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ihpsdm: Struggling with Effexor withdrawal


ihpsdm

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Hello,

 

I have been taking Effexor since 2003 due to anxiety/depression associated with failing out of graduate school. The doses over the years primarily ranged from 75-150 mgs. My psychiatrist also prescribed Klonopin and the doses have varied between 2-3 mgs since then. I still take 2 mgs before going to bed for reasons stated below. Before taking nay medication, I had struggled with severe anxiety and depression throughout high school and college but dealt with it without medication since I didn't even know about Social Anxiety Disorder or Depression until I read about it on the internet in 2003..   

 

I first tried getting off Effexor in 2015. My life was going okay. I was no longer in a stressful job with a very abusive boss, my anxiety was under control and I was in a situation where I was generally liked by most of my co-workers. In other words, I just didn't think I needed it anymore. The details of this time in my life aren't all that clear to me at the moment. However, I do remember dropping from 75 mgs to 37.5 mgs. I took the 37.5 mgs everyday for a month and then alternated days the following month, based on my Psychiatrist's instructions. I was actually fine for a month, or at least I don't remember having severe withdrawal symptoms. I may have had issues with headaches, aches, dizziness, etc., but it wasn't bad enough to the point where it disrupted my life.

 

After a month off of Effexor, however, I developed horrible insomnia which is what finally broke me. I did not attribute this to Effexor withdrawal, however. I had felt so great about getting off Effexor that I decided to try and quit Klonopin. Instead of taking 2 mgs in the morning, as I had for years, I decided to try cutting it to 1.5 mgs and then progress from there. I don't know if there is a correlation with that or if the Effexor withdrawals started hitting me at that point but I did not sleep for 3 days. By the third day I had to call in sick to work for the first time in 10 years. I was not able to make it back to work for another three days. I know it wasn't rational, but at the time I thought I'd never sleep again. I live alone and don't/didn't have any friends outside of acquaintances at work, so I was really struggling to function. I did not feel like I was capable of driving to work without any sleep in 72+ hours and could barely get to the store for food. I called my parents, who lived hours away, which I didn't want to do for a number of reasons. I told them I was really struggling and had not been to sleep for three days. I felt broken and wanted to die so I was really at the end of my rope. My parents were so worried about me that my dad came and stayed with me for a few days. I was so embarrassed, but grateful. He also drove me to a General Practitioner who prescribed Ambien for my lack of sleep. I took one and was able to sleep for the first time in days. I felt a lot better and my dad drove me to work the next day. During this whole time, I still did not know what caused this breakdown, but I thought it was the drop in Klonopin, so I upped that dose back to 2 mgs. I decided not to take the Ambien that night (I was given 5 pills) and again struggled to fall asleep. It was at this point that my Psychiatrist called me back (I had called her a day or two earlier with no call back) and she told me that this breakdown could be attributed to no longer taking Effexor. This didn't make any sense to me since I had been off Effexor for a month and thought I had "beaten" the drug. She told me that she had seen people crash like this before and that it was probably not from taking Effexor. She asked me why I was so reluctant to go back on Effexor since I did not have any side effects while taking it, so I agreed to try it again. As a result, I got back on Effexor at 37.5 mgs and then went up to 75 mgs after another month. I felt bad for another month or so and then felt somewhat back to "normal".

 

The insomnia is what really broke me. I can't function without sleep and I can't live without a job. I couldn't interact with co-workers and it was becoming dangerous for me to drive myself to work. I could deal with headaches, dizziness, brain zaps, etc. I could not deal with the insomnia and continue to work.

 

Fast forward two years and I got a new job where I primarily telecommute. I figured this would be a good time to try getting off Effexor since I work from home and if the insomnia crept back up, I would have an easier time dealing with it since I don't interact with anyone in person and don't have to drive anywhere outside of the grocery store.

 

Back in May of 2017, I started tapering off again. I dropped down to 37.5 mgs again. After a month at 37.5 mgs, I then alternated days. Then after a month of alternating days, I took it every third day. This is the way my Psychiatrist informed me to wean myself off of Effexor. I stopped taking effexor in July but this time I had problems with the withdrawal symptoms that I had since read about. I could not take the brain zaps and was having serious issues concentrating on anything. As a result, I got back on  to 37.5 mgs daily after being off of it for a couple of weeks. I feel okay on 37.5 mgs and have no life disrupting side effects.

 

I then started doing more research about tapering off and found that some people suggested that skipping days was NOT a way to wean myself off of Effexor, even if that is what the doctors tell you to do. I thought you couldn't go lower than 37.5 mgs but then read about people who broke open the capsules in order to get below that. As a result, starting in August, I dropped down about 25% each month from that point. I did not have any life disrupting issues as a result of doing this. I generally feel bad but I can deal with it. I talked about this with my psychiatrist in November and she said she did not know about opening the capsules. I asked her if any of her patients have ever gotten off Effexor and she said they did it by alternating days for quite some time and then ultimately quitting. At any rate, she suggested that I should continue to cut down on the beads. I was down to five beads a night by Christmas, which I had been taking for about a month and a half. This comes out to about 9 mgs based on my calculations (There are 40 beads in a 37.5 mg capsule).

 

At any rate, I have not been doing well since dropping to 0 after Christmas. I was proud of making it to three weeks without Effexor until I stumbled upon this site after looking up how long this could last. I am taking Omega-3 fish oil which helps with the brain zaps. Otherwise, I also have headaches, have trouble concentrating, blurred vision, troubling thoughts, the energy of an 80 year old, etc. I'm having trouble reading now because of blurred vision which takes away something else I used to enjoy. Just typing all this out has taken over an hour. I'm also down to 130 lbs for some reason (5'9 male) which is very disconcerting to me. I'm trying to eat more but I'm just not hungry. I also need to exercise a lot to keep myself feeling somewhat normal. What also really scares me is insomnia, which I haven't had as of yet (knock on wood). This is where I'm hoping the Klonopin helps, since I take it at night and it alleviates anxiety. I'm worried since I'm getting close to the one month point. I know it's silly to be scared of this but I'm a chronic worrier and this is what broke me two years ago. I'm also discouraged by the fact that this could last for years. I thought I would just have to deal with this for a month after a slow taper, but based on what I've read on this site, even what I was doing was not slow enough. I do now understand that it's unrealistic to expect my body to get back to normal after a month or so after taking this for 14+ years. I wish I'd never even heard of this anti-depressant.

 

My question is how did you guys who got off of this drug do it? Has my central nervous system been irreparably altered due to this drug? I can now see that the longer you are on these drugs the harder it is to get off of them. Did anyone "develop" delayed symptoms like the aforementioned insomnia? For those who developed insomnia, how did you deal with it? I have read about magnesium but haven't tried it yet. The GPs seem hesitant to prescribe Ambien and I don't want to go down that road anyway since I'm still taking Klonopin! The idea of feeling like this for years worries me, although I guess I could deal with it as long as the insomnia doesn't come back. I just hate feeling like I'm close to death while I'm still in my 30s and I hate the thought of continuing to feel like this for years. I also have no one to turn to now since my parents moved much further away and I don't want to have to bug them since they are in their 70s and it should be me taking care of them, not the other way around. I don't have any friends and no other relatives live within a thousand miles of where I currently live. THANKULLY I no longer have to go to an office and socialize otherwise I'm not sure I could deal with this at all. Still the potential insomnia bothers me because those are extra hours where I have to deal with all of this.

 

My main reasons for wanting to get off this is the cost of Effexor without insurance. If I lost my job I would not be able to afford it. I also don't want to continue taking something like this that causes so much damage to me if I'm not taking it. I'm also concerned about the fact that my Psychiatrist is close to retirement and then I'll have to start all over with another one who doesn't know my history. She only works one or two days a week at this point and I'm the only non-elderly patient that she continues to see. As poor of a Psychiatrist as she has been (I'm sorry to write that), she at least knows my history and the problems I have had getting off this. However, I don't know if I should just give up and resign myself to taking this forever.

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to ihpsdm: Struggling with Effexor withdrawal

Hi ihpsdm.Welcome.

 

It sounds like you likely tapered too fast and have been having withdrawal symptoms since then. I'm sorry that you're in this situation but you definitely don't have to resign yourself to taking drugs forever. We can help you taper off safely.

 

We ask all our members to fill in their drug history : please follow the directions at the link below:

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

 

Are you still on Ambien? How is your Klonopin use - how many times a day ? After a month you have already become dependent and this will probably need tapering in the future, but for now ~ keep it the same.

When we have more information we can offer more exacting advice.

Welcome to SA.

Ali

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Thank you so much for the response! I was worried I had done something wrong after not having my post approved for a couple of days. I have no one else to talk to about this.

 

I took one Ambien back in 2015 and never took another one.

 

I still take 2 mgs of Klonopin at night for sleep anxiety since I have to sleep. I can't think about withdrawing from that since I really need to sleep for work. I've been taking it since 2003 so I know that will be difficult to get off of.

 

After reading posts on this forum, I decided to reinstate two days ago since I was in a really bad place physically and emotionally. I have to work and that has been a disaster for the past week. I took 5 beads out of a 37.5 mg tablet. I still feel terrible but I've read that it can take 4 days to get back into your bloodstream.

