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Tamstar100: protracted withdrawal Effexor

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Tamstar100

I require urgent help please.

 

Over the past 18 months I have had several medication changes due to going off 150mg Effexor cold turkey in July 2017.  I didn't know how to do it any other way at the time and I told no-one what I was doing, not even my doctor. it just wasn't working any more.  I had been off Effexor for about 3 months and thought I had got through the worst of it although still had some withdrawal affects going on but I was functioning okay and sleeping.  I thought I'd call my doctor and let him know what I did and that is where I went wrong.  He told me to reinstate Effexor immediately at 75mg from memory, which I did because I felt like I had done something terribly wrong.  Upon reinstatement my whole body went into shock and I couldn't move.  It was shocking.

 

My doctor told me to go into hospital and that he'd help fix it.  By the time I left hospital I think I was on the minimum effective dose of Zoloft.  After leaving hospital I found that the Zoloft was overstimulating and I didn't sleep for a week.  I had to take 25mg of seroquel for sleep.  Zoloft wasn't the right antidepressant for me.

 

Without tapering off Zoloft, my doctor would try me on several different antidepressants over the next 6 weeks, including prozac, mirtazapine, brintalex, valdoxen, lexapro.  I had adverse side affects to all of these medications and can't remember what dose he started me on.  I believe now  that my brain/body couldn't tolerate medication anymore.

 

I needed to go back to hospital and I needed to find another doctor.

 

I found another doctor and I think in February 2018 from memory, and I apologise that my memory is very vague due to my recent round of ECT.  I think I started taking 20mg of Prozac, which did have it's challenges.  I underwent a round of ECT, in April 2018 and left hosptial feeling better on 20mg of Prozac and Olanzapine - I can't remember this dose - maybe 5mg because 10mg was too much and I couldn't function on that amount.  I agreed to take the Olanzapine only for 3 months to get myself back to work an back to life.

 

When my doctor took me off the olanzapine I think she did it too quickly and the withdrawal was intense. It was so intense that I tried to commit suicide.  

 

Next step, back to hospital when my doctor suggested that I should go back onto Effexor as it had worked for me in the past.  I was desperate, I didn't feel comfortable about it, but she's the doctor and knows best right?

 

The current situation is that  I came off Effexor 150mg (the original dose was 225mg), under the guidance of my psychiatrist in November 2018. She tapered me off the medication over 2 weeks.  The reason I needed to come off Effexor was due to the fact that I just wasn't able to function whilst taking it, I actually felt worse.

The hell that followed was horrendous and I did try and reinstate a low dose of Effexor although it just made matters worse.  She had be do a course of TMS treatment and then my doctor suggested ECT .  I agreed because I thought it was supposed to help with the withdrawal, although in hindsight I think she was trying to treat depression, when I told her I wasn't depressed and that I was experiencing was withdrawal.  The ECT was a really bad idea.  After the 9th ECT treatment I felt as though I was losing my mind, I felt like my brain was on fire.  This sensation lasted quite a number of days and the only thing that helped was 5mg of valium as a PRN, which I took for about 6 days.

 

I am now in such a state. I don't know where to turn. I can't sleep and I can't turn to my doctor for help because she has totally screwed me over.

Please help me, I am so desperate.

I am currently taking the following vitamins and supplements.

Fish Oil 2000mg 4 x day

N-acetylcysteine 1000mg 2 x per day

Vitamin D 1 x day

Vitamin C 1 x day

Nux Vomica IM (when nauseous)

Magnesium amino acid chalate - 1 scoop 2 x per day

Naturopath remedies - Wellbeing mix 3 x day, soothing drops 3 x day, sleep support 2 x per day, Sleep and Rejuva Sleep Forte 4 x day, compounded melatonin 5mg for sleep.

 

 

 

Edited by WiggleIt
Omitted one potentially triggering sentence. Later restored original wording.

