Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine)

Posted by richyrich @richyrich, Nov 2, 2016

I have been taking Effexor/Venlafaxine for years and tried to get off it a few times but each time I try to give up the chemical withdrawal symptoms are a horror story and I give up giving up. Anyone got any tips or tried and tested strategies? Thank you

Liked by Bek, LynneB, kelly76, echams1 ... see all

@yorkiemama

Hi All – I’ve been on Prozac and then Effexor for close to 20 years now and began to wonder exactly why I was taking them anymore. At first, it was because of extreme stress and anxiety and was periodic low dosages. Within a few years, it became seasonal and I needed them through the winter as well. Then it was continual. My doctor at the time, who regularly sent me to a psychiatrist for evaluations, explained that it was like a “brain vitamin” due to chemical imbalances, so that I did not feel the stigma associated with it. Several years ago, stressors in my life between job and relationships brought my dosage up to 375mg per day. But those stressors are now gone, so I began to seriously question why I would still need to take this medication. I began to slowly decrease my dosage about every three months, of course, with my doctor’s awareness. I have finally gotten down to 37.5 mg and it is absolutely terrifying. The brain zaps, dizziness, vertigo, unfocussed thinking, heightened awareness of sounds and movements, sleep disruptions…. I’m afraid to get rid of the last dose. Thankfully my doctor is patiently working with me. Going every other day on the dose was too much, so I’m back on for 3 days at a time. On my off day, I’m to take a Clonazepam twice, 12 hours apart. Do this for two weeks, then reduce it to every 2 days, then 1 off with the Clonazepam. I am only to take the Clonazepam on my “off” days. I’ve reduced my caffeine intake, scheduled my sleeping, and a friend is now my activity coach, as everyone knows that physical activity will help you produce natural serotonin. I’m going to stay on this path and keep moving at all costs. My life is finally GREAT so why should I have to be on this medication? I’m not going to let the withdrawals control my life…..
I wish everyone luck in their journey to remove themselves, but please ask to remember to be PATIENT with yourselves. Try different types of dosage removals…. once you get to the lowest dose, maybe try extended the dosage time from 24 hours to 30 hours for a couple of weeks, then 36 hours and so on. My brain zaps occurred immediately at the 25 hour mark, so that is why I’m going every 3 days and then 1 off. We’ll see. I have high hopes and determination.
Again, thanks everyone for sharing their stories and good luck to you all.

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@sadiesmom that’s great that the change in meds is improving life. Don’t be sad about what is past, be happy that you are now able to start to resume normalcy, that’s what important. The past is history.
I can really feel for you in how you feel about your son. I thank God I have never been in a similar situation. My son and daughter mean the world to me, when they have any problems it bothers me so much, sometimes I think more than it does them. My daughter suffers from migraines and when she is having one and miserable she often calls me, knowing I went through the same right up until menopause. When she does I wish she lived close enough so that I could go over to her place and be there for her, putting cool compresses on her forehead.
Try not to look back at “should have”s. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20. You did what you felt was best at the time, you don’t deserve self blame.
You sound so good now and like you are getting stronger every day, that’s what you should be concentrating on. I am really happy for you that you are finally seeing a better future.
JK

REPLY

I have been on Effexor for 13 years. After having a child, my dosage was doubled as I felt it wasn’t working anymore. I was also prescribed wellbutrin. I started seeing a psychiatrist who thought I was ok to be taken off the meds. Trying to taper off Effexor was hell. I was a single mom, going to college, and literally could not function with all the crazy withdrawal symptoms. After a week of the side effects, I called and told my psychiatrist to put me back only regular dosage. Maybe it just wasn’t a good time in my life to try to wean off it. I recently didn’t keep track of how many refills I had left, so ran out of medicine and because of the holiday, the doctors office was closed for five days. After two days of having no medicine, I caved in and went into the ER to get a couple day supply until my doctor is open again. I think depression is a life long disease and is a chemical or neural imbalance in the brain, so it is not just going to fix itself. As much as I wish I didn’t need medication, I have came to the terms that this is a lifelong disease, and certain life changes or supplement can make it better, medication does things that supplements or life changes cannot.

