Jump to content

Sufilizard: Finally getting off this roller coaster


Sufilizard

Recommended Posts

Hi!

 

I stumbled across this site a while ago and it planted the seed to try to ween off of antidepressants altogether. I'm finally doing it and registered here today.

 

I've been on some sort of antidepressant for years now. After suffering frequent, severe panic attacks for years and just trying to deal with it, I finally had a doctor prescribe Lexapro because of prolonged, severe insomnia. Not only did the insomnia clear up, but I stopped having panic attacks! I had been having several a day, every day for years. It was horrible. After a year or so, I changed jobs and my new insurance didn't cover as much so my Lexapro got more expensive than I could afford so I ended up switching to a much cheaper generic citalopram. I was told it was very similar chemically. I noticed some depression symptoms after the switch. In hindsight I think I've had episodes of moderate depression since childhood, but it was never a major problem until I was on antidepressants (ironically). But I was still not having panic attacks and I was so terrified of going back to that nightmare, I didn't even consider stopping. I also started noticing major symptoms if I would miss a couple of doses -- there were a few times when I needed my doctor to call in a new prescription, but it was the weekend so I went a couple of days without. At the time, I wasn't aware of the propensity of these drugs to cause such negative symptoms if you missed. I had wild mood swings including full-on rage over things that should have been minor irritants. Eventually the depression symptoms got bad enough I talked to my doctor about trying something else. Two days after switching to a low dose of Prozac, I got up at about 1am because I couldn't sleep and ended up taking our washing machine apart to try to fix something that didn't require that much disassembly. So that wouldn't work. We eventually settled on nortryptaline which actually helped me get to one of the best places I had been in a long time emotionally. Of course that didn't last and it also had some physical side effects (constipation) that were getting so bad I had to make another change. I ended up on generic Effexor XR less than a year ago. I've had splitting headaches if I took my daily dose even a couple of hours later than usual - it was the least-forgiving of all the antidepressants for me so I was pretty nervous about weening off, but I was determined to stop being a slave to these drugs.

 

I waited until after all our family Christmas gatherings and since I was on the lowest dose available, I thought I'd try just going every-other day. (Now that I look through this website, I see that's not really a recommended way to do it). But surprisingly, I wasn't really having problems. The splitting headaches that usually came after just being 2 hours late taking my daily dose, didn't come until the second day when I was planning to take my next dose anyway. After two weeks I wasn't getting the headaches at all! So I just stopped altogether early this week. Surprisingly I wasn't having any major symptoms at first. I was just feeling a little otherworldly/lightheaded. That lightheaded feeling seems to be getting worse though. I'm hoping it will go away soon.

 

My other concern is that I'm starting to have some very minor "panicky" feelings creep up now and then. I'm really praying that I don't go back to those multiple-daily panic attacks. That was just horrible. But I also don't want to be dependent on these awful drugs for the rest of my life either....

 

Fingers crossed.

started ≈ 2006

 

Lexapro

citalapram

  some very brief stints with Wellbutrin, Prozac etc.

nortriptyline

citalapram

venlafaxine (extended release) 37.5

nothing since 1/6/14

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

I would highly recommend you reinstate part of your dose, wait a month or two to make sure you're going to stay stable, and then taper the way this site describes.

 

Sadly, you can't gauge how withdrawal's going to go by how you feel the first few days. Withdrawal symptoms tend to unfold and change over weeks; some people don't get hit hard until months out from a CT or aggressive taper. (Usually they're then diagnosed with a "relapse" and put back on meds.)

 

You may do okay with what you're doing, but in my experience people with histories like yours (many years on ADs with multiple changes over those years and previous withdrawal symptoms) need to do more regulated, stable tapers. It's up to you, of course, but this early you could probably reinstate successfully and possibly save yourself a huge amount of suffering in the future. 

 

Some people do come off the meds easily. I don't mean to say you can't. But given your history I would not expect you to be one of the lucky ones, and the suffering can be so extreme that on this forum we generally don't advise experimenting with fast tapers and rapid discontinuation.

 

Good luck to you, whatever happens.

