Jump to content

Saudades: Desirous of a life without Venlafaxine


Saudades

Recommended Posts

Hey guys,

 

I have been on venlafaxine xr since 2011. When I started, I was at a terrible place in my life. I was 22 years old and living with crippling GAD (mainly health anxiety), social anxiety and suffering from daily panic attacks. After years of not doing anything about it/not getting any help - I finally went to the doctor to explain to him what I had been feeling (mostly at the request of worried family members). I left my appointment that day with a prescription for venlafaxine and valium, the latter of which I refused to touch/take. 

 

Slowly but surely things started to improve. My panic attacks stopped altogether and with the help of CBT I was able to pull myself out of the hole that I had landed. 5 years down the line I felt like I no longer needed venlafaxine but every attempt to stop it resulted in massive withdrawal symptoms and it never felt like the right time to deal with the effects of stopping. So basically, I continued to take venlafaxine even I felt like it was no longer serving a purpose in my life. I had periods where I felt more anxious again but I never felt like it helped me the way it did during the initial few years.

 

In any case, fast forward to August 2020. I had just given my 4 weeks notice to leave my job and was preparing to move to a new country with my long time boyfriend. I made a plan with my doctor to finally start tapering and push through it no matter what. I felt like I was in a good place in my life and I wanted to be finally of this drug, especially because we are planning on having a baby a year or two down the line.

 

My doctor did not have a lot of experience with venlafaxine or withdrawals. His taper plan was too fast (he expected me to be completely off within one month of tapering) and made me feel extremely unwell so I took it upon myself to taper even more slowly and to stay on various doses for much longer in order for my body to adjust.

 

Two weeks before my planned move, a close family member was diagnosed with cancer. I couldn't bring myself to leave and postponed my move in order to care for said family member. They passed away in December 2020 and my anxiety skyrocketed. The panic attacks returned. My doctor tried to convince me to increase my meds again to help my symptoms but I really did not want to do that after struggling so much to get down to 37.5 mg. I refused and started therapy again instead. I stayed on 37.5 mg for quite some months. In May I started tapering again. 

 

My capsules have 3 tiny pills inside of them so I decided to remove one pill every 4-5 weeks. I had withdrawal symptoms during this time but they were light and manageable and always subsided after about 2 weeks. 

 

12 days ago I took my last pill. 12.5 mg, the lowest I could go without crushing the medication. My withdrawals have no been fun. 

 

They include: debilitating brain fog (seriously it has been so bad - i can't think. Does anyone else suffer terribly from this?), sweating, shivering, brain zaps, fatigue, heavy eyes, feeling irritable, feeling weepy, nightmares, nausea, dizzyness  parasthesia.

 

I thought that with time I would just start to feel better with each passing day but instead I have a day where I feel better followed by a cluster of days where I feel terrible again. The brain fog is the worst though. 

 

I was told that my slow taper was probably not slow enough and that I should reinstate and start crushing my medication. I feel extremely reluctant to do this because of how much of a task it was to stop. I never want to go on this medication again. But at the same time I am fearful that I am going to be stuck like this forever and am considering reinstating (while also hating that fact that I need to now entertain the idea)

 

 

 

Edited by arbor

Effexor: 2012, 75mg (started tapering down Sept 2020, reached 37.5 mg Jan 2020, 12.5 mg July 2020, 0mg end of Aug 2020)

Levothyroxine: 2014 - present

Hormonal birth control 2013 - present

Pantoprazole - on and off for chronic gastritis since 2017

 

Link to comment
  • ChessieCat changed the title to Saudades: Desirous of a life without Venlafaxine
  • Moderator

Dear @Saudades

 

I'm sorry to read that you're going through these symptoms of venlafaxine withdrawal.  

On 9/7/2021 at 5:34 AM, Saudades said:

Does anyone else suffer terribly from this?), sweating, shivering, brain zaps, fatigue, heavy eyes, feeling irritable, feeling weepy, nightmares, nausea, dizzyness  parasthesia.

Yes, unfortunately, these can be typical reactions to reducing the drug.  I can understand your desire to be free of the drug, but you may want to go slower by reinstating a small amount and tapering very slowly from there.  

To get you started and to give you pertinent information, could you summarize your medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in a list format.  

