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Freya13 - Effexor Withdrawal, 6 months and counting


freya13

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Hello there,

 

I am a 30 year old female, 5'4", current weight 108lbs. 

After being diagnosed with depression at the age of 19, I was prescribed antidepressants. Paxil was the first drug I believe I was put on, with little success. Cipralex was the next drug that I was on for a few years until they didnt seem to be working anymore. I experienced severe trauma at age 24, and developed PTSD as well as severe anxiety/panic disorder. I was then prescribed effexor 300mg and lorazapam for sleep.

There were a few other drugs for anxiety that I tried but none of them seemed to work. After the loss of my father February 13,2013, I again experienced trauma and was diagnosed with a second case of PTSD and rebounded into severe depression. My physical state has been declining since 2010, beginning with severe gastrointestinal problems. I constantly had heartburn and was vomiting acid on a daily basis. I was prescribed Tecta, which is used to treat patients with ulcers and acid problems. After over a year taking Tecta, my stomach problems continued to worsen. I had gastroscopys and colonoscopys, ultrasounds, xrays and nuclear dye testing. After several different doctors, I was diagnosed with a Mallory Weiss Tear (a tear in the esophagus which occurs from vomiting too much, acid erosion of the intestines and esophagus), but no other explanation for my stomach problems.

 

Then after experiencing severe stress, i ended up in the emergency room with horrific pain in my abdomen, nausea, vomiting, high fever and severe irritation and irritability. I had a panic attack that lasted for almost 4 hours, until i was given a dose of Valium. The test results from that hospital visit revealed a Hemangioma (a benign tumor on my liver, which sent me into absolute panic). After a discussion with my family doctor it was decided it was time to try and come off my anti-depressants, to see if they were the cause of my problems. On November 14 2014 I took my last dose of effexor ( i was weaned off by reducing my prescription to 150mg, then 75mg. He then prescribed me Seroquel at 25 mg to help with some of the side effects I began experiencing. They only got worse. Brain zaps, night sweats soaking my sheets and clothes, fevers, chills, shaking, dizzyness, nausea, vomiting, you name it, I experienced it in the first 3 months of withdrawl.

 

 Since taking my last effexor dose, I have lost over 40lbs (which I had gained mostly during my use of Effexor), currently weighing 108lbs as of this morning. My anxiety is horrific at times, inabling me to do simple tasks such as going to the grocery store, especially alone. I immediately start feeling anxious, sweaty and sometimes light-headed. My stomach problems have amplified, I am unable to eat a lot of foods I used to, and have a hard time absorbing nutrients and digesting food. Sometimes I feel nautious the entire day, others in periods of hours. I have a b12 deficiency which makes me tired all the time, and feeling gassed after going for short walks or doing household chores. The physical pain and problems I am experiencing are surely influencing and adding to my anxiety and relapsing depression, especially since I have been an active person my whole life.

 

I have not been able to work for the past 6 years because of all of the issues I faced while on antidepressants, and now continuing into withdrawal. I feel as though I am lost in my own horrible nightmare that I cannot awake from. Feeling sick everyday has made me very isolated, I am not as social as i used to be, nor am I able to do a lot of things as I'm either in pain in my stomach, or am experiencing severe nausea and anxiety. I dont know what to do anymore. I dont have much of a support system as after my fathers passing, my mother moved in with my half sister, and now refuses to speak to me. My entire life as I knew it has been changed. I have been seeing a new dr for my stomach problems after recently having to move citys, and am awaiting test results. Though I am very pessimistic that he will be able to solve my issues as my suffering has gotten the best of me.

I know this post is just a mess of information about my current and past history, but it is a reflection of who I am now, a mess. I tried asking for a referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist in my area and was told there is a 2 year waiting list. I dont know where else to try to find help and resources to attempt to pull myself out of this horrible nightmare. I have read many articles and posts on websites, so I finally decided to join here and throw my story up to see if anyone else has exeperienced any of the things I have. As well as any help, advice, or even just someone to talk to about what Ive been feeling.

 

The few people I have left in my life are seemingly "overwhelmed" with all the things ive been going through, and although they try to be there, their inability to understand whats happened to me and relate to the things ive gone though and am going through makes it very hard. It has strained my few remaining relationships and im afraid if one more person gives up on me as everyone else has, then I will too. I barely have any fight left, but what I do have I am using to write this post today. I hope that someone reading this might be able to help or relate.

 

I will gladly answer any questions that i may not have covered in my ramblings.

 

thanks for taking the time to read this

 

-freya13

Edited by mammaP
Paragraph breaks.

10 + years of taking anti-depressants, including Paxil, Cipralex, and Effexor.

Currently experiencing withdrawal from Effexor 300mg since November 15 2014. (after 5+ years)

Currently taking 1-2 mg Lorazapam, Seroquel 25mg at bedtime for sleep. B 12 slow-release supplements for low O2 blood levels.

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Welcome -

 

So sorry to hear of your situation.

 

There are quite a few people on here suffering greatly, so you are certainly not alone.

 

Good thing that the discussion with your family doctor resulted in planning to get off antidepressants to try to figure out what is causing your health problems.

 

Unfortunately, your taper off Effexor sounds too fast. Most doctors don't realize that a long, slow taper is the best way to go to avoid severe withdrawal.

 

Read here for our recommended taper schedule:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

SSRIs/SNRIs such as Paxil, Cipralex, and Effexor are known to cause gastrointestinal problems for sure. But it is unclear whether your GI problems were caused by the use of these medications.

 

The first three months of Effexor WD that you describe sounds typical. Be on the lookout for delayed onset symptoms of SSRI/SNRI WD which can include insomnia, unusual anxiety, unusual pins and needles or numbness in extremities, and more. If these occur, just be aware that they are likely due to continuing Effexor withdrawal. Sometimes with Effexor WD, people describe finding it hard to "find words" during social conversation. Hopefully you won't get hit with delayed withdrawal, but it often happens. Delayed withdrawal symptoms can hit out of nowhere up to a year after stopping the drug, even up to 15 months out in some cases.

 

People often recover and heal from the worst effects and damage caused by SSRI/SNRI usage.

 

Please fill out your drug history signature by going to "My Settings" on your account page. My signature below is an example. This will help others best advise you.

 

A moderator should be along to help discuss a plan forward.

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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I definitely understand feeling so ill everyday that you isolate yourself.  I barely leave my house and when I do need to get groceries for the kids I try to bring my son with me.  I have an arms length of symptoms as well.  My doctor sucks though, and usually throws pills at me instead of investigating anything.  My family lives out of town and I only have one good friend whom I do not see much.  I have become a loner and a hermit through all of this so I get where you are coming from.  I am not in a position to give advice but I want to welcome you and I hope you find some good supports here.

2002-put on amitryptiline for fibromyalgia. 10mg.2004-stopped abruptly. Didn't think it helped.2006 approx.-put on Paxil for mild anxiety 20 mg.2007 upped to 40 mg. not sure why.2011- tapered from 40 to 10. went nuts and went back to 20mg2014- tapered from 20mg to 0 from April to The end of June.current meds- Metformin(type 2 diabetic) and low dose aspirin.Take multi vitamin and vit b12, vit. D and magnesium. 5 months off Paxil. Still suffering.recently added 1.2mg of Paxil to alleviate withdrawals.(Nov 30)Dropped to .9mg because having symptoms from reinstatement.(dec 23)<p>taper to .76mg-.8mg (Feb 3) approx. weight .010 to about .008-.009 on scale.
.6mg (march 19th.) .5mg(April 19th)
.4mg(April 27th)
.2 (June 27th)

0mg.  done taper at beginning of August.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Freya, welcome to SA.  It does seem like the effexor might have been responsible for your gastric problems. We also know that the acid blockers prevent absorption of B12.  Sublingual B12 is more effective because you place them under the tongue and bypass the stomach.  Stomach acid is needed to absorb many of the nutrients and lack of it means you are not getting the right nutrition from food.  I would highly recommend the GAPS diet, it can be difficult but well worth trying especially in withdrawal. Effexor played havoc with my gut and I was taking acid blockers too but as I tapered and changed my diet things got better, I also tapered the acid blocker because they cause many problems themselves.  Here are some links to topics for the stomach problems that are linked to the drug and withdrawal.   

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2533-that-acid-reflux-pill-may-be-causing-your-health-problems/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/890-scdgapspaleo-diets/?view=findpost&p=25707&hl=diet

 

Withdrawal is a nightmare without the gastric problems and it must be really hard for you when you have those problems on top of withdrawal. 

 

How are you taking the lorazepam, regular doses or as needed?   

 

You will find a lot of information in the symptoms and self care forum, here is a list of important topics  that you may find helpful. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/606-important-topics-about-tests-supplements-treatments-diet/

 

Lots of people find some relief by taking just 4 or 5 of the tiny granules from a capsule of effexor, it can be enough to ease the withdrawal symptoms but at 6 months off it may not work as it is best done as soon as symptoms appear. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

I'm sorry that you are in this situation, effexor withdrawal is not fun! 

**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

 

 

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Hi Freya,

 

Sorry to hear what you are going through. I can't help much except have you tried going to support groups in Ontario?

There are some out there. You just have to do a google search. If you are closer to Toronto there are quite a few.

I know the Psychiatrists aren't that great in Ontario because they just push pills on you. I guess like most psychiatrists in other parts of the world as well.

 

Good luck

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Thank you for all the replys and all the resouces. I am still waiting to hear back from my doctor about my last set of test results. after reading a lot more about effexor and others stories, I completely feel as though the drugs ruined my life. I feel like I may never be the same person I was once. I have changed. I couldnt seem to get myself out of bed today. I have had no appetite in the past few days especially, and have lost another pound, down to 107. Ive been crying on and off. Is there really a light at the end of the tunnel or am I just being fooled by a mirage of hope?

 

Feeling hopeless today :(

10 + years of taking anti-depressants, including Paxil, Cipralex, and Effexor.