 

Here's a link to the thread about reinstatement:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3079-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-stop-withdrawal-symptoms/

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

Link to post

Thanks for the advice! I should have found this site again FIRST, before I started the taper. We'll see. How do I go down from 37.5mg when that's the smallest dose and its XR? You can't just break an extended release capsule in half :unsure:

started ≈ 2006

 

Lexapro

citalapram

  some very brief stints with Wellbutrin, Prozac etc.

nortriptyline

citalapram

venlafaxine (extended release) 37.5

nothing since 1/6/14

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

How do I go down from 37.5mg when that's the smallest dose and its XR? You can't just break an extended release capsule in half :unsure:

 

 

Most people taper Effexor XR by opening the capsule and counting the little beads which are inside, here is some information about how to do that:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tips-for-tapering-off-effexor-and-effexor-xr-venlafaxine/?hl=effexor

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

Link to post

Welcome

I wish I would have came across this forum before cutting effexor dose in half. People here have helped me more than my doctor has. If I could go back and start over I never would have decreased by 50%. Please consider going back on your dose and taper slowly.

Started Effexor August 2012 Sept'12-150mg=extreme anxiety Oct'12 cut half-75mg severe wds

Feb 2013 68.5mg. Mar'13- 65mg. Apr'13-59mg. May'13-57mg. June '13-52mg Aug'13 49.75mg.

Sep'13-48.75. Nov'13-47mg Dec'13-45..5mg

May 2014 42mg. Jun'14 40mg (depressive mood started). Aug'14 -40mg/ started brintellix 2.5mg

Oct '14 -39 Nov'14 36.89 Dec'14 34.45

Jan 2015- 31 Feb'15 29mg. Mar'15 26.72. Apr'15 24.48. May'15 22.31mg. Jun'15 20.30mg

Aug'15-18.89. Oct'15 16.96. Nov/16- 16.10. Dec/15- 15mg

Jan 2016-14.22. May'16 11.45. Aug'16-9.60. Sep/16- 8.88mg. Oct/16- 8.39mg. Nov/16- 8.13. Dec/16- 7.89

Link to post
  • Administrator

Hi and welcome to the forum

 

I second Rhi's advice.  I am slowly weaning off of effexor and the withdrawals can be quite nasty.  Unfortunately if you don't get hit with severe withdrawals until 3 months out, there is little we can recommend because the window for re-instating successfully is relatively narrow. 

 

I use immediate release effexor and have it compounded into a liquid so that I can taper off of it at just 7% a decrement.  I do 7% because that is what works for my body.  You may want to monitor your symptoms if you decide to taper so that you can tell what is working for your body: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1779-rate-symptoms-daily-to-catch-withdrawal-early/

 

As Petu points out many people on effexor XR break open the capsules and remove a few beads at a time.[/url]

 

When you get a chance please provide a brief history of your drug withdrawal history in your signature.  That way when you post your signature will show up and mods and members will be able to see your history without going all the way back to the start of your thread.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Karma

Edited by Altostrata
ungarbled link

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & 1 mg Xanax & 200 mg Gabapentin
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg;
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor

I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

I am tapering effexor too and it is a NIGHTMARE drug to get off!

 Karma has the best method, making a liquid from tablets would be more precise and easier

than counting beads. Bead counting can be a bit hit and miss because beads can vary in size

and the little blighters have a mind of their own, they are like those little polystyrene beads in

bean cushions, they get everywhere and jump around all over the place!  I managed by counting

beads but am sure it would have been easier to make liquid. 

 

Venlafaxine liquid is available in some places if you can get hold of it. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

Link to post
  • 3 weeks later...

Just an update. One of the problems I've had for years is not trusting myself. As someone who has had HUGE problems and withdrawal symptoms in the past, I was really concerned about weaning off Effexor, but something just felt different this time. So despite the warnings here (which I appreciate by the way) I decided to roll the dice and ride it out. So far so good. It's been most of a month and the dizzy/high feelings have gone away. I've had some minor panic symptoms -- which was why I went on antidepressants all those years ago in the first place -- so that's disappointing, but so far I don't consider them serious enough to go back. Insomnia hasn't been bad and I haven't had any of the nausea or flu-like symptoms I would get just from missing a dose before!

