Jump to content

Cmoedan: Need help, advice and hope! Effexor withdrawal


Cmoedan

Recommended Posts

Hello! I have been on effexor for 15 yrs.......for depression/anxiety.....had lost my mother and my eldest son abruptly within five months.....plus was working grave yard shift, so was already not sleeping well and have always been a very sensitive person, and as a woman, mother, wife, etc....always thinking......over the years i would tell my doctor i would like to go off the effexor...but she would say if you feel fine why stop? I just didn't like the fact that i was putting chemicals in my body, the lack of libido, the weight gain, etc....but i listened to her....this year i was taking a sabbatical yo meet my husband in Singapore(new job),,,,and my doctor had prescribed enough effexor till i came back to canada.....but i forgot to buy them before leaving......so only once in Singapore did i realise that and only had one week of meds left....so i finally found a doctor hoping he could prescribe the same meds and everything would be fine.....but he said he could but would take a few weeks because no one uses that kind of anti depressant over there.....and thoughtnit was an old medication, and was the most expensive...so anyways, he suggested another kind of anti depressant, don't ask what the name was......but all i can say is that for 3 weeks i went through hell.......thought it was side effects of discontinuing effexor and side effects of new drug....but was a nightmare...still don't know how i got through it...especially the first week to ten days......24 hours of non stop, no reason crying...and i mean crying.......then the dizzyness, the headaches, the insomnia, losing concentration, memory, coordination, brain zaps, foggyness, pain in my neck, pain in my chest, palpitations, etc........after three weeks felt a lot better but not top shape.....decided to not take the low dose of the med and to just stop taking drugs..........but the dizzy spells got worst, then started positional vertigo, flu symptoms, mostly coughing, then got pneumonia....and insomnia, foggyness, chronic fatigue got installed....went to see my doctor....told her about all the symptoms....she said they were all symptoms of depression...other than the vertigo and pneumonia of course....i could believe and understand that.......but i have been depressed before and never and i say never did i feel this sh*tty in my whole life........i never had all these physical, disabilitating symptoms........i had done some research on the internet and found a lot of forums where people were matching my exact symptoms...told my doctor...all she could say was do not trust internet......and that withdrawal side effects only last up to 3 weeks maximum........now i am very worried and frightened to death that i will be stuck with this for life........it has been 31/2 months now, i don't think can live like this forever......i need to know there is an answer to this......will it stop and go away...is there anything i can do to make it go away? I need help and advice!!!

2003 depression/grieving effexor prescribed 37.5

2004 depression/ grieving went up to 75 then 150, but 150 too strong, so stayed at 75

2014 october quit cold turkey,out of country and out of drugs...... went through hell......

2015 january still have many disabilitating side effects.....insomnia, dizzyness, vertigo, foggyness, loss of memory and concentration, flu symptoms, etc.

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi. Cmoedan

 

Welcome to surviving antidepressants

 

I'm sorry you have been struggling with what appears to be withdrawal and and adverse reaction to the new drug you took. Can you find out what that was? It's important we fully understand you'd drug situation.

 

Wirhdrawal can and does last a lot longer than 3 weeks. I don't think your doctor knows much about withdrawal.

 

Are you taking any supplements? We recommend fish oil and magnesium

 

In the mean time can I ask you to put your drug history in your signature. Details on how to do that here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Dalsaan

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

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Cmoedan ,      what you're describing is common when withdrawing , specially suddenly (cold turkey) and after such a long time.

 

There are things you can do , but as Dalsaan writes , any one offering suggestions needs to understand  more precisely what you were taking , date you stopped , what you've tried taking since , etc.   Are you in Canada now or Singapore?

 

You will NOT be stuck with this for life.

 

You WILL get better ,  but it will take some time.    We're all in this together.

