalta. All said, I spent about 6 months on medication and I must say that it definitely relieved my moderate depression and my above average anxiety. Simultaneously, I was taking ~10-15 mg of adderall nearly daily for over 7 years to relieve "ADHD". Unfortunately, after going on cymbalta, I had a severe manic and borderline psycotic reaction to all of this stimulating medication, and proceeded to spend a tremendous amount of money over a short period of time because I became convinced that the economy was going to crash and that I needed to prepare NOW. At the time, I had a sneaking suspicion that something was wrong, but I always trusted my brain's intuition, and my ideas just seemed "right". So I basically bought 400 pounds of non-perishable food, and nearly 4 grand worth of prep supplies and equipment. Seeing that I was employed as a graduate student, earning my PhD, my funding was very small, so this basically bankrupted me and I had to borrow money from my family just to stay out of debt. I also opted for a very invasive, and not entirely necessary shoulder survery to correct a torn labrum that had been annoying me for years. I went ahead and had the proceedur finished, and was excited at the prospect of having a fully functional shoulder again. As it turns out, my intentions were pure, but life had other plans for me (if you'll read on and bear with me). At the end of my 6 month stint on this medication, I started to have severe memory issues. I would be trying to explain something to someone, and all of a sudden I would hit a "road block" and couldn't figure out the correct word to say. Obviously, as a PhD student, this would not do, so I told my doctor I wanted off of this stuff and I wanted my old brain back. Well, I tapered from 30mg to 10mg somewhat quickly (as I have now learned), over about 1 month and from there, based on my doctors advice, I "bit the bullet" as he said, and went from 10mg to 0mg. What proceeded to happen was that I went through very similar symptoms over a 1 week period as people often describe for benzodiazapine withdrawal. Indeed, I had been prescribed clonopin for 5 years, and withdrew from thsi medication back in 2012, and for 3 whole months I was basically bedridden and completely incapactated before being able to function in the world again. At that time, I swore I would NEVER EVER take a benzo again for the rest of my life. Unfortuantely, I was unaware of the fact that SSRI/SNRI's could produce similar symptoms. I was even moreso unaware of the fact that SSRI's could produce symtpoms that were even worse and even more debilitating. To make a long and disappointing story short, I went on an epic vacation just 30 days after I quit taking the medication. I had planned this trip very meticulously during my medication induced mania, and spent a tremendous amount of money on this trip - it was essentially meant to be the trip of a lifetime. Instead, it became one of the more awful experiences of my life. Try navigating 5 countries and managing an expliciting budget just 30 days after coming off SNRIs and having awful symptoms. It was just really hellish, but by the halway point I was hoping that my symptoms would abate within 60 days and I would be able to resume normal functioning at the unviersity. I was hoping to put all of this behind me. Upon returning, I discovered to my horror that I was not much improved after 2 months. My symptoms included, but are not limited to: severe memory loss, burning sensations, problems with my eyes (blurry vision, floaters, etc), difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking, hot flashes, vertigo, and depersonalization/derealization, fatigue, etc. You guys and gals know the deal, it was GRIM, GRIM, GRIM. Looking back however, I actually had it pretty good. 3. From bad to worse This is where the story goes from bad to worse. As a PhD student, I had worked exremely hard to make a good career for myself once I graduated. One way of doing this way to teach a college level class. So upon returning from my trip, I was meant to teach a laboratory class in an advanced course in Biological Sciences in the summer for 1 month. I was so severely depersonalized/derealized, and with all the other symptoms I listed above, that I could barely remember any of my students names, and I certainly couldn't remember any of the subject matter that I was supposed to be an expert in and deticated the last 6 years of my life to memorizing. Ouch. Nevertheless, I pressed on because the course had to be taught. So I did, and the student's didn't seem to mind, although I was acutely aware of the fact that I had lost a tremendous amount of intelectual ability and could no longer "speak off the cuff" and go on intelectual tangents. I recall one student asking me about a relatively simple mathematical formula, and my inability to easily answer this question that drove me to the point of calling my ex-psyciatrist back and demanding a meeting. In