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WiggleIt

Hello Tamstar100,

Welcome to the site, and thank you for giving us your detailed story.  All of that information is incredibly helpful.  As I look at the beginning of your story where you discuss the original round of Effexor, I suspect that your Effexor may have "pooped out," which is the phrase used when a psych med stops working.  Reinstatement—as you did—is also discussed on this site, but we don't generally advise people to reinstate at the high dose that your doctor recommended, especially not after being off for three months, as you had been.  We don't recommend for people to quit things cold turkey, nor to reinstate at high dosages.

You're not alone in what happened to you, and please know that so many people here understand it.

I know you already took the time to give us a lot of information, but I hope you don't mind if I ask you to write one more thing.  In addition to the detailed description you gave of your medication history, we also need a concise list of just the drugs, dosages, and dates, so I'm going to give you instructions for where to go on this site to write that.  The list helps all members see each other's drug histories at a glance so we can help each other out:

a.) Look at the top right of the site where your name appears

b.) Click on your name and you'll see a pull-down menu appear

c.) Under that menu, click on Account Settings
d.) You'll get taken to a new page.  Look at the left side of that page
e.) Click on Signature
f.) Fill out a short list of your medication history and dates you took the meds in the box that pops up.  (For example, you can write Sertraline 60 mgs from July 2016 to Sept 2018.)  
g.) Please list supplements, dosages, and how often you take them under your list of meds.  (I know it's a bit repetitive of what you already did, but we need it if you can fit it.) 
h.) Click Save and then you can go back to the rest of the site and keep chatting

As we heal from meds, we refer to the process as "windows and waves."  The recovery process from meds is not a straight, upward line.  It goes up and down, with the overall pattern being upward.  When we have good phase in our healing that we can feel, we refer to as a "window," and when we have a setback, we call it a "wave."  It's a good idea for you to read a little about windows and waves, so here is a link:

 
https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-stabilization/

I notice that you're on a lot of supplement.  Some of us in withdrawal (WD) don't do so well with a lot of supplements, but I'm not going to tell you to change anything at this point.

All we need right now is for you to do two things:

1.) Write up the concise list of your medication history
2.) Read about the windows and waves pattern of healing

There will be more people who come to your thread to talk to you, too! 



    

 

Edited by WiggleIt

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Rezten

Hi Tam,

 

I just wanted to say Hi and let you know you are not alone. I too came off Effexor to quickly last year and then was given other meds to try to help my withdrawal symptoms which nothing worked.     Unfortunately I didnt know what I know now and my doctors didnt know what to do or believe I was in protracted withdrawal.  Even if they did, they didnt know what to do about it.  Thank God I found SA and understand more what's going on.  You are in the right place. 

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Altostrata

Welcome, Tamstar.

 

I am so sorry your Effexor withdrawal syndrome and adverse drug reactions were treated as though they were depression. Please understand that very few doctors, even psychiatrists, are adequately informed about psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes and almost always err in the direction of misdiagnosis and overtreatment.

 

Are you taking any drugs now? What drugs, what dosages, what times of day? What is the effect of 5mg melatonin? When do you take it?

 

 

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Tamstar100

I have updated my signature now team with details of all the medications etc. and really hope you can help me.

I take the 5mg of melatonin at about 10pm and manage to get about 5 hours sleep, which just isn't enough for me.

 

 

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Altostrata

5 hours is not too bad for withdrawal insomnia.

 

Have you ever tried a little less melatonin? What is your sleep pattern?

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Tamstar100

I was actually prescribed 10mg of compounded melatonin although read on this website that less is best so I reduced it to 5mg.

 

I fall off to sleep ok.  I have to get up and pee a few times although when it's time to wake up I feel these sensations in my brain that just wont allow me to fall back to sleep.

 

The sleep has been ok for the past few nights.  Prior to that I couldn't sleep and was taking sleep medication, both prescribed and over the counter.

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Altostrata
10 minutes ago, Tamstar100 said:

when it's time to wake up I feel these sensations in my brain that just wont allow me to fall back to sleep.

 

What sensations are these? What time do they occur? You might be interested in

 

Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

Waking with panic or anxiety -- managing cortisol spikes

 

What is the sleep cycle?

 

Melatonin for sleep: Many people find it helpful

 

12 minutes ago, Tamstar100 said:

The sleep has been ok for the past few nights.  Prior to that I couldn't sleep and was taking sleep medication, both prescribed and over the counter.

 

How was it okay? Have you been sleeping more than 5 hours? What sleep drugs were you taking, at what dosages, and how often?

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Tamstar100

I feel like my brain is moving in all different directions.  I feel like my brain is being pulled.  It's like my brain just wakes up and then I can't go back to sleep.  I wish I could describe it better but I just can't.  I'm really not functioning very well, that's why I've taken a few days to get back on this site to get some help.

I'll take a look at the links you've suggested - thank you.

I read the post on cortisol spikes and that is definitely something I'm experiencing - what do I do?

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Tamstar100
On 2/19/2019 at 12:56 AM, Rezten said:

Hi Tam,

 

I just wanted to say Hi and let you know you are not alone. I too came off Effexor to quickly last year and then was given other meds to try to help my withdrawal symptoms which nothing worked.     Unfortunately I didnt know what I know now and my doctors didnt know what to do or believe I was in protracted withdrawal.  Even if they did, they didnt know what to do about it.  Thank God I found SA and understand more what's going on.  You are in the right place. 

Hi Rezten,

Thank you for saying hi.  I'm glad I've found SA.  I know everyone on here will take the time required to help me and I just have to be patient.  I just don't know what I'm doing and I think by trying to fix what's happening with me and taking all of the vitamins and what the naturopath has given me I'm making matters worse for myself. I'll work with this team who know exactly what I'm going through.

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Tamstar100
On 2/18/2019 at 9:41 PM, WiggleIt said:

Hello Tamstar100,

Welcome to the site, and thank you for giving us your detailed story.  All of that information is incredibly helpful.  As I look at the beginning of your story where you discuss the original round of Effexor, I suspect that your Effexor may have "pooped out," which is the phrase used when a psych med stops working.  Reinstatement—as you did—is also discussed on this site, but we don't generally advise people to reinstate at the high dose that your doctor recommended, especially not after being off for three months, as you had been.  We don't recommend for people to quit things cold turkey, nor to reinstate at high dosages.

You're not alone in what happened to you, and please know that so many people here understand it.

I know you already took the time to give us a lot of information, but I hope you don't mind if I ask you to write one more thing.  In addition to the detailed description you gave of your medication history, we also need a concise list of just the drugs, dosages, and dates, so I'm going to give you instructions for where to go on this site to write that.  The list helps all members see each other's drug histories at a glance so we can help each other out:

a.) Look at the top right of the site where your name appears

b.) Click on your name and you'll see a pull-down menu appear

c.) Under that menu, click on Account Settings
d.) You'll get taken to a new page.  Look at the left side of that page
e.) Click on Signature
f.) Fill out a short list of your medication history and dates you took the meds in the box that pops up.  (For example, you can write Sertraline 60 mgs from July 2016 to Sept 2018.)  
g.) Please list supplements, dosages, and how often you take them under your list of meds.  (I know it's a bit repetitive of what you already did, but we need it if you can fit it.) 
h.) Click Save and then you can go back to the rest of the site and keep chatting

As we heal from meds, we refer to the process as "windows and waves."  The recovery process from meds is not a straight, upward line.  It goes up and down, with the overall pattern being upward.  When we have good phase in our healing that we can feel, we refer to as a "window," and when we have a setback, we call it a "wave."  It's a good idea for you to read a little about windows and waves, so here is a link:

 
https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-stabilization/

I notice that you're on a lot of supplement.  Some of us in withdrawal (WD) don't do so well with a lot of supplements, but I'm not going to tell you to change anything at this point.

