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peggy: 13 years of Effexor


peggy

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Hi there, firstly i want to say this looks like a really balanced and well run community!

Now, my saga!!!

I was put on Effexor 12 or 13 years ago -have had 4 episodes of self limiting (4 months or so) PPD. And then 3 episodes of depression after those - first 2 unmedicated, then the last one was put on Effexor. Episodes were about 3 or 4 years apart. Effexor, i thought worked beautifully - within 4 weeks, 6 months of agony was erased and I thought i was no longer terrified of being depressed. I responded beautifully,(or so i thought) was on 150mg for 9 months and came off over a month, no problems at all - but went back on about 9 months later after i had a tricky patch at work and thought i might have been getting depressed again- i was frightened of getting sick and seeing as it worked so well previously i foolishly went back on.

 

Again i only stayed on for about 6 months and came off again with no problem. About 6 months later i started to get depressed again - went on again, this time my doctor said i should stay on for 2 years - so i did. Next time i came off, still with no physical withdrawal i stayed well for only 3 months. Next time only 2 weeks.....then 2 weeks again.

 

Two years ago I started to think maybe this WAS like a delayed withdrawal and maybe i could kind of muddle through it - my mind gets carried away with all the 'what if's' and I start to panic about 'just how bad will I get' I managed to stay off for 7 weeks before i spent a panic filled night thinking what if i get psychotic depression!!!! This time my doc suggested Pristiq - the first day i had the terrible nausea and the next day i had some anxiety, but wanted to stick it out - the next day I was slammed with the worse anxiety i have ever felt - i had to take xanax (first time ever) to take the edge off. It was horrible. So, I went back to effexor. I think the pristiq really messed with me. It took about 4 weeks for the effexor to work and the whole time i worried that it wouldn't work this time, and i spent hours googling things like poop out etc.

 

After it kicked in, I thought, I will just stay on - but i can't do that - i feel that over the years my motivation is being insidiously eroded away. I have put on about 30lbs which nothing i do can budge. I am always constipated and wake up feeling like i have been drugged. Other than that I am very functional and successful in my job. But I am terrified of what Effexor is doing to my neurotransmittter systems - I have been doing a lot of research over time and my gut feeling is that something has altered. I see Dr Fava's hypothesis that antidepressants may worsen the course of depression and shorten the time between episodes - which may have occurred with me in the 3 times i was off effexor about 6-9 months.

 

 

And then I wonder about the possibility that maybe my neurotransmitter systems are dysregulated for some period of time. This is my reaction the last times I have come off and only stayed off a few weeks(i see now i have done it too fast - usually 150 down to 75 for 2 weeks then down to 37.5 for 2 weeks then off):

3-4 days of funny head feeling - not really bad, just sort of the eyes take a minute to catch up

4 days of being really fatigued

then a surge of well being - feeling motivated and good

then, little anxious thoughts start to creep back - then it might get worse and i jump back on. Last time i waited out 7 weeks and it did cycle - good days, bad days and even within a day - the cloud would come down and stay down for a few hours and then magically lift - when it lifted i would feel that it would never lower again - and then it would, until i started googling about how bad depression can get, and can you get through it without medication etc.

 

About 6 months ago, i went down from 150 to 112.5 for 2 months

75 for 6 weeks

65 for 6 weeks

55 for 4 weeks

45 for 4 weeks

now on 37.5mg - i noticed a few days of fatigue and headache at this reduction

 

I am planning on going down to 30mg after 4 weeks on 37.5mg and then by about 5 mg there after.

 

I am REALLY hoping this will prevent what ever is occurring in my brain - I look forward to comments and getting to know you all better.

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Hi Peggy ~

So very sorry for what you've been through but glad you found the site

I DCd Pristiq after 15+ yrs on everything but MAOIs for depression //oddly I didn't get the brain zaps when tapering Pristiq although I did after just one missed dose of Effexor /so didn't relate AMcortisol panic attacks to taper until done

I still have drugs on board so they likely played in

 

Welcome ~there's alot of great info and support here

Barb

Still waiting for motivation to kick in

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Hi, Peggy, thanks for joining us.