this meeting, he indicated that a quick fix for my problems would be a prescription of prozac which has a long half-life, and reinstating this medciation for about a month or two, and then going off of it again. I thought "well, this better work" and went ahead and tried. As I had mentioned earlier, I had shoulder surgery, and as a consequence I needed to take some pain meds to help me through the immensly painful physical therapy sessions. So I was prescribed tramadol, which is an SNRI (UH OH!). One day I will never forget, I took this tramadol, about 1 week after being on prozac, and I had an adverse reaction to this combination that has haunted me for about 1.5 years now. My entire body went numb, particularly my sensory neurons, and I felt like an strange tickling and itching sensation over all of my skin. I never took tramadol again, but as I continued to take prozac over the next couple of weeks, I began to have an odd sensation over all of my skin: it felt as if I had wet paper bags over my entire body, and my face was becoming anesthetized. I returned to the doctor, and told him about this a couple of times and he basically told me "how could that possibly happen, you're probably just anxious". At the 1 month mark, things were not improving, and all of the original cymbalta withdrawal symptoms were still there. Instead of taking me off the medication, like any reasonable human being would have done, this doctor UPPED my dose to 20mg (from 10mg) after I told him about these adverse effects. After just 2-3 days of this, I started having insomia, and I said "**** it" and tapered off quickly in a 4 day period. It was around September 1st, 2013 when I had my last SSRI/SNRI. I should note here that I was miraculously able to finish teaching the course in anatomy and physiology with decent reviews - the prozac did help in the sense that it produced a mild mania again, which allowed me to sort of interact with the students better. What also helped me was the fact that it was around this time that I got together with my then girlfriend who saw me through the worst of the issues, so I was not completely alone thorugh this hell. It was really this wonderfully patient and kind woman who, amongst others, I attribute to saving my degree and possibly my life. 4. Recovery begins Afer coming to the realization that reinstatement was not an option for my body, I had to deal with the fact that my reinstatment attempt was not only a failure, but it made my symptoms like 40% worse. Now I also had tingling and numbness in all of my limbs, profound sinous headaches, and trigeminal nerve problems, and more serious eye problems than before. I was seeing a psyciatrist through all of this, because I was still taking adderall and had developed quite a habit for this pill (later on, I did successfully quit), which was the only way I was going to write my dissertation and complete my degree. This doctor told me that many of these symptoms may disappear after 3 months, so I waited patiently and tried my best to be physcially active and write my dissertation. Unfortunatley, releif came VERY slowly, and it wasn't until the 6 month point that I began to feel substantially better (Feburary-March 2014). At this point, with the help of my wonderful girlfriend, and a moderate dose of adderall, I began to be able to write my dissertation, and in the next ~2 months I wrote a massive chunk of this work. The symptoms sort of started to melt away, and I began to be able to read and function again - although I was still severely damaged and had not recovered. In anticipation of the fact that this might take a very long time, I scheduled my PhD defense for Summer of 2014, so that I could be at my very best. I also began applying for jobs, and succeeded in securing an interview. One unfortunate event that I should mention is that I reinjured my shoulder, so that now it was worse than it was before I got surgery in the first place. I attribute my reinjury of the shoulder to the SSRI withdrawals, and the adderall - the level of fatigue and the lack of awareness of my body due to sensory nerve damage (or what ever the heck it is - I'm still not entirely sure I understand what precise physiological mechanism is responsible for all of the symptoms I experienced) caused me to just not work on my shoulder exercises like I should have, and to play with it the wrong ways while in bed one morning. 5. Hypersensitivity This is a very important part of my story because it explains my great downfall and what happened next most precisely. Basically, as I've read on this website, and others (particularly paxilprogress.com, which was my very favorite and brings me great disappointment to see it taken offline), many people experience an inexplicable hypersensitivity to various substances when going through an adverse reaction or an ssri withdrawal. I too had this experience, most profoundly after my issues with prozac and tramadol. For example, I would drink 1 beer and be totally incapacitated and brain dead for 3 days, and if I got drunk, I would be seriously messed up for no less than 14 days. This was also true for niccotine, or any central nervous sytem agent - and it severely limited what I could do and how I could enjoy my life. Thankfully, I was still able to escape my horrible existance by watching movies and playing videogames. Indeed, videogames very effectively passed time for me in the early stages of withdrawal. Anyways, I also noticed this in regards to other medication - I took one, ONE .5 mg clonopin pill to help releive the "rebound anxiety", if you can really call it that, during my recovery process in the spring of 2014, and it completely incapacitated me for like 2 weeks. I then took a valarin root to try to see if that might help calm my nerves, and another 2 weeks of my life were gone. It's very scary to realize that small doses of commonly taken medication can completely incapacitate oneself, and I seriously had no answer for any of this other than to very cautiously avoid any and all substances if it could be helped. I should have taken this as a warning for things to come, but unfortunately I did not. One night, with my girlfirend, I had ingested a marijuana brownie in an attempt to have a good time and to escape from my unimaginable horror of losing my intellectual ability, my career, and everythign that was important to me (especially losing my emotions, the anhedonia was SEVERE and pathlogoically bad - instead of feeling emotions, I would just feel a vague burning sensation in the frontal part of my brain). This pot brownie was suprisingly effective and I had a good night with her and her friends. The only reason I mention this is because that pot browning made me believe that I could handle a small dose of marijuana without any ill effect - maybe I could find a way to medicinally deal with the agony of my condition. 6. True hell: Boy was I wrong. One night I shall never forget, my friend and college invited me to a party where people were smoking some pot in a casual way. I was just coming down from a daily dose of adderall, so I was a bit anxious and thought I would now have an opportunity to relax and enjoy myself with these folks and have a nice weekend. I smoked the pot, and what happened next was that I went from euphoria stright to utter terror. It's still very difficult for me to write this, and I'm having some emotional issues with articulating what happened, but I basically had a terror (panic) attack for like 12 straight hours, and proceeded not to sleep for the next 2 months. Yes, you read that correctly, I did not sleep for 2 months. The hell of SNRI withdrawals and an adverse reaction PALED in comparison to what I experienced when I smoked pot. ALL of the original symtpoms came back in full force, simultaneously. I went from being partially recovered to fully incapacitated again, and this time I had the awful experience of constant panic attacks that could be set off from any little thing, and PROFOUND bodily anesthesia, in addition to profound derealization and depersonalization. I had esentially lost all progress I had made over the previous 10 months, and became WORSE than I was before any of this started. As I am still recovering from this experience, I can say with some confidence that what happened was that I overdosed on marijuana. The weed in California is NOT the weed I remember back in NY - it's VERY strong and one can overdose on just a couple of hits. I personally took 4 hits I think. I know this is not a forum for drugs, but I must be explicit in my story and explian this because I do not EVER want ANYONE to go through what I went through. Please, if you're on the fence about doing drugs to help edicinally allieviate your SSRI withdrawal symptoms, do not do it. Please, I beg of you, with all of my heart, please do not risk it. 7. Partial Recovery I'm not going to go into all the fallout from my terrible mistake of overdosing on that pot, perhaps I will once it's all over. I should just say that I just BARELY clung onto reality well enough to finish. I thank God every day that I lived alone, and that I was in contact with a very understanding Aunt who had gone through similarly difficult situations. She basically saved both my career and probably my life in the 6 months or so that I endured absolutel hell as a result of smoking that stuff. At this time, I also started attending 12 step meetings of AA, and these kind and amazing people helped me out so very much. I will forever be grateful to these wondeful people for their kindness during this time - these meetings esentially kept me out of the psych ward and off of medication. I want to point out and focus on the positive: I successfully completed my Phd in Biological sciences from a prestigous institution, and defended my PhD in front of the entire department and no one suspected a thing. I also stayed with some friends after I lost the lease in my appartment due to graduation, and then found an appartment in the state of California nearby my old university that I was able to hang out in until I was well enough to make the drive across the country back to my father's house in Pensilvania. I survived, barely. Just barely. *In the very unlikely, by theoretically possible chance that someone else in this wide world is experiencing something similar to that which I have just described, I would like to describe my timeline of recovery. First 3 months, absolute hell - but by the end of the 3rd month, I was able to be somewhat peaceful and calm from time to time. At the end of 6 months I was still having panic attacks from time to time, but I was getting pretty good sleep 75% of the time time and I was able to enjoy myself sometimes. At the end of 9 months is when the panic attacks stopped, and I just had bad migranes most of the time. This is when I began to be able to read and write fairly well, and enjoy life even more from time to time. I'm currently at 11 months, and still feeling pretty bad, but I'm much much better and get good sleep nearly every single night. *If someone else is also trying to quit a stimulant while going through SSRI withdrawal hell like I did, I can outline my timeline for recovery if it might help you. By the 3 month mark, I had all of my phiscal stamia back, and just lacked motivation. By the 6-7 month mark, I have begun to recover intellectual motivation, but I'm still beset by migraine headaches most of the time. I tapered from 10mg to 2.5mg and then off completely over a 6-7 week period. 8. Closing statements Now, I'm currently on the mend. I quit taking adderall immediately after completing my degree, and have been off that toxic and dangerous drug for about 7 months to date. I am also 20 months free from SSRIS, and certainly will never go back that route again for the rest of my life. I'm not employed, and really am not employable at all. I will probably have to find a job at some point, but I'll most likely not be able to go back into academia until my brain fully recovers. I don't know when that will be. For now, I'm grateful to A) be alive, and be able to enjoy some things again. I'm grateful for the fact that I have my health coming back, that I'm able to write somewhat articulately again, and that most of my symptoms are slowly improving. I apologize for this massive essay - I know first hand how difficult it is to focus on things like this when you're going through withdrawal, but I just felt inspired this evening enough to write this post. I hope that this helped someone in some way, and please let me know if you have any questions. There is A LOT that I've left out from my story, especially in regards to the hell I experienced after smoking the marijuana. I learned a tremendous amount about life that I really never wanted to learn, and I've learned a great deal about recovering from ssris, what works, and what doesn't. there's a lot that I don't really know yet, and I could use some advice from the community on a few things. 1) how the heck does one make money and support themselves through this? I'm not entirely sure how to proceed from here. I've attempted to figure out if there's another medical condition that I'm experiencing that is unrelated to ssri withdrawals - got an MRI (totally normal, from what the doctors at the ER said). One doctor said it's possibly a neuropathy, or a metabolic disorder - but nothing concrete. I'm scheduled to go see another doctor in an attempt to get an actual diagnosis so that I could possibly apply for disability, but I'm not too sure what to do. I'm not so sure if going back to western medicine is a great idea, but I did get a lot of releif from knowing that there's nothing highly abnormal with my MRI, so I figure it might be good to rule out common disorders that can cause the symtpoms I'm still experiencing. If there's one thing I've learned from all of this it's that the worst thing I can do to help myself is to introduce new chemicals in my body in order to fix the problem. I've read countless recovery stories on this website and on paxilprogress, and I've been able to determine that if what I'm going through is SSRI withdrawal/adverse reaction, the only real cure for all of this is: time. From what I've read, it takes between 6 months and 5 years for people to recover completely. That's a long time, and I'm not sure how to survive for that long. I've just barely made it through 2 years. Just BARELY. I've thought about taking my life so many countless numbers of times over the past 2 years, but never did it - I don't think I will either. I just think about it, because the pain is so severe and unending. Although things have improved a LOT, and I mean A LOT from last may when I smoked that pot, I'm still far from recovered. I have hope that I'll recover in the future, but I think this process will take a long time. Thank you for reading.
  12. So I figured its time i start a thread on what I'm dealing with. I was on PP for a cpl years but was tapering and keeping in touch with people while doing it. I tapered slowly for a yrs and a half until i got to ten beads and that was my last does at about months worth. Well, now im 6-7 weeks off effexor(paxil before that) after a long taper. The first two weeks seemed very smooth. I was in jamaica for week three and that was tough at points but i was still sleepin ok and feelin good when i woke up. How ever, i was getting strong anxiety late at night partly due to travellers anxiety and just general anxiety. Id say the next week, seemingly over night, i started getting insanely strong symptoms. Also, ive been using klonopin as well for 6-7 months at 1 mg a day and lately started using them every day or two days and noticed the symptoms worsened 5x times over. So i made sure i would use them every day and deal with one war at a time. They seem to help maybe 10 percent with what i think is a delayed effexor withdrawal. My symptoms are pretty much unbearable. Although i dont have the zaps the nausea, the wooshing or ringing in my ears like some people but ive been getting other almost indescribable symptoms like overwhelming guilt, extreme short fuse and temper, crazy mood swings, trouble focusing, sick feelings, extreme panic attacks that go from 1 to 10 in a heart beat. Ive dealt with anxiety and panic attacks all my life but this is on another level. Oh, and really messed up sleep problems. I mean I sleep fine when im asleep but cant sleep passed a certain time and im awaken by horrible dread, depression, earworms (songs repeating over and over like crazy) massive anxiety, mind racing, no energy, almost no libido and the worst are the intrusive and suicidal thoughts like harming myself or others, that give me even more insane anxiety cuz i have the thoughts. I would never act on em but they still really scare me. all of these symptoms come on strong and let off through out the whole day. I've been feeling this way now for 4-5 weeks my mind feels weak and im feeling hopeless. Im starting to have all these "what if" scenarios like "what of i act on these thoughts one day if i just can't take it anymore"(worried ill be like this forever) or will i end up like one of those people who cant deal with life anymore and i do something bad to myself. Like i said theyre thoughts and ive never harmed myself and am terrified by the thoughts. It just seems like normal things(worries or anxieties)are exasperated 100%. And its worse cuz i cant get my mind off of them becuz theyre so overwhelming . Im a very fit and active person. I have a personal trainer 3 days a week and a martial arts trainer 2-3 other days a week along with being in bands who have toured and made albums and played shows for 15 yrs. Now i dread just facing each day. I dread the nights( thats when my anxiety seems overpowering),going to bed and waking up. Ive lost interest in everything i loved literally weeks ago and it seemed to have happened over night....out of nowhere. Even my feelings seemed to have changed in a day for the girl im in a relationship with. The girl is my best friend along with being my gf. She is the best thing thats ever happened to me which makes me feel guilty of even thinkin like that, which in turn causes extreme anxiety. And i have doubts if i should be in a relationship at all but i know id feel like i couldnt live without her and she loves me and helps me so much with what im going through. Shes so supportive even tho she doesnt suffer anything. Im sorry for the rant but i wanted to get everything i could out. Can anyone relate or tell me if they think this is due to withdrawal? Im just lookin for some hope cuz lately i have none. Will i make it through and be normal again? Im living hell every day. Also the last thing is when i force myself to go to the gym, exercise seems to make all of these feelings even worse. The higher i get my heart up the worse i feel. Im so lost i dont know what to do. Im paralyzed.
  13. Hello Nice to meet you all! I'm here for two reasons. 1) I've been on Venlafaxine 150 mg for 1.5 years and I want to taper it safely but still didn't figure out the best way to do it. Every time I forget to take my daily dose I get sick for more than one full day. It's scary! I've seen a recommendation to taper antidepressants at a rate of 10% per month but isn't that unreasonably slow? It would take me more than three years to taper a medication I've been taking for only 1.5 years! Furthermore, I use generic 150mg Venlafaxine capsules that have three large beads inside, and I know there are 75mg capsules available from the same brand. So, the smallest dose is a 25mg bead that I can take from these 75mg capsules. However, 25mg seems too big a cut. I'm afraid I'll have significant withdrawal symptoms and I really need to remain functional. I would appreciate some advice. 2) I have a teenage child that was a A student but now refuses to go to school. Doctors wanted to put her on antidepressants, but we chose to take her out of school instead. She's homeschooling but still not OK. She's well in almost every other aspect (social, etc.) but gets terribly anxious at the thought of having a simple one-on-one lesson with a tutor. We think she may have had a kind of burnout event (she's very dedicated and always wants to excel) and, as any adult in this kind of situation, needs time to recover rather than be put on ADs and sent back to school. But would like to hear your opinion. Thanks in advance PS - I'm currently tapering a benzodiazepine, Ativan. I took 1mg/day for 10 years but had already hit tolerance and it was causing me horrible symptoms like brain fog. I suspect the depressive issues that led to the Venlafaxine prescription were also in part caused by this benzo.
  14. 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.
  15. Hey all! This is my first post here and I'm so glad I found this forum. I've been feeling desperate for months. My question is about drug-induced derealization. I took the combo of Effexor + Valdoxan and only felt good for a month while being on them. In hindsight I almost seemed manic. Then, suddenly, I got very strong derealization that lasted for weeks. It lifted a bit for a few feeks and then came about again when I had a drink one night. I have now tapered off Effexor, I took my last pill about three weeks ago. Three days ago I also started tapering off Valdoxan. I take Oxazepam to cope with the symptoms. I feel like I broke my brain for good. The only other time I've felt derealization was when I ate a hash brownie and clearly it was too much for me. I used to be a caring and fun person before going on the antidepressants. Right now I feel like I'm just completely empty inside. I do and feel things because I know I have to, but I seriously don't care about anything at all. When I do feel emotion, it's mostly fear or worry. Has anyone else expierienced drug-induced DR? Did it go away when you started to withdraw from the drug? How do you cope with this?
  16. Davie

    Davietich

    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!
  17. Hi everybody! I am Julz, a 33 year-old female - polydrugged to my eye-balls Ten years ago, I fell into anorexia and depression, soon unveiling terrible anxiety. I was referred to a psychiatrist (in France) who prescribed me medication and also gave me psychotherapy. Regarding the medication, different combinations and doses where tried and I eventually found myself on a prescription which seemed to suit my troubled mind (Escitalopram, venlafaxine, clonazepam and diazepam) - did it ever do anything? I still haven't got a clue. I trusted this doctor. This is my initial prescription: Escitalopram: 20mg 20mg 20mg - (yes, that is 60mg...!!!) Venlafaxine(MR): - - 75mg - Clonazepam: - 2mg - 2mg Diazepam: - - - 10mg Time passed and psychologically, a lot changed. I moved away from where I used to live, totally changed my environment, and went for a fresh start. But I was still taking my medication as prescribed. My General Practitioner (in charge of my prescription in my new environment) convinced me to lower the Escitalopram (on the grounds that it was "bad for my heart") and I managed, between 2011 and 2013, to come from 60mg/day to 15mg. How? By jumping 5mg at a time every now and again. I had no idea... again, I more or less trusted this doctor who was willing to prescribe me the drugs I was clearly physically dependent on. The withdrawals I experienced were uneventful. I did feel something was happening but within a few days, I always felt the same as before the drop. Between 2010 and 2014, a LOT had changed as I finally got an MSc BUT I had fallen into terrible exhaustion and had no life. How did I get my degree? A struggle every day. I then began to question this cocktail of drugs, I'd been on them for 10 years and was still taking them as prescribed because I was physically dependent. That was clear enough! It then hit me: my meds were probably incapacitating me rather than providing any help! The realisation came as in January 2013, after I managed to lower my Escitalopram intake from 20 to 15mg/day in a single 5mg step (...), I began to feel even more tired during the day, exhausted - I simply had to nap every single day. After some personal research, I went to my GP and told him I didn't believe in keeping our focus on the Escitalopram because it seemed that the more I decreased it, the more sleepy I'd get during the day, considering my benzo intake (at that point, I was taking 3 hours' naps), and I could not live like that! Fortunately, before I was able to drop a pill here and there as instructed by my GP, I found the BenzoBuddy website and managed to find a taper method to gradually come off clonazepam. From December 2014 to July 2015, I came from 4mg to 2mg and am now below 1.9mg and still tapering off successfully. I decided to join Surviving Antidepressants as I want off ALL any medication which alters who I am. I believe in other ways to manage my weaknesses - I am not ill, I have a tendency to be anxious and this is not new, I was an anxious child but I had emotions too. I'd like my emotions and my whole life back... I realise I know NOTHING about anti-depressants, I surely did not know about Escitalopram's potency and am still in shock from the news. My initial plans (supported by a psychiatrist I saw in February 2015) were to come off clonazepam (bz), then diazepam (bz), then Escitalopram, then Venlafaxine. In the light of what I read on this wonderful site, I wonder whether I should stay of Valium (diazepam) while at least tapering off Escitalopram, when I am done with clonazepam... I realise I need knowledge myself because sadly, doctors haven't been helpful at all... so far... Thanks for welcoming me on your wonderful Forum! Julz xxx
  18. Hi, I am new to talking about my story with Venlor. I was prescribed Venlor by a GP for anxiety and panic attacks 11 years ago. Venlor made me feel tired, brain fog, dizzy, memory problems, anxiety,,, so I decided to wean myself of. I am now 6 weeks off Venlor. Had crying spells, anxiety, night sweats while weaning of it. Started to excersize and eating healthier. Still feel very emotional and getting anxiety attacks. Still struggling with brain fog and sometimes feel I am off balance. Is there anybody that is going through the same things?