Currently experiencing withdrawal from Effexor 300mg since November 15 2014. (after 5+ years)

Currently taking 1-2 mg Lorazapam, Seroquel 25mg at bedtime for sleep. B 12 slow-release supplements for low O2 blood levels.

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There is certainly a good chance for recovery. Many people have been through very difficult SSRI withdrawal and have recovered to a satisfying life.

 

You just have to realize that it usually takes a lot of time, months and years. We are in recovery for the long haul, no doubt about it.

 

Our bodies have amazing powers of healing. Unfortunately it takes a long time for damage caused by SSRIs/SNRIs to heal, but healing occurs if we have patience and take care of our bodies. It is a difficult journey but usually worth riding out.

 

Keep yourself informed about the nature of recovery:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-recovery/

 

Read success stories, here is one person who recovered from absolute withdrawal misery: 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3523-success-recovery-from-protracted-zoloft-withdrawal-and-pssd/

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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Ive read all the articles and links you have all provided with me. however at this point, i guess im experiencing the "windows and waves", and having a very very hard time coping. ive been having suicidal thoughts all day. feeling tired, cant stop crying. just utterly hopeless. i tried reaching out to friends on my facebook for help and not a single response. 

 

i know this can be beat, but at this very moment in time, i feel as though it may have beaten me already and im just a lost cause.

10 + years of taking anti-depressants, including Paxil, Cipralex, and Effexor.

Currently experiencing withdrawal from Effexor 300mg since November 15 2014. (after 5+ years)

Currently taking 1-2 mg Lorazapam, Seroquel 25mg at bedtime for sleep. B 12 slow-release supplements for low O2 blood levels.

Link to comment

We have all been there to some degree or another.

 

Average people don't understand this. It is normal for them to be skeptical.

 

I've been lucky, I've had quite a few friends and family members who are sympathetic to this SSRI WD illness.

 

After what I've told them, you can bet they will think twice about using these SSRIs or letting their loved ones go on it.

 

But unless someone goes through this, they can't fully appreciate what we're going through.   

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm sorry that you are suffering so badly Freya, no-one deserves this.  I am wondering about the lorazepam you are taking. Your signature says 1-2mg. Do you take it regularly or now and again?  It can make withdrawal worse if it isn't taken regularly with consistent dosing. As you have been taking it since starting effexor your body is used to it and inconsistent dosing leads to interdose withdrawal. You will recover from this Freya, it takes time but will get better. Your brain is amazing and has the ability to heal itself but its a painful process.  We are all here for you and supporting each other, we all understand here but sadly those who have no experience of withdrawal just don't understand and believe all the hype about withdrawal being minimal.  Recently one of my fb friends said they were going to start anti depressants. Whatever I said was not listened to and lots of people were singing the praises of the drugs! I was made to look like someone who was being paranoid, because they haven't a clue  :angry: . 

**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

 

 

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Platinum Star, I have been taking 2mg every night before bed of lorazpam. i sometimes have to take it early in the morning as i awake with severe anxiety and cannot sleep. i try to keep it at only before bed, but the past month has been overwhelming and i find myself struggling not to take one throughout the day. are there any natural alternatives that may aid with anxiety? ive researched and read articles, but nothing seems like it would even begin to tame my madness.

 

also, i feel bad for your facebook friend not heeding your warning about ssris. perhaps send them a link to this site and tell them to read a few stories. perhaps some horror will shed light as to what they are about to do to themselves. i wouldnt wish this on anyone. its the most horrific thing ive ever had to deal with.

 

still feeling anxious and very depressed. my physical pain is still very much there as well. i have a doctors appointment this wednesday to finally discuss my last batch of test results, though i doubt they found anything yet again (seeing as how no one called me from the doctor, no news is good news, so they say)

10 + years of taking anti-depressants, including Paxil, Cipralex, and Effexor.

Currently experiencing withdrawal from Effexor 300mg since November 15 2014. (after 5+ years)

Currently taking 1-2 mg Lorazapam, Seroquel 25mg at bedtime for sleep. B 12 slow-release supplements for low O2 blood levels.

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  • 2 years later...

I'm wondering how you know you are suffering from withdrawl? If you started out with anxiety and depression how do you know it's not just still that condition?

 

My doctors all seem to be INSISTING on the idea that protracted withdrawal is a mythology and people suffering past a certain amount of time are simply struggling with a mood disorder.

I'm on the fence on this one.

Started Venlaflaxine 2008 for situational depression, 300mg 1 dose daily

2010 started experiencing anxiety and depression from Venlaflaxine. 2010 tried taper but side effects were too severe.

July 2017 started taper, reduce 25mg every week or 2 weeks. Added Prozac 10 mg in August 2017.

Finished Venlaflaxine taper Oct 15 2017, began Prozac taper (40mg daily).

Nov 1 2017 finished Prozac taper.

1st 6 weeks experienced brain zaps and tiredness. Dec 2017 brain zaps end and body aches start, also very tired and lousy mood swings.

Jan 2018 begin Lorazapam 3mg single dose every 3 or 4 days for general relief of low mood.

Jan 12 considering taking low dose of Prozac if symptoms persist  much longer.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Freya13 - Effexor Withdrawal, 6 months and counting

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