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I was on Effexor for 15 years. It was helpful for many, but after 15 years I decided I would like to come off the drug and see how I did. My psychiatrist weaned off off over a few months, but soon after termination, I started to have severe panic and anxiety that lasted from morning until night. It was a living hell. The psychistartist tried several medications over 2 years – Latuda, Viibryd, Seroquel, Trazadone, Lexapro, Zyprexa, Wellbutrin, and Neurontin – to stop this reaction but nothing worked. This anxiety and ‘fight-or-flight’ inner experience was only temporarily reduced with Klonopin,given a year after going off of Effexor. FYI, I NEVER was prescribed a benzo in my life before this because even though I have bipolar diorder and OCD, I never needed it. However, my tolerance continues to increase so I’m having terrible memory problems from these awful benzos. I also suffer hours and hours a day with heart palpitations and neck throbbing, which adding Xanax hasn’t helped. I had an EKG and have been checked by a cardiologist, but I’m in perfect physical health. Since this all started when I came off of long-term Effexor use, I believe that this physical trigger is brain related – I absolutely believe I’ve had irreversible brain damage from going off of Effexor. Eventually I went back on it in an effort to see if it would help me, but it was years too late. The psychiatrist should’ve put me back on Effexor immediately when the reactions started, but he didn’t. 

My life has been totally destroyed by this evil drug. It’s been over 3 years now that I’ve come off Effexor, and I’m seeing a new Psychiatrist who doesn’t know how to help me. I live in a strange state of emotional torture because I can’t function socially and struggle to function at work, barely keeping my job so far, from the stress a, devastation and continuing physical symptoms I suffer. My emotions are flat-lined, I have no interests or passion for life, and I no longer can feel happiness, contentment or joy. I have never wanted to kill myself like I have in these past 3 years because existence has become so intolerable. In fact, the only reason I stay alive is because I have 2 children who don’t deserve to grow up without a mother. My life is a living hell and after 3 years, I don’t have much hope that that will ever change.

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  • Moderator

Hello, Randi, and welcome to SA.  I'm sorry you're having these horrible symptoms and also that you were put on all the  drugs that accomplished nothing.


To start, please add a signature.  Include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. Do it to the best of your recollection.  This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 
  • Any drugs and supplements prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • This is a direct link to your signature:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

It appears clear that your symptoms resulted from a too-fast taper of Effexor, exacerbated by the mercy-go-round of drugs your psychiatrist put you on.  Psychiatrists have no idea about the necessity for slow tapering and don't believe in protracted withdrawal syndrome, which is what you're undergoing now.  The symptoms you describe are very typical of psychiatric drug withdrawal.  The good news is that you will heal.  However, it will very probably take a frustratingly long time.  Later in this post I will have some suggestions for you.  You do not have irreversible brain damage, though I'm sure it feels that way.  The brain has remarkable capabilities to heal itself, though again it takes a long time.  These two links explain how the brain heals itself from psychiatric drug damage:


Here is some information on withdrawal syndrome:
Withdrawal syndrome can last a long time, and three years is not uncommon.  The following link contains some hard facts about how long it  takes but also very hopeful information about healing.
How Long Is Withdrawal Going to Take? (this post - see below)
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 (magnesium glycinate is a good form) and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 




Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.
We also recommend using non-drug methods to cope with withdrawal.
If you've been taking xanax regularly for over two weeks, it is likely you are dependent on it.  If you decide to stop, it is important that you taper slowly.  Basically we recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.

We have a benzo forum here (Benzo tapering and recovery), and mods who are experienced with benzo tapering.  It might be a good idea for you to create an introduction for yourself in the benzo forum as well, so our benzo mods can assist you with your xanax taper should you choose to go off it.


Regarding your psychiatrist, the only thing psychiatrists know to do is to prescribe more drugs.  Whether you decide to take them is your decision.  We are a site for helping people taper off psychiatric drugs  and deal with withdrawal from them.


This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions, provide updates and connect with other members.  I'm glad you found your way here.  









Edited by Gridley

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 of 18.75mg   

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% 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

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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hi and welcome randi. 

Took prozac 40 mg for 20 years.

January 2017 started cutting down prozac by 12.5% a week. End of February 2017 completely off prozac and withdrawals began.

Currently taking Levothyroxine 75 mcg, Magnesium citrate 200mg,Sage leaf 50mg daily

Amlodipine: October 2017 , discontinued 26 Feb 2019; Candesartan:  26 Feb 2019, 4mg.

Discontinued magnesium citrate 200mg Apr 3rd 2019

Reinstated prozac:  14 Jan 2019, 1mg; 26 Jan, 1.5mg; 4 Feb, 2mg; 16 Feb, 2.5mg; 2 Mar, 3mg; 5 Mar, 2.5mg, 23 Mar, 3 mg; 6 Apr, 3.5mg, 14 Apr 4mg, 23 Apr 5mg, 10 Jul 8mg, 1 Dec 20mg, 1 Apr 2020 40mg 

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