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monique: in midst of withdrawal


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First of all, it's wonderful to have a place where we can share our withdrawal stories, thank you!

I had been on 225 mg of Effexor for the last 16 years (some dosage adjustments over the years) and recently 12.5 mg of Amitripthyline was added for neuropathic pain. A few years ago I developed weird neurological symptoms. I wrote to the people who make Effexor, to see if it was related to the drug. They invited me to send them my symptoms, and never heard back from them. About a year or so ago, my mood and everything crumbled. The increased irritability was out of character and really getting to me. I went from 150 mg to 225 mg of Effexor, but it only made things worse. At that point I was convinced the medication was making me sick, to the point I experienced "serotonin toxicity." Anyway, it took me 2.5 months to taper off the 225 mg with the last dose on Febr 1 2013. The medical world will have us believe the withdrawal symptoms only last a few weeks, which doesn't help my anxiety. The fact that the symptoms are very real and very present sets off the fear. It's been 6 weeks now, and the anxiety, panic, confusion, irritability etc are tough to deal with. The physical symptoms I candle handle better. I have to keep reminding myself not to fight these symptoms, and that it's common to experience withdrawal s & s for months after taking the last dose. Any reassurance is greatly appreciated! : )

Thank you and God Bless!

Have been on Effexor 16 years. Was having increasing unexplained emotional, neurological, and physical symptoms the last year or so, and came to the conclusion the Effexor was making me ill. I was also taking 12.5 mg of Amitripthyline for neuropathic pain. I was having "serotonin toxicity." Tapered the Effexor off from 225 mg over 2.5 months. Took my last dose Feb 1 of this year. The anxiety, panic, confusion and irritability are difficult to deal with. I have to keep telling myself that these symptoms are not my fault, and that it will take longer to get out of my system. The withdrawal symptoms will disappear!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Monique

Welcome to the forums here, you've come to the right place. I'm sorry you're feeling rotten right now, it does sound to me like a very fast taper off Effexor, and someone more knowledgable about Effexor might suggest you reinstate some to aleviate your withdrawals and to taper off it slower. I know what you mean about the fear being very real and present, and it can become a horrible downward spiral with our natural fear at what's happening feeding into the withdrawals. I agree that in many ways physical withdrawals are easier to rationalise and deal with than the mental ones.

Not surprised you never heard back from the drug company, probably got filed in the bin.


*** Please note this is not medical advice,discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner***

Original drug was sertraline/Zoloft, switched to Prozac in 2007.
Tapering from 5mls liquid prozac since Feb 2008, got down to 0.85ml 23/09/2012, reinstated back to 1ml(4mg) 07/11/2012, didn't appear to work, upped to 1.05ml 17/11/2012, back down to 1ml 12/12/2012 didn't work, up to 1.30ml 16/3/2013 didn't work, bumped up to 2ml (8mg) 4/4/2013 didn't work, in July 2013 I reinstated Sertraline (Zoloft) 50mg, feeling better now. 

A few months down the line I switched to 5ml liquid Prozac and tapered down to a compromise dose of 3ml liquid Prozac and have stayed there ever since, no withdrawals and no emotional blunting/loss of libido.


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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Monique,

225 effexor to zero in 2.5 months after 16 years is a brutal schedule!


At this point you can go two ways - you may get better and your symptoms resolve gradually or they may become protracted and you could experience several months to years of distress. It is not possible to predict.


I have been on effexor for 14 years - most of that time i was on 150, but did spend a few months here and there on 225. The last time i came off 150mg i crumbled under stress and anxiety for 6 weeks before giving in and reinstating back to 75 and then 150mg a week later. I was fortunate in that i was able to reinstate with no problems, some people find that they have developed sensitivity to the medication and are unable to reinstate.


If i was in your shoes i would consider reinstating and then reducing on a 10% per month schedule.

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Monique,


welcome to the forum and I'm so sorry you're struggling.


As peggy says your taper was way too fast and like most of us you probably tapered according to the instructions of a doctor, so thought you were doing the right thing. You are correct, the pharmaceutical industry would love us to believe that these symptoms last at most a few weeks. Unfortunately this isn't the case with everyone.


I would do what peggy suggests and reinstate, stabilize and then start a very slow taper. It's not possible to predict whether reinstatement will work but I think it's certainly worth a try.


Here is some information on tapering if you haven't already read it:




I totally understand where you're coming from re the mental symptoms. The problem is, the thoughts that go through our minds during withdrawal feel so real that we fully believe the stories we are telling ourselves.


When I find myself in a 'trance of panic', I remember to ask myself: 'is everything alright right now? Usually, the answer is yes. We're not dying, we're not in any immediate danger and we're relatively safe. But what we ARE doing is going into the future (which hasn't happened yet) and creating a storyline about how unbearable life is going to be and how we're never going to feel better again.


I know because I was doing all of this just yesterday.


Who knows what today will bring?


I hope you feel better very soon.


Take care

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!

****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Monique,


Welcome to our community! I'm very glad you are here. You will get lots of friendly support and good advice.


it seems you have tapered too fast for your system to adjust to not having the medication. Alto is an expert and will have great advice to help you get stabilized so that you can taper much more slowly. A good, slow taper greatly minimizes withdrawal symptoms. You may not need to reinstate the full dosage, Alto can advise you best on the dosage amount.


