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Orlando: Oh yea, that is what crazy panic feels like....


Orlando

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Hi all,

 

   My name is Orlando, and my doctor got me hooked on Effexor XR 16 years ago. 

 

So, basically, all my life whenever I feel a ping, pain, something just not perfect inside my body, I go straight to the I am dying panic.  When I was much younger it's wasn't much of an issue, since I was in great health, and let's be honest, our bodys are new and in mosty good working order.  Fast forward to 1999, and what turned out to be an ulcer.  I was in and out of hospitals for a week or so, having a "heart attack", when one ER doctor said I should ask my family doctor about panic attacks.

 

I was a good boy and did just that, and was put on Effexor XR.  It was a great feeling, I could work again, I could go out without worrying about having an attack that ruined everyone's day around me, etc.   As I went forward I lost all "want" in the bedroom.  My wife and I had premie twins in 2009, and after 6 months in the ICU we thought we were going to be blessed with having them both forever.  In 2011 I lost my daughter, and my Effexor was immediatly bumped to 150mg, which I did not argue.

 

Time went on, and I was doing fine (really numb, let's be honest).  Then December of 2014, I needed a refill on my effexor, it is normally just auto renewed, but the doctors office saw that I missed an appointment due to getting a new job and being out of state, and refused it.  I went to the doctor 4 days later, after the worst weekend I had ever had, much worse then any panic attack, I was parelized by my head zaps, feelings of major panic, I was FOR SURE dying that weekend.  I told her that day I wanted off this ugly med.  She allowed me to go back to 75mg, but told me that "people have to stay on this, your panic doesn't just go away"....

 

The next month, after a month of 75 with almost no really bad side effects, I lowered to 37.5 by counting beeds.  Well, now it has begun.  I have been on 37.5 ever since (50 odd days), and based on my journal I keep I have had 17 major or minor panic days.  Around mid February I started the road back program, which led me to look for a place like this.  I know many people don't beleive in the program, but he does preach slow tapering, which I think in the end is the MAIN key to getting off the drug. 

 

I go to see my doctor on Wednesday, and plan to tell her the truth, and then ask for non XR 25 and 10 pills, so I can start to cut them.  Is that the best plan, or should I just continue to lower the amount of beeds in my current XR caps?

 

Thank you all in advance for being here for me, I know how hard something like this is, and I am sure once you have finished, this is probably a time of your life you don't want to look back at fondly.

 

 

Orlando

________

 

1998 -2011 - 75mg Effexor XR

2011-2014 - 150mg Effexor XR

December 2014 - Dropped to 75mg Effexor XR

January 2015 - Dropped to 37.5mg Effexor XR (on my own, Dr doesn't want me to stop)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi   Orlando , welcome to the site.    You'll find lots of support , information and advice here , cause all of us have either been through ssri trauma or

are still there , working our way back to "normal".

 

Although 50 days seems like forever , after dropping by 50% after a major shake-up , your brain is probably just starting to stabilize.  To be on the

safe side , might be best to wait another month or two on 37.5mg.   The odds are just too high to risk pushing it.

 

This site recommends decreasing by no more than 10% at a time , and then waiting for 4 to 6 weeks at each level.

Try going to the Tapering section and see threads specific to tapering from Effexor.   Also "Why Taper BY 10%".

 

If you click FOLLOW THIS TOPIC at the top right this page , you'll receive an email each time someone posts.

 

I'm so glad you found your way here.   

 

Best wishes ,  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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Orlando,

 

Thank you for sharing your story, I'm sorry for the loss of you daughter and everything else you have been going through.  I'm glad you found us, we will be able to support you while you safely taper off effexor.

 

You have been tapering too fast.  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)

 

Here is our effexor tapering topic, if you read through it, it will help you decide which method you wish to follow:

 

http://survivinganti...or-venlafaxine/

 

Have you had any counseling or done any self help to address the original health anxiety?  It may still be there when you come of the effexor.  Here is a thread which may help with that:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Are you having any other symptoms besides panic at the moment?

 

As Fresh has mentioned, its important that you stabilize before making another cut.  If your symptoms are getting worse, rather than better, you may need to updose a little.  Its good that you are keeping notes of your symptoms, would you stay they are getting worse, better or staying about the same?

 

Once you get back to us with more details about your symptoms, we will be in a better position to offer support and suggestions.  I hope your doctor appointment goes well.

 

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

 

 

 

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Thank you both for the kind words.  As of right now, I agree that I better not lower any more then the 37.5 I am on.  Since lowering, I was doing pretty good (25% bad days), but the past 4 days had all been bad before today, bumping my average to 31%, which is not really acceptable.  I know that I was tapering to fast now, didn't know it when I started, like so many of us.  I plan to slow down drasticly, as I just want a semblence of control over my panic back before I cut again. 

 

I go to talk to my doctor tomorrow morning.  I am afraid she will tell me to just go back up to 75, as she is not a fan of me doing this, and is of the opinion that I should stay on effexor forever if it is still working for me.  As for fixing my original cause of panic, I have read self help books, and learned the techniques of breathing, and talking myself down, etc.  That being said, the professionals I go to see have always just given me the drugs and used that as a way to make me better.

 

For the most part, my symptoms are just panic.  Basically, I feel a "ping" or quick pain somewhere in my body, and it repeats for a bit, and throws me into an "I am dying" panic mode.  Lately it has been pain in my upper theigh, it isn't constant, just on and off, and I think it may be related to working with my 5 year old son who needs us for everything as he is handicap.  I also have a history of back issues, and have had back surgery in the past, so I hope it is not my back acting up again.  Would you call this normal panic, or could the pains be related to withdrawal?  I see that zapping pain all through the body is on the withdrawal pdf that is available from one of the stickies on the pain section.

 

Again, thanks for the tips, I am off to read the links that you posted for me now, and if I have anything to add here after, will post more. 

Orlando

________

 

1998 -2011 - 75mg Effexor XR

2011-2014 - 150mg Effexor XR

December 2014 - Dropped to 75mg Effexor XR

January 2015 - Dropped to 37.5mg Effexor XR (on my own, Dr doesn't want me to stop)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Orlando , do you ever get the panic separate from the pinging pains?    

I found when I was "in a tizz" as I called it  , almost anything could trigger a panicky response.

 

As Petunia asks: what other symptoms have you had in the past week?

I see you're following , good job.

 

:)

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

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I had hypochondria before I ever took an antidepressant. Sounds like you did too. The Effexor did help you with this by numbing the parts of your brain

causing it. Unfortunately the drug doesn't numb specifically but generally, so you also got unwanted personality changes. Effexor didn't get rid of my Hypochondria, and it may have even made it worse, but I went on the drug for panic attacks which it did work for. When I was mid-taper I began to notice

how the drug had drastically change my personality for the worse. I wasn't me for 20 yrs, and now I am again. Still some hypochondria, though. However, I do seem to be better at resisting going to the Emergency Room. My life has improved so much since getting off the antidepressant, but Hypochondria seems to be something separate from it all, or at least not tied to it so directly. It's obvious to me that it's an exaggeration  of the normal instinct of self-preservation.  I suppose mindfulness would help when I get a hypochondriacal thought. Don't know why this hasn't occurred to me before. It works with every other variety if anxiety.           

Sept 12th 1992-began taking Imipramine (50mgs) for panic attacks.

Stopped Imipramine after 4 months (cold turkey).

7 months later experienced "mysterious" bad flu-like symptoms, although, without upper respiratory problems or fever. Because of this and a day of panic attacks, was put on Prozac (20mgs?) for 2 months and then, when that didn't work-was put back on  Imipramine,  plus Xanax 1 mg (4Xdaily)-October 1993.

March 1999-switched from Imipramine (50mgs) to Celexa.

2008-switched to Pristiq for 3 months, then back to Effexor XR (after bad reaction to the Pristiq).

Sept 1st 2010-Switched from Effexor XR (75mgs) to Effexor Generic (solid form) in preparation for taper.

Nov 15th 2010-Began tapering from 75mgs Effexor Generic.

January 13th 2014-.06mgs

April 17th 2014-      .03mgs

May 11th 2014-       .02mgs

Ended taper October 31st 2014

Oct 4th 2015-11 months post taper and completely back to normal!

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Hudgens,

 

   That sounds exactly right.  It is what caused my panic, and it is what is coming back now.  I guess there is no self-help for stoping Hypocondria....joy, another thing to look up.  I agree with you, I have friends that haven't known me from before the drug commenting on how I seem like a totally different person lately (I hope for the better), so I KNOW I spent a better part of the last 16 years in a fog instead of living my life.

 

Fresh,

 

    As for other symptoms, no, none.  I take 4 omega-3 super dooper pills a day, they rock, and a bunch of other suppliments from a program that I think are doing not much of anything for me.  Basically, my only symptom is that I am now feeling things again, which in turn, cause me to have panic attacks again.  My wife says I can be more combative, but that is the real me, that has been missing for a long time, so I am not sure I would call it a symptom. 

Orlando

________

 

1998 -2011 - 75mg Effexor XR

2011-2014 - 150mg Effexor XR

December 2014 - Dropped to 75mg Effexor XR

January 2015 - Dropped to 37.5mg Effexor XR (on my own, Dr doesn't want me to stop)

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Follow up with my doctor:

 

   Somewhat good news.  My doctor is allowing me to stay on 37.5, agrees that I should stay at this level for a while.  She also is sending me to Cog. Behavior Theropy.  I always just learned coping techniques on my own, so this is actually pretty positive to me.  I am hoping to get down to 0% bad days at 37.5, and when I hit that, I will think about going down again.  Thank you all for listening.

Orlando

________

 

1998 -2011 - 75mg Effexor XR

2011-2014 - 150mg Effexor XR

December 2014 - Dropped to 75mg Effexor XR

January 2015 - Dropped to 37.5mg Effexor XR (on my own, Dr doesn't want me to stop)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

orlando, hey.

 

that sounds like very positive news to me. i think you will do well to abide by all that you've laid out in your most recent post. hanging with 37.5 until you are stable (glad your doc is on-board) and partaking in some CBT for coping mechanisms - i'd proceed just that way were i in your shoes.

 

hang in there and let us know how things go for you.

 

dave

1996 - .5mg Ativan as needed, 7.5mg Remeron daily2008 - .5mg Xanax, Ativan discontinued, Remeron continued2012 - .5mg Xanax, .25mg Ativan 3x daily, Remeron continued2/2012 - Jumped from Remeron, continued .5mg Xanax .25mg Ativan 3x daily4/2012 - Began rapid taper of .5mg Xanax .25mg Ativan 3x daily6/2012 - Jumped from Xanax and Ativan, voluntary hospitalization followed7/2012 - 2nd voluntary hospitalization, reinstated Remeron, bumped to 30mg, also given risperidone.8/2012 - discontinued risperidone, tried gabapentin, dicontinued gabapentin, Remeron 30mg continued10/2012 to current - tapered Remeron 10% every 4 to 6 weeks (sometimes more time) using liquid compound12/2014 - 2mg Remeron 1/16/2015 - 1.9mg Remeron 8/1/2015 -1.6mg Remeron - 03/1/2016 - 1.5mg Remeron - 1/2/2017 1.3mg - 5/7/2017 1.2mg - 5/13/2017 - syringe size change - 6/8/2017 - 1.1mg - 7/10/2017 - 1mg - 9/1/2017 - 0.9mg - 10/22/2017 - 0.8mg - 11/22/2017 - 0.7mg - 2/2/2018 - 0.6mg - 3/13/2018 - new compound pharmacy - 5/20/2018 - 0.5mg - 8/31/2018 - 0.4mg - 11/16/2018 - 0.3mg - 12/24/2018 - 0.2mg - 4/1/2019 - 0.1mg - 5/1/2019 - .05mg - 0mg achieved 2019-06-15. 🤞

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Orlando.

 

I'm very uncomfortable at hearing your doctor is "allowing" you to do anything. She was remiss in throwing you into withdrawal by not refilling your prescription. It sounds to me like you need a doctor with whom you can communicate and who treats you with respect.

 

Since you are prone to health anxiety, to go off Effexor you will need to learn to distinguish between withdrawal symptoms and your fears about withdrawal symptoms.

 

This will be very important to you. It is possible that as you reduce your dosage, you will get withdrawal symptoms and you need to keep your head rather than panic, which will make everything worse.

 

Think long and hard about whether you want to do this, because you will need to listen to your body and take care of yourself.

 

Counting beads from Effexor XR capsules is the better way to taper until you get to a very low dose, then you might want to make a liquid from regular Effexor. Use the same dosage and same manufacturer of Effexor XR throughout your taper.

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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Thank you for your response.  The doctor now understands that I don't want to be on this medicine forever, and I beleive people...all people deserve a second chance.  She has told me to stay at 37.5 for now, since I went down so fast, and she is the one that asked me to go to a cognitive behavorial specialist, which sounds very good to me.  I hope things continue to go well, and I am now going to slow way down in terms of tapering meds.

 

From reading what you wrote above, am I to understand you think I should not come off the medicine?  I am just trying to understand what I read.  Thanks again.

 

Orlando

Orlando

________

 

1998 -2011 - 75mg Effexor XR

2011-2014 - 150mg Effexor XR

December 2014 - Dropped to 75mg Effexor XR

January 2015 - Dropped to 37.5mg Effexor XR (on my own, Dr doesn't want me to stop)

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  • Administrator

Orlando, very few doctors know anything about tapering people off psychiatric drugs. It's unlikely your doctor will be of much help in this regard. Neither will a CBT practitioner.

 

You will have to take responsibility for it yourself, manage your taper, and manage your withdrawal symptoms if you develop them.

 

We can support you here but, ultimately, this is your choice and your action. We can't do it for you.

 

While you stabilize on 37.5mg, think about how you're going to find the strength within yourself to do this. When you feel confident that you are ready to go off, start tapering.

 

Please let us know how you're doing.

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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