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Flora: 13 years on Effexor...down to 18 mg every other day but can't get out of bed


Flora

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Hi. My doctor put me on Effexor back in 2001 to treat symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and after starting the drug I was consistently happier than I'd ever been in my entire life. When I went on the medication, I was feeling a lot of anxiety from an unhappy marriage and starting a career in the tech field at a really bad time. All these years later, I'm happy, engaged to be married in a little over a month, I'm off from work for the summer because I'm a teacher, and it seems like the best time to finally get off this drug. I started my taper back in November and took a pause then at 37.5 mg. It was then that I did the most emotional suffering. Since school got out, I've been in a great mood but the physical side effects have kept me in bed almost all day. I feel that if I could spend one sh*tty week on the couch and then be fine it would all be worth it. So today, I tried going for second day with no medication and have felt really awful. Since my doctor doesn't really know anything about how to taper off this medication, I'm turning to you to help me figure out how to do this thing. Can someone suggest to me the best way to continue tapering as quickly as possible with as few side effects as possible? I sincerely look forward to your replies.

Effexor XR 2001 working up to 75mg

Increased to 150mg ~2003

Bumped up to 187.5 ~2007

Decreased to 150mg in 2010

Tapered down to 37.5 (generic non-XR) 11/2013

Last week of June alternating whole-half-whole for a week

First week of July half for a week

Started taking Temazepam (Restoril) 15mg on 7/3/14 daily for insomnia

Second week of July = fail

 

Intro post: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6690-13-years-on-effexordown-to-18-mg-every-other-day-but-cant-get-out-of-bed/

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Well, first, don't take it every other day, that's one of the worst things you can do to yourself!

 

Dosing every other day causes a roller-coaster fluctuation of drugs in the bloodstream and in the nervous system, which is a surefire way to induce withdrawal symptoms. So right away stop doing that. If you've been taking 18 mg every other day for a while, try 10 or 15 mg every day at the same time. It will take a while for the chaos in your neurochemistry to sort itself out and settle down, but give it time and a low-stress, neurologically gentle environment and it will.

 

Second, read through the topics pinned at the top of our Tapering section. I don't have time right now to grab the links for you but someone will be along soon who can, no doubt. Or you can just find them by yourself by going to the Tapering section and reading over the materials pinned at the top and following the links in those materials. It's a lot, I know, but we've learned a lot here working with many hundreds of people, and it's important to take your time and at least get a good overview.

 

Third, please put your med history in your sig line, like this: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

so we can give you advice. If we don't know how you've been dosing, we can't advise you.

 

Finally: We all want to find the fastest way to get off these meds safely with the least withdrawal. Unfortunately, "fast" and "least withdrawal" are mutually exclusive. The trick turns out to be going slow and stabilizing whenever symptoms ramp up at all.

 

Anyway, start with the things I've suggested. Other people will be along soon to offer support and advice. We have an excellent and well-educated group of moderators and very supportive members here.

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 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

 

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

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Thanks for your prompt and very informative reply Rhi. I took 18mg and feel much better. Perhaps I should stabilize for about a week at this dose and then start a 10% taper? Maybe the sign that I've stabilized is that I can sleep unaided by the benzo? Yes, further education with the articles is in order; I'd just like to have a sensible plan in hand while my head clears enough to retain information.

Effexor XR 2001 working up to 75mg

Increased to 150mg ~2003

Bumped up to 187.5 ~2007

Decreased to 150mg in 2010

Tapered down to 37.5 (generic non-XR) 11/2013

Last week of June alternating whole-half-whole for a week

First week of July half for a week

Started taking Temazepam (Restoril) 15mg on 7/3/14 daily for insomnia

Second week of July = fail

 

Intro post: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6690-13-years-on-effexordown-to-18-mg-every-other-day-but-cant-get-out-of-bed/

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Flora,

I'm glad you found us, we have several members who are currently tapering off Effexor.  Rhi has given you some good advice along with a lot of reading and here is a little more, our tips for tapering off Effexor, in case you haven't found them yet:

 

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

 

Please consider holding for longer than a week before beginning the 10% taper, we usually recommend a minimum of a month to give the nervous system adequate time to properly stabilize.

 

I'm concerned that you have started taking temazepam for insomnia.  Insomnia is a common antidepressant withdrawal symptom and taking another drug like a benzo to counteract withdrawal symptoms from a too fast taper, means that you will then have another drug to taper off.  If you take temazepam for longer than a few days, its possible to become dependent on it and that will need to be tapered.

 

When did the insomnia begin?

 

Petu.

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

 

 

 

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Thanks so much Petu.

 

Yes, I only agreed to the benzo when I had a 2-week taper plan. I am perfectly willing to adopt a tried and true system that will allow me to taper with the best possible outcome for my nervous system (a month stabilizing it will be).

 

The first week of alternating half and whole tablets gave me symptoms of restless leg syndrome. At the end of that week, I went to see my doctor who offered to help me with sleep. I've already had to taper off of Xanax when I started this medication, so I would not like to be in that situation again. How you suggest I quit taking temazepam?

Effexor XR 2001 working up to 75mg

Increased to 150mg ~2003

Bumped up to 187.5 ~2007

Decreased to 150mg in 2010

Tapered down to 37.5 (generic non-XR) 11/2013

Last week of June alternating whole-half-whole for a week

First week of July half for a week

Started taking Temazepam (Restoril) 15mg on 7/3/14 daily for insomnia

Second week of July = fail

 

Intro post: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6690-13-years-on-effexordown-to-18-mg-every-other-day-but-cant-get-out-of-bed/

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  • Moderator Emeritus

How long have you been taking it and what dose?

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

 

 

 

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You're schooling me in editing my signature ;)

Effexor XR 2001 working up to 75mg

Increased to 150mg ~2003

Bumped up to 187.5 ~2007

Decreased to 150mg in 2010

Tapered down to 37.5 (generic non-XR) 11/2013

Last week of June alternating whole-half-whole for a week

First week of July half for a week

Started taking Temazepam (Restoril) 15mg on 7/3/14 daily for insomnia

Second week of July = fail

 

Intro post: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6690-13-years-on-effexordown-to-18-mg-every-other-day-but-cant-get-out-of-bed/

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Not intentionally, but thank you for adding that.  :)

 

I'm wanting to say that because you have only been taking it for 5 days, you could probably just stop, but there is a chance your insomnia/restless legs may come back, you would have to be prepared to deal with it in other ways until you stabilized on your effexor dose. Perhaps you could take half a pill for a couple of nights, then a quarter and then stop.

 

But because you are feeling much better by taking a consistent effexor dose of 18mg, you may be ok just stopping, I think that's what I would do, and avoid the risk of becoming dependent on something else. I'm glad you are feeling better.

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

 

 

 

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