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Andrew43: after 20 years SSRI and SNRI use, is it possible to stop


Andrew43

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Hi, i am just wondering if I have left it too late to stop taking venlafaxine. I have been on ads for 20 years, however no gp has ever mentioned long term side effects. I have recently read a lot of info about these meds that worries me, also they dont seem to be as effective as they once were. I am worried about permenant brain damage, is it possible to have a complete recovery after taking these meds for so long. 

 

 

1996 - Took Paxil for three weeks which made me Euphoric -GP said I was cured. Later was put on Cipramil, Prozac for various time frames, then Lustral until 2004

2004 - started venlafaxine 75mg

Tried to stop various times,

most recently stopped for 6 week cold turkey,

felt really tired,down, though now realise this was possibly withdrawal. 

(since this I was told to go on another antidepressant by my then psych. Moclobamide for 6 weeks - Lamictal for 3-4 weeks before I was in in the worst state of my life. I then was back on venlafaxine 37.5  twice a day (after begging for it as other things were making me worse) then after a couple of months started a gradual taper until Oct 19th 17 where I was on quarter of a tablet.on 0.0000mg since then - oer 8 months AD free.

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  • Administrator

Hi, Andrew.

 

Welcome to SA. Yes, it is possible to come off 20 years of SSRI use and recover.  There are many examples of recovery found here:

 

Success stories: Recovery from withdrawal

 

Are you currently taking venlafaxine or are you still off after your cold turkey mentioned in your signature? 

 

Here is some information to get you started:

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

In the event you are off after 6 weeks and your symptoms are intolerable, please read over this thread:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms 

 

Here are some links about what to expect in the withdrawal / recovery process:

 

What is withdrawal syndrome? 
 
The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization
 

Please use this thread to update your symptoms, get support, and ask plenty of questions. Antidepressant withdrawal and recovery can take some time, but symptoms will resolve in time. I'm glad you're here for support. 

 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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Hi Andrew. 

I'm glad you found us.  It's never too late and I'm glad that you have realized that there can be some long term consequences to these drugs.

Like you   I was on A/D's also for twenty years. I am now healing . It's very possible.

Are you still on Venlafaxine or have you C/T'ed?

If it has only been 6 weeks , I would consider reinstating. It is the only medically effective way of treating withdrawal .

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Here is a few more links to give you a general overview of withdrawal :

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Healing from antidepressants. Patterns of recovery/

 

Have a read around and then come back with any further questions you may have. This is your thread to journal progress and ask questions.

Welcome to S.A.

Ali

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Thank you very much for the detailed replies people. I have reinstated taking the drug after my psychaitrist tried me on another couple of meds. Firstly an maio called moclobemide for over a month, then after anther few weeks free, an anti epelectic drug called lamoutragine, which i was also on just under a month, as you can imagine, i was a total mess, and started taking 75mg 2x37.5 venlafaxine every day after my first fortnight of lamotragine, the two together were causing extreme headaches and sore jaw etc, so I stopped taking the lamotraging about 5 weeks ago. I am now only on venlafaxine, which i have been taking for 6 weeks. My plan is to take this for another month then start reducing the dosage using the water mix, taking out 1ml every time. 

 

One of the reasons for my first post was that I got the impression that the brain damage and problems a lot of people are experiencing appear to be worse than that of continuing on the dug. Have I read this wrong, do people make recovery, ie, life becomes better without the drug? Do the negatives of stopping outweigh the negatives of staying on the drug. Obviously I am of the belief that these drugs can help depression, however, I believe when I have tried to stop in the past, that the symptoms were worse than my initial problem, which was more lethargy, tiredness and lack of interest. Now when I stop the drug I continuously cry and feel suicidal. So, I want to try cutting very slowly over a one to two year period, also as I read about people putting their nervous systems into shock, I dont want that either, so I have been taking these horrible drugs this long, I may as well take my time in stopping. One of the side effects of the tablet is actually tiredness, is this something that goes away, do people get energy back? 

Edited by scallywag
moved from Tapering Effexor topic

1996 - Took Paxil for three weeks which made me Euphoric -GP said I was cured. Later was put on Cipramil, Prozac for various time frames, then Lustral until 2004

2004 - started venlafaxine 75mg

Tried to stop various times,

most recently stopped for 6 week cold turkey,

felt really tired,down, though now realise this was possibly withdrawal. 

(since this I was told to go on another antidepressant by my then psych. Moclobamide for 6 weeks - Lamictal for 3-4 weeks before I was in in the worst state of my life. I then was back on venlafaxine 37.5  twice a day (after begging for it as other things were making me worse) then after a couple of months started a gradual taper until Oct 19th 17 where I was on quarter of a tablet.on 0.0000mg since then - oer 8 months AD free.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Andrew,

 

I've moved your post from the Tips on Tapering Effexor to your introduction. It's best to post questions about your situation here in your introduction. It's usually the first place the moderators look for new posts and members' questions. Other members are more likely to see your updates here and will jump in to share their experience and lessons learned.

 

People do recover after stopping Effexor.  I did twice, not to sound too much like Mark Twain.  The gap between my prescriptions were several years.

 

Unfortunately during my time on and tapers off Effexor, I didn't learn any non-drug techniques or change my eating and exercise habits. In 2012 after a very stressful 10 months due to serious family illnesses, my shaky foundation collapsed and I was having depressive symptoms again. I'm now tapering Cymbalta, an SNRI the same class as Effexor, while also working on non-drug techniques for emotional and cognitive symptoms.

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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savinggrace

Hi Andrew,

 

I am just an ordinary member in this forum. After 20 years of continuous AD use and another

15 of poly-drugging, I want to say emphatically, yes, do your best to get of these drugs. I believe the negative effects are cumulative, and it is widely known that as one ages, metabolism of these drugs is more challenging and the side effects likely start making themselves more prominent. I wish I could go back 20 years, (or 35) and never have started in the first place. I have many chronic conditions at the age of 61 and I attribute many of them to these drugs as other underlying conditions have not been uncovered

 

So do your best to taper sensibly. It sounds like you understand that slow tapering and listening to your body is the key to a safe journey off these drugs. (if 10% is too much, do not hesitate to go much slower)

 

It's never too late.. These drugs are not doing the rest of your body any good even if the therapeutic

mood-altering still feels effective.

 

Good luck to you,

Grace

amitriptyline from 1980-2002, along wi/ intermittent, infrequent use of benzos over 2 decades

2002-2010 Klonopin 1-2 mg., ambien 10--20, mg, remeron 4 mg. and  trileptal 300 mg

2011 Stopped ambien and crossed over to valium 17.5 mg. (updosing 2.5 mg. to cover ambien C/T ) tapered valium w/ long holds to 12.74 mg.

2015-present  tapered from 300 mg. trileptal to 123 mg.; tapered to 12.74 valium and stayed at 4 mg. remeron

 

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Hi Andrew,

 

I have been on venlafaxine for 16 years this December.  I am getting close to getting off.  So, yes, it is possible to get off.  This drug turned me into a lump of clay and I had ceased to be able to function in any capacity to any meaningful degree.  Now, I am getting much better.  In my opinion, it is so worth it.

12-2001 -- Started Effexor XR - 150 mg dose  2005 -- Tried to cold turkey off it.  Lasted 3 days and then went back on 150 mg.  2009 -- Went on generic Effexor due to cost.  Have had a lot more side effects on it.  09-24-13 -- Started tapering by taking 2 beads out of 150 mg capsule.  10-17-13 thru 07-17-14 -- Took 2 more beads out of capsule each month.  08-2014 -- Dropped by 8 beads.  Went into a HUGE depression.  05-03-15 -- Now taking 22 beads out of capsule.  Went to micro-taper of 2 beads every other week.  11-10-15 -- Taking 96 beads (About 54 out of capsule.  Reversed the way I was taking them since the amount in the capsule varies).  Can now drop 8 beads a month, 4 every other week, with no problem.  After a while switched to dropping 2 beads every Monday as 4 at a time was starting to affect me.  Have no problem with dropping 2 beads every Monday.  07-07-16 -- Now taking 43 beads with no problems. 09-27-16 -- Now taking 2 beads out every other Monday.  Am at 33 beads now.  12-11-17 -- I AM NOW OFF EFFEXOR!!!!!  

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Andrew . How are you traveling ?  How are your symptoms ?   Please keep notes and then get back to us.  :)

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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  • 1 year later...

I have now been off the med's completely since Oct 19th 2017 following a 13 month taper. I regularly find myself ok for a week or sometimes longer followed by a week of decline to a further bad week, sometimes with 2,3 or more really intensely bad days which vary in terms of Depression/Anxiety. On my worst days I am feeling hugely suicidal. Usually within 2-3 days of these feelings I am ok again. I have been back to see a Psych who actually said I wasn't bipolar and also said  I had done a positive thing getting of the meds. I was on a good day when being assessed though. I am on a good day again, hence, able to post this, however worried about how long I can keep off the meds. I feel much more normal on good days. Not too high, you know that drugged up anti-d feeling, better eyesight, I can have orgasms, cry (a bit too much at times though) and little insomnia. Most of the side effects are away, but emotionally I am a wreck making me beieve I am bipolar....I keep reminding myself I am only 8 months in and that I need another 10 months before I should start to see better results, ie not wanting to die for a few days every month which makes holding down a job v hard. Am I expecting too much too soon....do I go back on pills or should I find another Psychs opinion in case I am bipolar??

1996 - Took Paxil for three weeks which made me Euphoric -GP said I was cured. Later was put on Cipramil, Prozac for various time frames, then Lustral until 2004

2004 - started venlafaxine 75mg

Tried to stop various times,

most recently stopped for 6 week cold turkey,

felt really tired,down, though now realise this was possibly withdrawal. 

(since this I was told to go on another antidepressant by my then psych. Moclobamide for 6 weeks - Lamictal for 3-4 weeks before I was in in the worst state of my life. I then was back on venlafaxine 37.5  twice a day (after begging for it as other things were making me worse) then after a couple of months started a gradual taper until Oct 19th 17 where I was on quarter of a tablet.on 0.0000mg since then - oer 8 months AD free.

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Hi Andrew:   You should post your question here, so people can see your entire thread. that way you will get a more thorough answer as people will know what has gone on before.

 

Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg
Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pw4tjImAJ92OIVyRvZoZYjqxiKMk7wvp-ljiIi1olRo/edit#gid=0

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Andrew, see your other introduction thread for answer... 

Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg
Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pw4tjImAJ92OIVyRvZoZYjqxiKMk7wvp-ljiIi1olRo/edit#gid=0

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Andrew:

It sounds like you are experienced the waves and windows that many describe post withdrawal.   Are you using any non-drug techniques to cope?  -- e.g.  prayer, mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, exercise, etc.    While you were taking the drugs, they masked some of your feelings, so when they come back, it's important to learn how to cope and deal with them. 
 There is section on this  on this forum.  You might find them helpful. 

Here is the section on dealing with emotions: 



Hopefully you will get some other answers to your question too. 

Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg
Spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pw4tjImAJ92OIVyRvZoZYjqxiKMk7wvp-ljiIi1olRo/edit#gid=0

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

Merged Andrew's Intro topics.

 

2 hours ago, Andrew43 said:

I am on a good day again, hence, able to post this, however worried about how long I can keep off the meds. I feel much more normal on good days. Not too high, you know that drugged up anti-d feeling, better eyesight, I can have orgasms, cry (a bit too much at times though) and little insomnia. Most of the side effects are away, but emotionally I am a wreck making me beieve I am bipolar....I keep reminding myself I am only 8 months in and that I need another 10 months before I should start to see better results, ie not wanting to die for a few days every month which makes holding down a job v hard. Am I expecting too much too soon....do I go back on pills or should I find another Psychs opinion in case I am bipolar??

 

Andrew, although you tapered, your nervous system is saying it was a little too fast. After all, you were on this drug for 20 years.

 

Having waves and windows of symptoms after going off Effexor is nowhere near any type of bipolar disorder.

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

A lot of people find them helpful. Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

 

Give it a couple of weeks. If the supplements settle your symptoms, well and good. If not, if I were you, I'd get the kind of 37.5mg Effexor XR containing tiny beads (most likely the brand-name Effexor XR) and take 4 beads every day for a good while, maybe 6 months, then taper off bead by bead.

 

Please let us know how you're doing.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Andrew43: after 20 years SSRI and SNRI use, is it possible to stop

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