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jeremy -- Effexor: first brain zap last night


jeremy

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I guess I tapered too fast this last time because I had my first brain zap last night. It was horrible and scary and I don't ever want to have another one. I tapered exactly 15 days ago by 37.5, went from 150 down to 112.5 and it was awful but bearable until a couple days ago when I started feeling really lobotomized, then last night I found out what a brain zap is and I'm really scared now. It's probably too late to go back up in dosage but I'm definitely slowing my taper way down from now on. Until that brain zap I had thought physical pain, dizziness, nausea, lobotomized feeling and yelling at people for no reason were the worst symptoms but the brain zap at 3am might have surpassed those. I have a seizure disorder which is controlled by Dilantin (10 years with no seizures) and that maybe the Dilantin was keeping the brain zaps away or something but I guess not. I hope I don't have a freaking seizure now. Ugh. I guess I have a longer, more miserable road ahead of me than I thought. Yay!!

2000-2010 75mg Effexor

2010-2012 225mg Effexor

Happy, I decide to try to get off Effexor, having no idea the ordeal that would follow.

Nov 2011 187.5mg Effexor

Dec 2012 150mg Effexor

[more gradual tapering with the requisite pain, suffering, and rage]

Feb 2012 92mg Effexor

Laid off from job, I can't deal with both unemployment and withdrawal, so I flare (opposite of taper) up to my last taper point.

Mar 2012 112.5 Effexor

Get interview for amazing job with great company but I'm so anxious about the interview I impulsively flare up another step of Effexor

May 2012 150mg Effexor

I've gotten the job, love it, and I'm happy again, so I decide to try to get off Effexor again and see a new doctor to try to help me. The new doctor suggests going on Cymbalta to reduce the w/d and I grudgingly agree, knowing how awful it was the first time and that I should look at the long game. It actually helps.

Mar 2013 75mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta

Anxiety out of control, my doc prescribes me low dose of Clonazepan (Klonipin)

May 2013 37.5mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

Jun 2013 19mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

[more tapering and suffering]

Aug 2013 0mg Effexor(!!!), 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

Feeling ok but not great, I decide I can probably take whatever punishment Cymbalta w/d will dole out, and that I should probably get off this Klonipin too since it's such a small amount and I don't want to end up a Klonipin junkie

Sep 2013 56mg Cymbalta, 0mg Klonipin

 

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  • Administrator

Hey, jeremy, welcome to the community.

 

Yes, we're in the "better safe than sorry" camp here. We recommend a 10% drop to avoid wear and tear on your nervous system. See Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

You may wish to stay at your current dosage for a while to make sure withdrawal symptoms are not getting worse. Effexor can be very difficult to withdraw from.

 

If they do get worse, you may wish to increase your dosage a bit and taper more slowly from there.

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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I guess I tapered too fast this last time because I had my first brain zap last night. It was horrible and scary and I don't ever want to have another one. I tapered exactly 15 days ago by 37.5, went from 150 down to 112.5 and it was awful but bearable until a couple days ago when I started feeling really lobotomized, then last night I found out what a brain zap is and I'm really scared now. It's probably too late to go back up in dosage but I'm definitely slowing my taper way down from now on. Until that brain zap I had thought physical pain, dizziness, nausea, lobotomized feeling and yelling at people for no reason were the worst symptoms but the brain zap at 3am might have surpassed those. I have a seizure disorder which is controlled by Dilantin (10 years with no seizures) and that maybe the Dilantin was keeping the brain zaps away or something but I guess not. I hope I don't have a freaking seizure now. Ugh. I guess I have a longer, more miserable road ahead of me than I thought. Yay!!

 

Hello Jeremy,

 

I hope you are doing well and hanging in there.

 

I just want to let you know that effexor is probably the hardest drug to get off of. I tapered off too quickly from effexor and ended up in the county emergency mental health clinic because i was in such bad shape. I have read that the best way to do it is by opening up the capsule and counting the beads. This will probably be a long process but I am sure you can do it.

 

I would recommend you seek the help of a knowledgeable medical professional who can help you get off the drugs while keeping in mind that you have other conditions. Hopefully the reduction of effexor will not trigger any seizure. It may be hard to find someone like this, but it wont hurt to try. Just be careful of who you go to because many of these so called health professionals are either quacks or ignorant about the dangers of psych drugs.

