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Tom

☼ Tom: Hello - off Effexor

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Tom

Just wanted to introduce before I jumped in and started posting. I was on Effexor at varying doses for roughly 18 years. I did a taper that lasted over two years, and have been completely off for 11 months. Even though I did a slow taper, I ended up developing anxiety, depression, as well as physical health problems. That's the basics, and I can add more later if necessary.

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Lor95

Hi Tom and welcome...you will get plenty of support and wise input here.

I will leave it to the experienced members to chime in but I would just like to say a big well done...getting off effexor is no mean feat and I admire you.

Lor

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Roads

Welcome Tom :)

 

I am glad you managed to get off effexor. As Lor95 said, Effexor is one of the hardest drug to quit (the second one if I am correct), and you did it with very well! Your taper indicates an outstanding determination and patience, for what you are greatly admirable :)

I am sorry that despite all of your cautiousness you are still suffering from withdrawal. Did it improve? I hope you'll soon see the end of the tunnel.

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summer

Hi Tom... I don't know very much about Effexor, but was happy to read that you are no longer taking it.

 

You'll find lots of good info here, as well as kind, caring people.

 

Welcome to the Forum!

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Altostrata

Welcome, Tom.

 

What kinds of symptoms do you have now? Have your symptoms changed over time?

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Rhiannon

Hi Tom--just adding my "welcome" to the others.

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Tom

Hi Tom and welcome...you will get plenty of support and wise input here.

I will leave it to the experienced members to chime in but I would just like to say a big well done...getting off effexor is no mean feat and I admire you.

Lor

 

Thanks, but I don't feel like I've accomplished anything, other than making myself sick, lol.

 

 

 

Welcome, Tom.

 

What kinds of symptoms do you have now? Have your symptoms changed over time?

 

All kinds of mental and emotional ones.

Cognitive fog.

Sleep problems and waking early with intense anxiety.

Numbness in limbs. (has improved a lot!)

Digestive problems like acid reflux, gas, and constipation.

Intense itching.

Sciatica.

 

Those are the ones I can think of right now, hopefully that's all of them. The only one I think I have seen a large improvement in is the numbness, and it is also the first one I experienced and it started while I was still tapering. Some of the symptoms didn't start until many months after I was already off the Effexor. Some symptoms are better some days and worse others. I had about a week and half where my anxiety all but disappeared, including the waking anxiety, but it came back with a vengeance.

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Tom

Also, thanks to everybody for the welcomes!

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Tom

I'm 46 years old. So many years on Effexor as well as other things, may have already shortened my life, for all I know. I'm thinking I may be better off enjoying, to some degree, however much life I have left, and being able to sleep well, etc. It may not be worth it to keep fighting. I don't think the side effects were nearly as bad as what I've been going through since I've been off the med. At least I slept well, and enjoyed some things. Maybe I'm just in an extra-bad wave and it will improve soon. Gonna keep trying for now.

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Altostrata

Tom, I moved you latest post here for continuity -- so we can see where you're coming from.

 

You said you had some symptoms shortly after going off Effexor, and then others came later. Can you explain a little more?

 

How did you feel when you were on Effexor, before you decided to quit?

 

Effexor is one of the most difficult drugs to withdraw from, even with a very gradual taper like yours.

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Tom

The crux of it was the title of the thread and it was a cry for help, that's why I started a new thread. Well, I guess I didn't convey that.

 

I was doing ok on Effexor but I didn't like the side effects, and I was really afraid of being on it for so long and being stuck on it the rest of my life.

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Dani

Hi Tom!

 

I hope you find the support you need here!

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Altostrata

Tom, going back on Effexor or any other antidepressant is unpredictable. Usually it does not seem to help withdrawal syndrome.

 

There is no known one-size-fits-all treatment for withdrawal syndrome.

 

What we try to do is lessen symptoms. Because our nervous systems tend to be hypersensitive, we do this very cautiously. The idea is a small change here and there can assist the nervous system to repair itself.

 

Sleep, for example, is a major problem in withdrawal syndrome. We've got some topics on that in Symptoms and what helps.

 

You've had withdrawal syndrome for a year, many of your symptoms are classic. We've all gone through the fear, anger, and regret brought on by this condition, which is not recognized by medicine. Inasmuch as there's anything good in this situation, getting beyond these feelings, which can be very difficult, is a gift of growth.

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Crocus

Hello Tom;

 

I am new as well, but want to thank you for posting about being off of Effexor. You give me hope. In addition, I have the numbness you described. I have been wondering if mine is not from Effexor withdrawl since it began and worsened in proportion to the weaning.

 

Thanks for joining the forum.

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ladybug

I'm so sorry you are suffering, Tom. Realize that one year off after 18 years on is still early in the healing stage. I think 2.5 years to taper off of Effexor is an adequate amount of time so I'm not sure going back on and tapering slower is the answer. Even if it doesn't feel like it, you ARE healing.

 

I'm surprised the Effexor worked that long to be honest. Many drugs poop out by that time. Reinstating at such a long time off is really a crapshoot. It could make it better, it could make it worse. Are you in therapy to deal with the issues that led you to Effexor in the first place? Realize that Effexor is the hardest AD to withdraw from and you have done it. This in itself is a huge victory. Unfortunately, it does not end with the last dose. You already have a year under your belt and that also is a huge accomplishment. I have heard stories of others who were still going through bad WD at one year off, only to turn a corner at 2 years or even sooner. You never know when it's gonna start getting better. Sometimes it happens out of nowhere. What symptoms exactly are you dealing with?

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Tom

Sorry for not answering questions or responding to individual comments, but it gets hard to focus when you get anxious and agitated, etc. Anyway, believe it not, I actually reinstated for two days and then stopped. I almost feel ashamed about it or something, like a recovering alcoholic relapsing. I just think that there are positives and negatives to both reinstating and not reinstating, and it gets confusing. The whole situation is truly being caught between a rock and a hard place. The problem is that you never know when and how much you will recover and it's hard to stay the course when things aren't improving or are getting worse. Gotta have faith I guess.

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Altostrata

There is no shame in attempting to reduce withdrawal symptoms, Tom.

 

Did reinstating help at all?

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Tom

Alto, no I don't think it helped. I don't know about other drugs, but I think Effexor actually makes some things worse for several days and then it starts kicking in at some point. I don't know if that makes sense, but I think that's how it is. I think it makes a person more anxious at first, and then after a while, like somewhere between 5 days and two weeks, it starts to work for the anxiety.

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Crocus

Hi Tom;

 

I was just looking at your thread again and would love to hear how you are doing now. Given that I am also dealing with Effexor withdrawal your comment about being between "a rock and a hard place" really hit home with me. That is, exactly what we are all choosing.

 

I want us all to heal from this and hope you doing okay. Crocus

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Tom

Crocus, I ended up reinstating for two days, then I stopped and a few days later I reinstated for two more days, before I stopped again. It's complicated, but in the last week or so, I feel there has been some improvement in some of my symptoms, though maybe a worsening in others. LOL, what a mess. I don't want to speak to soon though, it's day to day as far as I'm concerned.

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Altostrata

Did the Effexor help at all?

 

What are your symptoms now, Tom?

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Tom

I know this sounds crazy, but I've actually considered going back on a very small dose of Effexor after over a year and a half off of it. Because I have been suffering, plain and simple. And then maybe tapering from that small dose very, very slowly. I plan to keep trying to hang tough for as long as I can, and I think I will get through it, but at some point enough is enough. And it seems at that point, it's either reinstate or maybe go on a low dose benzo, which seems scary as hell too.

 

Anyway, my question is would it be risky as hell to do that after all this time?

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annej

I know this sounds crazy, but I've actually considered going back on a very small dose of Effexor after over a year and a half off of it. Because I have been suffering, plain and simple. And then maybe tapering from that small dose very, very slowly. I plan to keep trying to hang tough for as long as I can, and I think I will get through it, but at some point enough is enough. And it seems at that point, it's either reinstate or maybe go on a low dose benzo, which seems scary as hell too.

 

Anyway, my question is would it be risky as hell to do that after all this time?

 

I am so sorry that you are suffering. I don't think there is any scientific documentation as to reinstatement. My understanding is that reinstatement may or may not fully relieve withdrawal symptoms and is very individual.

 

I can understand that quality of life is the issue. As far as benzos are concerned, it is my experience that there is no such thing as a "low dose" of benzos. Benzos might offer substantial relief if your symptoms consist of anxiety, but should not be prescribed for more than 2-4 weeks. For some people, the withdrawal from benzos is horrific. I have been stuck on benzos for going on 12 years. Although I did everything "wrong" with my taper, I became 100% dysfunctional.

 

I was very frightened to reinstate Klonopin, but it came down to life or death. Many Hugs, Annej

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Baxter

Tom, does your pdoc know anything about withdrawal syndrome?

 

If you have to go back on something to live a decent life, you might want to look into an SSRI instead of Effexor, which is an SNRI and notoriously HORRIBLE to wean off. Also, remember, less is more! Try a low dose before you blast off to "therapeutic dose" on any drug. Don't forget all the transient side effects that occur when you start up again...

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Skyler

And it seems at that point, it's either reinstate or maybe go on a low dose benzo, which seems scary as hell too.

Tom, how long do you expect a low dose would relieve your anxiety? And what do you consider to be a low dose.. a low number i.e. 1 mg Xanax is not the same as a low dose as it's equivalent to 20 mgs of diazepam, nor does a low dose of any benzo mean a pass on addiction. ~S (who has been on a 24 month benzo taper).

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annej

Hi Tom,

 

I apologize for not reading your intro/history, but I have a question.

 

May I ask what were the reason(s) you tapered off of Effexor?

 

And I want to reassure you that it does not sound "crazy" to ask questions about going back on an anti-depressant nor does it sound "crazy" to think about a benzo.

 

Suffering is suffering.

 

My wish for you, for all of us who suffer, is that you find "livable" options, whatever those may be, that give you back your quality of life.

 

Many Hugs, Annej

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Altostrata

Tom, you just posted a question about reinstating Effexor.

 

Looking back on your topic, it seems you've sampled this and it didn't help.

 

How is your sleep? Has the early morning anxiety changed at all?

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Altostrata

Tom, see your Intro topic at http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1269-hello-from-tom-off-effexor

 

You tried this and it didn't seem to work.

 

Your anxiety etc. is due to neurological instability brought on by too-fast tapering off Effexor. If at this point reinstating a low dose of Effexor can compensate for Effexor withdrawal, I believe you would have felt some relief when you experimented with this before.

 

My guess is it is too late for you to reinstate Effexor.

 

Some people with withdrawal syndrome feel better after going back on an antidepressant such as Prozac or Celexa, as Baxter mentioned. No one can predict how you will react. With your nervous system destabilization, adding any kind of antidepressant may make your symptoms worse.

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Tom

Tom, you just posted a question about reinstating Effexor.

 

Looking back on your topic, it seems you've sampled this and it didn't help.

 

How is your sleep? Has the early morning anxiety changed at all?

 

 

Alto, I tried 37.5 mg for a couple of days at best. This time, I was thinking of something much smaller. Something like 20%-30% of that. Something to help get me more stable, though I'm still not planning on it at this point. My sleep is still messed up, sometimes better, sometimes worse. Lately worse. The morning anxiety has improved, but is still there to a degree.

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Tom

 

 

I am so sorry that you are suffering. I don't think there is any scientific documentation as to reinstatement. My understanding is that reinstatement may or may not fully relieve withdrawal symptoms and is very individual.

 

I can understand that quality of life is the issue. As far as benzos are concerned, it is my experience that there is no such thing as a "low dose" of benzos. Benzos might offer substantial relief if your symptoms consist of anxiety, but should not be prescribed for more than 2-4 weeks. For some people, the withdrawal from benzos is horrific. I have been stuck on benzos for going on 12 years. Although I did everything "wrong" with my taper, I became 100% dysfunctional.

 

I was very frightened to reinstate Klonopin, but it came down to life or death. Many Hugs, Annej

 

Annej, The reason I was thinking a benzo is because a) I've had sleep problems since going off the meds. B) The anxiety component. c) A bruxism, tmj thing. Benzos seem to be good for that, as evidenced by Barbara on this forum. I'm not saying it's by any means a good solution, I'm just weighing options. I'm sorry you've been stuck on them. I was stuck on Effexor for a long time, and I know it sucks.

 

 

 

 

Tom, does your pdoc know anything about withdrawal syndrome?

 

If you have to go back on something to live a decent life, you might want to look into an SSRI instead of Effexor, which is an SNRI and notoriously HORRIBLE to wean off. Also, remember, less is more! Try a low dose before you blast off to "therapeutic dose" on any drug. Don't forget all the transient side effects that occur when you start up again...

 

Baxter, I don't have a Pdoc at the moment. I had an adverse reaction to every just about every SSRI out there. For some reason that wasn't the case with Effexor though. The only SSRI I think I never tried was Celexa, but I did try its cousin Lexapro and had horrible anxiety from it.

 

 

 

 

 

Tom, how long do you expect a low dose would relieve your anxiety? And what do you consider to be a low dose.. a low number i.e. 1 mg Xanax is not the same as a low dose as it's equivalent to 20 mgs of diazepam, nor does a low dose of any benzo mean a pass on addiction. ~S (who has been on a 24 month benzo taper).

 

I know a benzo is not the ideal option, but the question is what is, lol.

 

 

Hi Tom,

 

I apologize for not reading your intro/history, but I have a question.

 

May I ask what were the reason(s) you tapered off of Effexor?

 

And I want to reassure you that it does not sound "crazy" to ask questions about going back on an anti-depressant nor does it sound "crazy" to think about a benzo.

 

Suffering is suffering.

 

My wish for you, for all of us who suffer, is that you find "livable" options, whatever those may be, that give you back your quality of life.

 

Many Hugs, Annej

 

Ok, I didn't like being stuck on it for so long. I was worried about it doing something to my health. Of course, I had no idea what going off of it would end up doing. I didn't like the side-effects. The main one that bothered me was Bruxism/TMJ, which has ended up coming back anyway, but in a somewhat different form. And the other was constipation. As it turns out though, after going off the meds, I discovered that yogurt constipates me, and I was eating that everyday when I was on them. So there doesn't seem to be much point in me tapering off of it, afterall. Pretty sad, lol.

 

 

 

Tom, see your Intro topic at http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1269-hello-from-tom-off-effexor

 

You tried this and it didn't seem to work.

 

Your anxiety etc. is due to neurological instability brought on by too-fast tapering off Effexor. If at this point reinstating a low dose of Effexor can compensate for Effexor withdrawal, I believe you would have felt some relief when you experimented with this before.

 

My guess is it is too late for you to reinstate Effexor.

 

Some people with withdrawal syndrome feel better after going back on an antidepressant such as Prozac or Celexa, as Baxter mentioned. No one can predict how you will react. With your nervous system destabilization, adding any kind of antidepressant may make your symptoms worse.

 

I only gave it two days. And this time, I was thinking of a much smaller dose. Anyway, I think you are right, it's probably too late. The best thing would probably be to hold tight. I've already experienced improvement in some areas, so I might as well try and be patient and get more improvements as time goes on. Sometimes you feel like you can't take it anymore though, like it's ruining too much.

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Nikki

Hi Tom....

 

Thank your for posting the link on anxiety. Very helpful. I have never taken Effexor, although I have been through WD several times. Getting off Effexor is huge. I do understand questioning whether or not you should take a little now to see if it helps.

WD or in your case, Protracted WD is very rough.

 

You can only try and see what happens. Is there something else you may be able to take in a small dose to help you out?

 

Believe me Tom I have decreased 2 mgs. in the last five weeks and the first place my mind goes is what can I take to help me. You are not alone.

 

I believe totally in Protracted WD, although I have trouble with myself understanding if I just have anxiety/depression. The line blurs big time for me, mostly likely because of the drugs.......stinks doesn't it...

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jfrank17

Hi Tom,

 

Your post caught my eye because I used to be on Effexor long ago and did my own taper and discontinuation when I did not receive support from my psychiatrist at the time who felt I should stay on it. I did get off of it successfully and was drug-free for quite awhile before some stressful life events came up and I began taking Celexa to deal with it, which I just recently tapered and discontinued.

 

I also have suffered lifelong anxiety issues. I was reading in a book last night I have "The 10 Best Ever Anxiety Management Techniques" (by Margaret Wehrenberg) and in one chapter the author addressed medication. She saw medication as kind of a band-aid fix that can help but does not give us the skills that can help us permanently lessen and deal with the problems. The book gives a lot of good techniques but she stresses they take persistence and practice until they become a habit for our mind, but that if we can form these good mental habits we are empowered to have the same benefits as the medication originally gave us, except without side effects and then the looming shadows of withdrawal or medication tolerance that causes it to stop being as effective.

 

I found this gave me a lot of hope. That book and 'The Feeling Good Handbook" by Dr. David Burns have been helping me a lot to feel like I can take action and take control again.

 

You're not alone and things can get better. It's never too late and never hopeless.

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Altostrata

Tom, have you done anything to reduce the morning anxiety?

 

Minimizing morning light helps a lot of people.

 

It's a good sign the morning anxiety has lessened, this indicates your nervous system is healing.

 

No one can say if a little Effexor or a little Prozac or Celexa will help you. Effexor increases norepinephrine, an activating hormone, and is more likely to cause anxiety and disturbed sleep than the others, but you might have a bad reaction to any of them.

 

(If you're reading this site on a mobile phone, you may find you get more out of it if you read it on a computer.)

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Altostrata

Tom, I merged your 2 topics as the new one is very particular to your situation.

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ajnjj

Tom,

 

As I'm sure you already know, efexor is a nighmare to go on and taper off. I'm not a doctor, but my gut tells me this will make you worse. Have you tried melatonin drops in strong decaf chamomile tea???

 

Also I keep rereading the article posted on lets tall anxiety thread. Very helpful. And dr. Claire WEekes books???

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