 

Best ,    Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

Link to comment

 

2015-01-21 09:37

 

Hello! I have been on effexor for 15 yrs.......for depression/anxiety.....had lost my mother and my eldest son abruptly within five months.....plus was working grave yard shift, so was already not sleeping well and have always been a very sensitive person, and as a woman, mother, wife, etc....always thinking......over the years i would tell my doctor i would like to go off the effexor...but she would say if you feel fine why stop? I just didn't like the fact that i was putting chemicals in my body, the lack of libido, the weight gain, etc....but i listened to her....this year i was taking a sabbatical to meet my husband in Singapore(new job),,,,and my doctor had prescribed enough effexor till i came back to canada.....but i forgot to buy them before leaving......so only once in Singapore did i realise that and only had one week of meds left....so i finally found a doctor hoping he could prescribe the same meds and everything would be fine.....but he said he could but would take a few weeks because no one uses that kind of anti depressant over there.....and thought it was an old medication, and was the most expensive...so anyways, he suggested another kind of anti depressant, don't ask what the name was......but all i can say is that for 3 weeks i went through hell.......thought it was side effects of discontinuing effexor and side effects of new drug....but was a nightmare...still don't know how i got through it...especially the first week to ten days......24 hours of non stop, no reason crying...and i mean crying.......then the dizzyness, the headaches, the insomnia, losing concentration, memory, coordination, brain zaps, foggyness, pain in my neck, pain in my chest, palpitations, etc........after three weeks felt a lot better but not top shape.....decided to not take the low dose of the new med and to just stop taking drugs............then two weeks later....the dizzy spells got worst, then started positional vertigo, flu symptoms, mostly coughing, then got pneumonia....and insomnia, foggyness, chronic fatigue got installed....went to see my doctor....told her about all the symptoms....she said they were all symptoms of depression...other than the vertigo and pneumonia of course....i could believe and understand that.......but i have been depressed before and never and i say never did i feel this sh*tty in my whole life........i never had all these physical, disabilitating symptoms........i had done some research on the internet and found a lot of forums where people were matching my exact symptoms...told my doctor...all she could say was do not trust internet......and that withdrawal side effects only last up to 3 weeks maximum........now i am very worried and frightened to death that i will be stuck with this for life........it has been 4 months now, i don't think i can live like this forever......i need to know there is an answer to this......will it stop and go away...is there anything i can do to make it go away? I need help and advice!!!

Edited by Petunia
Removed name for privacy

2003 depression/grieving effexor prescribed 37.5

2004 depression/ grieving went up to 75 then 150, but 150 too strong, so stayed at 75

2014 october quit cold turkey,out of country and out of drugs...... went through hell......

2015 january still have many disabilitating side effects.....insomnia, dizzyness, vertigo, foggyness, loss of memory and concentration, flu symptoms, etc.

Link to comment

Hi there, and welcome. I too suffered from serious Effexor withdrawal and now, 2 years later, am a lot better. What I have gone through is nothing like ordinary depression, as you say. It's been hell. I've had seizures, agitation, akathisia, psychosis, painful muscle cramping, and other symptoms.

It gets better for some people sooner than for others.

If you have the love and support of your husband, you are in luck.

You can find advice here about supplements that help some people, such as Magnesium, Taurine, and Turmeric. I also use coconut oil (a tablespoon blended into my coffee in the morning.)

I am getting better, but there is no doubt that the physical and emotional syndrome of Effexor discontinuation is real, is distinct from whatever got you onto the drug in the first place. Your doctor is simply wrong about this, as most of ours have been.

 

There is definitely hope. But one must adjust one's mind to the situation. It's not your fault. It is real. And it will get better over time.

People who have been here longer might have opinions as to whether re-instating Effexor and then tapering off slowly would give you some benefit. It depends on how long you have been off.

I'm glad you found the site and posted. Keep coming back.

WC

2009: Cancer hospital said I had adjustment disorder because I thought they were doing it wrong. Their headshrinker prescribed Effexor, and my life set on a new course. I didn't know what was ahead, like a passenger on Disneyland's Matterhorn, smiling and waving as it climbs...clink, clink, clink.

2010: Post surgical accidental Effexor discontinuation by nurses, masked by intravenous Dilaudid. (The car is balanced at the top of the track.) I get home, pop a Vicodin, and ...

Whooosh...down, down, down, down, down...goes the trajectory of my life, up goes my mood and tendency to think everything is a good idea.
2012: After the bipolar jig was up, now a walking bag of unrelated symptoms, I went crazy on Daytrana (the Ritalin skin patch by Noven), because ADHD was a perfect fit for a bag of unrelated symptoms. I was prescribed Effexor for the nervousness of it, and things got neurological. An EEG showed enough activity to warrant an epilepsy diagnosis rather than non-epileptic ("psychogenic") seizures.