 

I called my Psychiatrist yesterday and like others have said here, she did not believe that I was suffering withdrawal symptoms. She said it didn't make sense from a "pharmacology" view point that I would still have withdrawal symptoms three weeks later since that doesn't even happen with opiates, etc. I told her that I've read about people suffering withdrawal symptoms for years but she said it's probably just my anxiety/depression acting up again. I wish these doctors understood what we're going through. Does anxiety/depression cause brain fog, blurred vision, join pain, etc.? I get that I have depression/anxiety again but it's because of the withdrawals and the fear that I will have to put up with this for years. The weight loss is also disturbing as I can't afford to lose much more weight at 130 lbs! I'm dangerously thin as it is.  She wanted to switch me to Lexapro which I was very much against since I have no idea how I'd react to another AD.

 

For those who stopped taking medications like this, why did you? My life was okay before I tried getting off of these drugs. I thought I was in a good place in life which why I tried to get off this medication, but I'm now in a suicidal hell and I can't go on like this. This is why I think I should just take it forever. My concerns were about the potential cost of the drug if I lost insurance and/or if I couldn't get a psychiatrist/physician to prescribe this drug to me, then I would be in a world of trouble.


I've actually been able to fully function since I started taking these medications back in 2003. Before then I worried about never being able to function in a workplace. However, I worked through retail, four years of call centers, and the rest as a medical sales representative. I can be quite gregarious and fun loving. Now that is all gone and I'm really struggling with work. I would rather not take these meds for the rest of my life but I can't live like this much longer. I'm thinking about just going back to 37.5 mgs of Effexor after I stabilize and just stay there for the rest of my life. If it's not broken then I don't know why I'm going through this hell otherwise.

 

I will try and update my signature. I thought I had done that but I guess I didn't do it right? I'm in a real bad place now so thanks again for the response. At least I know I'm not going crazy.

 

 

 

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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Hello,

 

I reinstated on Tuesday  (1/16) after being off of Effexor since December 26th, 2017. I have reinstated at a small amount (5 beads). There are 40 beads in my 37.5 mg capsule. I've see other posts say that there are 75 beads or 100 beads (etc.) in their capsules. Is it safe to assume that in order to determine how  much I'm reinstating at, that I can calculate it the percentage of beads I'm taking it times the mgs in the capsule? For instance, in my case would it be ((5/40) * 37.5) = 4.68 mgs? The ones I'm currently taking beads out of expire in May so I will have to start using a different bottle at that point and I want to try and stay around the same amount as long as I can stabilize at this level. 

 

I've read elsewhere that it takes 4 or so days for the medication to start working, but some are unable to reinstate? At what point should I try to up the dosage if I am still feeling the withdrawal symptoms?

 

Yesterday was the best day I've had since last week. Work was still a struggle at times as I still experiencing brain fog, memory issues, nausea, dizziness, etc. However, I was able to at least enjoy some things yesterday and didn't have as many dark thoughts. I also woke up this morning with a huge headache before my alarm went off. This is not usual, as I usually need to set multiple alarms to wake up. I've read elsewhere that this has to do with cortisol levels? I can live with this but it's somewhat frustrating.

 

I've also added magnesium and probiotic supplements.

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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Did I make a mistake by adding the supplements? Just from reading some other threads, some people have bad reactions to these supplements and now is not the time to be experimenting.

 

I added the probiotic to help with the digestive issues. I added the magnesium since some people be mentioned that it helped them to relax.

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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  • Moderator
We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system.  Start with a low dosage on the magnesium and work up, as it can have a laxative effect.  

 

 

 

Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. For more tips, please see:

 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.   

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8mg and shift to Imipramine taper

Aug. 5, 2022: shift back to Valium taper.  

Current dose as of Oct. 20, 2022: 3.2mg

Taper is 83% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Aug. 5: 9.5mg 

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Thank you for responding because today has been an awful day for me as I'm really sick. 

 

I will cut out the Supplements for now until I can get stabilized. I'm thinking about updosing the Effexor to get back to feeling well but not sure when to do it or how much to do it to. I have only been on less than 5 mgs for three days now.

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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  • Moderator
11 minutes ago, Gridley said:
We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system.  Start with a low dosage on the magnesium and work up, as it can have a laxative effect.  

 

 

 

Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. For more tips, please see:

 

Gridley:

 

I see you made it past the 10mg of Lexapro! Congratulations! That's where I made my mistake and just cut my 20mg in 1/2 one day.

 

I tapered today. So far so good. Usually I feel it right away, so I hope it's not delayed??

 

Take care,

Frogie xx

 

PS oops, sorry I thought this was your thread. I wasn't paying attention. Please forgive me.

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day.

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

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Friday was an absolute disaster. I had trouble concentrating all day and couldn't get anything done at work. A one point I even forgot my phone number which was extremely embarrassing! I also had big time problems driving to and from work!

 

When I got home I decided to take a 37.5 mg pill because 5 beads was not doing anything. I had some really dark thoughts on Friday night but got through it.

 

On Saturday I actually felt better. I was able to enjoy some things and was able to relax.

 

Today has been very hard, however. I have severe dry mouth, dizziness, stomach pains, etc. I'm still sleeping but I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep due to extreme anxiety.

 

Can someone please give me some feedback. I'm going to stick at 37.5 mgs to see if I stabilize but I'm in for another nightmarish week at work I'm afraid.

 

Is it okay to take supplements like Omega-3 while I am reinstating? I'd give anything just to stabilize.

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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On 1/19/2018 at 1:43 PM, Gridley said:
We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system.  Start with a low dosage on the magnesium and work up, as it can have a laxative effect.  

 

 

 

Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. For more tips, please see:

 

Thank you for the heads up about the supplements. I stopped taking the probiotics and the magnesium. I saw that the magnesium that I picked up is 500 mgs! Just from what I've been reading, that may be too much, so I stopped.

 

I'm taking the omega-3 fish oil and that seems to help. Can I take it more than once a day? I take 1 1000 mg tablet in the morning.

 

Should I add any supplements I'm taking to my signature? Thanks!

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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  • Moderator

1000mg omega per day is probably about right.  That's what I take.  If at some point you want to buy a lower dosage magnesium (magnesium glycinate is a good form) and work up from 100mg, you could try that.  For example, I have 300mg pills that I cut into quarters.

 

Yes, please include your supplements in your signature.

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.   

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8mg and shift to Imipramine taper

Aug. 5, 2022: shift back to Valium taper.  

Current dose as of Oct. 20, 2022: 3.2mg

Taper is 83% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Aug. 5: 9.5mg 

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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10 hours ago, Gridley said:

1000mg omega per day is probably about right.  That's what I take.  If at some point you want to buy a lower dosage magnesium (magnesium glycinate is a good form) and work up from 100mg, you could try that.  For example, I have 300mg pills that I cut into quarters.

 

Yes, please include your supplements in your signature.

Thanks so much Gridley! I have been taking the fish oil in the morning before work and it seemed to help with the brain zaps.

 

I definitely did not react well to the magnesium. Like you said, I think the dosage was too high. I might look for a lower dosage. I did not react well to 500 mgs.

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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It's been over a week since I reinstated at 37.5 mgs and I'm doing much better. This work week was a 180 degree turnaround from the previous week. I'm still waking up a bit earlier than normal and I have terrible headaches, but these are symptoms that I can deal with. I feel fully functional again. I'm also gaining weight again and my appetite has returned, which makes me feel a lot better. On Sunday night I was trying to figure out whether I could continue working, whether I would have to resign from my job, how long I could survive, etc. Thankfully by Monday morning I was feeling much better.

 

I'm very thankful that reinstatement appears to be working for me. This may just be a window and a wave could be coming on any day now, but this feels similar to how I felt when I reinstated two times before, so I'm not as worried about this reinstatement not working at all. However, it is demoralizing to realize that I'm back at square one.

 

I'm also thankful that this forum exists. If I had not read some of the horror stories here I may have tried to tough it out and ended up in a situation where reinstatement would not be possible.

 

I'm also very scared about the future, however. Some of the horror stories I've read here have irrevocably changed my viewpoint about the drugs I'm taking and how dependent I am on them. I don't know if I have much of a chance of getting off of either drug after taking them for so long. I'm now worried about getting access to these drugs in the future. My psychiatrist is going to retire soon and then I have to start all over with another psychiatrist. What if that psychiatrist wants me off these drugs or doesn't want to prescribe this medication to me? I can't go through these withdrawal symptoms for years and hold down a job.

 

I'm going to wait 5 weeks and see how I feel at that point about tapering either Effexor or Klonopin. Both sound like nightmares to get off of and I'm not sure if I'm willing to go through that and risk protracted withdrawals in the future. I've looked into liquid titration for Klonopin and that may be something I try in the future, but not anytime soon. I know it is recommended that I try and get off the SSRI before the benzo to help deal with the withdrawal symptoms from SSRI withdrawal. However, I've tried quitting Effexor three times now and have not succeeded. I'm not sure how many opportunities I'll get to reinstate if I keep failing. I've plotted out a taper schedule for Effexor in an excel spreadsheet and see that it would take 5 years to get off using the 10% taper. I have no problem doing this but need to do more research on how to properly do this as well as making sure this last taper gets be off the drug for good. I do understand now that I've been taking these drugs for too long and if I want to get off of them, it's unrealistic to think that tapering will take weeks/months. Instead I need to be thinking in terms of years. 

 

I'm thankful that these forums exist since it provides the resources to help me get off these drugs, if I go that route. Liquid titration and microtapering and still brand new concepts to me. For instance, one I get to a very small amount of Effexor, dropping 10% remains a mystery to me. For instance, if 5 beads equals around 10 mgs, just dropping a bead is not an option, since that would be a 20% drop. I've been reading about jewelry scales and weighing the beads, but I'm not sure if I need to cut the beads or not? I still have lots of research to do but at least I know where to find it and the proper way to taper.

 

It still amazes me that the medical community is so inadequately prepared to deal with this or refuses to recognize withdrawal syndrome. 16% of the people in the U.S. are currently on SSRIs and that number continues to jump every year. How are they going to deal with this in the future? Will they continue to ignore withdrawal syndrome and the problems those of us who have been taking it for nearly 15 years will face? I can see messages from 10 years ago on the internet asking similar questions and nothing has really changed.

 

I will say that unlike most people here, I actually think the medication helped me. It got me on the right track as far as my career goes. I had horrific customer service/call center jobs for many years and I do believe these drugs helped me cope with the stress. I also had an extremely abusive boss for five years and don't think that I could have gone through trying to get off this medication at that point in my life. I also haven't experienced any serious side effects from what I can tell. I have actually enjoyed life for the most part for the past 15 years.

 

It wasn't until couple of years ago that I got to a point where I had a great job with good pay and minimal stress, which is why I felt it was a good time to try and get off this medication. The Klonopin, which I had been taking in the morning to deal with daily anxiety, was moved to a nightly dosage in order to help with sleep anxiety after I developed insomnia issues. It did work for me.

 

The tapering guidance I was given and the resources I had were just woefully inadequate. The withdrawal experiences and some of the stories I've read here have made me rethink whether a life without these drugs is worth pursuing. While these drugs may shorten my life, it's better than losing my job and constantly feeling suicidal.

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • Moderator Emeritus
7 hours ago, ihpsdm said:

After reading the posts here I've come to the conclusion that I will be on Effexor for life. I reinstated over a month ago and feel so much better. I just could not function at work with all of the withdrawal symptoms. I would rather not take a drug for the rest of my life but it's not worth ruining my life in order to get off this drug. I can't go through years of withdrawals and keep my job. I have a great job and a good life and I'm not going to throw that all away.

 

I will be on Effexor for life

 

l think it would be better to say I am staying on Effexor at this time.  In the future you may be able to try again.  Or you may be able to lower the dose.

 

I can't see what dose you jumped off at.  I haven't read back through your topic (sorry).  Could you please at the last dose you took to your signature?  Thank you.  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

You tapered 37.5mgs from May 2017 to December 2017.  If you had followed the 10% reduction of previous dose with 4 week hold, by the end of December 2018 you would have been at approximately 4mgs.  And many members find that the lower their dose gets the slower they need to go, either by lessening the amount they reduce by or by holding at a dose for longer than 4 weeks.  During my taper, and I have been reducing by a little less then 10% I have done 2 longer holds, 3 months at 50mg and then 7 weeks at 20mg.  I am consider doing a longer hold at 10mg.

 

Please note that what I have written above isn't being critical of your taper.  I'm just offering some ideas and give you hope that in the future you may be able to get off or lower.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

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

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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On 1/27/2018 at 2:33 PM, ihpsdm said:

It's been over a week since I reinstated at 37.5 mgs and I'm doing much better. This work week was a 180 degree turnaround from the previous week. I'm still waking up a bit earlier than normal and I have terrible headaches, but these are symptoms that I can deal with. I feel fully functional again. I'm also gaining weight again and my appetite has returned, which makes me feel a lot better. On Sunday night I was trying to figure out whether I could continue working, whether I would have to resign from my job, how long I could survive, etc. Thankfully by Monday morning I was feeling much better.

 

I'm very thankful that reinstatement appears to be working for me. This may just be a window and a wave could be coming on any day now, but this feels similar to how I felt when I reinstated two times before, so I'm not as worried about this reinstatement not working at all. However, it is demoralizing to realize that I'm back at square one.

 

I'm also thankful that this forum exists. If I had not read some of the horror stories here I may have tried to tough it out and ended up in a situation where reinstatement would not be possible.

 

I'm also very scared about the future, however. Some of the horror stories I've read here have irrevocably changed my viewpoint about the drugs I'm taking and how dependent I am on them. I don't know if I have much of a chance of getting off of either drug after taking them for so long. I'm now worried about getting access to these drugs in the future. My psychiatrist is going to retire soon and then I have to start all over with another psychiatrist. What if that psychiatrist wants me off these drugs or doesn't want to prescribe this medication to me? I can't go through these withdrawal symptoms for years and hold down a job.

 

I'm going to wait 5 weeks and see how I feel at that point about tapering either Effexor or Klonopin. Both sound like nightmares to get off of and I'm not sure if I'm willing to go through that and risk protracted withdrawals in the future. I've looked into liquid titration for Klonopin and that may be something I try in the future, but not anytime soon. I know it is recommended that I try and get off the SSRI before the benzo to help deal with the withdrawal symptoms from SSRI withdrawal. However, I've tried quitting Effexor three times now and have not succeeded. I'm not sure how many opportunities I'll get to reinstate if I keep failing. I've plotted out a taper schedule for Effexor in an excel spreadsheet and see that it would take 5 years to get off using the 10% taper. I have no problem doing this but need to do more research on how to properly do this as well as making sure this last taper gets be off the drug for good. I do understand now that I've been taking these drugs for too long and if I want to get off of them, it's unrealistic to think that tapering will take weeks/months. Instead I need to be thinking in terms of years. 

 

I'm thankful that these forums exist since it provides the resources to help me get off these drugs, if I go that route. Liquid titration and microtapering and still brand new concepts to me. For instance, one I get to a very small amount of Effexor, dropping 10% remains a mystery to me. For instance, if 5 beads equals around 10 mgs, just dropping a bead is not an option, since that would be a 20% drop. I've been reading about jewelry scales and weighing the beads, but I'm not sure if I need to cut the beads or not? I still have lots of research to do but at least I know where to find it and the proper way to taper.

 

It still amazes me that the medical community is so inadequately prepared to deal with this or refuses to recognize withdrawal syndrome. 16% of the people in the U.S. are currently on SSRIs and that number continues to jump every year. How are they going to deal with this in the future? Will they continue to ignore withdrawal syndrome and the problems those of us who have been taking it for nearly 15 years will face? I can see messages from 10 years ago on the internet asking similar questions and nothing has really changed.

 

I will say that unlike most people here, I actually think the medication helped me. It got me on the right track as far as my career goes. I had horrific customer service/call center jobs for many years and I do believe these drugs helped me cope with the stress. I also had an extremely abusive boss for five years and don't think that I could have gone through trying to get off this medication at that point in my life. I also haven't experienced any serious side effects from what I can tell. I have actually enjoyed life for the most part for the past 15 years.

 

It wasn't until couple of years ago that I got to a point where I had a great job with good pay and minimal stress, which is why I felt it was a good time to try and get off this medication. The Klonopin, which I had been taking in the morning to deal with daily anxiety, was moved to a nightly dosage in order to help with sleep anxiety after I developed insomnia issues. It did work for me.

 

The tapering guidance I was given and the resources I had were just woefully inadequate. The withdrawal experiences and some of the stories I've read here have made me rethink whether a life without these drugs is worth pursuing. While these drugs may shorten my life, it's better than losing my job and constantly feeling suicidal.

You’re lucky you can do it. I did it too several years ago, but then it didn’t hold up when I hit a bump. It pooped out. And I hit a bad depression while still on it, and increasing it.  But it sounds like you were in a good place when you stopped it. It really is hard to know what to do now or in the future. Everyone is different. Too bad we can’t just get our minds to follow our hearts. I wish you the best of luck. 

 

2001 Remeron , Celexa, prozac a week on lithium. 

2014 went off effexor and trazadone in 3 weeks. 

2014 zoloft (hyper reaction) put on effexor 75 mg. Was stable until 2017 

2017  Trazadone 50 mg (June) Effexor to 113 mg (2 weeks) Effexor 150 mg for a month . Took 75 mg until November. . Lithium 10 days, Lamactil 10 day  aug-nov15 ativan

October : Prozac bridge to get off 75 mg of effexor Used 10 mg of prozac. Stopped prozac 3 wk 

Dec 6, 7 Upped trazadone from 50 to 100 mg Did it for 3 days Stopped it

Dec 7 , Dec 8 Took prozac again 0.1 , 0.1, 0.6 stopped it

Dec 11 and Dec 12 upped it to 100 again

Dec 15 , 16,17 went back to 50 mg of trazadone

December 18 Began 3 beads of effexor  Dec 25 began 5 beads of effexor take 10 mg of omneprazole daily

 

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28 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

 

I will be on Effexor for life

 

l think it would be better to say I am staying on Effexor at this time.  In the future you may be able to try again.  Or you may be able to lower the dose.

 

I can't see what dose you jumped off at.  I haven't read back through your topic (sorry).  Could you please at the last dose you took to your signature?  Thank you.  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

You tapered 37.5mgs from May 2017 to December 2017.  If you had followed the 10% reduction of previous dose with 4 week hold, by the end of December 2018 you would have been at approximately 4mgs.  And many members find that the lower their dose gets the slower they need to go, either by lessening the amount they reduce by or by holding at a dose for longer than 4 weeks.  During my taper, and I have been reducing by a little less then 10% I have done 2 longer holds, 3 months at 50mg and then 7 weeks at 20mg.  I am consider doing a longer hold at 10mg.

 

Please note that what I have written above isn't being critical of your taper.  I'm just offering some ideas and give you hope that in the future you may be able to get off or lower.

 

Thank you for the response!

 

No offense taken to your post and I appreciate your perspective.

 

You are right to be critical of my taper because it was not done correctly. I really had no idea what I was doing and was not receiving the proper guidance. I had never heard of the 10% rule before discovering this site and was just opening up the capsules and counting out beads and dropping randomly from there. My Psychiatrist was telling me that I could be even more aggressive with the cuts. I jumped at around 5 MGs (I think), which I held from November through the time I jumped (just after Christmas). I was even off of it at some point in July for a few weeks but got back on because I had to travel a lot for business in August and didn't want to deal with the withdrawals anymore. My signature is vague because I was not keeping track of what I was taking. My signature is vague for that reason.

 

37.5 mgs is actually the smallest dosage available and it only comes in capsule form where I live. It was just through internet searches that I found out you can open the capsules and take beads in order to get below 37.5 MGs. My Psychiatrist certainly didn't know you could do this as she has always advised her patients to alternate doses to get off, which I found out through this site is WRONG since that messes up your CNS even more.

 

There were only 40 beads in the capsules so I could figure out the MGs rather easily from that by cutting beads out of my daily dosage. However, if I were to get down to 5 beads again (for instance), there is no way to do a 10% drop. If I dropped to 4 beads then that would be a 20% drop. I've found no way to liquify the beads and do a micro-taper so what would I do at that point? If I could find tablets then maybe I could do a proper taper. I really don't see the point in reducing the dosage if I can't get off?

 

I'm sticking with 37.5 MGs for now because I don't want to mess with my current stability, in addition to the above concerns I have about tapering. I was really in a bad place for a little bit of time and REALLY scared that reinstatement would not work so I'm grateful to be feeling much better now. I can't deal with these withdrawals AND work. I actually have a great job and get paid really well so I don't want to do anything that could cost me this job. I just got promoted so thankfully my recent struggles haven't affected my performance to the point where management has taken notice. Also, unlike others here, I have no side effects with these drugs and I feel like they have worked for me. I actually have a very good life that I am happy with.

 

Also, just based on what I've been reading about benzos since I found this site, I need to address my 15 years of Klonopin usage ASAP. I am much more worried about that at the moment since doctors are becoming more reluctant to prescribe those for long term use. It just so happens I have been seeing the same Psychiatrist for 15 years and she has never had a problem prescribing these drugs to me and I never had an understanding that these drugs could be so damaging when trying to get off of them. If she retires, which could happen soon, I may run into a Psychiatrist who will be hesitant to prescribe benzos. It doesn't appear that Psychiatrists have an issue with prescribing ADs, so that is also why I'm not that worried about continuing to take Effexor for now.  I also know tapering multiple drugs is not advisable so any future tapers will be focused on Klonopin only. I have done the research now and developed a liquid titation taper plan for Klonopin (through benzobuddies.org). That plan isn't appropriate for discussion on this site so that's all I'll mention about that.

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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1 hour ago, Downbutnotout said:

You’re lucky you can do it. I did it too several years ago, but then it didn’t hold up when I hit a bump. It pooped out. And I hit a bad depression while still on it, and increasing it.  But it sounds like you were in a good place when you stopped it. It really is hard to know what to do now or in the future. Everyone is different. Too bad we can’t just get our minds to follow our hearts. I wish you the best of luck. 

 

Thank you DBNO! I've read your thread since it involved a possible bridge from Effexor to Prozac and know it didn't work out the way you had hoped. I had also seen someone who had written about a bridge from Effexor to Prozac that worked for her through a random internet search. I had even even bookmarked that page as a possible reference for getting off of Effexor. It's unfortunate that this doesn't work for everyone.

 

It's scary that we can't rely on medical professionals to help us because they have no idea what we are going through or don't recognize A/D withdrawals! We're left to deal with these problems on our own or relying on anecdotes from strangers on the internet who have gone through similar things! It's scary! Through this website I at least understand what I could be facing as far as withdrawals if I get off these drugs or how I should be tapering if I decide to get off of them.

 

I hope you find stability and happiness after all you have been through!

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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1 minute ago, ihpsdm said:

 

Thank you DBNO! I've read your thread since it involved a possible bridge from Effexor to Prozac and know it didn't work out the way you had hoped. I had also seen someone who had written about a bridge from Effexor to Prozac that worked for her through a random internet search. I had even even bookmarked that page as a possible reference for getting off of Effexor. It's unfortunate that this doesn't work for everyone.

 

It's scary that we can't rely on medical professionals to help us because they have no idea what we are going through or don't recognize A/D withdrawals! We're left to deal with these problems on our own or relying on anecdotes from strangers on the internet who have gone through similar things! It's scary! Through this website I at least understand what I could be facing as far as withdrawals if I get off these drugs or how I should be tapering if I decide to get off of them.

 

I hope you find stability and happiness after all you have been through!

Thank you. I wish the same thing for you. 

 

2001 Remeron , Celexa, prozac a week on lithium. 

2014 went off effexor and trazadone in 3 weeks. 

2014 zoloft (hyper reaction) put on effexor 75 mg. Was stable until 2017 

2017  Trazadone 50 mg (June) Effexor to 113 mg (2 weeks) Effexor 150 mg for a month . Took 75 mg until November. . Lithium 10 days, Lamactil 10 day  aug-nov15 ativan

October : Prozac bridge to get off 75 mg of effexor Used 10 mg of prozac. Stopped prozac 3 wk 

Dec 6, 7 Upped trazadone from 50 to 100 mg Did it for 3 days Stopped it

Dec 7 , Dec 8 Took prozac again 0.1 , 0.1, 0.6 stopped it

Dec 11 and Dec 12 upped it to 100 again

Dec 15 , 16,17 went back to 50 mg of trazadone

December 18 Began 3 beads of effexor  Dec 25 began 5 beads of effexor take 10 mg of omneprazole daily

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

My original comment was that you don't have to think so definitively about NOT getting off.  You can deal with it in the future. Just don't get stuck in the mind frame of it not being possible.  You will also need to keep in mind that these drugs can poop out / you can reach intolerance.  Antidepressant Tolerance Withdrawal or "Poop Out" While Tapering

 

This is the part of the signature that is important to us:  0 in December of 2017   Please add last dose 5mg? (include question mark) and end December.  Thank you.

 

35 minutes ago, ihpsdm said:

There were only 40 beads in the capsules so I could figure out the MGs rather easily from that by cutting beads out of my daily dosage. However, if I were to get down to 5 beads again (for instance), there is no way to do a 10% drop. If I dropped to 4 beads then that would be a 20% drop. I've found no way to liquify the beads and do a micro-taper so what would I do at that point? If I could find tablets then maybe I could do a proper taper. I really don't see the point in reducing the dosage if I can't get off?

 

I realise that you are focusing on getting of the benzo but want to give you my thoughts about how you might be able to lower or get off Effexor in the future.  My thinking is that is would be preferable to be on the lower dose of 5 beads if you can manage to get to that instead of taking 37.5mg.

 

Is Effexor not available in liquid where you are?

 

Also, if you wanted to try getting off completely then it would be better to reduce by beads, reducing 1 bead at a time than to go from 5mg to 0mg.  It's not the ideal way but if you were in a good place in yourself and your life you might want to try.  However the important thing would be to hold for a few months before trying to reduce by another bead, and you might find that you would have to hold for longer each time you reduced by a bead.  And you never know, down the track you might be able to get what you need to taper more conservatively!

 

Just something to keep in mind for later on.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

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

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

Link to comment
1 hour ago, ChessieCat said:

My original comment was that you don't have to think so definitively about NOT getting off.  You can deal with it in the future. Just don't get stuck in the mind frame of it not being possible.  You will also need to keep in mind that these drugs can poop out / you can reach intolerance.  Antidepressant Tolerance Withdrawal or "Poop Out" While Tapering

 

This is the part of the signature that is important to us:  0 in December of 2017   Please add last dose 5mg? (include question mark) and end December.  Thank you.

 

 

I realise that you are focusing on getting of the benzo but want to give you my thoughts about how you might be able to lower or get off Effexor in the future.  My thinking is that is would be preferable to be on the lower dose of 5 beads if you can manage to get to that instead of taking 37.5mg.

 

Is Effexor not available in liquid where you are?

 

Also, if you wanted to try getting off completely then it would be better to reduce by beads, reducing 1 bead at a time than to go from 5mg to 0mg.  It's not the ideal way but if you were in a good place in yourself and your life you might want to try.  However the important thing would be to hold for a few months before trying to reduce by another bead, and you might find that you would have to hold for longer each time you reduced by a bead.  And you never know, down the track you might be able to get what you need to taper more conservatively!

 

Just something to keep in mind for later on.

 

You're right. These are all things worth thinking about and being on a lower dose is always preferable in case I get to a point where I have to get off due to a potential drug interference or drug ineffectiveness.

 

Thanks to this site I have at least learned that it's not realistic to get off of a drug that I have been taking for 15 years in 7 or 8 months.  It makes sense that it would take years for my CNS to adjust to the absence of these drugs. It can happen but it just takes time and a responsible taper in order to minimize withdrawal effects. 


Effexor is not available in liquid form where I live. Maybe that will change in the future.

 

I have adjusted my signature. Hopefully it is okay. Thanks!

Effexor: 2003 - 2018 (75-150 mgs) Off at times in 2015 and 2017. Tapered from 37.5 mgs in May of 2017 to 5? mgs at the end December of 2017 and jumped. Reinstated 5 beads on 1/16/18 after struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Upped to 37.5 mgs on 1/19/18. Feeling great as of 2/23/18.

 

Klonopin: 2003 - 2018 (1-3 mgs)

 

Supplements: Omega-3 Fish Oil (1000 mgs)

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