 

I'm hoping the panic/heart palpitations will improve with some more time - we'll see. But overall I'm doing well.

 

Thanks for the advice (even if I ignore it) and support!

started ≈ 2006

 

Lexapro

citalapram

  some very brief stints with Wellbutrin, Prozac etc.

nortriptyline

citalapram

venlafaxine (extended release) 37.5

nothing since 1/6/14

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Sulfilizard, I'm glad you are feeling ok and hope it lasts for you.  You could still be hit by withdrawal

symptoms, I was off for just over a month and was feeling great when withdrawal kicked in. It took 

months to settle again enough to start tapering again. I felt better within days of reinstating but had 

some very bad waves before stabilising. Not trying to scare you, just want to warn you that it could

happen. I hope you stay well but it you do get withdrawal, please reconsider reinstating, there are many

people here who left it too late, or withdrawal started after several months. 

 

Thank you for updating. :)

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

Link to post

Thanks. Some of my anxiety symptoms seem to be getting worse, but it's been a pretty stressful time - horrendous weather and family problems. I'm sure it's a combination of withdrawal and reaction to stress. An annoying new development is tinnitus - that could also be related to all the ibuprofen I've been taking because of severe tooth pain (I'm having a root canal on Friday)

started ≈ 2006

 

Lexapro

citalapram

  some very brief stints with Wellbutrin, Prozac etc.

nortriptyline

citalapram

venlafaxine (extended release) 37.5

nothing since 1/6/14

Link to post
  • Administrator

Please back away from the ibuprofen. If your system is sensitized by withdrawal, even ibuprofen-induced tinnitus can become a much larger problem.

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 post
  • 2 weeks later...
Designgirl732

Hey there! I'm new too and feel the same way you do. I am coming off effexor xr-i'm on the 25 mg TABLET which next week i'm cutting in half. I've only been on effexor since november though. I'm also on Citalopram to kind of 'ease'  any withdrawal and take B vitamins. Are you taking any vitamins to help with your nervous system?

Yes, the winter doesn't help. But TRUSTING yourself is a great thing-I think I started on these meds b/c of my lack of self esteem and confidence in who i really was/am. reading about buddhism, meditation, etc. I'm starting to give myself the 'tools' when things get bad.

 

And if you have anything like benzos to help you through, then do what you need to do- one battle at a time.

 

keep us posted!

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

And if you have anything like benzos to help you through, then do what you need to do- one battle at a time.

 

With all due respect SD, it's best to stay clear of benzos unless WD Sx are so severe you can't see your way clear without them... benzos are often trickier to taper than ADs and have their own perils. They are a slippery slope, and more than one or two prn doses a week (on a regular basis) can cause physical dependence. Read my sig, been there, wish I had not.

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

Link to post
  • 3 weeks later...

Hello Sufilizard,

for panic attacks my solution was breathing techniques, I've never had one again.

it takes a lot of practice to master (seems silly bearing in mind we're talking about breathing, but believe me it's true), but once you have done it several times it works like a charm.

As simple as breathing in consciously and fully, holding the breath for a few seconds, and relesing the air slower (much slower) than inhaling.

Do this while you count to 10 (one every inhale/exhale pair) and then count backwards from 10 to 1.

as you become more aware of your breathing and the effect that it has on your body and mind, it works beter and better. And it does work rigt from the first time!!

Best wishes

1999-2004 citalopram 10 to 20mg with 2-3 withdrawal attempts.
2004 fluvoxamine for 4-5 months aprox. Changed to venlafaxine because of the headaches and dizziness.
2005-March 2014 venlafaxine usually starting on 150mg and coming down to 75 or 37.5. Several withdrawal attempts.
In March 2014 I stopped taking 37.5mg of venlafaxine without tapering.

Went through 5 months of confusion, anxiety, insomnia and desperation. From then I am very slowly recovering, on windows and waves.

Symptoms: muscle stiffness and aches, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, memory loss, inability to concentrate or think straight, difficulty to speak, difficulty to read (improving).

Taking omega3, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E and probiotics.

Link to post

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