All we need right now is for you to do two things:

1.) Write up the concise list of your medication history
2.) Read about the windows and waves pattern of healing

There will be more people who come to your thread to talk to you, too!  

 

 

Hi Wigglelt, I think I've updated my medication history.  It's a big long winded and I'm still having problems with my concentration and memory.  I've done my best.  Thank you so much.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
extracted response

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ChessieCat

Tamstar's drug signature quoted here for easier reading:

 

2005 - 20mg Cipramil, 2010 - changed to Effexor commencing at 37.5mg and over the course of a few years the dosage was increased to 300mg and then decreased in 2015 to 150mg, 2013 - 25mg Seroquel prescribed due to insomnia. I stayed on this for approximately 1 year and came off cold turkey - terrible withdrawal which lasted for about 2 weeks. July 2017 - Cold Turkey off 150mg Effexor. October 2017 - doctor told me to reinstate at 75mg with adverse affects, my whole body went into shock

 

October 2017 - hospitalised and my doctor prescribed Zoloft 25mg which was increased to 50mg over 2 weeks. After leaving hospital I found that the Zoloft was overstimulating and I didn't sleep for a week.  I had to take 25mg of seroquel for sleep.  November 2017 without tapering off Zoloft, my doctor would try me on several different antidepressants over the next 6 weeks, including prozac, mirtazapine, brintalex, valdoxen, lexapro.  I had adverse side affects to all of these medications and can't remember what dose he started me on.  I believe now  that my brain/body couldn't tolerate medication anymore and due to my current stage of confusion I cannot remember the dosage. February 2018 back to 20mg Prozac - I asked to go back on this medication as I had read it was easier to come off although I wasn't functioning very well on this. April 2018 - commenced ECT - I think I had about 9 to 10 treatments April 2018 - 10mg of Olanzapine introduced although had to be reduced to 5mg as I couldn't tolerate at this higher dose - agreed to stay on Olanzapine for 3 months.  I really didn't want to go on this medication due to the chances of weight gain.

 

July 2018 - My doctor agreed that I could come off the Olanzapine.  I can't recall now how she tapered me off but it was very quickly and I suffered terribly.  I had to go back into hospital. August 2018 - My doctor said that I should quick Prozac and go back onto Effexor as it had worked for me in the past.    Ceased Prozac and commenced taking Effexor starting at 37.5mg and over 2 weeks was up to 225mg.  Back on Effexor and I wasn't functioning at all.  I couldn't leave the house.  I just had no energy, didn't shower, go out anywhere.  I felt like a zombie. October 2018 - I told my doctor I wanted off Effexor, take me off all medication I can't deal with this.  She tapered me off 225mg very quickly - over 2 weeks.  I went into withdrawal again.  I tried to reinstate 37.5mg after about 2 weeks but I couldn't it made everything worse. November 2018 - commenced TMS treatment - doctor said it would help - it didn't December 2018 / January 2019 - commenced ECT treatment - doctor said it would help - After the 9th ECT treatment I felt as though I was losing my mind, I felt like my brain was on fire.  This sensation lasted quite a number of days and the only thing that helped was 5mg of valium as a PRN, which I took for about 6 days.

 

January 2019 - I took a few more Valium 5mg PRN over the course of 2 days but I felt it just wasn't right. February 2019 - Fish Oil 2000mg 4 x day, N-acetylcysteine 1000mg 2 x per day, Vitamin D 1 x day, Vitamin C 1 x day, Nux Vomica IM (when nauseous), Magnesium amino acid chalate - 1 scoop 2 x per day, Naturopath remedies - Wellbeing mix 3 x day, soothing drops 3 x day, sleep support 2 x per day, Sleep and Rejuva Sleep Forte 4 x day, compounded melatonin 5mg for sleep.

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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Tamstar100

Thank you ChessieCat xx

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed unnecessary quote

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Tamstar100

I'm desperate.

 

The melatonin I take for sleep only works some time.  I didn't feel any sedation like I normally do so after an hour of not falling 'off to sleep I took some over the counter sleep medication.  Still no sleep.  In desperation at about 12.30am I took 5mg of Valium as I was beside myself.  I don't think I feel asleep although it calmed me a little bit.  I got out of bed at 4.30am and took 10mg of Valium, it sedated me more although I didn't sleep.

I went to see my local doctor and asked for seroquel 25mg to just get some sleep tonight.  I don't want to take this all the time.  I've had a horrible withdrawal from seroquel in the past as well although I just need a decent night sleep.

 

I've been approved for medical marijuana in Australia and I'm just waiting for it to be fully approved and dispensed.

 

Please help, I don't know what I'm doing and need sleep.  I'm at the end of my rope.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
extracted response

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Altostrata

Tamstar, for cortisol spikes, you darken your bedroom and use a sleep mask to keep out the early morning light. The rise in cortisol is triggered by the change in light.

 

Conversely, your own natural melatonin is triggered by darkness.

 

Your internal clock is reset each day by natural light, getting outside for a bit every day can help reinforce your natural sleep cycle.

 

How are you using the melatonin? It's possible 5mg is too high a dosage for you, effective doses start at 0.25mg. It's best taken at nightfall, then turn off all lights and stop using the computer. You want to be in darkness at bedtime.

 

You are probably getting paradoxical reactions. This is when sedating substances such as melatonin, the over-the-counter sleep drug, Valium, or Seroquel cause you to stay awake rather than sleep. When your nervous system feels too pressed down, it will fight back.

 

You and your doctors have been making this mistake all along: To calm a nervous system upset by adverse drug reactions, more is not better. This goes double for drugs in combination.

 

Going on and off psychiatric drugs has made your nervous system hypersensitive to drugs and maybe some supplements and even foods. This will make you prone to outsized reactions to small amounts.

 

On 2/20/2019 at 4:55 PM, ChessieCat said:

February 2019 - Fish Oil 2000mg 4 x day, N-acetylcysteine 1000mg 2 x per day, Vitamin D 1 x day, Vitamin C 1 x day, Nux Vomica IM (when nauseous), Magnesium amino acid chalate - 1 scoop 2 x per day, Naturopath remedies - Wellbeing mix 3 x day, soothing drops 3 x day, sleep support 2 x per day, Sleep and Rejuva Sleep Forte 4 x day, compounded melatonin 5mg for sleep.

 

It's possible that right now, vitamin D is contributing to your alerting. If I were you, I'd stop taking it for a while.

 

Magnesium is best taken in small amounts throughout the day, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

I don't know what's in Wellbeing mix or the other naturopath remedies. Could be ingredients that are also contributing to your symptoms.

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Tamstar100

Hi Alto,

I know I'm making silly, stupid mistakes because I'm desperately trying to fix what is happening to me because it is so hard to deal with.

I've read your post and sitting with it today I totally agree with what you're saying.

Just thinking about what is going on with me, I've made a decision to stop taking supplements, vitamins and the tonics/remedies from the naturopath for the moment as I absolutely think they're contributing to how poorly I'm feeling.

With regards to the melatonin is there anyone in Australia who can tell me what brand of melatonin to buy where I can get the 0.25mg dosage?  I'm keen to see how this works for me.

When I took the Valium/Sleep Medication and Melatonin for sleep I was desperate and totally make it worse.  I also know I made a very poor decision by asking my doctor for Seroquel yesterday for sleep.  It's just really hard because I want to run things by you guys first before I do anything and make things worse for myself when I'm waiting for a response.  I really appreciate you taking the time to provide me with the knowledge and helpful tips you have.

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ChessieCat
5 hours ago, Tamstar100 said:

I also know I made a very poor decision by asking my doctor for Seroquel yesterday for sleep. 

 

If you have decided that you definitely don't want to take it, I suggest that you throw out the tablets, if you have filled the script. and/or the script so you aren't about to take any if you get desperate.

 

When we are desperate we can make decisions that we later regret.

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