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UnnaturalDisaster: Farewell, Venlafaxine: Withdrawing After Autism Diagnosis


UnnaturalDisaster

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I'm Jenny. A forty-two year old housewife from the UK. I've been prescribed various antidepressants since the age of fifteen, but the one I've been taking the longest is Venlafaxine XL (usually 225mg).

In 2005 or thereabouts, I began to feel that the antidepressant was not of any great use to me. In my own little bubble of routine and stability, I was perfectly content, but I was deeply confused at my inability to function as others did. I presumed that this had to be a facet of my nondescript mental illness, and reasoned that it should therefore be possible to recover, so I would push myself to "get better" with dreadful results. Thus, I concluded that medication must be necessary after all. 

Eventually, circa 2015, a locum psychiatrist happened to pick up on a throwaway remark I'd made about my childhood. Upon questioning me further, she realised that many of my difficulties had been present since my earliest years and were therefore unlikely to be manifestations of mental illness. I was referred to the adult developmental disabilities department and - after extensive testing as well as in-depth interviews with my parents and brother - was finally diagnosed with "severe but high-functioning classic autism". 

It took some time to adjust to this new interpretation of myself. I didn't like it, and I still don't, but it did, at least, make sense. I finally began to understand how to work with my brain rather than battling against it. Since then, I've had several attempts to wean myself off Venlafaxine. I had heard of problems associated with coming off of antidepressants and had indeed experienced a taste of those issues when I happened to forget a dose... but I never imagined that tapering would result in so many unpleasant side effects. 

This time - partly from having read posts on this forum - I feel more prepared for the onslaught. I'm down to around 70mg per day and experiencing issues such as tachycardia, dreadful indigestion, and a slightly "fuzzy" head. Thus, I think it would be wise to stop at this point for a few weeks before decreasing further. It's frustrating because I want to finally be off this damned drug, but I know I must exercise patience. 

Anyway, that's it for now. Best wishes to you all. 

1994: Prescribed SSRI following suicide attempt.
1997: Hospitalised. SSRI switched. Prescribed antipsychotics, which I quickly discontinued.
2002: Switched to SNRI (venlafaxine XL 225mg).
2016: Diagnosed with severe high-functioning autism by developmental disorders team.

2018: DIY tapered venlafaxine down to 25mg, reducing 1mg every five days.
2019: Returned to 150mg after problems controlling emotions and perpetual sensory overload. 
2021: Trying again with more realistic expectations. Same 1mg drop per 5 days.

21/11/21: Up from 70mg to 75mg to ease tachycardia.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to UnnaturalDisaster: Farewell, Venlafaxine: Withdrawing After Autism Diagnosis
  • Moderator

Dear @UnnaturalDisaster,

welcome to SA. It seems like the last few years have been quite difficult with the new diagnosis and having to adjust to a new normal in addition to coming off of the venlafaxine, which is one of the harder drugs in terms of withdrawal effects. 

 

I am glad that you have been reading the forums. I am going to include a couple of links here just in case you haven't seen these particular ones. Are you tapering at 10% a month currently?  Or did you go from 150 to 70? Can you pls put a bit more detail on how you are tapering in your signature (and thanks for adding a signature to your first post already!) 

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage? - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants

Why taper? SERT transporter occupancy studies show importance of gradual change in plasma concentration - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants

 

You could also try micro tapering 

The Brassmonkey Slide Method of Micro-tapering - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants

 

At this point you seem to be having some severe symptoms and there are two things you can do. You can updose by 1 or 2 mg to see if that will make a difference or you could take a break from tapering for a few weeks or a couple of months. Which one you choose will depend on how bad your symptoms are. 

 

It is very frustrating to have to go slowly with these drugs but it is necessary for successful tapering with the least harm and disruption. 

 

Hope your symptoms resolve fast and you can be back on your tapering schedule but holding would really help. 

 

OMW

 

 

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months (don't remember dates), trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax/day, then 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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Small update: GP wants me on 75mg for another month. I am happy to comply as the tachycardia has subsided with the slightly higher dosage, even if the indigestion is still dreadful!

1994: Prescribed SSRI following suicide attempt.
1997: Hospitalised. SSRI switched. Prescribed antipsychotics, which I quickly discontinued.
2002: Switched to SNRI (venlafaxine XL 225mg).
2016: Diagnosed with severe high-functioning autism by developmental disorders team.

2018: DIY tapered venlafaxine down to 25mg, reducing 1mg every five days.
2019: Returned to 150mg after problems controlling emotions and perpetual sensory overload. 
2021: Trying again with more realistic expectations. Same 1mg drop per 5 days.

21/11/21: Up from 70mg to 75mg to ease tachycardia.

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  • Moderator
On 11/14/2021 at 10:43 AM, Onmyway said:

Are you tapering at 10% a month currently?  Or did you go from 150 to 70? Can you pls put a bit more detail on how you are tapering in your signature (and thanks for adding a signature to your first post already!) 

 

Yes, if you could please put some dates and dosages of each of your dosage increases or decreases, that would really help us to give you the best guidance.  Please add this to your drug signature.  

 

Also, please add a date or approximate date instead of saying "today", so in the future, we know what that date is.  Thank you.  

 

Let us know if the updose to 75 mg helps you with your symptoms.  

 

I just want to reassure you about your diagnosis of severe high functioning autism.  I don't think of it as a disability, but as that you are wired differently that most of us.  Here is a forum that may help: 

 

https://wrongplanet.net

***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, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

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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11 hours ago, getofflex said:

I just want to reassure you about your diagnosis of severe high functioning autism.  I don't think of it as a disability, but as that you are wired differently that most of us. 


Thank you for your kind words, but whilst I know there are many at one end of the scale who regard it as being differently wired, I most certainly regard it as a disability and one without which I would be able to lead a much more satisfactory and independent life without having to rely on a carer. It doesn't distress me, but I can see what I would have been without it. 

1994: Prescribed SSRI following suicide attempt.
1997: Hospitalised. SSRI switched. Prescribed antipsychotics, which I quickly discontinued.
2002: Switched to SNRI (venlafaxine XL 225mg).
2016: Diagnosed with severe high-functioning autism by developmental disorders team.

2018: DIY tapered venlafaxine down to 25mg, reducing 1mg every five days.
2019: Returned to 150mg after problems controlling emotions and perpetual sensory overload. 
2021: Trying again with more realistic expectations. Same 1mg drop per 5 days.

21/11/21: Up from 70mg to 75mg to ease tachycardia.

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