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rainlace: Withdrawal symptoms or "relapse"?


rainlace

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I am currently taking Effexor 37.5 mg after two unsuccessful attempts to get off these meds. Each time i tapered off and was completely off the meds, I experienced some flu like symptoms and brain zaps right after discontinuing but i was then OK for the next 2-3 months. After about 3 to 4 months off the meds i suddenly get severe anxiety, a complete loss of appetite, and can't sleep. A lot of people have reported these symptoms but i haven't found anyone yet to mention if they experienced these symptoms directly after stopping the meds or if it developed over time. Does anyone know if it is still considered withdrawal if the symptoms are of a delayed onset? My doc told me its a relapse in depression however i don't know if this is in fact true as i never had anxiety that bad BEFORE i started these drugs 10 years ago. 

 

Thanks guys and i would appreciate any input. 

Edited by scallywag
tags

On antidepressants for 9 years.

Zoloft for 7 years then Effexor for 2.

I cannot provide all the dates i started or increased or decreased dosage, all i know is I was on between 25-100mg of zoloft, from 2008-2015. I tapered zoloft off in Feb 2014 around May 2014 I experienced severe anxiety, sleep disruptions, and couldn't eat. I started taking Effexor 37.5-75mg in May 2015-May 2016, and tapered off and experienced the same symptoms so i went back on 37.5 mg in August 2016 and am currently taking it at this dose. 

 

Im also taking a multivitamin, adaptogens, glucosamin, fish oil and 25 mg of progesterone cream. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

Hi Rainlace and welcome to SA,

 

What you are describing are withdrawal symptoms.  It seems to be reasonably common for the medical profession to say it is relapse as many of them don't seem to recognise that coming off ADs too quickly can cause withdrawal symptoms, sometimes several months after stopping the drug.  I have experienced both.  I had symptoms turn up several months after a cold turkey off a previous AD when I had been feeling really great.  And I have experienced brain zaps from just missing my dose of Pristiq.

 

So that we can see your complete drug history please create a drug signature Create Your Signature.  Please include details for the last 12-18 months of  all drugs, dates, doses and discontinuations & reinstatements.  If you can't remember dates, please write it as "early March" or "mid-August".  Please provide a summary of any drugs prior to that which can just be listed with start and stop years.  Please include all prescription, non-prescription drugs and supplements you are currently taking.  Phone Instructions:  Withdrawal History Signature.  Please also remember to update it with date and dose whenever make a change so that it remains current.  Thank you.

 

I will give you some links to check out.

 

Before you begin tapering what you need to know

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

Withdrawal Symptoms - Delayed Onset

 

Is it withdrawal or relapse?  Or something else?


How do I know it's withdrawal and not relapse?

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the previous dose followed by a hold of about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  These really helped me to understand SA recommendations:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

This is your own Intro topic where you can ask questions about your own situation and journal your progress.  Click "Follow" top right and you will be notified when someone responds.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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TikkiTikki

Hi rainlace,

 

Yes, I've been there before too. I tapered over 3-4 months with minimal symptoms and then 3-4 months after completely stopping I felt severe anxiety, depression, obsessive thoughts - I was a complete wreck and afraid of everything.

 

I tapered more slowly than my doctor recommended, and they said it was just relapse.

 

where are you at now? Have you reinstated your ADs and are considering quitting again, or are you still off them and feeling awful?

 

All that stuff Chessiecat has recommended is vital to know.

 

I'm planning a 1-2 year taper in the hope that  won't "relapse" again.

 

Tikki

Celexa (Citalopram)    40mg  - 60mg - 40mg for 7 years          Tapered (over 3 months) drug-free Aug–Nov 2013 CRASH

40mg    Dec 2013 – Jan 2017 (7 weeks reinstatement hell then relief)

2017:    20mg    30 Jan       18mg   19 April          16mg   6 May          14mg   20 May      12mg  10 Jun

              10mg   7 July          9mg    7 Aug               8mg     16 Oct          7.5mg  27 Nov         

2018:    7mg      8 Jan          6.5mg  12 Feb          6mg  17 Mar            5.2mg  14 Apr      5mg  28 Apr

             4.8mg  4 Jun           4.6mg   23 Jun         4.4mg   24 Jul          4.2mg 13 Aug      4mg  20 Aug

             3.8mg  1 Sep           3.6mg  28 Sep          3.4mg  14 Oct          3.2mg  11 Nov     3mg  5 Dec

             5mg    26 Dec          10mg  28 Dec

Added Valdoxan 25mg   12 Dec 2018      stopped 24 Jan 2019

Wellbutrin 150mg     25 Jan

 

 

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A question I have had on my mind at times, too, rainlace.  Cheers.

 

What are the clearest symptoms to distinguish withdrawal from relapse?

Born 1945. 

1999 - First Effexor/Venlafaxine

2016 Withdrawal research. Effexor.  13Jul - 212.5mg;  6Aug - 200.0mg;  24Aug - 187.5mg;  13Sep - 175.0mg;  3Oct - 162.5mg;  26Oct - 150mg 

2017  9Jan - 150.00mg;  23Mar - 137.50mg;  24Apr - 125.00mg;  31May - 112.50mg holding;  3Sep - 100.00mg;  20Sep - 93.75mg;  20Oct - 87.5mg;  12Nov - 81.25mg;  13 Dec - 75.00mg

2018  18Jan - 69.1mg; 16Feb - 62.5mg; 16March - 57.5mg (-8%); 22Apr - 56.3mg(-2%); CRASHED - Updose 29May - 62.5mg; Updose - 1Jul - 75.0mg. Updose - 2Aug - 87.5mg. Updose - 27Aug - 100.0mg. Updose - 11Oct 112.5mg. Updose - 6Nov 125.00mg

2019 Updoses 19 Jan - 150.0mg. 1April - 162.5mg. 24 April - Feeling better - doing tasks, getting outside.  7 May - usual depression questionnaire gives "probably no depression" result.

Supps/Vits  Omega 3;  Chelated Magnesium;  Prebiotics/Probiotics, Vit D3. 

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Thank you ChessieCat for all the links, the info has been really eye opening for me! I will definitely try tapering at the 10% rate. I'm happy to hear what i experienced seems to be withdrawl and maybe (hopefully) with time it will pass. 

Tikki i went off Effexor last year for only 3 months, when i experienced those symptoms i went right back on the drugs because i thought maybe i really did need to be on them. I do plan to start tapering soon, i think i will be able to stick out the hard times now that i understand what i will be experiencing and why its happening. 

On antidepressants for 9 years.

Zoloft for 7 years then Effexor for 2.

I cannot provide all the dates i started or increased or decreased dosage, all i know is I was on between 25-100mg of zoloft, from 2008-2015. I tapered zoloft off in Feb 2014 around May 2014 I experienced severe anxiety, sleep disruptions, and couldn't eat. I started taking Effexor 37.5-75mg in May 2015-May 2016, and tapered off and experienced the same symptoms so i went back on 37.5 mg in August 2016 and am currently taking it at this dose. 

 

Im also taking a multivitamin, adaptogens, glucosamin, fish oil and 25 mg of progesterone cream. 

Link to post

A question I have had on my mind at times, too, rainlace.  Cheers.

 

What are the clearest symptoms to distinguish withdrawal from relapse?

 

Any of the mods able to offer anything on this one, please?

 

I often read on SA that most doctors will say it is a relapse, whilst SA policy, mostly, it seems to me, is to say it is withdrawal.

Not deliberately trying to be provocative, I really want to know for the sake of my own program and believe this has to be one of the key questions for most of us.

Thank you..

Born 1945. 

1999 - First Effexor/Venlafaxine

2016 Withdrawal research. Effexor.  13Jul - 212.5mg;  6Aug - 200.0mg;  24Aug - 187.5mg;  13Sep - 175.0mg;  3Oct - 162.5mg;  26Oct - 150mg 

2017  9Jan - 150.00mg;  23Mar - 137.50mg;  24Apr - 125.00mg;  31May - 112.50mg holding;  3Sep - 100.00mg;  20Sep - 93.75mg;  20Oct - 87.5mg;  12Nov - 81.25mg;  13 Dec - 75.00mg

2018  18Jan - 69.1mg; 16Feb - 62.5mg; 16March - 57.5mg (-8%); 22Apr - 56.3mg(-2%); CRASHED - Updose 29May - 62.5mg; Updose - 1Jul - 75.0mg. Updose - 2Aug - 87.5mg. Updose - 27Aug - 100.0mg. Updose - 11Oct 112.5mg. Updose - 6Nov 125.00mg

2019 Updoses 19 Jan - 150.0mg. 1April - 162.5mg. 24 April - Feeling better - doing tasks, getting outside.  7 May - usual depression questionnaire gives "probably no depression" result.

Supps/Vits  Omega 3;  Chelated Magnesium;  Prebiotics/Probiotics, Vit D3. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

We have a few topics here on WD vs relapse.

 

Just google surviving antidepressants plus anything that comes to your mind (relapse).

 

Here is ond summary by scally:

 

How do I know it's withdrawal and not relapse?

 

Typically, in withdrawal symptoms such as melancholia, anxiety, and disorientation come in intense waves, sometimes only a few minutes long, which differentiates them from relapse of a psychological condition.

 

In withdrawal, symptoms are much more intense than the original psychological condition. People suffering from withdrawal often say things like

 

- "This doesn't feel like my depression."

- "I've never had symptoms like this before."

- "I feel very weird and not like myself."

- "I can't feel my feelings."

 

It's up to you to decide whether your body and brain are behaving "normally" as they did before you tried medication, or if you are feeling differently. No one else, not even a doctor, can determine this.

Current: Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post

Thanks, bubble and ChessieCat

 

Yes, I guessed there would have been a lot on SA about the subject I raised.

Thanks for helping me focus on the main threads.

We all know how to google, but a pointer from experienced forum members and mods saves a lot of time and frustration, mainly from being sidetracked.

 

I think my main side effect from 5-10% rate of withdrawal over the past year has been the unmistakable brain zap.  I have not had them for a few weeks now, but fatigue, broken sleep and low mood prevail.

Not any worse than I was a year ago, but taking 125mg efex instead of 225mg must be a good thing?

Born 1945. 

1999 - First Effexor/Venlafaxine

2016 Withdrawal research. Effexor.  13Jul - 212.5mg;  6Aug - 200.0mg;  24Aug - 187.5mg;  13Sep - 175.0mg;  3Oct - 162.5mg;  26Oct - 150mg 

2017  9Jan - 150.00mg;  23Mar - 137.50mg;  24Apr - 125.00mg;  31May - 112.50mg holding;  3Sep - 100.00mg;  20Sep - 93.75mg;  20Oct - 87.5mg;  12Nov - 81.25mg;  13 Dec - 75.00mg

2018  18Jan - 69.1mg; 16Feb - 62.5mg; 16March - 57.5mg (-8%); 22Apr - 56.3mg(-2%); CRASHED - Updose 29May - 62.5mg; Updose - 1Jul - 75.0mg. Updose - 2Aug - 87.5mg. Updose - 27Aug - 100.0mg. Updose - 11Oct 112.5mg. Updose - 6Nov 125.00mg

2019 Updoses 19 Jan - 150.0mg. 1April - 162.5mg. 24 April - Feeling better - doing tasks, getting outside.  7 May - usual depression questionnaire gives "probably no depression" result.

Supps/Vits  Omega 3;  Chelated Magnesium;  Prebiotics/Probiotics, Vit D3. 

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