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

For more information on withdrawal, tapering, and possibly reinstating, you might find these links helpful:

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine)

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms

 

If you would like support with reinstating, knowledgeable moderators can help you decide how you wish to approach doing so.

 

This is your Introduction site where you can ask questions and connect with other members.

I'm glad you've found us, though I'm sorry you're having to suffer, especially as you've already gone through a lot.

My best to you,

Arbor

 

Zoloft: 1995 - 2015

Prozac: 2015 - 2018 (tapered from 40mg x day on July 31 to 30mg on August 31 to 20mg on September 31 to 10mg October 31 to 0mg on  December 15, 2018

Gabapentin: 2016 to 2019  (tapered from 300mg x day to 150mg on August 31, 2019 to 75mg on September 15 to 50mg on September 31 to 25ishmg on October 15 to 0mg on December 1, 2019

Enalapril: 2010 - 2019

Lipitor: 2017 -2017

Metformin: 2000 - 2020

Liothyronine: 2007 - 2019

Levothyroxine: 2000 - 

Link to comment

Thank you for your reply. I have considered reinstating but part of me really doesn't want to.

 

I was feeling quite well yesterday (day 15 without). My brain fog was very minimal and I managed to do a lot of things but then started to feel worse and worse closer to the evening.

 

Last night I had terrible nightmares that felt extremely real. They were all related to my health anxiety and honestly were pretty scary.  I woke up from them numerous times, even suffering from sleep paralysis at one point. As a result, I did not have a restful night at all. Tbf, I have always had trouble sleeping, for years. I wake up often numerous times per night panicking, and then have trouble falling back to sleep despite proper night routine/hygiene. I am considering asking for a sleep study to rule out  sleep disorder.

 

In anycase, today was the opposite of yesterday. I felt tired, anxious, weepy, kept getting brain zaps (which were honestly a lot better, almost gone) and my brain fog was horrendous. I exercised and meditated in the afternoon to lift my spirits and it did help somewhat but now I am suffering from terrible joint and body pain, as though I have the flu, much similar to the symptoms I felt on the first and second days of withdrawal. No idea where that came from all of a sudden but it actually has me a bit worried that maybe it's unrelated and that I somehow managed to get covid (even though I am extremely cautious and still don't go out anywhere despite being vaccinated).

 

I am taking omega 3 fish oil, magnesium, vit D as supplements to help with the withdrawals. Cant say I have noticed any difference except save with the fish oil maybe helping lessen the brain zaps.

Effexor: 2012, 75mg (started tapering down Sept 2020, reached 37.5 mg Jan 2020, 12.5 mg July 2020, 0mg end of Aug 2020)

Levothyroxine: 2014 - present

Hormonal birth control 2013 - present

Pantoprazole - on and off for chronic gastritis since 2017

 

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Hello, @Saudades

 

You may wish to postpone taking vitamin D, it can be activating. 

 

While antidepressant withdrawal syndrome may have flu-like symptoms, you may wish to get a covid-19 test. I hear it's going around.

 

You've been off Effexor only for a couple of weeks. You may wish to wait a week or 2 to see if your symptoms overall improve. You may quickly recover from withdrawal. If they do not improve or get worse, let's discuss reinstatement again.

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.

Link to comment

I didn't know that was a possibility with Vit D, I might try leaving it out then.

 

So I took a rapid test an hour ago, because we have a few here at home, and it was negative. I'll see how I feel tomorrow, hopefully the joint pain is better. 

 

Thank you, yes, I will give it another week or so. I will also try to be patient, I think that is a huge problem for me. I tend to forget that these things aren't always linear, there may be days where I feel better and days where I feel worse. So on days when I do feel worse, it feels a bit like a set back and then I catastrophe and worry that it will always be like this.  

Effexor: 2012, 75mg (started tapering down Sept 2020, reached 37.5 mg Jan 2020, 12.5 mg July 2020, 0mg end of Aug 2020)

Levothyroxine: 2014 - present

Hormonal birth control 2013 - present

Pantoprazole - on and off for chronic gastritis since 2017

 

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Even if you recover within a few weeks, it's likely to be gradual and frustrating. Please check in with us if you get significant new symptoms.

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.

Link to comment

I have been browsing through this website, and I was wondering if someone could perhaps point me to some posts (if there are any) where the user posts sort of a play by play of their time/experience withdrawing, like day by day for a period of time?