 

Going on and off antidepressants may have sensitized your system, making you more prone to withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes they don't show up, or we don't realize we have them, until weeks after going off the medication.

 

To be on the safe side, you might want to reduce by 10% a month or less. This means at 37.5mg, you might want to reduce by 3.7mg, bringing your dosage down to 33.8mg, and see how you do for a month at that level. If withdrawal symptoms are really minor, make the next decrease 3.4mg, bringing your dosage down to 30.4mg.

 

It's best to make smaller decreases when you get to lower dosages, so each of your drops is proportionally small to the prior dosage.

 

Are you taking tablets?

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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thanks for the welcome!

 

i am on the capsules, so i have worked out that there is approx 0.27mg effexor per bead - now i am on the whole 37.5mg capsule, but i have some empty gelatine capsules that i will recapsulate for the next reduction. I may try the 33mg next time - and stay for the month on that before the next drop to 30mg.

 

Between the fatigue of the first few days until the creeping back in of the anxiety, i don't appear to have any other withdrawal symptoms.. what i can ascertain anyway...

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Q: no brain zaps

 

I'm trying to understand why I didn't have this very common WD symptom

 

(I've managed to shock the punctuation marks out of my mobile ~sorry)

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Q: no brain zaps

 

I'm trying to understand why I didn't have this very common WD symptom

 

(I've managed to shock the punctuation marks out of my mobile ~sorry)

 

well, not that i would call 'zaps' per se, but certainly a weird feeling in my head -my eyes seem to take a while to catch up when i turn my head quickly if that makes sense and headache I do get the diarrhoea and funny tummy, vivid dreams. Quite emotional too - i tear up when watching anything remotely sad on TV that doesn't normally bother me - a bit irritable and probably a little quicker to anger.

 

just wanted to add that the physical withdrawal symptoms that i have recorded above I feel very lucky to only have - i can cope with those - what i get stumped by is the (what the Dr called relapse) 2 -3 weeks out, anxiety, obsessive thoughts (which is common when i have depression) leading to that dread feeling. I have always gone back on meds because I only ever got these symptoms when i did have depression. My depressive episodes were really quite severe - i was almost unable to work for the 6 months they continued, and in the episode that I was eventually medicated for I was suicidal - so it kind of scares me. BUT, in between episodes (usually 4 years or so) i was completely undepressed, vibrant, active and am considered successful and well known in my field. Once the feelings started they didn't abate for the 6 months.

 

I have since done a lot of therapy, meditation, exercise and was hoping that i have a better toolbox at my disposal than the rhetoric espoused at me by the medical profession - that is that the course of MDD is just what i am experiencing. But i don't want to sit back anymore and let it be like that, i do think I have more 'control' or input than I thought i had all those years ago

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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I know those emotional spurts well and have come to recognize and 'appreciate' them even when those around me might not :-/

ADs are known to blunt all emotions -good and other • I feel that mine have been suppressed and bottled up for years • I didn't cry/really laugh/get angry when it would have been very appropriate to• I believe a writer or any artist would be honored to know that their work brought you to tears

 

I try to not use the word 'depression' but instead identify the more specific feeling underneath ~sad/overwhelmed/betrayed/lonely or simply bored • that has made it more manageable for me • it's strange to experience senses and feelings so acutely and can be unsettling when seen thru the 'DSM filter' that pathologizes every behavior they can (this should go in Rants section)

 

I still dont dream probably due to the benzo and traz • missed my Klonopin the other nite and had a horrid nightmare

 

I'm sorry ~ didn't mean to hijack your thread but you touched on a few of my hot topics

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Peggy, what we're seeing is that people can have what seem to be mild withdrawal symptoms to begin with, but sometimes they seem to consolidate and become more distressing later on.

 

Are you having these head-motion symptoms now? I would say they are related to zaps.

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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Peggy, what we're seeing is that people can have what seem to be mild withdrawal symptoms to begin with, but sometimes they seem to consolidate and become more distressing later on.

 

Are you having these head-motion symptoms now? I would say they are related to zaps.

 

no, i dropped to 37.5mg from 45mg one week ago, i had 3 or 4 days of mild head motion stuff, not all the time, just if i moved too quickly - but they settled. I feel very good now on the 37.5 and as I said will stay here for 3 or 4 weeks before dropping again - to 33 and then to 30mg.

 

Like many others, I feel kind of 'ripped off' - i don't regret going on the first time as I really was quite ill, and the effexor did give me some space- but subsequent times it's not possible to comment on whether i should have or not. My doctor is not an over prescriber at all, but i don't think he is sufficiently up on withdrawal - or should i say DELAYED withdrawal - when i first suggested i may be experiencing a kind of rebound depression (what i thought it was) he disagreed and said I was probably just still needing the medication. It's funny, because my intuition told me it was medication related, but it was hard for me to maintain that position.

 

And I really can't rest on it forever, as i am really concerned at what may be happening upstream and downstream to my receptors and feedback systems.

 

Sorry my posts are all over the place!!! I thought of something else i have noticed in my withdrawals - when i come completely off and i have got over that few days of head stuff, i have this lovely sense of well being that i don't experience AT ALL on effexor. I sort of thought that because my reuptake of neurotransmitters has been inhibited for so long there was a massive reuptake when i stopped, hence the well being feeling, but then the crash as the feedback to make more serotonin etc has been dysregulated and there is a sudden shortage - oversimplified for sure, but fits well in my head.

 

Does anyone know if as you reduce there is a 'pro rata' effect - that is there is some inhibition of reuptake, but less than at a full therapeutic dose? My doctor doesn't think so - she thinks that at under 75mg (and probably even 150mg) there isn't any real therapeutic effect!!!!!

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Peggy~

I don't have an answer to your question but can say that ~ almost across the board ~ MDs have the least idea of what these drugs really do upstream /downstream and long after the 6-8 weeks that are used for drug approval and prescribing info

They often have never considered that 'brain drugs' effect the rest of the body and neuroendocrine system in particular

Sorry again ~ docs who have no idea that they have no idea are the scariest of them all

 

So glad you've listened to your intuition

 

If you haven't read about Protracted Withdrawal here you might find that helpful

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Thanks barbara,

Yes, I know the Docs have no idea... :(

 

I am just hoping that after ALL this time i can eventually find a balance :)

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Does anyone know if as you reduce there is a 'pro rata' effect - that is there is some inhibition of reuptake, but less than at a full therapeutic dose? My doctor doesn't think so - he thinks that at under 75mg (and probably even 150mg) there isn't any real therapeutic effect!!!!!

Yes, there is a 'pro rata' effect. People who are sensitive can feel tiny amounts of neuroactive medication, and tiny changes in the dosage.

 

Most psychiatric drugs are dosed at excessive levels arbitrarily chosen by the drug companies in clinical trials. Many people could be treated with much lower dosages -- the lowest effective dose for the individual, rather than the lowest dose available in a tablet or capsule from the manufacturer.

 

Whether any dose is "therapeutic" -- that's in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

 

Doctors who talk in terms of "therapeutic" doses are quoting information supplied by drug manufacturers. No one can predict what a "therapeutic" dose is for any given individual. For psychiatric drugs, even the concept of "therapeutic" is debatable!

 

PS It sounds like when you quit before, you might have had very mild hypomania, which wore off when your system started to feel the serotonergic downregulation.

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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Thanks Altostrata, that was what i would have thought - it doesn't make sense that a drug wouldn't do anything until it reached a certain level; for example you can taste the increasing sweetness that sugar adds to coffee with each added spoonful - come to think of it that is how i reduced sugar from my coffee!!! - bit by bit so i didn't notice it as much.

 

Sometimes i think i was stupid handing over my (what i thought was considerable) common sense to my Doctor..

 

And I did wonder about mild hypomania, i was sleeping very soundly though...could be..

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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well, not that i would call 'zaps' per se, but certainly a weird feeling in my head -my eyes seem to take a while to catch up when i turn my head quickly if that makes sense and headache I do get the diarrhoea and funny tummy, vivid dreams. Quite emotional too - i tear up when watching anything remotely sad on TV that doesn't normally bother me - a bit irritable and probably a little quicker to anger.

 

just wanted to add that the physical withdrawal symptoms that i have recorded above I feel very lucky to only have - i can cope with those - what i get stumped by is the (what the Dr called relapse) 2 -3 weeks out, anxiety, obsessive thoughts (which is common when i have depression) leading to that dread feeling. I have always gone back on meds because I only ever got these symptoms when i did have depression. My depressive episodes were really quite severe - i was almost unable to work for the 6 months they continued, and in the episode that I was eventually medicated for I was suicidal - so it kind of scares me. BUT, in between episodes (usually 4 years or so) i was completely undepressed, vibrant, active and am considered successful and well known in my field. Once the feelings started they didn't abate for the 6 months.

 

I have since done a lot of therapy, meditation, exercise and was hoping that i have a better toolbox at my disposal than the rhetoric espoused at me by the medical profession - that is that the course of MDD is just what i am experiencing. But i don't want to sit back anymore and let it be like that, i do think I have more 'control' or input than I thought i had all those years ago

 

Hi Peggy, and welcome.

 

I relate a whole lot to your story... always going back on meds, being told I was relapsing. Your description of tearing up at anything and sometimes being quick to anger is exactly what I've felt every time I've gone off meds. I think I remember having what is called a brain zap this very last time I quit, but only once or twice. The time I quit before this time I had no physical symptoms. Just the wanting to cry at stuff. And certainly feeling like I was coming back alive in a way. It wasn't until a few months later that I developed strong anxiety (which I had never had a problem with pre-meds). All I can say is, even if you are not having the typical physical symptoms now, like brain zaps, go as slow as possible on the taper to make things gentler for you. I wish I had! This last time I CTed, but in 2008 I tapered for several months and it was not enough. That, of course, may just be me, because I was on drugs off and on for so many years... but I do regret not tapering more slowly.

 

I wish you the best of luck! It sounds to me like you have a very good perspective on things.

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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So, I have now been on 34mg ( or100 beads) for the last 5 days.

Coming down from 37.5 to 34mg was not at all problematic. Just after Christmas I read Robert Whittakers book 'Anatomy of an Epidemic' and I am absolutely stunned :(

The finding that antidepressants shorten the time between depressions was horrifying for me - I had wondered that very possibility. I was pretty sick the first time i went on Effexor, but the other times i might have been OK with supportive counselling.

 

I do wonder if my brain (and others) will revert eventually to pre medication status. I am hoping that all the therapy and things i have learnt over the last 13 years will help me to resolve any future episodes if and when they arise.

 

Wishing everyone a happy and healing New Year!

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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So, I have now been on 34mg ( or100 beads) for the last 5 days.

Coming down from 37.5 to 34mg was not at all problematic. Just after Christmas I read Robert Whittakers book 'Anatomy of an Epidemic' and I am absolutely stunned :(

The finding that antidepressants shorten the time between depressions was horrifying for me - I had wondered that very possibility. I was pretty sick the first time i went on Effexor, but the other times i might have been OK with supportive counselling.

 

I do wonder if my brain (and others) will revert eventually to pre medication status. I am hoping that all the therapy and things i have learnt over the last 13 years will help me to resolve any future episodes if and when they arise.

 

Wishing everyone a happy and healing New Year!

 

Happy New Year! And ditto on your wonders and hopes. One of the things I still worry about is, even if I get through this withdrawal stuff, how will I deal with my initial depression and sensitivity issues without drugs? And then I think... if I'm getting through withdrawal, that will be a piece of cake in comparison!

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Hi Peggy!

 

Effexor is generally regarded as the toughest pmed to stop. The WD is reported to be so heinous that people just return to it.

 

IMO I feel that what you are experiencing is not recurrent Major Depressive Disorder, what you are experiencing WD.

 

The best way to come off Effexor is very, very, very slowly. I do not recommend using Xanax to aid in WD since benzos come with their own set of problems including the potential for a protracted WD of hellish proportions.

 

I would bet money that without the pmeds you are a person capable of feeling joy and confidence.

Withdrew cold turkey from six medications: Celexa, Zyprexa, Depakote, Ativan, Ambien and Phentermine in 2002. It has been 10 years since I told polypharmacy to take a hike and have joined this forum to let others know that success is possible and to hopefully save people from experiencing the suffering that I did under psychiatric "care".

 

MY STORY

 

"TENSION is when we try to be who we think we should be, RELAXATION is when we are who we really are."

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Happy New Year! And ditto on your wonders and hopes. One of the things I still worry about is, even if I get through this withdrawal stuff, how will I deal with my initial depression and sensitivity issues without drugs? And then I think... if I'm getting through withdrawal, that will be a piece of cake in comparison!

 

:lol: yes, absolutely - a piece of cake - nice warm chocolate mud cake with vanilla ice cream on the side :lol: :lol:

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Peggy!

 

Effexor is generally regarded as the toughest pmed to stop. The WD is reported to be so heinous that people just return to it.

 

IMO I feel that what you are experiencing is not recurrent Major Depressive Disorder, what you are experiencing WD.

 

The best way to come off Effexor is very, very, very slowly. I do not recommend using Xanax to aid in WD since benzos come with their own set of problems including the potential for a protracted WD of hellish proportions.

 

I would bet money that without the pmeds you are a person capable of feeling joy and confidence.

 

Hi Whatever!

This little black sheep won't be taking any Xanax or any other benzo!!

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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You a very smart!

Withdrew cold turkey from six medications: Celexa, Zyprexa, Depakote, Ativan, Ambien and Phentermine in 2002. It has been 10 years since I told polypharmacy to take a hike and have joined this forum to let others know that success is possible and to hopefully save people from experiencing the suffering that I did under psychiatric "care".

 

MY STORY

 

"TENSION is when we try to be who we think we should be, RELAXATION is when we are who we really are."

Link to comment

 

Happy New Year! And ditto on your wonders and hopes. One of the things I still worry about is, even if I get through this withdrawal stuff, how will I deal with my initial depression and sensitivity issues without drugs? And then I think... if I'm getting through withdrawal, that will be a piece of cake in comparison!

 

:lol: yes, absolutely - a piece of cake - nice warm chocolate mud cake with vanilla ice cream on the side :lol: :lol:

 

Heh heh! If only! Actually, that sounds so delicious. Mmm....

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

i have been doing really well - taking 3-4mg drops (bit hard to tell exactly how ) every two weeks - that is about 5% reductions - i thought it was better to do 5% 2 weekly than 10% every 4 weeks. So, I came down to 24mg 2 weeks ago and feeling good - no symptoms that i could tell. Yesterday i was due to go down to 20mg( or 60 beads), but i woke with that familiar uneasy feeling - the sort of feeling that i have only ever had when starting to get depressed - a something is not quite right feeling - not yet crushing but i feel like i am sitting on the edge of the tea cup.. should i go back up to 27mg (the dose i was on before going to 24mg) or just stay here longer. I sort of get a panicky feeling like, here it goes again... :(

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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  • Administrator

Hi, peggy. This may be the point at which you want to make even smaller drops. 5mg is 20% of 24mg -- a fairly large decrease.

 

How are you measuring the decrease? Are you counting beads?

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Oh, I see!!! -

yes, I am counting beads - i bought some empty capsules and redoing them - i do a few weeks at a time.

So, do you think i should go back up to 27mg or stay and wait it out?

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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  • Administrator

Hi Peggy,

 

If you are just beginning to get that uneasy feeling and it isn't too uncomfortable, you could just hold and see if it resolves. If it is very uncomfortable, based on my experience, I would go back up to the last comfortable dose and hold. I'm coming off of Effexor and that worked for me.

 

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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  • Administrator

I agree with Karma. If the symptoms don't lessen in a week, go up to the prior dose.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

What started out as 'just that uncomfortable feeling' escalated quite quickly to full on anxiety, with greater waves coming especially when i went to bed.

 

i thought i might be able to weather the anxiety - (that is my only symptom atm) I feel like such a failure. In the middle of the night i got up and thought F***I and took 75mg. I just panic when i start getting the anxiety - it is a lot more severe than before i went on effexor - i was put on for depression but my depression has a very high anxiety component and that's my achilles heel.

 

My reason for wanting to get off Effexor is that i don't want to be on medication forever, especially one that they are just beginning to realise may have significant long term problems. Esp after reading Robert Whittaker's book. I have never had any 'poop out' or need to keep escalating dose, in fact i was stable on a lower dose for a long time than that which i initially was started on.

 

Should I just throw in the towel and stay on Effexor, or try again? I realise i am not in any real rational state to decide this atm, but if history repeats, I am staring down the barrel of a couple of weeks of feeling like this until the Effexor kicks in at the higher dose.

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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  • Administrator

You don't need to reinstate the entire dose, you can just go back up to 27mg or a little higher, whatever stops the symptoms.

 

Yes, withdrawal anxiety (we sometimes call it "neuro-anxiety") is much worse than normal anxiety.

 

When do you normally take your dose? Next time, you might want to try 27mg or 30mg, and stay at that until your nervous system settles down.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

i find the anxiety symptom doesn't stop for a few weeks though - and if 30mg isn't enough then am i doing my nervous system more damage? I feel screwed!

 

neuro anxiety is a great term! - it is unrelenting and very tiring

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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  • Administrator

If 30mg isn't enough, you'll find out in a couple of days.

 

Don't worry about damage to your nervous system. The withdrawal symptoms are signs it is unhappy. If they go away, that's a good sign.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

if in the past the anxiety hasn't abated for several (up to 3 weeks) after reinstating, does this suggest it wasn't withdrawal related?, but return to previous condition..

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Hi Peggy,

 

I wanted to chime in. I came off Effexor following my doctor's rapid taper schedule approximately two years ago. It was extremely difficult for me and anxiety was a primary symptom. I had a lot of social anxiety, as well as doom and dread about the future.... just all sorts of fear and stress.

 

I am quite impressed with the willingness you've shown to make changes (course corrections) as you try to negotiate an Effexor taper. And, like you, I also read Whitaker's book 'Anatomy' which really opened my eyes. Finally, like you, my doctor wasn't sufficiently aware of the risks and requirements of tapering Effexor.

 

But it has been two years since my last dose of Effexor. At this point, I am doing quite much better. I am very glad about that. But in the muck, everything felt very uncertain and frightening.

 

You ask:

 

if in the past the anxiety hasn't abated for several (up to 3 weeks) after reinstating, does this suggest it wasn't withdrawal related?, but return to previous condition..

 

Others will chime in, but keep in mind that 13 years of regular dosing of venlafaxine results in significant neurological adaptation. That's 13 years of firing and wiring.

 

During my withdrawal, it felt like my 'primary' anxiety was coming back and worse than ever. But, in my case, it wasn't my old condition re-emerging but a withdrawal syndrome emerging with a mighty force.

 

Since I am not a medical professional, I can't tell you that you don't have a previous condition that is not returning. But as a regular on this forum I can tell you that I've seen many individuals endure withdrawal and, so far, none have come off, endured withdrawal and then found themselves back where they started -- with an 'original condition' anything like they thought they had. None, having reached this point, realized the power of their original psychiatric illness, admitted their folly in tapering off and returned to their old dose of antidepressants which extinguished the signs of their distress.

 

As I look back, despite all the terrible withdrawal I endured, going off psychiatric medication altered my view of my own life. I see, smell and experience life in a way I had forgotten. It feels really good to be me again -- though I never knew I wasn't me since I drifted away from myself so slowly, a pill at a time.

 

I do have an anxiety disorder. It's my diagnosis. I take it seriously and use interventions still today to manage it. At my rate of improvement, one day the force of my anxiety symptoms will diminish to nil or thereabouts. It turned out much of what I percieved as my 'original condition' were simply side effects and withdrawal effects of the dependence-forming drugs I mistakenly believed were masking the condition.

 

Things are so different for me today.

 

I did have to hang in there, be patient and kind to myself though.

 

Best,

Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thank you so much for taking the time to write all that out Alex - i appreciate it.

I do realise that all these years of those little white beads have done a number or two on my receptors, reuptake pumps and synapses.

The last time i was off was for 7 weeks 2 years ago and by the time i went back on I had worked myself into such a frenzy of 'my depression is chronic and getting worse - that's the course of depression, I am just going to get worse and worse' blah blah blah, they were my CONSTANT thoughts, like obsessive thoughts, with absolutely no let up - i would be talking to someone and having this scenario going around in my head. I DO know that i don't have a good tolerance for anxiety and the doom and gloom that goes along with it - i hate feeling tired and fuzzy from lack of sleep and I hate worrying that i won't be 'well enough' to attend something or whatever. I AM working in therapy on uncomfortable feelings, my problem is that on Effexor I never HAD any uncomfortable feelings - or not that weren't congruent with a situation if that makes sense..

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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....

The last time i was off was for 7 weeks 2 years ago and by the time i went back on I had worked myself into such a frenzy of 'my depression is chronic and getting worse - that's the course of depression, I am just going to get worse and worse' blah blah blah, they were my CONSTANT thoughts, like obsessive thoughts, with absolutely no let up - i would be talking to someone and having this scenario going around in my head. I DO know that i don't have a good tolerance for anxiety and the doom and gloom that goes along with it - i hate feeling tired and fuzzy from lack of sleep and I hate worrying that i won't be 'well enough' to attend something or whatever. I AM working in therapy on uncomfortable feelings, my problem is that on Effexor I never HAD any uncomfortable feelings - or not that weren't congruent with a situation if that makes sense..

 

Hi Peggy-

I hear what you are saying. I've been through the exact sensations that you describe and I know how it feels. It sucks and it's scary.

 

Since I have anxiety I know uncertainty like a normal person does not. I've spent hours tossing in bed, ruminating about something "E" that might happen if I do something A, another responds with B, during an unlikely occurrence of C, causing a different person to respond with D, which causes "E" -- my great fear to come true.

 

Only a person with anxiety can worry about causing E before he has even done A. Yet that is me.

 

I support you Peggy because I know first hand.

 

You have a friend here. I hope you don't take my response as criticism. The only thing I can tell you with certainty is that this that you feel today, this distress, it won't last forever.

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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Thank you again Alex, I am currently looking at the Happiness Trap and i can see from a quick perusal that it will be worthy of indepth reading and application. I only know anxiety like 'this' when it occurs with depression (or A/D withdrawal) and to me it has a different feel to the regular anxiety that i feel before the dentist or public speaking...

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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well, two days later and I am feeling much better than I was, seeing as I took that 75mg in the middle of the night (in my f***it moment of desperation) and then the next day probably took about 50 ( I just shook about 1/4 out of the capsule - i know stupid but i was still running on fear) - do you think i can resume back at 37.5mg (i would like to have a period of not having to count beads)?

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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