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Pleasehelpme4

Hi everyone! Im really thankful I came across this support group. Although I wish I came across it sooner :/. Anyway here is a brief history: 

 

150mg fluvoxamine for 5 years
Doctor had me taper off in 1 month
Experienced WD and reinstated Fluvoxamine after 6 weeks
Tried to slowly taper over 7 months and ended up switching to Effexor 75mg xr. Now I am on 37.5mg xr of Effexor for 1 month with still experiencing severe Emotional numbness, anhedonia, and pain/pressure, and low sex drive. Please help... Idk if I should increase dosage/ switch medication until the WD symptoms go away and then slowly taper? What have yall found to be the best tactic? The WD symptoms that Im experiencing right now did not go away when I reinstated Fluvoxamine and got a little better when I switched to Effexor 75mg. I love you guys, keep up the great work!

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, Pleasehelpme4.

 

Could you please put the information in your post about your drugs into a drug signature using the following link.  Please also include dates.

 

Your drug signature will appear below all your posts and is a big help to the moderators.  You will need to use a computer rather than a phone to do your signature.

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

You've undergone many changes in drugs and dosages and are now experiencing withdrawal from some or all of these changes.  So that you have a better understanding of what you're experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal and healing.  The symptoms you describe in your post are typical withdrawal symptoms.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome.

 

Glenmullen’s withdrawal symptom list.

 

When we take psychiatric medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  

 

These explain it really well:

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

 

   On 8/30/2011 at 2:28 PM,  Rhiannon said: 
When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.

What your central nervous system needs now is stability.  I suggest you make no further changes and hold at your current dosage of 37.5mg  Effexor for several months, possibly six months.  At that point, if you are feeling stable , we can guide you through a slow, safe 10% every four weeks taper off the Effexor.

 

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. 

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

 

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Pleasehelpme4

@Gridley Thank You so much for you help and support. I do have a quick question. When I got off the fluvoxamine the first time, I had terrible insomnia but no hallucinations, but once I got on ambien a few weeks into the withdrawals, I started having hallucinations as a side effect of the ambien. was on ambien for about 6 months along with reinstating the fluvoxamine. Even though I have been off the ambien for the past 3 months, I am still experiencing mild hallucinations throughout the day. Do yall think while my CNS was going through withdrawals, it was repairing itself thinking that the hallucinations I was having on ambien was "normal" so now that im off ambien, hallucinations are the new "normal"? or do you think the hallucinations are WD symptoms from 6 months of Ambien and also trying to come off luvox a second time and then switching to Effexor?

 

Just really scared that I am always going to have these hallucinations....

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Gridley
21 minutes ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

Just really scared that I am always going to have these hallucinations...

It's very difficult to untangle the causes of WD symptoms.  It could be any one of the many changes you made or a combination.  The important thing is not the cause but rather that these hallucinations are not permanent. They aren't your new normal, just a withdrawal symptom that will fade and go away.

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Altostrata

Welcome, PleaseHelp.

 

Why did you switch from fluvoxamine to Effexor? How did you make this switch?

 

What withdrawal symptoms are you still experiencing? What do you mean by "hallucinations"?

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Pleasehelpme4

Hi @Altostrata ! 

 

I switched from fluvoxamine to Effexor because my current psychiatrist told me Effexor would be easier to get off of... Not sure why because its a SNRI and has a really short half life, never the less I listened to her because she is the "expert". I was on 15mg of fluvoxamine and she had me take 75mg of Effexor with the fluvoxamine and then after a week stop the fluvoxamine and continue the Effexor. Now I am on 37.5mg of Effexor at a somewhat stable state. 

 

Im still experiencing emotional numbness, anhedonia, pain/pressure in the head, low sex drive, and the hallucinations are objects tend to move around when I look at them.

 

Im starting to think I should not listen to anymore mental health "professionals". I've been through so many and each one has their own "philosophy" of treatment and medication. My old doctor did not believe in AD WD but now he does because of my situation. Told my current doctor about this website and she wants to learn more which is great. She believes in AD WD. 

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Altostrata
3 hours ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

the hallucinations are objects tend to move around when I look at them.

 

Do they wobble when you look at them? Maybe when you move your head or neck?

 

3 hours ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

I was on 15mg of fluvoxamine and she had me take 75mg of Effexor with the fluvoxamine and then after a week stop the fluvoxamine and continue the Effexor. Now I am on 37.5mg of Effexor at a somewhat stable state. 

 

How did you feel after you dropped the fluvoxamine? How have your symptoms improved?

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Pleasehelpme4
35 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

 

Do they wobble when you look at them? Maybe when you move your head or neck?

 

 

How did you feel after you dropped the fluvoxamine? How have your symptoms improved?

They kind of get bigger and smaller slightly and move up and down. It is just when I keep my head still, similar to when i was on ambien but not as big of movements. 

 

I noticed the headaches/pressure and brain zaps got a lot less. And the emotional numbness and anhedonia were not as bad on the 75mg effexor. 

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Altostrata
14 hours ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

I noticed the headaches/pressure and brain zaps got a lot less.

 

My guess it these visual disturbances are related to brain zaps. Please try not to worry about them. Your nervous system is still wobbly, it will settle down.

 

If you felt better, why did you decrease from 75mg Effexor to 37.5mg? Do you feel better on 37.5mg?

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Pleasehelpme4

@Altostrata My doctor wanted me to get off medication completely to see how I would be. Because a lot of my OCD has to do with being worried about medication and being on it. So the thing that was suppose to help me becomes a source of anxiety. So we started stepping down the Effexor the same way that I got on it. Thats when I came across this website and told her that we are probably decreasing the doses too fast. So we are deciding to hold at 37.5mg until I am ready to start the 10% taper every 3-4 weeks. 

 

 

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Altostrata

How did your symptoms change when you decreased from 75mg Effexor to 37.5mg?

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Pleasehelpme4

@Altostrata the anhedonia and emotional numbness increased as well as the head pressure/pain. Sex drive is about the same. As far as the sexual side effects of effexor, erectile dysfunction got less but the genital numbness increased. 

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Pleasehelpme4

@Gridley @Altostrata How likely is it that my sex drive will return after i give my body time to heal? 

 

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Gridley
2 minutes ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

How likely

Very likely.

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Altostrata
2 hours ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

@Altostrata the anhedonia and emotional numbness increased as well as the head pressure/pain. Sex drive is about the same. As far as the sexual side effects of effexor, erectile dysfunction got less but the genital numbness increased. 

 

How long were you taking 75mg?

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Pleasehelpme4

@Altostrata little over 2 weeks 

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Altostrata
11 hours ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

@Altostrata the anhedonia and emotional numbness increased as well as the head pressure/pain. Sex drive is about the same. As far as the sexual side effects of effexor, erectile dysfunction got less but the genital numbness increased. 

 

After you went off fluvoxamine, how long did it take for these symptoms to appear?

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Pleasehelpme4

@Altostrata off fluvoxamine the first time? 

 

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Pleasehelpme4

@Altostrata @Gridley also do you know what causes the head pressure/pain? It feels like my brain is over excited and has like an inflammatory feeling. Im worried it is some form of glutamate exitotoxicity? I dont want to be killing my neurons. And if that is the case should I up my dose until that symptom goes away? Im not taking any supplements 

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mustafa
14 hours ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

@Gridley @Altostrata How likely is it that my sex drive will return after i give my body time to heal? 

 

Hello dear, 

I hope u find all the support on SA and learn how to bear the symptomts and make them jentle as far as possible.

I think your sex drive must be like it was again; being on antidepressants is a mistake but I don't think it is an unforgivable one, our brain will heal and be back like it was without the drug, the problem may become time but from a person to the other, the the is relative so, you would be too optimistic and if u needed time to heal, you will gain alot of things that strengthen u..

Iam not a moderator nor expert here but this is my experience up to now,here.

Good luck for u ❤️

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Gridley
5 hours ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

also do you know what causes the head pressure/pain?

 

Head pressure and pain is a common withdrawal symptom.

Migraines, headaches, neck ache / pain and head pressure ...

 

5 hours ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

should I up my dose

 

I would not up your dose.  You've gone through a lot of drug changes in the past year.  Your brain needs stability now.

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Altostrata
7 hours ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

@Altostrata off fluvoxamine the first time? 

 

 

After you went off fluvoxamine the first time, was the anhedonia and emotional numbness and the head pressure/pain relieved at any time? Were there periods when it was better or worse?

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Pleasehelpme4
5 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

 

After you went off fluvoxamine the first time, was the anhedonia and emotional numbness and the head pressure/pain relieved at any time? Were there periods when it was better or worse?

 

For the 6 weeks I was completely off fluvoxamine it was at its worse. It only got better when I reinstates fluvoxamine. And it gets worse when I decrease dosages of effexor. I really would like to get your take on glutamate exitotoxicity and its possible connection with SSRI WD. 

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Altostrata

Those symptoms appear to be withdrawal symptoms from fluvoxamine only partially addressed by Effexor.

 

Substitution of another SSRI, such as fluvoxamine (Prozac) or citalopram (Celexa) probably would have been a better choice than Effexor. Switching now may set you back with another round of destabilization.

 

Still, if you felt better at a higher dose of Effexor, not clear why you reduced it. This indicates the higher dose was more effective for the withdrawal symptoms:

 

21 hours ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

@Altostrata the anhedonia and emotional numbness increased as well as the head pressure/pain. Sex drive is about the same. As far as the sexual side effects of effexor, erectile dysfunction got less but the genital numbness increased. 

 

The genital numbness might also be fluvoxamine withdrawal, but it took a while to ramp up.

 

Like other antidepressants, Effexor itself can cause sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction. As you've seen, a lower dose may have a lower level of adverse effect.

 

If you hold at 37.5mg Effexor XR, you'll have to be patient while the other withdrawal symptoms fade. This probably will be some number of months.

 

Eventually, you'll have to gradually taper Effexor.

 

"Glutamate exitotoxicity" is discussed in the literature about the neurobiology of psychotropic withdrawal syndrome. Please see our Journals section for papers. There's no way to reverse it, you have to let nature take its course and allow it to settle down over time.

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Pleasehelpme4

@Altostrata is glutamate exitotoxicity a common component in SSRI WD? 

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Altostrata

Glutamate transmission is a common theme among theories of withdrawal syndrome. If I were you, I would not worry about "exitotoxicity". The nervous system is behaving in a normal way, in that it's trying to adjust to a changed internal biochemistry.

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Pleasehelpme4

Guys im really struggling.... I don't think i've ever been this depressed and I struggle so hard to not hate myself for letting this happen to me... It really feels like my body will never heal. I keep fighting to find the will to live. 

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Erell

Hello,

 

I know exactly how you, went through it some months ago.

It is hard, and I'm really sorry to know you're struggling. 

 

But the good news is it DOES get better. Slowly, gradually,  but still better.

And one day you notice that you're laughing...happy to just be ! :)

 

It will come dear.

You will survive to this ❤

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Altostrata

You may want to consider a switch to Prozac. Substituting Effexor for fluvoxamine was dumb.

 

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees with these things. If you had sexual dysfunction while taking fluvoxamine or Effexor, you're likely to have it on any antidepressant.

 

The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac

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Pleasehelpme4

@Altostrata I mentioned to my doctor about switching to prozac but she said because of my anxiety she wanted me on effexor... So I trusted her judgement. At this point I just want to get off all antidepressants so whatever way is the best way that's what I want to do. Should I switch to a really low dose of prozac and let that be the drug I finally come off of? Seems to make more sense with its longer half life. Not concerned about the sexual side effects right now. Just that I dont want PSSD..... 

 

 

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Pleasehelpme4

@mustafa @Erell Thank you so much for the love, support, and encouragement. It helps me to keep fighting and to keep hoping. 💚

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Altostrata

It seems you have underlying fluvoxamine withdrawal syndrome. You were feeling better at 75mg, and Effexor is a lousy substitute for fluvoxamine anyway.

 

As I see it, your choices are:

1) Cope with whatever state you're in on 37.5mg Effexor until you stablize, then taper

2) Increase to 75mg Effexor and cope with that until you stabilize, then taper

3) Go back on a low dose (maybe 10mg) of fluvoxamine, stabilize, and taper off

4) Switch to Prozac, maybe 5mg

5) Cold turkey and cope with that

 

Cold turkey is, of course, likely to give you far worse symptoms than you have now, for many months. You may find Prozac easier to taper than fluvoxamine. Reinstatement of low-dose fluvoxamine is most likely to stop the withdrawal symptoms; Prozac is second most likely.

 

Both fluvoxamine and Prozac come in liquid forms so you can take low dosages.

 

Nobody can predict who will get PSSD. That is unknowable.

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Pleasehelpme4
12 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

1) Cope with whatever state you're in on 37.5mg Effexor until you stablize, then taper

2) Increase to 75mg Effexor and cope with that until you stabilize, then taper

3) Go back on a low dose (maybe 10mg) of fluvoxamine, stabilize, and taper off

4) Switch to Prozac, maybe 5mg

5) Cold turkey and cope with that

 

@Altostrata with your experience which option do you think would be the wisest? 

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Altostrata

Please review my earlier comments. It's your decision.

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Pleasehelpme4

@Altostrata is brain inflammation (encephalitis) a concern with WD? I cant find anything about it. Thank you! 

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Altostrata
1 hour ago, Pleasehelpme4 said:

@Altostrata is brain inflammation (encephalitis) a concern with WD? I cant find anything about it. Thank you! 

 

It is a very serious disease not associated with withdrawal.

 

Please do not exhaust yourself and the staff with looking up brain diseases and asking questions about them here. Drug withdrawal syndromes are not brain diseases. If you think you have a brain disease, please see a doctor.

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