Could you add your drug history by following instructions in this link, please:




Thanks and I hope you feel better soon!


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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Monique


Welcome to the forum


Unfortunately I agree that your taper schedule was too quick and that reinstatement is probably your best option. This doesn't necessarily mean reinstating the full dose.


Others might be better placed to recommend a reinstatement dose.


Feel free to ask any questions and read through the wealth of info here


Sorry you are suffering and I hope things turn around soon



Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.


DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017


>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Monique. Good for you for


1) Contacting the company 2) Finding this forum so quickly


There is a thread here on symptoms and self care that you might find useful here.


I am relatively new here as well, having been on an antidepressant since 1995 ( along with a benzo ). Your story sounds familiar.


Toward the end of this long time on antidepressants I suddenly put 2 and 2 together and realized that the drugs were actually making me feel WORSE. And here I am and doing much better


My best advice for you is to NOT panic. Alto will be along to give you the suggested reinstatement dose ( if that is what she suggests and I would guess she will) and then to be PATIENT. It DOES get better and you will get excellent advice on how to make it better. It might not be EASY , but you will find that if you try the advice given and give it a chance, you will gain a certain amount of control over your taper and your symptoms. Oh. You might want to keep a daily journal to keep track of things.


At first the following helped me quite a lot:

* Warm baths with soothing music.

* I quit using my computer a few hours before bed... slept better

* When I felt myself getting anxious about all this new , very scary stuff I would lay down and do some deep breathing ( in some pretty weird places I might add!)

*I quit drinking several cups of coffee and only have one cup in the am. I've switched to de caf. tea.


Welcome again!!!! Hang in there!!! We're all rooting for you!!! :)



Fall 1995 xanax, zoloft. switched to Serzone

1996- spring 2003serzone/ xanax/ lightbox.

b]Fall 2003- Fall 2004? Lexapro 10 mg. Light box /4 mg. xanax.[/b]

2004 - Fall of 2009 10 mg Lex, 150 mg Wellbutrin XL % 4 mg xanax

November 2009- Sept. 2011 10 mg lex., 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax [/b

Sept.2012- July 2012 20 mg Lex 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax

My mantra " go slow & with the flow "

3/2/13.. Began equal dosing 5 Xs /day xanax, while simultaneously incorporating a 2.5 % drop ( from 3.5 mg/day to 3.4 mg/day)

4/6/13 dropped from 300 mg. Wellbutrin XL to 150 mg. Difficult but DONE! Down to 3.3 mg xanax/ day / 6/10/13 3 mg xanax/day; 7/15/2013 2.88mg xanax/day.

10/ 1/2013...... 2.5 mg xanax… ( switched to tablets again) WOO HOO!!!!!! Holding here… cont. with Lexapro.

1/ 2/2014.. tapered to 18mg ( by weight) of a 26 mg ( by weight) pill of 20 mg tab. lexapro. goal is 13mg (by weight OR 10 mg by ingredient content) and STOPPED. Feeling very down with unbalanced, unpredictable WD symptoms.

1/2/2014- ??? Taking a brain-healing break from tapering anything after actively tapering something for 1.5 years. So… daily doses as of 2/2/2014: 18 mg by weight Lex, 150 mg Well. XL, 2.5 mg xanax, down from 26 mg by weight Lex., 300 mg well. XL, 4 mg xanax in August, 2012. I'll take it. :) 5/8/14 started equivalent dose liquid./ tabs. 5/13/14 1.5 % cut.

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Thank you for your replies and welcome, much appreciated!

I agree that my tapering was too fast, but I'm not keen on going back on Effexor, especially not after having been without it for 6 weeks already. Also, I take St. Johns Wort now and cannot take Effexor and St. John's Wort together. Over the last month of tapering I did count out the beads inside the capsules and removed one each day. The brain zaps have completely stopped, and most physical symptoms as well, so I keep focusing on being positive and the anxiety etc will soon be a thing of the past as well. : )

Thanks again!

Have been on Effexor 16 years. Was having increasing unexplained emotional, neurological, and physical symptoms the last year or so, and came to the conclusion the Effexor was making me ill. I was also taking 12.5 mg of Amitripthyline for neuropathic pain. I was having "serotonin toxicity." Tapered the Effexor off from 225 mg over 2.5 months. Took my last dose Feb 1 of this year. The anxiety, panic, confusion and irritability are difficult to deal with. I have to keep telling myself that these symptoms are not my fault, and that it will take longer to get out of my system. The withdrawal symptoms will disappear!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Monique,


I respect your choice not to reinstate Effexor. I really do hope the other symptoms resolve soon. If they don't or get worse at all, I hope you might reconsider and reinstate a very small amount of Effexor.


Some people have protracted withdrawal that can last months or even years. There is no way to tell if a person will have symptoms that long until it has already happened. Hopefully, you will be one that can get by with a fast taper.


Please keep us informed. Also, please read through the 'Symptoms and Self-care' section. There is some valuable information there on how to deal with symptoms.


I wish you the best,


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  • Administrator

Welcome, monique.


What withdrawal symptoms do you have now? Which have gotten better?

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.

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