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Wishes19: brain zaps for 8 months since Effexor immediate release fast taper


Wishes19

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Hi to everyone!  A little about my story:  

 

-I was started on Effexor immediate release, 75 mg, about a year ago, in January of 2015. I wasn't even clinically depressed, I don't think - just a middle-aged lady dealing with life stuff, but coping fine, working, functioning. Had never had prior antidepressants .

 

-Took Effexor 75 immediate release from 1/2015-5/2015, when the side effects (massive fatigue, weight gain, emotional numbness, among other issues) became intolerable.

 

-Fast tapered 5/2015- 6/2015 over about 3-4 weeks.  Did not receive adequate instructions from my therapist, just told to "taper slowly". 

 

-Terrible withdrawal symptoms for about a month, then settled down to:

 

-daily brain zaps, usually dozens of times a day; comes on when I'm tired, haven't slept enough, about to fall asleep, or waking up.  If I'm well-rested, the brain zaps are less frequent, but there hasn't been a day I haven't felt multiple, multiple zaps.  

 

-No improvement in this symptom (brain zaps) in the 8 months since I've been off Effexor

 

-also feel continuation of the withdrawal symptom of vertigo/dizziness/mild "swishing" feeling in my head, especially when I'm not well-rested.

 

 

I'm terrified that the brain zapping indicates permanent damage of some kind.  I'm terrified that the damage will lead to unknown consequences in the future.  I'm terrified that this will never go away.  The symptoms aren't intolerable, in and of themselves; it's just the worry and the uncertainty that bother me.

 

I'm happy to keep "waiting it out", but am losing hope.  I really don't want to reinstate, but am considering doing so, in the XR formulation, as low of a dose as I can get away with, and then do a slooooooooooooowwwwww taper this time.  However, I would only want to do this if there were NO WAY that these symptoms would go away without reinstatement of Effexor.

 

So happy to have found this forum.  If anyone has any experience with this situation or any advice for me, that would be awesome  :)

 

I'm especially wondering if anyone has had any luck with brain zaps going away after an Effexor fast taper - either waiting it out for a very long time, or success with reinstating/then slow tapering Effexor after such a long time with withdrawal symptoms.

 

Thank you, and Happy New Year to all.  Hopefully 2016 will be a better year for all of us! 

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

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Hi - Welcome to SA -

 

Sorry to hear that Effexor has caused you these problems.

 

Clearly, your body is especially sensitive to Effexor. You were on a low dose for only four months and still it has caused these long term problems for you, not to mention those bad side effects while taking it.

 

Others on here have also been seriously affected by Effexor and other SSRI/SNRIs after being on them for just a couple months.

 

Some of them have serious difficulties with cognition, difficulty speaking in social situations, and have other physical symptoms as well, all as a result of the use of Effexor and other SSRI/SNRIs.

 

So if it is "tolerable" head noise that you have been hit with, and not the other things that can happen, that is hopeful.

 

I believe the guideline on here is that if your last dose was longer than 3 months ago, then reinstatement is usually not advised. 

 

For you, reinstatement and slow taper would subject you to more than twice as much exposure to Effexor than you've already been exposed to.

 

Reinstatement and slow taper is usually advised in cases to reduce severe, intolerable withdrawal symptoms like bad akathisia and frequent/chronic anxiety and panic episodes.

 

I have also been dealing with head noise in protracted SSRI WD. Like you, I have had the brain zaps for longer than usual, and "whooshing", along with some dizziness and other loud head noise/tinnitus. Also, worse while falling asleep (as is common). I have made much improvement, but still have a way to go. I discovered that my problems were due to Lexapro WD seven months after my last dose. I did not reinstate, as it was so late after last dose, and am very glad that I did not. Still, recovery has been difficult for me; I was on Lexapro for five years.

 

It is a difficult choice for you to make - whether to go back on or not. There are quite a few failed "late reinstatement" stories on here, of folks who went back on many months after their last dose, and it made things worse for them. Each case is different, and there is no way to tell how it would go for you.

 

The healing pattern from these drugs is counter-intuitive. You have been healing for eight months, even though you may not be feeling the effects of that healing. It often takes a couple years of healing to begin noticing improvements; that is just the nature of protracted SSRI/SNRI WD recovery. Symptoms may lessen for a time (a "window"), only to come back again, sometimes seemingly to worsen (a "wave"). That is how recovery proceeds. 

 

When "WD head noise" hangs around, it often hangs around for longer than we'd like. So it is no surprise that you are going through this.    

 

These are just my thoughts and my personal opinion. A moderator should be along soon, perhaps to discuss possible reinstatement at a very low dose to see if that helps you, if that is what you choose to do.

 

I am glad for you, that you were only on Effexor for a relatively short time. That means that your recovery should be quicker than most of us, who have been on these powerful nerve-altering medications for years.

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Wishes and welcome to s/a,

 

I'm sorry about the trouble Effexor has caused you.  There are a lot of us here who are experiencing it's nasty effects.

 

At 8 months out from your last dose Reinstatement would be rather a long-shot, though to clarify things for yourself you may like to read through the discussions in that link. 

 

You might also benefit from reading topics in the Symptoms and Self-Care forum.  Many people find magnesium and fish oil to be helpful during w/d, as well as guided meditation.  

 

I've found it reassuring to read about how brains heal:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1160-how-psychiatric-drugs-remodel-your-brain/

and here is a short video about neuro-plasticity:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mea-NdKBpUQ

 

Understanding what is happening to you can make all this much more bearable, and you can discover how to give your brain the best conditions for healing. 

 

Stopping caffeine, alcohol, heavy exercise, white sugar and flour etc all helps.  Eating health, drinking heaps of water, exercising gently, meditating - these will all help support your healing nervous system.  Nothing can make the w/d symptoms go away, but you can support yourself while they are with you. 

 

I'm glad you've found this forum.  Have a look at those links, and then you can come back to this topic to ask any questions you may have about your situation.  This will be your journal to record your healing progress.  The other threads around the site are for more generalised comments on various topics.

 

Best wishes,

Karen

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Welcome W19

 

I'm happy to keep "waiting it out", but am losing hope.

Then i say wait it out. Continue staying the course drug free. Many would be envious to be 8 months drug free and to have less than ones years exposure.

Many report improvements in yr 1-2 and more so in 2-3.

 

Dont give up hope, there is so much to be hopeful for especially a full recovery in time.

 


Check out the great link on symptoms and self care from Karen; "Understanding what is happening to you can make all this much more bearabe" exactly.

 

Hi - Welcome to SA -

 

The healing pattern from these drugs is counter-intuitive. You have been healing for eight months, even though you may not be feeling the effects of that healing. It often takes a couple years of healing to begin noticing improvements; that is just the nature of protracted SSRI/SNRI WD recovery. Symptoms may lessen for a time (a "window"), only to come back again, sometimes seemingly to worsen (a "wave"). That is how recovery proceeds. 

 

As CD says healing is occurring and will be seen in hindsight.

 

The symptoms aren't intolerable, in and of themselves; it's just the worry and the uncertainty that bother me.

I dont want to belittle your experience but my feeling is things could possibly be a lot worse

If you are worried and fearful about the brain zaps  scary as they are you could consider looking in to the Claire Weekes technique of FAFL , Face accept float let time pass.

 

Hey you are doing great.

nz11

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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Can't quite figure out how to reply so posting a group thank you to clearday, KarenB and nz11  for your kind words and advice!!  

KarenB, those links are super-helpful, a big thank you for those.  

 

I have noticed that sleeping 8 hours helps, though am seldom able to do so....and I am always worse after caffeine or sugar.  I've been taking Magnesium for a few days and I *think* it may be helping, though too early to tell. Many days, there is no rhyme or reason to the pattern.

 

So saddened to read the stories of other people's Effexor experiences.  I do consider myself lucky.  The brain zaps are not my only symptom but I seem to focus on that one the most - it's the one that feels the most "wrong" and damaging.  Most days I also have crushing fatigue, vertigo, dizziness, and have noticed cognitive issues (short-term memory problems and word retrieval problems) and have new onset hypertension; luckily, though, I am able to function i.e. go to work and take care of my kids, but not much else really. I do feel like a shadow of my former self, but am hopeful that time will heal!

 

It is encouraging to read success stories, and I really appreciate the support.  

 

best regards!

Wishes19

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Wishes,

I don't really have anything to add to the great advice you have been given so far, but did want to mention something you might not have thought about. I'm also a middle aged lady and unfortunately I found myself going through withdrawal and menopause at the same time. I'm sure it made my symptoms much worse than they might have been otherwise. Some symptoms of menopause and withdrawal overlap.

 

Not sure what your situation is here, but its something to consider.

 

The good news is that time heals both withdrawal and menopause symptoms.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Most days I also have crushing fatigue, vertigo, dizziness, and have noticed cognitive issues (short-term memory problems and word retrieval problems) and have new onset hypertension; luckily, though, I am able to function i.e. go to work and take care of my kids, but not much else really. I do feel like a shadow of my former self, but am hopeful that time will heal!

 

I have very little sense of smell, short term memory problems and word retrieval problems, and apocalyptic nightmares that take a couple of days to recover from. I stopped taking efexor 15 years ago. I haven't had one of the nightmares for about a year, so hopefully I might finally have seen the back of that one thing at least.

 

However I was on quadruple your dosage, on it for a year, and came off twice as quickly as you and was instructed to come off it in the worst way possible (alternating between 300mg one day and zero the next).

 

So there's hope. 

2001-2002 Venlafaxine 300mg (2 x 150mg double strength Efexor XL). Instructed by GP to reduce dosage by alternating between 300mg one day and 0mg the next, with predictable results. Managed that for approx 2 weeks, then to avoid suicide went full cold turkey.

2009-2015 Successful non-drug treatments - CBT for anxiety, light therapy for seasonal affective disorder.

2001-2015 ongoing withdrawal symptoms. Primarily apocalyptic nightmares that take a full day to recover from, also loss of smell and memory.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi all, I'd like to update my status, sorry I haven't been on here for a while. Head in the sand kind of thing.  Unfortunately that's not working too well for me :)  I read and appreciated the replies I got to my initial introduction.  It took all the energy I could muster to just get through my days and I was terrible about getting back on and replying and for that I am truly sorry. 

 

It's been about 13-14 months since I came off a 3 month stint of Effexor immediate release. (I weaned myself in about 3-4 weeks.  No real plan for taper was given to me by my doctor).  Looking back at my records, I had initially been placed on Cymbalta  (which I took for a month and found intolerable), then my therapist switched me to Effexor (no dialing down of the Cymbalta first).  From the reading I have done regarding these medications, I see that Cymbalta is also a drug from the devil himself.   But anyway, an update:

 

I have no relief in the lingering symptoms of :   brain zaps (occur dozens of times a day, every day), a mildly uncomfortable "full head" feeling pretty much all the time, and mild vertigo pretty much all the time. There may be more (I have had high blood pressure readings for the first time in my life, and terrible reflux, which is also new, but I don't know if I can attribute that to the withdrawal - though the timing is uncanny - or to the weight gain while on the medication, which I have yet to be able to reverse). 

 

I keep telling myself that this all has to go away, I just don't understand how it couldn't, for God's sake.  I mean, my brain has had a year to adjust back to life without these medications, which I only took for a short time.  But yet, all the symptoms (which started upon withdrawing from the medication) persist unabated and unimproved.  

It does seem that it might be the case that permanent brain changes occurred, damaging changes,  from which I have no hope of recovering.

 

Who puts someone on Cymbalta as first line for very mild depression, which probably wasn't even depression in the first place??  And then switches them to an another horrid medication, also well known to cause terrible withdrawal??  My therapist, that's who...inexplicable really....well, if I wasn't depressed before, I certainly am now - at the prospect of the brain damage I have incurred and the uncertainty of what it all means - robbing me of hope for the future.

 

Most days I try to be positive and optimistic, but evidence seems to point me to the realization that this is likely a life sentence.  I'm sorry if I upset anyone with my ranting.  I am wondering if anyone went through a similar story and recovered. As much as I compulsively check the internet for such stories, I'm afraid I haven't found any.  Any words of wisdom, advice, or encouragement would be appreciated :)  Thank you.  

 

 

Hi to everyone!  A little about my story:  

 

-I was started on Effexor immediate release, 75 mg, about a year ago, in January of 2015. I wasn't even clinically depressed, I don't think - just a middle-aged lady dealing with life stuff, but coping fine, working, functioning. Had never had prior antidepressants .

 

-Took Effexor 75 immediate release from 1/2015-5/2015, when the side effects (massive fatigue, weight gain, emotional numbness, among other issues) became intolerable.

 

-Fast tapered 5/2015- 6/2015 over about 3-4 weeks.  Did not receive adequate instructions from my therapist, just told to "taper slowly". 

 

-Terrible withdrawal symptoms for about a month, then settled down to:

 

-daily brain zaps, usually dozens of times a day; comes on when I'm tired, haven't slept enough, about to fall asleep, or waking up.  If I'm well-rested, the brain zaps are less frequent, but there hasn't been a day I haven't felt multiple, multiple zaps.  

 

-No improvement in this symptom (brain zaps) in the 8 months since I've been off Effexor

 

-also feel continuation of the withdrawal symptom of vertigo/dizziness/mild "swishing" feeling in my head, especially when I'm not well-rested.

 

 

I'm terrified that the brain zapping indicates permanent damage of some kind.  I'm terrified that the damage will lead to unknown consequences in the future.  I'm terrified that this will never go away.  The symptoms aren't intolerable, in and of themselves; it's just the worry and the uncertainty that bother me.

 

I'm happy to keep "waiting it out", but am losing hope.  I really don't want to reinstate, but am considering doing so, in the XR formulation, as low of a dose as I can get away with, and then do a slooooooooooooowwwwww taper this time.  However, I would only want to do this if there were NO WAY that these symptoms would go away without reinstatement of Effexor.

 

So happy to have found this forum.  If anyone has any experience with this situation or any advice for me, that would be awesome  :)

 

I'm especially wondering if anyone has had any luck with brain zaps going away after an Effexor fast taper - either waiting it out for a very long time, or success with reinstating/then slow tapering Effexor after such a long time with withdrawal symptoms.

 

Thank you, and Happy New Year to all.  Hopefully 2016 will be a better year for all of us! 

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

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oh, an addendum to my update....i don't have this "windows and waves" pattern that everyone talks about, so that really worries me. The symptoms have been unrelenting and unimproved over the course of the past year, every day is the same.  You could transport me back in time a year and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference at all.  There was improvement the first month, - but since then, no improvement, zip, nada, nothing, no better days, all the same.

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Wishes, no days without brain-zaps sounds like "special" kind of hell.
 
Have you read the topics about magnesium and omega-3 fish oil? Many people have found them useful for symptoms, including the neurological ones such as brain zaps.

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Wishes, no days without brain-zaps sounds like "special" kind of hell.

 

    Hi Scallywag, great name.  Thank you for your reply!

 

Have you read the topics about magnesium and omega-3 fish oil? Many people have found them useful for symptoms, including the neurological ones such as brain zaps. 

 

     I did try both, and I can't say that I ever really noticed a difference.  However, I didn't try for all that long (a month max) - I stopped taking them after watching a show (Nova? Vice? Can't remember) which was an expose' on supplements and their quality control issues.  Thanks for the reminder, though - it's a great idea to try these again.  I see from your sig that you take both.  Do you mind sharing which brands you use?

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I take so-called "professional" products, both are spendy

 

Ascenta Nutrasea hp Omega 3 fish oil, 1 teaspoon = 1500 mg EPA + 500 mg DHA, I find the lemon herb flavouring appealing

 

Innovite Magnesium Glycinate powder, 1 teaspoon = 500 mg magnesium; I like this with room temperature or cool water.

 

Natural Calm magnesium citrate powder, 1 teaspoon = 200 mg magnesium; I prefer this with boiling water -- a hot drink before bed.

 

Both Innovite and Ascenta are Canadian companies. Their products can be difficult to find, even here in the Toronto area. Natural Calm is probably available in groceries and pharmacies as well as on line. Nutrasea is available from American online sources, they have a less expensive formulation that has 750 mg EPA and 500 DHA.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to post

Thanks Scallywag - I will look into those.

 

On the symptoms front, I've been very sad lately - crying at the drop of a hat, avoiding interactions with people, etc. Also have come to realize how many (negative) things I've accepted and not paid attention to while hoping things would get better. Feeling very sad and down. Maybe that's because my birthday is coming up and I'm taking stock, realizing how s***y things actually are.

 

But then I had the thought that perhaps the sadness is a good sign, as I haven't had it this intense since coming off Effexor - a sign that I'm improving somehow??

I'll latch on to any bit of hope that this could be a "window" of sorts? it would be the first window, if I can call it such...

 

On a positive note I forced myself to do a yoga class last week (first time I've done so in roughly 25 years haha) and it felt wonderful, but a) I cried a bit at the end part where we are lying down quietly (embarrassing!) and B) I can't seem to muster the energy to go again!

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Great that you made it out to a yoga class last week. Now you know you can make it through a class. 

 

I smiled when I read that you cried at the final resting pose.  When I attended yoga classes 20 years ago, I had moments where I was crying because I couldn't do a pose/posture when everyone else could. Who knew yoga at the Y was a competitive event? ;)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to post

Lol scallywag - thanks for the chuckle :)

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post
  • 2 weeks later...

Struggling big time. It's just not any better. At all. In fact maybe worse. Felt very dizzy/nauseous today and of course had lots of the usual brain zaps.

 

Also been crying a lot over the realization (had been burying my head in the sand for the last year +) that this is just.not.going.away.

 

The studies I've been looking up on PubMed have been frightening, to say the least. I believe that these symptoms - zaps, nausea, vertigo - are d/t low brain norepinephrine and that's just not something that is good for brain health in the long term.

 

not to mention that it actually is quite debilitating to have dizziness vertigo headaches and brain zaps daily. I still have to work and will have to work for many years to come. It takes so much effort to get through my days and I'm not sure how much longer I can hold on.

 

Have really, really been thinking about going on a small dose of the dreaded poison drug Effexor and tapering down slowly, but the logical side of my brain tells me that the neurological symptoms will likely recur since they are still occuring now 14 months out without improvement, in other words, this is my new brain. So adding more poison to my system would be wasted. But then again, this is not going away on its own so it might be worth a try. And on and on I go in an endless loop of circular thinking. This is exhausting.

 

Tried the mag and fish oil but no changes unfortunately.

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

How much magnesium are you taking? Omega 3, particularly the EPA & DHA?

 

What's your thinking about testing a reinstatement of a tiny dose of Effexor? Feel free to "brain-dump" the fears and worries you refer to in your signature.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to post

Hi Scallywag -- thank you so much for your response.  I see you are tapering with success.  Kudos!

About the reinstatement, it really depends what my goal is.

 

If my goal is to ameliorate symptoms only, then reinstatement would, I believe, be the right thing to do.

 

If, however, my goal is to have a zap-free brain for the long haul (even without meds), then I'm not so sure that it is the right thing to do.

 

It is a really tricky issue.  On the one hand, I actually believe that the too-fast taper damaged my brain permanently.  Why else would this be persisting for 14 months unabated?  Seems unlikely to only be r/t discontinuation; if it were, there should have been *some* gradual improvement over all these months.

 

However, I am no brain expert.  Maybe there's just a little neural network in there that is stuck in an endless loop because it's been kindled.  Maybe going back on would calm it down to the point where it could effectively shut off with a taper, who knows?  The brain is so complex, we still don't know so much.  Or, as I suspect, I have knocked my system about so much, that it cannot effectively give me the NE I need anymore.

 

The thing I'm scared about is - my brain is obviously exquisitely sensitive to Venlaxafine;  and it really doesn't like it.  While going back on could, I suppose, theoretically shut my neurological symptoms down for good, it could, probably more likely, do more nasty things to my brain.  And I don't need any more problems than the ones I already have :)

 

The grand irony is, I've always been completely "paranoid" about medication and drugs.  I can't explain how I ended up doing this to myself;  it is so completely out of character.  This drug *really* messed up my brain.  Even in my most paranoid fantasies, I couldn't have imagined that.  So, I am angry at myself for not "listening" to myself.  And my little, inner voice tells me not to put any more of this junk in my system, though the same inner voice tells me this is never going away on its own.

 

So, quite a conundrum.   A big gamble and a total crap-shoot to go back on.  The decision is completely beyond me at this point.  I finally just made an appointment with a neurologist at a big academic center here.  He is older, well-respected and has great credentials, and I'm pretty sure he'll have familiarity and hopefully some experience with this issue.  I will post about what he tells me.

 

As for the supplements: I just am taking what I have at home, didn't order anything special yet:

Vascepta (I have some samples),  Rx pure EPA, 1 gram

Magnesium, Nature's Bounty, 500 mg  tabs, I'm taking once a day toward the evening when my symptoms get worse.

 

What do you think?

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Wishes -- the mag and omega 3 look ok to me. What's the form of mag -- citrate, oxide, glycinate, other?

 

Reinstatement is always a craps shoot. The odds are better the less time has elapsed since the last dose. :(:ph34r:

 

Seeing doctors, even neurology specialists, is a craps shoot too. It depends how curious they are and how willing they are to learn from the people who come to consultations. I hope your meeting goes well. <_<

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to post

Hi Scallywag,  thanks for your reply above.  The Mag is "oxide". 

No changes to report.  I re-read my last post and I'd like to apologize to the community - it is so negative and I don't want to upset anyone.  I've been reading some of the posts in the "head noise" symptoms section - there were some people who improved after the 2/3 year mark so I have reason to have some hope.  Thanks again.   

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Some people find magnesium oxide hard on their stomachs and digestion. MagOxide is also not as well absorbed as other formulations - citrate, chelate, glycinate, etc. You may want to consider switching.

 

With the fish oil, you don't have to get the prescription version, unless you are trying to manage expenses. There are several high quality brands available in grocery and health food stores and from online vendors (vitacost, iherb):

Ascenta NutraSea (my favourite, no fishy taste), Nordic Naturals, Carlson Labs.

 

I'm glad you've been looking around the forum and found information that helped you

 

BTW I'm just lucky that I've had no symptoms so far during my taper. No kudos earned. ;)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to post

Brain zaps starting to come earlier and earlier in the day, no matter how much Sleep I try to get. Still not sleeping great, but, now zapping starts after a couple of hours of wakefulness, whereas before, would be delayed about 6 hours or so after waking (and then they continue every few seconds all day long).

 

I get so upset when they start, bc part of me always hopes that today is the day they will stop.

 

I'm trying to deal with that upset by telling myself this mantra:

"This will eventually go away, but today is not the day."

 

The uncomfortable full head feeling is my near-constant companion, but the vertigo/dizzy/nauseous feeling seems to have gotten a tad bit better lately. I'm happy about that, at least.

 

Haven't gotten the energy up to do anything like yoga or swimming again - seems like an insurmountable hill to climb at this point.

 

Have been reading other people's threads a lot, and I'm so sad about all the suffering, many cases much worse than mine.

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post

Also, kind of bummed that my usual coping strategy (ignore it, pretend it isn't happening) isn't working...lol

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Ignoring symptoms works sometimes.  Have you done any mindfulness work?  Sometimes accepting the symptom and just letting it be, not resisting it or ignoring it, can help.
 
Mindfulness and acceptance
 
Also, a summary of a technique "AAF," Acknowledge, Accept, Float
 

AAF: Acknowledge, Accept, Float. ... Acknowledge the symptoms, study them, get to know them. Accept that they are there, that thy are just symptoms and that they aren't going away until they're ready to. Let the symptoms Float off as you go on about your life as best as possible. I liken it to a bad house guest. At first you socialize with them, learn about them, discover why they drive you crazy. Then you accept the fact that even though you don't like them they're aren't going anywhere. Finally you just ignore them until they get bored and leave.

 
 
This is more for emotional symptoms, e.g. anxiety, but the techniques could work for physical and cognitive symptoms:
 
Dr. Rob Purssey on Acceptance Commitment Therapy

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to post

Scallywag - thank you, as usual, for your wonderful advice. I suppose at his point acceptance might be my best option. I'm getting way too upset about all of this and it's starting to affect my kids.

 

I have a little time off from work coming up and I will try to delve into these techniques then.

 

Since the brain zaps are ramping up in frequency, I am trying to figure out if anything I'm doing or not doing is contributing to that. On the supplements front, I'm just taking the fish oil and will start ramping up to 4000 mg EPA per day to see if that helps (those were the instructions on the Vascepta samples). I'm trying that before trying the Mag again, since it can get confusing.

 

I appreciate the support and help. I see the neurologist next week. I'm hoping he can at least reassure me a bit but I know that's probably wishful thinking, since there are no real studies looking at this issue.

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all,  I am at a decision crossroads and really don't know what to do.

 

Neurologist says the symptoms I'm having are d/t Effexor withdrawal and the treatment is to go back on and taper down slowly.  He doesn't seem to think it's too late to do this, even though it's been 15 months since I last took it.  He was also quite reassuring about the zaps, but my personality doesn't allow me to be reassured, I'm afraid  :unsure:

 

I haven't had the guts to bite the bullet and go back on.  You guys know better than anyone what a huge, big deal reinstatement is! And what a craps-shoot it is!

I mean, what's a hyper-analytical anxious person to do?????

 

Cons of reinstatement:

 

1.   Devote next 1-2 years to this endeavor and potentially not even get results, potentially ending up worse off than I am now, and exposing myself to tons of Effexor in the process

 

2  What if my neurological sx were to go away by themselves if I just waited long enough?

 

3. I'm afraid I'm one of those people who are super-sensitive to Effexor/Venlaxafine, and it may be incredibly difficult to find the right dose to start on, and to taper

 

Pros:

 

1. potentially ridding myself of the neurologic sx for good (zaps, headaches, dizziness) although of course, no guarantee

 

2.  Finally making a decision and feeling like I'm getting somewhere, since the symptoms are just not going away or improving on their own!

 

 

I'm leaning a bit towards the reinstatement and tapering, but then I see how some folks have had difficulties weaning even less than a milligram at a time, and it all seems very scary.

 

I wish I could just make a decision!!

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post

I think that the fish oil is somewhat stimulating for me, it might be my imagination, but I feel like I get more zaps when I take it??? 

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post

Hello Wishes 19,

I wanted to say hello and tell you how much I feel for you.  Brian Zaps and vertigo are the worst.  I wish there was some way I could bring you relief.  It is so difficult making a decision to reinstate or not, as we don't have crystal balls to see the future. Please keep us posted as to what you decide and how you are feeling.

Best,

Rachel Susan

Find my story here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12649-rachelsusan-my-zoloft-story-on-off-reinstated-in-trouble/?hl=rachelsusan

HISTORY

Feb. 2016 to June 2016  - Was on 100mg to 150mg Zoloft. 

Quit Zoloft (Sertraline) June  2016,  reinstated 50mg of Zoloft July 2016.  From July 2016  to October 2016 went from 50 mg down 2.3 mg. I up-dosed in November 2016 to 12.5 mg. Held there until January 2017 when I started a much slower taper.

STARTING SENSIBLE  ZOLOFT TAPERING USING GUIDELINES FROM THIS SITE

Dec. 10 2016  - switched to Liquid Zoloft (Sertraline) @ 12.5 mg.   Jan. 4, 2020 1.875 mg (6.3%). Jan. 25, 2020 1.75 mgFeb. 29, 2020 1.625mg (7.10%).  Apr. 4, 2020 1.5 mg. May 9, 2020 1.375 mg. June 6, 2020 1.25 mg. (9.10%). July 4, 2020 1.125 mg. (10%).  August 15, 2020 1.0 mg.  Oct 24, 2020 .875 mg.  Nov. 28, 2020 .75mgJan 16, 2021 .685mg (8.7%).

OTHER MEDICATION Gabapentin 900mg a day since July 2016, Prednisone 5mg a day and Qvar Inhalant since 2016. Vitamin D and fish oil.

   

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

*Some* people find that their brain zaps decrease when taking fish oil. When did you start taking it, how much are you taking and when during the day do you take it?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to post

Hello Wishes 19.................I just wanted to stop by to cheer you on ...I am sure that you will make the right decision for yourself.

I have an idea of the dilemma you face.

I essentially cold Turkeyed Effexor 17 months ago and had no understanding of the process of WD.   

It has been a difficult road and, like you, I think about reinstatement and taper but am afraid of it also. 

However I do feel some improvement even though it is  slow...It must be hard to feel none at all after so long...

It is also hard feeling undecided about a course of action. 

 

Sending you all Best Wishes for clarity regarding the way forward.

 

Bruin.

Anti Depressants for  25 years. Valium between 2006 to 7 tapered off over a month without too bad withdrawals.

For last 15 years 150 mg of Effexor and 30 mg of Mirtazapine. Occasional short term benzo use without habituation.

March 2015 stopped Effexor after rapid taper. 6 weeks. 

One month fluoxetine June 2015...stopped CT July 2015.

October 2013 to December 2015 Zopiclone 15 mg at night,

Dec 2015 to Early March 2016 Lyrica 75 mg at night. 

Stopped too quickly as  adverse side effects.

January to May 2016 tapered Zopiclone to 7.5mg 

Crossed over to Valium and now ..March 28th 2017 Benzo Free.

Also on 30 mg Mirtazapine and holding until have finished Benzo taper.

IN protracted WD from Effexor.

 

Link to post

@Bruin:  Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and well wishes.  It is a sad coincidence that we both essentially CT’d off Effexor at about the same time and are still having symptoms.  The decision regarding reinstatement is such a hard one!  However, it is so great that you are having windows of improvement.  May they continue and widen until the bad stuff is all behind you!!

 

@Stef:  thank you so much for stopping by my page and sharing your experience regarding brain zaps.  I am so sorry you have been having a hard time with Paroxetine withdrawal.  I agree with everything you said about the zaps.  I posted in your intro topic thread.  I hope you feel better soon J

 

 

@Scallywag:  Thanks so much for your concern, it is much appreciated as always, and you’ve been so helpful to me J  I started the fish oil in late July, 1 g pure EPA at lunchtime and just stopped about a week ago because I noticed that my zaps seemed to be worsening – coming earlier in the day and more of them overall.  However, I think it may be more correlation than causation.  At the same time that I started the fish oil, I also started freaking out more about the zaps and paying much more attention to them, tracking them obsessively, etc.  So, I can’t really make an accurate assessment, but I am holding off on supplements for now because I am considering reinstating, and only want to be dealing with one variable at a time J

 

@RachelSusan:  Thank you so much for your caring words of encouragement.  Wouldn't a crystal ball be nice?  Ha ha.  The other thing that would be nice is a "go back in time" button - I would rip up that prescription and run screaming from the doctor's office, LOL.  Thanks again, I will update regarding any decision to reinstate, I am leaning in that direction right now. 

 

 

The kindness and support I've received here are much appreciated and have touched me deeply.  Thank you all!!

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post
  • 2 months later...

Hi SA'ers, thought I'd post an update.  After seeing the neurologist (who recognized my symptoms as withdrawal), per his recommendations, I decided to start Effexor again and then taper down slowly, in order to try to get the zaps and other neurologlical symptoms (vertigo, dizziness, headaches) to go away.  At the time that I restarted, I had been off Effexor for about 18 months.

 

Before I get into the story, let me just say that my initial bout on Effexor was on the immediate release formulation.  My doctor really didn't know what she was doing.  She was not even aware that there was an XR form available, and she prescribed ithe IR form to me in once a day dosage. It's really supposed to be used 2-3 times a day.  I truly believe that even if I had tapered off slowly, I probably would still have symptoms - because I was going on/off, on/off, on/off daily every day for four months. In essence, having the cycle of "too much" and then "not enough", essentially mini withdrawal, every day.   Anyway....

 

The neurologist recommended that I start on 75 mg (which had been the dose I'd been on).  He put me on the XR formulation, of course.  The one with the beads in the capsules.  I naively thought that I could get the symptoms to go away on a small dose instead.  So, I started with 19 mg (75 divided by 4).  I tried this for about 10 days - no change in zaps.  Then up to 37.5.  Again, no change.  Then up to 75.  Bingo.  On 75mg per day, the zaps and head noise were dramatically reduced - by about 95%, I'd say.  So I figured I really want to just extinguish the phenomena completely - so I went up to 112 mg per day (one and a half times my original dose).

 

On the 112 per day, the zaps and head noise stopped completely.  Like, 100%.  Even though I had to be on the drug to get that to happen, what a fantastic feeling to not feel the zaps and head noise anymore.  I just felt like my old self, before the neurological symptoms began, before I took Effexor for the first time.  

 

I decided to stay on that dose for about a month to give my brain a chance to adjust.  Then, I did my first wean - per the neurologist - to 75.  Yes, it was a big jump down, but the zaps stayed away, for the most part.  Most days, I felt none - on other days, if very, very tired, I would feel 2 or 3 before falling asleep.  Still, a huge improvement from what it had been.  Mostly, I did this huge jump down from 112 to 75 because I had become an utter zombie on the 112 dose - pretty much sleeping all the time and unable to do anything.

 

So after about a month of the 75, I went down by 10 beads, which amounts to a little more than 10% of the dose.  I did that for about 3 weeks and now have just taken one bead out from there - so I'm at about 64 mg right now. 

 

I am still without symptoms on the 64mg, for the most part.  The zaps never happen during the day anymore, and only occasionally before falling asleep if I am particularly tired.  

 

I am planning to go down by no more than 10%, every 3-4 weeks or so.  I am hopeful that the zaps will remain at bay, however, if the "damage" occurred from the initial course, in other words, more from the fact that I took IR form incorrectly (per my idiot doctor's instructions), rather than the stopping of the medication (too fast taper), then the symptoms will return when I go off again.  Only time will tell.

 

Another theory I have is that the zaps will ameliorate from this reinstatement, even after tapering to off, but then gradually ramp up again (just as they did after the first course).  Then I may have to go back on Effexor, again and again, to keep them at bay for the long haul.  F you, drug company that made this horrid drug. 

 

By the way, I've noticed quite a decline in my short-term memory while on Effexor.  Hoping that goes away, too, after tapering.

 

Hang in there fellow SA'ers, and if you're reading this, thank you.  Be well.

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

I hope you'll consider a good long hold at 64 mg.  That will give you a solid foundation to build on. Or perhaps a strong well-reinforced ceiling to descend from. ;)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to post

Hi Scallywag, thanks for stopping by!

 

How long do you think I should hold? I constantly battle my instincts to get off this stuff as fast as possible...it's been about 3 weeks since I went down to 65, and 12 days on 64.

Started on Effexor 75 immediate release 1/2015. Took it once a day, which was the way the doctor prescribed it.  

Stopped Effexor after taking it for 4 months; fast taper over 3-4 weeks;  5/2015-6/2015

Daily "brain zaps" and other neurological symptoms  (vertigo, dizziness, headaches, ticking in left ear) without improvement since stopping Effexor, starting early 6/2015

Brain zaps and other neurological changes for about 16 months, then decided to go back on Effexor, 9/2016

Symptoms disappeared on Effexor 112.5 mg (I ramped up from 37.5 to see what would work)

Slow taper back down.  Brain zaps recurred especially below 75 mg.  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

One guideline folks use: monitor your symptoms. When you've had 2 weeks with stable symptoms or minimal/no symptoms, make your next dose decrease.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to post

Just stopping by to say great news that you have been relieved of the terrible brain zaps and the very best of luck with the SLOW.taper.

 

All the very best 

 

Bruin

Anti Depressants for  25 years. Valium between 2006 to 7 tapered off over a month without too bad withdrawals.

For last 15 years 150 mg of Effexor and 30 mg of Mirtazapine. Occasional short term benzo use without habituation.

March 2015 stopped Effexor after rapid taper. 6 weeks. 

One month fluoxetine June 2015...stopped CT July 2015.

October 2013 to December 2015 Zopiclone 15 mg at night,

Dec 2015 to Early March 2016 Lyrica 75 mg at night. 

Stopped too quickly as  adverse side effects.

January to May 2016 tapered Zopiclone to 7.5mg 

Crossed over to Valium and now ..March 28th 2017 Benzo Free.

Also on 30 mg Mirtazapine and holding until have finished Benzo taper.

IN protracted WD from Effexor.

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Wishes19: brain zaps for 8 months since Effexor immediate release fast taper

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