 

I have been keeping a personal journal of each day of my withdrawal symptoms since finishing. Perhaps I will type it up later and post it here.

Effexor: 2012, 75mg (started tapering down Sept 2020, reached 37.5 mg Jan 2020, 12.5 mg July 2020, 0mg end of Aug 2020)

Levothyroxine: 2014 - present

Hormonal birth control 2013 - present

Pantoprazole - on and off for chronic gastritis since 2017

 

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

My withdrawal update:

 

26 days since stopping Effexor. I decided not to reinstate.

 

At this point I am not even sure if some of the things I am experiencing are withdrawal, or if it is anxiety, or an actual health issue.

 

- My sleep has not improved but my night terrors have become less frequent. I still sometimes get weird sensations right as I am falling asleep that jerk me awake.  

- brain zaps are almost completely gone. I still get one or two occasionally, usually when I am in bed and about to fall asleep

- nausea is a lot better. I suffer from gastritis so I still get it but I think in this case it is more related to food and stomach issues than WD.

- for me the biggest lingering issue right now is joint and muscle soreness all over my body. Ordered some Epsom salts and will try to see if that makes a difference

- I also recently started getting something I can only describe as internal trembling or vibrating. It feels like my body is vibrating lightly and its not a comfortable feeling at all, it been kind of distressing because it's non stop and I am worried about neurological stuff.

- pins and needles still present but not as dominating and bad as earlier this month

- anxiety is pretty high

- I noticed my body is really tense as well and I clench my teeth often (at night and during the day) - probably because of anxiety. I have been having a lot of stress lately too

- excessive sweating. Something that I developed while on Effexor but somehow I feel like right now it's even worse than usual. I break out into a sweat with every little thing. Weirdly enough however, I also have problems feeling freezing cold quite often

- brain fog still there

 

Effexor: 2012, 75mg (started tapering down Sept 2020, reached 37.5 mg Jan 2020, 12.5 mg July 2020, 0mg end of Aug 2020)

Levothyroxine: 2014 - present

Hormonal birth control 2013 - present

Pantoprazole - on and off for chronic gastritis since 2017

 

Link to comment

What you are describing are definitely withdrawal symptoms. 

1988-1996  Various AD’s, all classifications.  

1996-2019  Effexor XR 37.5mg to 150mg. Jan 2017 onward, 37.5 mg.

2019  Apr 11: Latuda 20mg added to Effexor.  Apr 22: L to 40mg.  May 14: L to 20mg.  May 27: L to 10 mg for 3 days then ct (dr’s orders). Continue Effexor 37.5.  Jun 10: Rexulti .5 mg added. Incr to 1mg.  Jun 15: Rex to .5mg.  Jul 1-24: taper Rex to .25mg over couple of weeks then off.  Jul 24: CT Effexor (per dr’s orders)  Sep 9-19: Viibryd (low dose, not sure mg), CT (dr’s orders).  Sep 23-27: Trintellix (low dose). CT (dr’s orders).  Sep 28:  Prozac 10mg.  Oct 24:  Began rapid taper off Prozac (every other day for wk) began Pristiq 25mg for 10 days, then 50mg after that.  Dec 31-Jan 31, 2020:  Pristiq 25mg. 

2020  Feb 1: CT Pristiq due to serious side effects incl high BP w pre-existing heart condition.   Feb 1: Effexor XR (10 large beads from 37.5 capsule).  Feb 3: 14 L beads.  Feb 15: 14 L beads+2 med beads.  Feb 17: 15L + 5M beads (25mgbw or 7.56mgai).

Current: Mar 1, 2020: Effexor XR (15 large beads + 7 medium beads, 30mgbw or 9.072mgai)

 

Other current meds: Ambien 10mg nightly (2012), clonazepam .125mg nightly (May, 2019), omeprazole 20mg (alt w famotidine 20mg, since Oct 2019), Synthroid 125 mcg (1985), Premarin .625mg (2002), Miralax capful/day (2014), fluticasone nasal once/day (mid-2018), cetirizine 10mg nightly (late-2018) .  Supplements: D3 25mcg, probiotic

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I'd come on and do another update.

 

What has improved:

 

- Brain zaps are now gone. I really think the omega 3 fish oil helped with that.

