Effexor withdrawal triggers migraines, HELP!

Posted by tfought1 @tfought1, Sep 8 6:54am

I have been on effexor xr for years, and when I first started, it was life altering in how much it helped my severe depression and anxiety. I have been having severe doubts about it after having more and more neurological symptoms on it. And when I had an insurance issue and had missed only a couple of doses and felt like; my brain was being shocked repeatedly, my depression and anxiety went completely through the roof, vomiting and nausea, nightmares and cold sweats, and migraine… That had absolutely scared me to my core, so after talking to my pcp about the symptoms on it and the symptoms off of it, we decided to taper off my 225mg dose and slowly switch me to wellbutrin (as I am not a good candidate for a few others due to potential side effects). We have since discovered that I am HIGHLY susceptible to withdrawal symptoms. I get the laundry list, plus a bonus feature of this being a major trigger for optical migraines. Now I am missing work, missing sleep, throwing up from the pain, I can't eat, I am getting brain zaps and brain shudders, my depression is worse than it has ever been, my bp is through the roof. I feel like a junkie right now. I was on the phone bawling to my boss trying to figure out how to be useful and go to work and she said I was a hot mess and get some rest and see if there is anything else my dr can do. My doctor admitted that this is over his head and referred me to a neurologist because optical migraines are absolutely terrifying! What if I am driving with my kids in the car and it hits me and I lose my eyesight?! I am at my wits end with effexor and how to get off of it. Is there anything that gets rid of these withdrawal symptoms?! I am going to be broke as well as broken soon. I am even willing to try other methods to help. I've been reading about psilocybin being a thing? Any input or help will be greatly appreciated!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety group.

@tfought1, you've come to right place for support and tips from people who have been where you are today. It can get better. I'm tagging fellow members like @sheffieldsmith @aemarie @nanasusan @lorie1207 @deeschmee @texasduchess and others who can share their experiences.

You can also read more in these helpful related discussions:
– My successful tapering off Effexor (Venlafaxine) https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/as-promised-my-successful-tapering-off-effexor-venlafaxine/
– Long term effects AFTER withdrawing from Effexor: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/long-term-effects-after-withdrawing-from-effexor/
– Tips on minimizing withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine): https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/tips-on-minimising-withdrawal-symptoms-from-effexor-aka-venlafaxine/

Is your doctor able to refer you to a specialists who knows more about proper tapering and can guide you through this process?


Hi. My beyond-beloved husband died a sudden horrible death in 2004, and I spent 16 years on Effexor XR. Then in April 2020 I got Covid, and with it seratonin syndrome (extremely scary combination!) So, I HAD to get off of Effexor. I went EVERYWHERE for help, and was told repeatedly that "Effexor is harder to get off of than heroin!" And apparently there are countless practitioners who refuse to prescribe Effexor because of withdrawal difficulties. That being said, I found a way off. I read a blog from the UK where a woman said that she "wished her doctor had just handed her a pair of running shoes instead of Effexor." I had never run in my life, but I was desperate. At the age of 64 I bought my first pair of running shoes, and I ran my way off of Effexor and out of depression. Of course, this is not as easy as just swallowing a pill or two. I was running for my life. I also had migraines and that terrified me, as well. I ran my way thru horrible withdrawal symptoms and off of Effexor. And I will never look back. I'm 66 now and I ran four miles this morning. I'm running my way off of my last 1 mg of Ativan. I know that this is not easy, and at times you are terrified. But, any journey starts with a single step. I'm 66 years old and I went from 205 lbs to 160, and I will NEVER swallow Effexor again as long as I live. Being free from pills AND depression is really worth the effort. Put on your running shoes and GO!

– Eileen

Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment