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This is my story:

At the age of 23 I was taken with panic disorder.
I had no previous experience with mental illness and went through hell experiencing this for the first time - saw myself locked up or not being able to take care of myself or live a "normal" live (whatever that is) ever again.
This was during my last year at teacher training college.

I was prescribed Anafranil (TCA) and also got Sobril (benzo) to cope with the anxiety during the first weeks of medication.
After a couple of months with medication, therapy and breathing technique training I started feeling quite OK and somehow managed to complete my education.

But this was only the beginning of many years of experience of mental disorders.

Living with panic disorder was a struggle working as a middle school teacher, even though medication and calm breathing helped.
Eventually I reduced and quit medicating - only to develop depressions. So I was prescribed some new medicine. And when I tried to quit that medication later, I went straight down into a depression again.

During almost 30 years now I've been on antidepressants. I've struggled to cope with the ups and downs of life, along with my mental "illness".
I married and got three wonderful children that I love more than life.

Then my husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Our first born son started showing signs of not feeling good when he started school. He didn't like school, had a feeling of not belonging and struggled to fit in.
We reached out for help from everywhere, but noone seemed to be able to help. In his teens he couldn't cope anymore and got depressed. He couldn't finish high school and we've been trying to get him help ever since. He is now 23... A young man with very little hope and sense of meaning. And still living with his mom and dag.
He was just diagnosed with ADHD, but he himself (and we) is pretty sure that's not the whole story. People living with relatives with autism/asperger tend to take for granted that he has that kind of diagnosis - including himself. But not the psychiatrists. Whatever. (Help him with his PROBLEMS maybe? "No - because our tests show that he doesn't have that diagnosis - so he doesn't have those problems!" Hmm...)

Our two years younger son was happy, bright and full of joy during his childhood. Growing up, he and his big brother were the best of friends. But they started drifting apart as the older son got increasingly more depressed. And then suddenly, just a couple of months before his fifteenth birthday, he started to feel sad.
When we understood that he needed professional help we took him to a psychiatrist specialized in children and teens. Me and my husband both accompanied him. He was very quiet and had a hard time speaking and interacting with other people. And as the psychiatrist struggled to make him talk she suddenly asks him "Do you really think you are so pitiable? I've worked with children who have cancer. THEY are pitiable!"
We were shocked by her words and immidiately took our son out of there and explained to him that he should not care about what she said. That is was unprofessional, evil and not fair to say such things!
But the damage was already made. The next day we all - family and best friends - got a personal sms from him, telling us how much he loved us... It was the day before his 15:th birthday. We got there in time to save him. And the psychiatrist were denounced - from that one clinic...
After this, our youngest son suffered from a bad depression for a long time. And wasn't able to complete high school properly. It took some years. He is now 21 and have just recently been able to take up his studies again. He is a gifted musician and actor and is determined to follow his dreams.

Our daughter is the twin-sister of our youngest son. She used to be the happiest little girl in the world. And then she grew up. She started feeling anxious. About everything. To the point that she couldn't eat because of nausea and lack of apetite. So - eventually, when she was 12, we took her to the psychiatrist. To get help with her anxiety.
They took a look at her and then immidiately tried to make her "amit" that she was starving herself on purpose...and gave her some more anxiety! (Thanks!) It didn't matter that we assured them that that was not the case. I myself have been "accused" of being anorexic for the first 25 years of my life - which hurt a great deal, since I had a huge complex for being so thin. And so does my daughter.
Since then her anxiety has slowly increased. A couple of years ago she was diagnosed with GAD - General Anxiety Disorder - and was prescribed Sertraline.
About a year ago we started to suspect that she had developed bipolar disorder. She seemed to be slightly hypomanic to us. My husband followed her to her psychiatrist and told him about these thoughts. But he dismissed it and sait it was only "mood swings".
In the beginning of last summer she started to seem slightly euphoric. One day she called me and cried and laughed and spoke jibberish. She posted live videos on facebook where she acted strange, talking about some kind of mission. And here was her first (and hopefully last) psychosis. With help from a doctor, some paramedics and a couple of police officers we managed to make her open the door to her apartment.
At the psychiatric hospital they found out that she tested positive for cannabis, that she hadn't been sleeping for 4 days and that she was severly manic and suffered from delusions.
She was taken to a psychiatric inpatient care facility, taken off Sertralin (since we told them about her predisposition for bipolar disorder - and Sertralin might cause mania and psychosis to bipolar people..) and put on Olanzapine to deal with the psychosis.
This was 3 months ago. She is no longer psycotic, but suffers from a depression.