 

- Body pain/soreness. The last episode was the last time I made an update post. Hoping it stays that way

 

- Pins and needles significantly better. Now I only sometimes feel it in my feet vs before when it was all over my body, face, scalp

 

- Nausea is gone

 

- excessive sweating has improved a bit

 

 

What has stayed the same:

 

-  muscle tension in my jaw, neck and shoulders

 

- still randomly get this feeling like my entire body is buzzing/shaking

 

- feel cold pretty much all the time

 

- terrible LOUD tinnitus 24/7. I have always had tinnitus but sometimes it would go away or just be less present. Since completely stopping Effexor it has been extremely loud and unrelenting

 

- in addition to tinnitus, my visual snow has also been very present, very bright and bothersome. Also have a TON of floaters - which to be fair I have really poor eyesight and always have floaters but the visual increase has definitely been really bothersome. Tinnitus and visual snow together = a tortuous dream team

 

- Sleep: I have been sleeping about 7 hours on average, so an hour more than I have been for like half a year now. This is good but my quality of sleep hasn't improved. Not really sure if it's even connected tbh, as I have essentially always had trouble sleeping

 

What has gotten worse:

 

- Cognitive functioning: I feel like this is continuously getting worse. It has been quite scary and I am still in the midst of neurological tests. I mix up words - mostly in my internal dialogue, I am able to correct myself before saying them outloud but it still makes me feel extremely anxious/panicky because before my thoughts just flowed smoothly. It isn't just once in a while, it happens constantly throughout the day. Brain fog is worse, I feel like there is a constant veil between me and reality and I do feel like overall I respond a lot slower to things. I also am a lot more forgetful. Really afraid of young onset dementia or some other neurological disease. This has by far been the most concerning thing for me and I do not know if it is related to withdrawal

 

- Intrusive and repetitive thoughts. I have not been formally diagnosed with OCD but I do have some overlapping symptoms with OCD. I have compulsions because of my health anxiety and these have definitely gotten worse. I can say with 100% certainty that my mental health is quickly approaching rock bottom. In addition to this I also have words and numbers that I repeat numerous times in my head (don't want to do this but can't control when it happens or how often). I have struggled with this for years but it has never been as bad as it is now. 

 

- Racing thoughts and earworms. Basically my mind is full of chatter, it's loud and I'm constantly running from one thought to the next or repeating the most annoying ear worm for hours on end (like a song I heard on the radio etc).  

 

- I cry and feel overwhelmed very often

 

What have I been doing to help myself:

- journaling daily - I have a regular lined journal and something called the 6 minute diary which is really good for gratitudes, affirmations, goals

 

- meditate at least 10 min a day

 

- exercise every day

 

- a hobby that I enjoy and that keeps me busy and distracted

 

- walks outside (although its been really rainy here so I haven't been as successful at forcing myself to go out as I'd like)

Effexor: 2012, 75mg (started tapering down Sept 2020, reached 37.5 mg Jan 2020, 12.5 mg July 2020, 0mg end of Aug 2020)

Levothyroxine: 2014 - present

Hormonal birth control 2013 - present

Pantoprazole - on and off for chronic gastritis since 2017

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator

Thanks for this update @Saudades💜🙏🥴🌞🕊️

 

I can sense your recovery making its way towards you from the distance of the future.  

I have found OCD to be a terribly challenging symptom of w/d that will finally improve with time.

Please know I send you my best wishes,

Arbor  

Zoloft: 1995 - 2015

Prozac: 2015 - 2018 (tapered from 40mg x day on July 31 to 30mg on August 31 to 20mg on September 31 to 10mg October 31 to 0mg on  December 15, 2018

Gabapentin: 2016 to 2019  (tapered from 300mg x day to 150mg on August 31, 2019 to 75mg on September 15 to 50mg on September 31 to 25ishmg on October 15 to 0mg on December 1, 2019

Enalapril: 2010 - 2019

Lipitor: 2017 -2017

Metformin: 2000 - 2020

Liothyronine: 2007 - 2019

Levothyroxine: 2000 - 

Link to comment

Thank you @arbor :)

Effexor: 2012, 75mg (started tapering down Sept 2020, reached 37.5 mg Jan 2020, 12.5 mg July 2020, 0mg end of Aug 2020)

Levothyroxine: 2014 - present

Hormonal birth control 2013 - present

Pantoprazole - on and off for chronic gastritis since 2017

 

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy