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Clementine: Venlafaxine Struggle


Clementine

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Clementine

Having successfully, after many years of extraordinary struggle, come off Klonipin, I mistakenly assumed that tapering venlafaxine/Effexor would be a relatively mild and tolerable experience. Instead, it has been horrific. My psychopharmacologist is a decent person, but is not only resistant to the reality of this withdrawal - he actively presumes that withdrawal symptoms reflect recurrence, which I know to be incorrect. I know what “my” anxiety and depression feel like, and I know what withdrawal feels like. This is withdrawal, and it’s brutal. I have four kids and a husband and I am deeply reluctant to put them through another round of what I went through with Klonipin. I am frightened and desperate. Plan to go back up from the 37.5 I’m down to now and taper from 75 more slowly but need support.
 

I am a clinician and a writer with familiarity with and access to medical journals ans current relevant research - I knew that Effexor had a substantial withdrawal profile, which is why I think I avoided tapering foe so long. But early last May, I woke up with  idiopathic, unilateral tinnitus which has never for one moment subsided since then, and I discovered some clinical evidence suggesting a link between SSRI’s and tinnitus. That was the impetus foe finally making the attempt.

 

The first time, I failed. The withdrawal was too overwhelming and I was contending with the COVID crisis here in NYC. This time, I was fine dropping from 112.5 to 75mgs, but after three weeks at 75, I went down to 37.5 and it has been hell. 
 

I imagine I need to taper hyperbolically, reducing the doses by smaller increments, by percentage, as I go down, in order to stop these unbearable withdrawal symptoms. But I need support in determining how often to drop by an increment, and how large or small those increments should be.

 

I am grateful for any help you can provide. Thank you.

Clementine

- 1990-2017: Various SSRI's (Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, etc.; transitioned to venlafaxine/Effexor)

- 2005-2016: Klonipin (two failed tapers followed by successful, extremely slow hyperbolic taper to zero; acute withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal)

- 2014-2021 (with some short breaks): Gabapentin (800mgs. TID)

- 2026-2020 Viibryd (periodic usage, 50mg ER several months at a time; relatively quick taper to zero)

- 2017-2021: venlafaxine 😞 - One unsuccessful taper (from initial dose of 112.5 to 75mgs. with relative ease; the subsequent drop to 37.5mgs. increment caused extreme agitation, anxiety, depression and rage, went back up to 75mgs; planning hyperbolic taper)

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  • Moderator
getofflex
Posted (edited)

Hello Clementine, and welcome to SA.  Kudos to you for doing the hard work of getting successfully off Klonopin!  I commend you for that.  We are a peer owned and run forum of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  

 

First of all, can you please give us specific information about your drug history?  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  

 

How to List Drug History in Signature

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.  

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

You are absolutely right when you say we need to taper hyperbolically.

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

When we recover, there are times of feeling OK mixed in with times of feeling bad.  This is called waves and windows.  

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Finally, increasing your dose, which we call reinstatement,  should be done very carefully.  There is some risk involved, and we need more specifics about your drug history before we can suggest a good dose at which to reinstate.  Here is some information about reinstatement.  

 

About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms

 

I've given you quite a bit of information here.  Please read through it, and mull it over, and we will take it from there. In the meantime, take care of yourself, and take heart.  We in this forum have been through this, and we understand first hand the pain and discomfort you are going through.  Please know that the brain is amazing in it's healing abilities.  It takes time, but healing can and will happen. 

Edited by getofflex
soften the wording so I'm not telling them what to do changed "advise" to "suggest"

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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  • getofflex changed the title to Clementine: Venlafaxine Struggle
Clementine
Posted (edited)

Having successfully, after many years of extraordinary struggle, come off Klonipin, I mistakenly assumed that tapering venlafaxine/Effexor would be a relatively mild and tolerable experience. Instead, it has been horrific. My psychopharmacologist is a decent person, but is not only resistant to the reality of this withdrawal - he actively presumes that withdrawal symptoms reflect recurrence, which I know to be incorrect. I know what “my” anxiety and depression feel like, and I know what withdrawal feels like. This is withdrawal, and it’s brutal. I have four kids and a husband and I am deeply reluctant to put them through another round of what I went through with Klonipin. I am frightened and desperate. Plan to go back up from the 37.5 I’m down to now and taper from 75 more slowly but need support. Am planning very gradual hyperbolic taper with compounding pharmacy nearby.

Edited by Gridley

Clementine

- 1990-2017: Various SSRI's (Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, etc.; transitioned to venlafaxine/Effexor)

- 2005-2016: Klonipin (two failed tapers followed by successful, extremely slow hyperbolic taper to zero; acute withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal)

- 2014-2021 (with some short breaks): Gabapentin (800mgs. TID)

- 2026-2020 Viibryd (periodic usage, 50mg ER several months at a time; relatively quick taper to zero)

- 2017-2021: venlafaxine 😞 - One unsuccessful taper (from initial dose of 112.5 to 75mgs. with relative ease; the subsequent drop to 37.5mgs. increment caused extreme agitation, anxiety, depression and rage, went back up to 75mgs; planning hyperbolic taper)

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  • Moderator
Gridley

Welcome to SA, Clementine.

 

Doctors know nothing about withdrawal.  They are not taught about withdrawal in school and receive their information about psychiatric drugs from the pharmaceutical companies, who are obviously reluctant to spread information about the extreme difficulties withdrawing from the product they make their money from.  Very slowly withdrawal is beginning to be acknowledged, but the medical profession in the U.S. lags far behind countries such as the U.K. in this respect.

 

You may want to print this article out. It's from the U.K. Royal College of Psychiatry (RCP):

 

 

And here's an article with leaders in the RCP explaining why they wrote that. 

 

 

You may find this thread helpful, from the Journals section:

 

 

You may also want to get a copy of this book. Robert Whitaker's writings come highly recommended here: 

 

 

Scroll down that page and you'll see hyperlinks for the source documents, including for antidepressants. 

 

Here is the book trailer video for Whitaker's book: 

 

 

If you think it's not a waste of time, before you meet with your doctor, you may want to go through this thread:

 

 

We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.  A hyperbolic taper using a compounding pharmacy is a good plan. Wait until you've stabilized from your updose to 75mg before beginning your taper.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

This link is specifically about tapering Venlafaxine.  

 

Tips for tapering off venlafaxine (Effexor)

 

So that you have a better idea of what you've experienced and are experiencing, here is some information about withdrawal and he healing process.

 

 

 

 

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 the healing process really well.

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. Get supplements that ae single ingredient (not mixed with other types of supplements).

 

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

 

 

 

 

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 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Oct 13: 8.1 mg 

Taper is 56.8% complete.

 

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

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

Taper is 80% 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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  • Gridley changed the title to Clementine: Venlafaxine Taper
JesusSavemefromWD
1 hour ago, Clementine said:

Having successfully, after many years of extraordinary struggle, come off Klonipin, I mistakenly assumed that tapering venlafaxine/Effexor would be a relatively mild and tolerable experience. Instead, it has been horrific. My psychopharmacologist is a decent person, but is not only resistant to the reality of this withdrawal - he actively presumes that withdrawal symptoms reflect recurrence, which I know to be incorrect. I know what “my” anxiety and depression feel like, and I know what withdrawal feels like. This is withdrawal, and it’s brutal. I have four kids and a husband and I am deeply reluctant to put them through another round of what I went through with Klonipin. I am frightened and desperate. Plan to go back up from the 37.5 I’m down to now and taper from 75 more slowly but need support. Am planning very gradual hyperbolic taper with compounding pharmacy nearby.

I am sorry u have also been a victim of psychiatrists. Don’t let your “decent” psychiatrist convince u is recurrence and not withdrawal. I took Zoloft for few weeks cause I just had chest tightness. I stopped Zoloft cause I had severe side effects including inner terror/anxiety/restlessness, soul penetrating sadness/dreadful feeling, SI, depersonalization and derealization, and still suffer from these symptoms despite being completely OFF Zoloft for 4 months now. Never had these symptoms before Zoloft so my doctor can not use the term “recurrent” so instead she is trying to convince me it’s an underlying disease that just happened to manifest while I took Zoloft. If I wasn’t suffering so much I would laugh at my case. My point is, listen to yourself and moderators here, they know more than most psychiatrists. Good luck to you. By the way, I understand ur point about ur husband and kids suffering with u, I feel the same way But I came up to realize that it is actually me (and you) who suffers the most intense and inhuman symptoms, so during Withdrawal we have to put ourselves above all If we want to make it.  Good luck  and may God help u in this process. 

Aug. 16-17, 2020, cipralex: went CRAZY! Recovered in 24hrs

 

Aug.28,2020; 3.5 weeks 25mg sertraline/4.5 weeks taper

Oct. 25: Last dose (4mg)

Symptoms while on zoloft

DPDR/out of my body/soul despair/feeling dead;eye floaters/ tinnitus/no appetite; constant fear, anxiety/panics

4 months OFF: pure hell

soul despair, anxiety/fear, brain disconnection/ DPDR, brain feels swollen-numb/crazy/bedridden barely functioning, tinnitus, eye lid twitches; face spasms. Feeling slightly better after 10pm.

- sleep & appetite are fine

9 months OFF: Constant hell, no windows, same symptoms as above  (only eye and face twitches have stopped) plus intense arm/shoulder pain and visual issues. Tinnitus replaced by head buzzing. 

10 months-1 year: all above symptoms, plus Insomnia (out of nowhere), depression, no peace of mind (mental Akathisia?). No windows or feeling better late nights.

Sept 2021-present 2.5mg melatonin 

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  • Administrator

@ClementineI merged your two introduction topics. Please continue posting here instead of starting new threads. That way, all of your information is in one place. Thank you. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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