And here we are now. Worrying about and trying to help my children has made it difficult for me to work for the last couple of years. This last summer with my daughters psychosis pushed me further down.
I now try to manage to work 25% (10 hours a week), digitalising teaching books. This summer I suddenly got sick of taking antidepressants and started to slowly decrease my dosis of Venlafaxin.
But last friday my doctor wanted me to try another medicine, since I have such difficulties coping with even 25% of work. He wanted me to try out Voxra and told me to simply switch from one day of 175 mg Venlafaxin to 150 mg of Voxra the day after.
I asked if I really should switch straight off like that, without slowly decreasing the amount of Venlafaxin - and he said yes. I wish I didn't listen...
Two days after quitting with Venlafaxin and starting with Voxra I got all the withdrawal symptoms in the book - and I really didn't need this right now.
Huge dizziness, nausea, panic anxiety, sleeplessness, night mares, electrical shock feelings in my brain, fast heartbeats.
After 3 days of this hell I added Venlafaxin to my Voxra dosis. But - I actually want to get rid of the medicines. Examine who I really am - because I forgot.

Sorry about the long story. But this is my life. And I shed some tears writing it all down. Thanks for reading. :wub:

Edited by ChessieCat
changed font to separate family details

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Cicci welcome to sa

Your story is gut wrenching and i am so sorry to you and all your family members who have been iatrogenically harmed in this way.

You are not alone there are many families ending up in this predicament.


If you only just started the voxra yesterday then if i were you i would stop taking it.


When stable start an informed 10% or less per month taper as per sa advice on the venlafaxine...(put aside several years to do it)

What you are describing as mental illness i am willing to bet was withdrawal and side effects from  these drugs.

The good folk at sa can walk you through a safe taper....if thats what you want to do.

I am also willing to bet you cant cope with work because you are suffering wdl from a too fast taper.


Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)


Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

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Hi Cicca and welcome to SA.


I've requested the assistance of the more knowledgeable mods because I am very concerned about you taking venlafaxine and Voxra together.


Someone should be along soon to offer suggestions on what you might do.


I've also changed the font of the information about your family situation so that it is easier for people reading your post to see what relates to your personal situation and what is about the family.

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Hi, and thanks for the answeres and the help with my information!


I haven't been able to cope with work for several years because of my family situation. During that time (and years before) I have been on a dosis of 225 Venlafaxin, so I just started a couple of months ago to taper - on my own decision.

I first tapered about 10% and then another 10% a month later -  and at that time I only had minor symptoms of anxiety, that could have been due to withdrawal - or simply to the fact that I was going to go from 25% work up to 50%, which stressed me. Then I told my doctor about the tapering and he tought it was a bit of a bad idea - and wanted me to test Voxra instead. 


I was concerned when he asked me to quit taking Venlafaxin straight off and take Voxra instead, and when I did and got all these withdrawal symptoms I contacted my doctor and he then told me to start taking Venlafaxin again, but at a slightly lower dosis (150 mg), and continue taking a lower dosis of Voxra (150 mg). He suggested that I after two weeks on that dosis cut down Venlafaxin to 75% and two weeks after that remove it completely. During those weeks I shall take 150 mg of Voxra, aside with the tapering dosis of Venlafaxin.

I'm not quite sure what the best way to switch from Venlafaxin to Voxra is, but it absolutely didn't work switching straight of like I was prescribed first.


I'm also concerned about switching to Voxra instead of simply continue tapering out Venlafaxin.

I want to get rid of these drugs I've been taking for 30 years, but my doctor think it's a bad time for that right now. But looking back on my life (and forward) I don't think there will be a "right" time. My children will not miraculously become well and healthy some day - and I think that is what it should take to make me well enough to reach the "right" time of stability. So what should I do? Accept the fact that I will have to take these drugs for the rest of my life? I did accept that for almost 30 years, because I thought it was the only option. But I don't want to accept that anymore! :(

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Hi cicci,


If it were me, I would stop taking the Voxra completely, keep taking the Venlafaxine, hold for a couple of months or possibly more and once stablised do a 10% taper of the Venlafaxine.


Do your research so you can make an informed decision.

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Are you taking any other prescription or non-prescription drugs, or supplements.  If you do, please include them and the dose in your drug history.  Thank you.

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Hi again,


I don't take any other drugs. Except for sweet licorice. :)

Occasionally I take Atarax or Zolpidem to be able to go to sleep - maybe 1-2 nights a month.


Yesterday I suffered severely from quitting with Venlafaxine, so I added a dosis of 150 mg to the Voxra taken in the morning.

Tonight I slept like a baby and today I have almost no dizziness, nausea or brain flashes.


I decided to not listen to my doctor's advice and quit taking Voxra, so today I went back to taking only 175 mg of Venlafaxin and no Voxra.

I will follow your advice and wait for a month or two before slowly starting tapering Venlafaxin again according to advices from here.


Many thanks for the help and support!

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Cicci -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
Your doctor is terribly under-educated on venlafaxine, probably not educated about it at all. To educate yourself, please read our discussion about venlafaxine:

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) (this was also posted by nz11.)

Please keep notes on paper of your symptoms. Here is a post that explains the kind of notes that are most helpful.
Take notes of doses and symptoms

I agree with ChessieCat that it would be best for you to continue with 150 mg venlafaxine for several months before starting to reduce the dose and tapering.

Voxra is bupropion, also known as Wellbutrin. What form is the Voxra you were taking -- a tablet or a capsule?

You might find the information about interactions between venlafaxine and Voxra (bupropion) helpful. Follow the link below to get your report. Just select the text, copy it and paste it in a post here. Use venlafaxine and bupropion as the drug names.
Drugs-dot-com Drugs Interactions Checker.


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Hey Cicci - you've gotten some good advice.  I agree, that 150 mg Venlafaxine is all you need to reinstate - you don't need to "replace" the voxra with anything.


Once you stabilise again - this should be just a bump, hopefully - you'll be able to consider tapering at a slower, safer rate.


I'm sorry to hear about your family.  Please, consider looking for drug side effects in all of them.  It seems that the medical practices you've been exposed to have been extreme and possibly harmful.  For example, your daughter didn't flip to "manic" until she went onto sertraline.  This is a common pattern, especially in children and teens.  You cannot diagnose a drug side effect as "bipolar" with any accuracy.  There may be other instances of this in your family, too, once you know what to look for.


Please, if you can get a copy of "Anatomy of an Epidemic" by Robert Whitaker - it will open your eyes to what is happening with all classes of psychiatric drugs.


Welcome to SA - I'm sorry you had to come here - but glad you found us!


I hope you see the Sun today.

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I'm so grateful to finding this place!


And I'm so sad that I've been trusting the quote "Just like someone suffering from diabetes needs insuline, you need these drugs produce serotonine, which your brain produces too little of". And that I've been trusting drugs to help my children.

And I'm so grateful that both my son's quit taking their prescribed drugs after taking them just for some weeks and since then refuse to take any antidepressants.


My oldest son's psychiatrist wants him on ADHD-medication, but respects his unwillingless to do so.


Just like suddenly be taken with panic disorder turned the world upside down for me, this drug business scam turns me upside down yet again.

I can manage taking the decision to quit going on antidepressants for myself. But I'm very concerned for my daughter.

When your child gets manic and hallucinating you get desperate. You turn to the ones you think know these things.


The doctor's think that the reasons for her psychosis could be sertralin combined with cannabis. She has now been tested and evaluated and have been diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar disorder (as her father and grandmother) and GAD.


What should I have done? Could we have dealt with her psychosis on our own? What should we do now?

My daughter is now off olanzapine and back on sertralin, since she became more and more depressed when tapering the olanzapine, after her happy/angry/furious/maniac psychosis months. How can I help her, when all the doctor's do is just prescribing drugs? What can I do to help her get better and have a good life without drugs? Should she stay out of medications(drugs) even if she is suffering from bipolar disorder?


I need some guidance in this...and I don't want to turn to the doctor's for advice. I simply don't trust them and that is a pity.

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Cicci, you posted this question in the topic about Effexor (venlafaxine):


The venlafaxine in a mini-tablet fragment may be released more quickly as it can be absorbed easier. If you take your venlafaxine in the morning, you may wish to take the mini-tablet fragment in the afternoon to avoid too much release of the drug at once.

I'm now on 175 mg of Venlafaxine gelatine capsules - one 150 mg capsule and two 12,5 mg mini-tablets.
Do you recommend me taking the capsule in the morning and the mini-tablets in the afternoon?



Two things:

  1. Altostrata was referring to the situation of breaking a mini-tablet. Right now you are taking whole mini-tablets, so there is nothing for you to do at your current dose and combination of capsules and mini-tablets.
  2. Please post questions about your medications, dosages, and symptoms here in your introduction topic.  It's much easier for everyone when all your information is in one place.

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Ah. I understand. I thought removing the gelatine capsule itself made the pills inside release faster.

And I will post my questions here in my intro from now on.

Thanks scallywag!

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The doctor's think that the reasons for her psychosis could be sertralin combined with canabis. She has now been tested and evaluated and have been diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar disorder (as her father and grandmother) and GAD.


Cannabis is a drug reaction, too.  The psychosis will probably pass, whether she is drugged for it or not.  Again, reading Anatomy of an Epidemic could give you great insight to what is happening, while it is still early enough to turn it around before it goes chronic.


But she needs to stay away from cannabis until the extreme realities have passed.


even if she is suffering from bipolar disorder?


At least 90% (or more!) of "bipolar" diagnoses are really drug reactions.  We don't really go in for "diagnoses", here.  I was labeled bipolar, by a friend of mine who is an MD.  It took her 4 years to convince me (I wasn't convinced until I met my genetic family, then I was able to say, "okay, I come from a line of this, my brain is broken and it is a chemical imbalance, I'll take the drugs, and I don't need to be responsible for my mood."


That was 1998.  It took me 18 years to come around to where I am today, which is undiagnosed, not in treatment, not on any drugs.  And I am the only person who can regulate my mood.  


It was a process, starting in 2012 when I decided I was dying and I didn't want to die, so I quit smoking.  Then the consulting chemist told me to quit the PPI (stomach acid drugs).  Then I quit the statins.  While I was quitting statins, I read "Anatomy of an Epidemic."  Then the light bulbs started coming on.  It took me 2.5 years of tapering to come off lithium and my SNRI (now banned).  But I did so safely, and in control.


Here's a few articles and videos to help you understand how it works (there is a rabbit warren of information, if you start clicking on the clicks that these sources give you).

Intro to Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome




Robert Whitaker Summary of Anatomy of an Epidemic: 10 mins  (video)


Withdrawal Dialogues - cartoons to encourage you  (links to cartoon videos)


Healing from Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery (by Toxic Antidepressants)  (short video)


How are you feeling now that you've dropped the buproprion?  And you are on just the 150 mg venlafaxine?


Wait, hold, get yourself stable.  Use this time to learn about your tapering, and to adopt some practices to help you survive the symptoms:  Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms


Please plan on holding 1-3 months, at least, and pay attention to your symptoms - we want you to be fairly settled from this last dust-up before you start tapering again.


I hope you (and everyone in your family) see the Sun today!

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Thanks JanCarol for your reply!


It makes me so sad and angry to think that the antidepressants might have caused both my depressions and my daughter's psychosis and her being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Her psychosis was the end/result of almost a year of increasing hypomania. We thought immediately of bipolar, since my husband is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He had never been on any antidepressants when he got the diagnosis - but my daughter had been on Sertralin for almost 4 years... :(


When she came to the psychiatric clinic during her psychosis, they put her off Sertralin and on Olanzapin (AND Stesolid, AND sleeping pills..). Now she has tapered and quit Olanzapin - got depressed - and put back on Sertralin...and they are considering putting her on ADHD- and bipolar medications.


I want so badly to help her avoid getting more damaged, but it is so hard to know how to help her when she suffers so from depression and anxiety.


I will surely get the book "Anatomy of an Epidemic" and read all the information on your linked pages! Thanks a bunch!

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Forgot to answer your question: Yes I'm off Voxra and back on 175 mg of Venlafaxine, which was what I was on before starting with Voxra.

The dizziness, nausea, nightmares and brain flashes from cold turkeying (is that the correct expression?) Venlafaxin last weekend is all gone. And I feel good!

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I'm sorry to hear about your family.  Please, consider looking for drug side effects in all of them.  It seems that the medical practices you've been exposed to have been extreme and possibly harmful.  For example, your daughter didn't flip to "manic" until she went onto sertraline.  This is a common pattern, especially in children and teens.  You cannot diagnose a drug side effect as "bipolar" with any accuracy.  There may be other instances of this in your family, too, once you know what to look for.


The depressions my sons suffered from where not drug related, since they hadn't been on any medicines or other drugs prior to that. The oldest son where prescribed Fluoxetine, Retaline and some other drug for hallucinations a couple of years later. He tried Fluoxetine for a while, but felt that his world went all gray and quit. He never took either Ritaline or the other sh*t. (I was shocked when I saw all the drugs the MD had prescribed to my then 18 years old son..)

My husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 40, after having ups and downs with depressions and hypomania since his later teens. He was never on any drugs before his diagnosis. But he has been since.


But - me and my daughter could very well be suffering from misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment. :-(

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Please, if you can get a copy of "Anatomy of an Epidemic" by Robert Whitaker - it will open your eyes to what is happening with all classes of psychiatric drugs.


I absolutely will!


Since all this informations is quite new to me, I need time to make my own opinion on the matter. With everything in life, it's difficult to know what to think and who to trust. And this matter is complicated. Googling on the book shows both postitive and negative comments and opinions.


I want to quit taking antidepressants no matter what. I want to know who I am and find out if I can find some of that girl I used to be, before all antidepressants.

But when it comes to my daughter it is harder. On one hand I want to inform her about the dangers of these drugs - on the other hand I feel "but how can I be sure that this is really the facts?"


I hope you are not offended by my thoughts... I will read all I can find on the matter and hope to get more convinced of either the one or the other "theory", so that I can help my daughter to do what's best for her.


All my love to you all.

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Hi again - and sorry for spamming my own thread... :unsure:


I'm a bit shocked after reading a bunch of articles. And a bit embarassed to be all new to the SSRI myth... I've been fed with the serotonine story all those years. Just one week ago a relativley young MD explained to me about serotonine, norepinephrine and dopamine - and why he thought I needed to switch to Voxra to get the effects of both sertraline and dopamine. I thought Sweden was a highly educated country, but it seems like we're a third world country in this matter.


I found an article in Swedish on Sertraline - which my daughter is taking for "GAD"/constant anxiety - and it says that research shows that serotonine very well might INCREASE anxiety.


I have met A LOT of MDs and psychiatrists, both for myself, my husband and our children during the years. And not a single one of them have ever said anything about these concerns! :angry: Gah!!

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Sounds to me like you are becoming very 'informed'.

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I guess I will have to "inform" all the doctor's I come in contact with too...


Right now I'm wondering if the health insurance system we have will refuse to pay for my 75% sick leave because I didn't follow my doctor's ordination to not further taper Venlafaxin but switch to Voxra. I wouldn't be surprised.


nz11 - I'm on a mission!!

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