:o 2013-2014: Quit everything and got worse. I probably went through DAWS: dopamine agonist withdrawal syndrome. I drank to not feel, but I felt a lot: dread, fear, regret, grief: an utter sense of total loss of everything worth breathing about, for almost two years.

I was not suicidal but I wanted to be dead, at least dead to the experience of my own brain and body.

2015: I  began to recover after adding virgin coconut oil and organic grass-fed fed butter to a cup of instant coffee in the morning.

I did it hoping for mental acuity and better memory. After ten days of that, I was much better, mood-wise. Approximately neutral.

And, I experienced drowsiness. I could sleep. Not exactly happy, I did 30 days on Wellbutrin, because it had done me no harm in the past. 

I don't have the DAWS mood or state of mind. It never feel like doing anything if it means standing up.

In fact, I don't especially like moving. I'm a brain with a beanbag body.   :unsure:

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Cmoedan,

I'm sorry to hear about everything you are going through.  It sounds like you are experiencing withdrawal from Effexor, no one should ever stop these kinds of drugs suddenly, and your doctor is wrong, withdrawal can last much longer than 3 weeks.  Sadly, most doctors don't have a clue.  Over time, these drugs change your nervous system. Their effects on your nervous system change as well.  These changes are temporary, but the CNS does take quite a while to right itself after the drugs are out of the body.

 

We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising.  Please read through this which will explain why:

  

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?  (The general philosophy of gradual tapering)

 

Reinstatement of a small amount of the drug can often work well to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.  According to medical knowledge, reinstatement is the only way to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.  Reinstatement is best done immediately upon appearance of withdrawal symptoms. The more time that passes, the less likely it is to work, so at 4 months out, there is no guarantee it would work, but its possible, here is some information about reinstatement to help you decide if its something you would like to try:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms

 

What dose of effexor were you on?  Do you have any left?

 

If you want to give reinstatement a try, please let us know and we can help you decide what dose to try.

 

Petunia.

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 comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I joined your new posts to you original introduction topic, its one intro thread per member.  You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Once you get back to us with more details about your drug history and situation, we will be in a better position to offer support and suggestions.

 

Petunia.

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 comment

Thank you so kuch for your replies!

 

I only took the other antidepressant for like three weeks.....don't know the name but don't think it was very strong....i really believe it's the effexor!

 

Cold turkey in october 2014 ....three weeks on new drug that was supposed to replace effexor......then just decided to quit everything after the three weeks of hell...and was hoping would just keep getting better, but some symptoms continued, or got worse or new ones like vertigo were added....

 

Plus i don't know if related or not, but had two pneumonias in december and january and i still feel sh*tty, keep coughing, hard time breathing, mucus, etc

 

I will try the fish oils and magnesium....hopefully it will help and these symptoms will fade away and disappear for good....i just don't know how long i can take it!

 

And it's so disappointing and frustrating that the doctors don't know more about what these drugs can do? And i just don't feel i can ever trust or count on another doctor again....i feel like mine, just doesn't listen or take me seriously.....or already has her mind made up and nothing will change it!

 

I feel i should go seek help, but don't trust them anymore!

 

Should i try to go back on effexor or not......and try to taper off slowly? Or is it too late for me, since it has been 4 months already?

2003 depression/grieving effexor prescribed 37.5

2004 depression/ grieving went up to 75 then 150, but 150 too strong, so stayed at 75

2014 october quit cold turkey,out of country and out of drugs...... went through hell......

2015 january still have many disabilitating side effects.....insomnia, dizzyness, vertigo, foggyness, loss of memory and concentration, flu symptoms, etc.

Link to comment

I am in canada but going back to singapour this week beginning of february 2015....

 

Do you think they will go away eventually and how long can it take?

 

Should i try to go back on effexor and taper off slowly this time?

 

I just want and need to feel alive and well again!

2003 depression/grieving effexor prescribed 37.5

2004 depression/ grieving went up to 75 then 150, but 150 too strong, so stayed at 75

2014 october quit cold turkey,out of country and out of drugs...... went through hell......

2015 january still have many disabilitating side effects.....insomnia, dizzyness, vertigo, foggyness, loss of memory and concentration, flu symptoms, etc.

Link to comment

Yhank you all so much for your advice, encouragement and support.....and mostky listening and understanding!

 

I don't know if i should try taking effexor again to try tapering off slowly...since i have been off for 4minths already? That is pretty scary to me....but if that is my only option, i would absolutely try it.

 

But what i have read is that is an option only at the beginning of the withdrawal symptoms....

 

And if i don't try that option...does it mean i am stuck with these symptoms for life?

 

I was taking 75mg per day and quit cold turkey in october....

2003 depression/grieving effexor prescribed 37.5

2004 depression/ grieving went up to 75 then 150, but 150 too strong, so stayed at 75

2014 october quit cold turkey,out of country and out of drugs...... went through hell......

2015 january still have many disabilitating side effects.....insomnia, dizzyness, vertigo, foggyness, loss of memory and concentration, flu symptoms, etc.

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

The withdrawal symptoms will go away eventually, but its impossible to say how long it will take, some people recover in a few weeks, some a few months, but others will take several years.

 

At four months out, there is no guarantee that reinstatement would work, but there's a possibility it might. Some people have been able to reinstate this far out, and have gone on to do a slow safe taper, for others it hasn't worked.

 

Did you read the topic on reinstatement I posted above.  That will help you decide if its something you would like to try.  We can't tell you what you should do, it has to be your decision.  Only you know how bad you feel and if you are prepared to wait or really want to try something to get some relief.

 

If you were going to try reinstatement, I would suggest trying as little as 7.5mg to start with.  If it helps a little or doesn't make you feel any worse, you could possibly increase from there.

 

Here is our topic on tapering effexor, which has information about how to make small doses from your tablets or capsules: 

 

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

 

Please read through it carefully, it will also help you decide if its something you would be able to do.  Were you taking regular effexor or XR?

 

Your symptoms wont last for the rest of your life, you will recover, but it could take a while.  Recovery usually happens in a windows and waves kind of pattern.  You will have some better days, followed by symptoms getting worse again and then more better days.  This topic will explain what you might expect:

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Recovery

 

 

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 comment

I think what i will do is try the fish oils and magnesium...see what happens!

 

If not any better, will try reinstating....

 

Thank you! For all the information and advice!

2003 depression/grieving effexor prescribed 37.5

2004 depression/ grieving went up to 75 then 150, but 150 too strong, so stayed at 75

2014 october quit cold turkey,out of country and out of drugs...... went through hell......

2015 january still have many disabilitating side effects.....insomnia, dizzyness, vertigo, foggyness, loss of memory and concentration, flu symptoms, etc.

Link to comment

Does anyone know how to tell if you're having depression symptoms or withdrawal symptoms? How can you really know?

2003 depression/grieving effexor prescribed 37.5

2004 depression/ grieving went up to 75 then 150, but 150 too strong, so stayed at 75

2014 october quit cold turkey,out of country and out of drugs...... went through hell......

2015 january still have many disabilitating side effects.....insomnia, dizzyness, vertigo, foggyness, loss of memory and concentration, flu symptoms, etc.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

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
  • 2 weeks later...

How are you doing? What did you decide to do?

HISTORY: Lexapro 10mg (current and for approximately 7 years; Prozac 20mg for 5 years and Zoloft 50mg for 5 years)

Lexapro (too fast taper) 9mg 09/13; 8mg 10/13; 7mg 12/13; 6mg  02/14; 5mg  04/14; 4mg 06/14 2.5mg 08/29/14 2.25 mg 12/04/14;

 

Re-instatement - 2.5mg 12/17/14; 03/01/15 3.0 mg; 04/01/15 - 5mg;  05/01/15  6mg; 5/15/15 6.5mg 6/01/15 7.5mg

 

2nd attempt at micro taper: starting dose is 7.5mg using liquid compounded rx: 12/16/17 - 7mg;  02/05/18 - 6.75mg 04/06/18 - 6.5ml  05/31/18 re-instate back to 6.75mg 

 

Link to comment

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy