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Anonymous784 Successful withdrawal from effexor/venlafaxine

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Hi Anonymous784 :) Congrats on your progress! I have this underlying panic after PAWS and I'm often unable to feel safe in my body. I think it's PTSD from the PAWS. And I get scared that I'll never be able to find peace and "be" in my body again. I do SE, but I find it very hard and anxiety provoking. And I fear I'll never again feel safe in my body even though PAWS is over. I wanted to ask you if you have felt the same way and if it goes away? Thanks :)

Edited by Karma
Name update
  • 2009 - 2017: Venlafaxine (Effexor) 150 mg. Tapered off in under 4 months, from May 2017 - Sep 2017. Didn't get that many side effects and felt fine for 1-2 months. 
  • End-October 2017: Starting getting pain throughout my body.
  • End-January 2018: From one day to the next I got an extreme stress-like inner "shaking" feeling in my body that made me want to opt out for the next 7 months. Also got about 20-30 other bodily symptoms.
  • August 2018: Amitriptyline 10 mg. Tried it for the "shaking" feeling and it helped some. Also started therapy in December 2018 because I had very intense emotions and didn't know why. In July 2019 I wanted to go off Amitriptyline but researched it first, and found out that my mysterious symptoms must have been Venlafaxine withdrawal. 
  • July 15th 2019: Amitriptyline taper from 10 mg to 9 mg, using water solution. My symptoms are between 50-80 % better than in January 2018. 
  • January 20th 2020: Amitriptyline taper from 5,0 to 4.8 mg. I'm starting to get more symptoms again.
  • February 9th 2020: From 4,8 to 7 mg amitriptyline.
  • March 3rd 2020: Symptoms still worse, so went from 7 to 10 mg. Was quickly better on this dose. Won't try tapering until I'm much better. 
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/2/2019 at 1:41 AM, Ladywingnut said:


I hope that's of some use - and I'm so with you as you continue your self work.  ❤️

Thank you lady for all your ideas and keeping in touch even though you're already well healed.  Inspiring and compassionate.  Have a cool yule! 🎅

Love and peace



2008 Dec-Feb 2009 GP diazipam; Dec-Jun 2009 fluoxetine. 2010 Jan citalopram approx 4 weeks, Jan- Aug fluox, Oct-Jun 2011 paroxetine; Aug - Dec venlafaxine 37.5mg - 75mg. 2012 Mar-Jul reinstate ven 150mg; Aug swap to fluox 40mg (preg) - Mar 2013  reinstate ven 150mg. 2015 Nov swap to fluox 40mg (preg) Dec suicidal reinstated ven 300mg

2018 Jan ven "pooped" buspirone added/stopped; pentagablin added; March pent stopped & ven taper - 0 June; August betablockers started/ stopped; September mirtazapine 15mg and diazepam 2mg started/stopped; October ven 300mg reinstated. 

2019 Jan psychiatrist added mirt 15mg (aiming for "California rocket fuel" therapeutic dose).  No more meds: gradual taper mirt Feb-April (taken for < 3 weeks).

Commenced ven taper 5-10% 6-10 weekly 2019 April - Nov: 225mg.  Tapering 8 weekly in alignment with menstrual cycle 2020 Jan 212.5mg; Mar 200mg; Jun 187.5mg hold

Oct all meds stopped sectioned under mental health act psychosis olanzapine 20mg PRN lorazepam

Dec 600mg lithium 15mg olanzapine

1-2g omega 3 & 400ug folic acid

2 puffs pulmicort inhaler.

This too shall pass.


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  • 1 year later...

Hello all, and happy 2021.  I thought I would pop in and do an update on this, especially after seeing that there is more research coming out on withdrawal etc.  


I am...still doing pretty well!  I still have disability-level complex PTSD, so that's a real ongoing struggle, but I still feel ok saying I am doing pretty well. 


Through my therapy (weekly, somatic experiencing/talk therapy) and ongoing self-directed recovery work I have regained enough capacity to properly pursue new things again and handle big external challenges.  I am doing songwriting and audio production, writing, music study, and improv music stuff.  (I'm in a country where covid is not restricting life atm.)  I am doing better with emotion regulation, albeit that it's a big thing to figure out and I'm still very much in the middle of that (terror is a frequent visitor, ha).  Even though a lot of my energy is still taken up by managing my illness, there is now quite a lot of room around it where I enjoy life, friends, and creative pursuits.  I am anhedonic much less often, and much less intensely, and I have figured out how to make my way out of anhedonia reeeeeasonably reliably.  I am very clear on my values and needs and am making a life for myself that aligns with those things.  I am still not using medication except for tiny doses of lorazepam very occasionally (10 doses per 6 months-ish, generally), but that's just to interrupt spirals so I can sleep when necessary.


Effexor feels very far away now.  I do sometimes wish there was a medication that could curb the intensity of some of my symptoms without numbing me, and without dulling my creativity/sexuality/sense of self.   But in a world where no such medication exists (for me; I know it does for some), I am really pleased with how much I have been able to do with therapy and self-directed recovery work.  


I lay all this out here because when I was trying to rid myself of effexor, it felt interminably, permanently, desperately, awful, and I would have liked to read these messages from future me telling me that that was the withdrawal talking.  That it will probably always be hard, but it won't always be quite so relentlessly hard, and there will be a lot of things to love in the future too.  If anyone's where I was, I hope that message helps you too.  :)

Was on 300mg Effexor from 2013-2015, tapering down to complete withdrawal in April 2016.  Reinstated following unmanageable withdrawal symptoms.  On 10 mg daily from June 2016 to early 2017.  Tapered veeerrrry slowly down to 0 by early April 2017.  Drug free since then.  Currently doing fine off the drugs, albeit dealing with significant unprocessed trauma issues with weekly psychologist sessions.  Full complex definition of "fine" at my success story thread.


Previously on Citalopram maximum dose 2004 to 2009, withdrew to nothing 2010, onto fluoxetine maximum dose 2010 to 2013, then tried several different meds that I don't remember for 4 months in 2013, settling on the Effexor.

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  • Karma changed the title to Anonymous784 Successful withdrawal from effexor/venlafaxine

@Anonymous784Thank you for sharing another chapter of your success story.  It's inspiring to me to see other people recover from this.  I'm also working hard on learning to cope with life without psych meds.  Keep up the good work!  Jennifer

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 02 - 10 mg; Jan 19 20  0.2 mg;  Apr 2  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13

Trazodone.  used 50 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Xanax. used 0.5 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, multivitamin, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 3 mg, calcium

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