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. naturalborn-successful-story hi i'm new at this forum and i'm brazilian, 20 years old, started effexor when i was 18 for depression, stayed on it for 8 or 10 months, with almost no side effects, after this tried going cold turkey , since then have been dealing with all possible kinds of side effects, i tried reinstatement on january of this year (after 4 months of wd) obviously didn't worked, stayed on them for more 5 months, went to rehab. tapered effexor there and started trazadone and seroquel. now i've been taking 150 mg of trazadone and 25 mg of seroquel, was kind of "ok" so tried to reduce trazadone to 100 mgs, wasn't able to sleep for 3 days, went back on 150 mgs, and added 2 mg of klonopin to use when needed, but since that abruptly quitting of effexor i haven't been the same, dealed with EXTREME anxiety (never was a problem before), SEVERE imsonia, sometimes 5 days without any sleep, chronic pain and numbess and poor coordination on the right side of my body. the left side seems ok, i have no idea why. derealization, poor memory, poor concentration, diahrrea, akastisia, poor stress tolerance, emotional numbess, brain zaps and brain fog, anyway i have been dealing with pretty much all the symtoms you can come up with, pretty hopeless, desesperated, regreted, scared, feeling like it will never be the same. i really want to know what you guys think, is there any hope for me ever being the same again?
  22. In Feb of this year I decided that the cons of Adderall were no longer to my benefit and decided to quit cold turkey. I spent a month weak, tired, irritable and unable to cope with all the "noise" of everything that was happening around me. Driving, shopping, even conversations felt like too much to handle. They say that Adderall is not addicting but it is, maybe not in the physical sense for some but in the emotional sense I became heavily reliant on the pills just to be around people, to get out of bed; basically just to do the simple things that "regular" people get up and do day after day. When I was first prescribed Adderall about 7 years ago, every few months I'd purposely stop taking them for an entire wknd just to reassure myself that I could stop. To be continued.
  23. Hi all, thanks for having such an amazing and helpful forum!!! I was prescribed Venlafaxine (Effexor) for anxiety and depression (moderate in my opinion). I started taking it. I'm so stupid... I had read about withdrawal symptoms, but I wasn't imagining it as so awful. After 5 days I got bleedings from the uterus, even though my period wasn't due. They were about as strong as a normal period, but more painful. The GP (doctor) made me stop Effexor. After 2 days I started to have the symptoms everyone reports: Crying, suicidal, self harming, fits of rage, nausea, dizziness, heart racing, trouble breathing. My GP didn't know anything about withdrawal symptoms and wanted to admit me to the psychiatric hospital. I sent him a bunch of information and finally convinced him to leave me alone and deal with it myself. I think he feels a bit guilty now, but that doesn't help me.... It's day 9 after stopping and my brain is still totally messed up. Question to you all: Do you think I need to go back on Venlafaxine and taper down slowly to prevent lasting damage to my brain? I also got some Sertraline from the GP, which I could use to switch to temporarily. I think even if the bleeding comes back, I can handle it. Iron values are ok. I had thought that after just 5 days of taking Venlafaxine, the withdrawal should be short and mild. But after reading a lot, I'm getting a bit scared. Any advice welcome! Laura PS: I really think I had a guardian angel who sent me those bleedings and made me stop before I took the medication for longer.
  24. I am new to surviving antidepressants. Because my Internist did not authorize refill for Effexor xr 150mg for 7 days, I was forced into snir discontinuation syndrome. I did not know there was such a thing until then. I have since researched on line and have found out quite a bit. Did you know that brain zaps/brain shivers is discribed in Wikipedia? Anyway,. I got them plus a lot of other debilitating symptoms. I have since weaned myself off over a months period of time (probably too fast), and have now been without for 2 days. I am so irritable that I can hardly stand to be with myself. Plus I get cold very easily and feel like shivering, but don't. I also have a few brain zaps, but they aretolerable. I am determined to not take one more bead of Effexor xr, and would appreciate the support of anyone who is going through or has gone though Effexor xr withdrawal.
  25. 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
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