 

On a last note, did you start effexor because of depression? I am curious because you mentioned dilantin and my doc has mentioned the possibility of me using dilantin to help with anxiety. I am trying to stay away from any drugs but somedays i get in such bad shape that i become desperate. So as you see, many of us here are going through a very rough time and so you are not alone.

Various SSRIs/SNRIs 7- 1/2 years

Went Cold Turkey from Celexa 2011, Stayed Off

Psych Drug Free and Loving Life (over 6 years and counting)

 

How I Stay Well: Diet, exercise, meditation, supplements, etc

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i forgot to mention that your problems sound like mine as far as the taper: it was hard at first when i tapered, but I got through it. I thought that maybe that was the end, then all of a sudden the brain zaps and the horrible depression hit me about two weeks later...hard. So you may need to get back on and start your slow journey of tapering unless you find something else that helps. Have you checked out effexor activist website?

Various SSRIs/SNRIs 7- 1/2 years

Went Cold Turkey from Celexa 2011, Stayed Off

Psych Drug Free and Loving Life (over 6 years and counting)

 

How I Stay Well: Diet, exercise, meditation, supplements, etc

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Thanks everyone, I find that being able to talk to people who know what I'm going through helps a lot. I've noticed in all 3 of my tapers that at 2 weeks I get pretty crushing but temporary depression for a couple days and a new wave of symptoms, more mental/neurological type than the first couple weeks where it's more physical.

 

Regarding Dilantin, I've been on it for 20 years so I can't tell if there are any side effects, though I do remember the first few days on it being a little weird. If my brain zaps get really bad I may try to take a little more - I realize you're not supposed to do these things without the approval/help of a doctor but at this point I don't have much faith in medical doctors anymore, at least when it comes to antidepressants.

 

I originally went on 75mg Effexor for depression in 2001 and was on that dosage until 2 years ago when I was suicidal and a doctor put me up and up til I was at the max dosage of 225mg. It seemed to help me at the time, I've also been seeing a great psychologist/psychoanalyst so it's not clear what did what, though I'm 95% certain the therapy helped more. I feel like I have conquered my depression and hopefully the original reasons for it, though only time will tell. Now I'm just dealing with getting off this poison.

2000-2010 75mg Effexor

2010-2012 225mg Effexor

Happy, I decide to try to get off Effexor, having no idea the ordeal that would follow.

Nov 2011 187.5mg Effexor

Dec 2012 150mg Effexor

[more gradual tapering with the requisite pain, suffering, and rage]

Feb 2012 92mg Effexor

Laid off from job, I can't deal with both unemployment and withdrawal, so I flare (opposite of taper) up to my last taper point.

Mar 2012 112.5 Effexor

Get interview for amazing job with great company but I'm so anxious about the interview I impulsively flare up another step of Effexor

May 2012 150mg Effexor

I've gotten the job, love it, and I'm happy again, so I decide to try to get off Effexor again and see a new doctor to try to help me. The new doctor suggests going on Cymbalta to reduce the w/d and I grudgingly agree, knowing how awful it was the first time and that I should look at the long game. It actually helps.

Mar 2013 75mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta

Anxiety out of control, my doc prescribes me low dose of Clonazepan (Klonipin)

May 2013 37.5mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

Jun 2013 19mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

[more tapering and suffering]

Aug 2013 0mg Effexor(!!!), 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

Feeling ok but not great, I decide I can probably take whatever punishment Cymbalta w/d will dole out, and that I should probably get off this Klonipin too since it's such a small amount and I don't want to end up a Klonipin junkie

Sep 2013 56mg Cymbalta, 0mg Klonipin

 

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  • Administrator

Dilantin itself can cause depression, see http://www.drugs.com/ppa/phenytoin.html

 

Interaction of Dilantin and Effexor can also contribute: http://www.drugs.com/interactions-check.php?drug_list=1863-1205,2296-1524

 

Dilantin, which has tons of side effects and drug and food interactions, would be a very long shot for treatment of depression, Zepp. You didn't take your doctor seriously, I hope.

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 everyone, I find that being able to talk to people who know what I'm going through helps a lot. I've noticed in all 3 of my tapers that at 2 weeks I get pretty crushing but temporary depression for a couple days and a new wave of symptoms, more mental/neurological type than the first couple weeks where it's more physical.

 

Regarding Dilantin, I've been on it for 20 years so I can't tell if there are any side effects, though I do remember the first few days on it being a little weird. If my brain zaps get really bad I may try to take a little more - I realize you're not supposed to do these things without the approval/help of a doctor but at this point I don't have much faith in medical doctors anymore, at least when it comes to antidepressants.

 

I originally went on 75mg Effexor for depression in 2001 and was on that dosage until 2 years ago when I was suicidal and a doctor put me up and up til I was at the max dosage of 225mg. It seemed to help me at the time, I've also been seeing a great psychologist/psychoanalyst so it's not clear what did what, though I'm 95% certain the therapy helped more. I feel like I have conquered my depression and hopefully the original reasons for it, though only time will tell. Now I'm just dealing with getting off this poison.

 

So did you raise your dose back up or will you stay at the lower dose? Have you become violent? I became violent when I reduced my dose. I was actually living abroad and at that time had no idea that one could not stop and start antidepressants as needed because I had figured that the drugs had "fixed" something. So I would start and stop the drugs whenever and when I stopped them I became violent. I would want to fight and I would get very angry. It was a mess. A few years ago I was on 225mg of effexor and came off very quickly and again became violent and was in bad shape. It ruined my relationship.

Various SSRIs/SNRIs 7- 1/2 years

Went Cold Turkey from Celexa 2011, Stayed Off

Psych Drug Free and Loving Life (over 6 years and counting)

 

How I Stay Well: Diet, exercise, meditation, supplements, etc

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I think I'm going to stay at this dose even though I tapered too much, unless the brain zaps get too bad. Mainly because the idea of taking MORE of this stuff is just too repulsive to contemplate.

 

I haven't gotten physically violent, but I've had more fights and confrontations in the last 2 months than I've had in many years. Probably almost got myself fired. I am angry a lot and snapping at my wife, kids, co-workers, and pretty much anyone else who gets in vicinity. I've been excercising a lot which gets my aggression out and makes me feel a little better.

 

If I can just remember these symptoms are temporary and that I'll feel somewhat normal again I think I will be able to get through this.

2000-2010 75mg Effexor

2010-2012 225mg Effexor

Happy, I decide to try to get off Effexor, having no idea the ordeal that would follow.

Nov 2011 187.5mg Effexor

Dec 2012 150mg Effexor

[more gradual tapering with the requisite pain, suffering, and rage]

Feb 2012 92mg Effexor

Laid off from job, I can't deal with both unemployment and withdrawal, so I flare (opposite of taper) up to my last taper point.

Mar 2012 112.5 Effexor

Get interview for amazing job with great company but I'm so anxious about the interview I impulsively flare up another step of Effexor

May 2012 150mg Effexor

I've gotten the job, love it, and I'm happy again, so I decide to try to get off Effexor again and see a new doctor to try to help me. The new doctor suggests going on Cymbalta to reduce the w/d and I grudgingly agree, knowing how awful it was the first time and that I should look at the long game. It actually helps.

Mar 2013 75mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta

Anxiety out of control, my doc prescribes me low dose of Clonazepan (Klonipin)

May 2013 37.5mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

Jun 2013 19mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

[more tapering and suffering]

Aug 2013 0mg Effexor(!!!), 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

Feeling ok but not great, I decide I can probably take whatever punishment Cymbalta w/d will dole out, and that I should probably get off this Klonipin too since it's such a small amount and I don't want to end up a Klonipin junkie

Sep 2013 56mg Cymbalta, 0mg Klonipin

 

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  • Administrator

Withdrawal can make you more irritable. This is another sign that maybe you need to let your nervous system adjust to reduced Effexor.

 

When was the last time you were evaluated for epilepsy, jeremy?

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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I had a checkup a few months ago where I had my Dilantin level checked and it was fine. I've been on the same dose for over 10 years without issue, and I haven't had any pre-seizure feelings like the "blinking light" in my peripheral vision in a long time. Also, I haven't had any more brain zaps since that first one - except possibly a very mild one a couple nights ago that I don't care about.

 

I actually feel somewhat human today for the first time in a while. No nightmares last night, woke up aware of where I was and not feeling lobotomized, I feel like I can sort of think straight, etc., though I'm not celebrating anything yet because I felt ok yesterday morning too briefly before I got one of the worst headaches I've ever had followed by intense nausea to the point where I thought I was going to throw up on BART.

 

I've been irritable enough the last week or so that I think my wife hates me. Not literally but I can tell she is not happy with me. She's been supportive so far but I had to cancel going out on Valentine's Day because I felt like I was going to die and I think that was the final straw for her. I've been determined not to let my condition effect my relationships with my family but I guess that was a little too optimistic.

 

I clearly tapered too much this time and need to wait a while before I taper again and really do this more slowly. I need to not be so anxious to discontinue this brain-destroying poison and take more of a long view. I had originally thought I could be off this by May but doing a little math I don't think that's in the cards. It helps to imagine I have low-level brain cancer because then I can sort of let go and not be all anxious about getting off this **** right away.

2000-2010 75mg Effexor

2010-2012 225mg Effexor

Happy, I decide to try to get off Effexor, having no idea the ordeal that would follow.

Nov 2011 187.5mg Effexor

Dec 2012 150mg Effexor

[more gradual tapering with the requisite pain, suffering, and rage]

Feb 2012 92mg Effexor

Laid off from job, I can't deal with both unemployment and withdrawal, so I flare (opposite of taper) up to my last taper point.

Mar 2012 112.5 Effexor

Get interview for amazing job with great company but I'm so anxious about the interview I impulsively flare up another step of Effexor

May 2012 150mg Effexor

I've gotten the job, love it, and I'm happy again, so I decide to try to get off Effexor again and see a new doctor to try to help me. The new doctor suggests going on Cymbalta to reduce the w/d and I grudgingly agree, knowing how awful it was the first time and that I should look at the long game. It actually helps.

Mar 2013 75mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta

Anxiety out of control, my doc prescribes me low dose of Clonazepan (Klonipin)

May 2013 37.5mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

Jun 2013 19mg Effexor, 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

[more tapering and suffering]

Aug 2013 0mg Effexor(!!!), 60mg Cymbalta, .125mg Klonipin

Feeling ok but not great, I decide I can probably take whatever punishment Cymbalta w/d will dole out, and that I should probably get off this Klonipin too since it's such a small amount and I don't want to end up a Klonipin junkie

Sep 2013 56mg Cymbalta, 0mg Klonipin

 

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hey how are you doing? Any good news? Yea i dont think you should aim for being off by may. Effexor is one of the worst AD to come off of and so I think you should do it as slow as possible even if it takes a year or longer. I myself have been going through some very rough times and may need to get back on drugs because I am not very stable. My depression is horrible and my anxiety as well. Hopefully I can find some peace soon.

Various SSRIs/SNRIs 7- 1/2 years

Went Cold Turkey from Celexa 2011, Stayed Off

Psych Drug Free and Loving Life (over 6 years and counting)

 

How I Stay Well: Diet, exercise, meditation, supplements, etc

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  • Administrator

I clearly tapered too much this time and need to wait a while before I taper again and really do this more slowly. I need to not be so anxious to discontinue this brain-destroying poison and take more of a long view. I had originally thought I could be off this by May but doing a little math I don't think that's in the cards. It helps to imagine I have low-level brain cancer because then I can sort of let go and not be all anxious about getting off this **** right away.

 

You are in good company Jeremy - I started out with a what I thought was a slow Effexor taper and was able to decrement by 6.25 mg every two weeks for a time, but then it caught up with me. I had gotten down to 18.75 mg and thought I would be off of it by last December. Withdrawals started in August but I didn't notice it until October and still didn't realize that is what it was until it knocked me on my butt in November ... I had to up dose to get comfortable. I think I'm looking at another year ... there is no prize for being the first one off of the pdrugs.

 

Hang in there.

 

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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I would like to ditto Karma, that there is no prize for speed in coming off psych drugs.

 

It takes as long as it takes.

 

If you've been thinking in terms of "months" it can be good to stretch your brain to contemplate "a year or longer;" if you have been thinking in terms of weeks it can be good to stretch your brain to "six months." Once you wrap your brain around the possibility of longer time frames either it will be faster than that and you can be glad; or it will actually take that long and you'll be glad you didn't push and make yourself sick.

 

Hang in there and listen to your body.

 

Good luck! you can do this!

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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