REPLY

I totally agree with you about it being a life-long disease. I didn’t have it until I went through my divorce and the loss of my son. I think that once the chemicals in your brain are shaken up, there’s a slim chance that they will ever return to “normal”, whatever that is these days. The reason I wanted to wean off of the Effexor after 14 years of taking it is because I am experiencing critical physical symptoms that, according to the Effexor warning label, are caused by long term use of this drug. I was suicidal after my divorce….had been married to my hs sweetheart for almost 30 years and my son was in Iraq on his second of his third tour with the USMC. I had a nervous break down. In the meantime, I lost the best job I ever had in my life; one that would ensure financial stability through the divorce. I had to leave the dream home we had built ten years before, my son came home from Iraq very depressed and I worried to death about him. Then when he had to deploy for a third time, I tanked again and had to be hospitalized. When my son passed away in 2012, I went on disability because I couldn’t deal with the grief of losing my 29 year old son. I really think my mind and body have never healed from one tragedy before the next struck. The Effexor caused me horrendous brain fog to the point I could barely take care of myself and my dog. I literally didn’t know where I was half the time. I couldn’t go to the grocery store, do laundry, cook for myself, dishes….nothing. My house went to complete hell. I slept probably 16 or 18 hours a day. I gained 50 pounds in about 4 months which sent my bp skyrocketing….my doctor increased the Effexor because of my critical state which only made my bp worse. I just turned 60 and am beginning to truly worry about my physical health as it relates to the drugs I am ingesting….Please, please, please, anyone who is taking antidepressants READ THE WARNING LABEL EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU GET A REFILL. Side effects change and the date of the last update is on the BACK page in teeny tiny little numbers in the left hand corner of the warnings instead of in big, black bold letters on the FRONT. I am convinced that the cocktail of antidepressants the VA gave my son caused his suicide. Today, we are losing 20-30 Veterans a DAY by their own hand. 90% of it is because of the medication that the VA prescribes. It is absolutely criminal. Big pharma contracts with the government, gets these men and women addicted and then they die by their own hand. I think it’s cheaper for the government to buy the drugs than treat them medically for their problems. That’s another chapter in the book, though, and I won’t bore you with statistics most of you don’t even care about.

REPLY

Hello,

I am a 23 yr old male. I am a disabled veteran diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome, degenerative disc disease, multiple disc herniations, radiculapothy of both lower extremities, spinal arthritis, PTSD, severe anxiety, amd major depression. Back in April of 2017 was hospitalized due to my back injury. Ive never taken any antidepressants before but my body does not respond well to medications. In 2014 I was given a lethal combination of painkillers and muscle relaxers by my on base health clinic which caused an overdose. Ever since then it seems like my body rejects meds or builds up tolerance at an alarmingly fast amount of time. Long story short during my 2 week hospital stint in April, i was visited by a physc doctor. She prescribed me Venlafaxine. I started at 75mg but very quickly was increased to 150mg. During the first few weeks of taking this medication, I noticed that I felt extremely ill and week as well as became easily frustrated, agitated, and much more angry. I notified the VA who had taken over my treatment. My doctor told me that those were commom side effect and they would soon gradually fade. Abput 2 1/2 to 3 months in the anger frustration and agitation had gained strength. My wife constantly told me that this medication was changing my personality drastically. About the same time my depression had came in full force and was always affecting me. I was always unhappy and would blow up at the smallest of things. I began to realize something was indeed wrong. My PCP instructed me to taper off which caused the sickness to come back along with intense amounts of pain. I was then told to just discontinue taking the meds and no present day, 8 months later my personality hasnt changed back to before the meds where even though in pain with depression, i was still able to enjoy things with my wife and be a caring loving husband as well as a devoted father. I am constantly angry and unhappy. Agitated with the smallest of things falling further and further into my depression. This has my marriage barley held together by strings and i need help. My doctor has now presceibed mw Prozac to help. But is there anything i can do to be the man I was. I hope and pray that this dark cloud in my life fades away. I want to be happy and have a strong marriage but these issues make it impossible. Has anyone experienced anything similar? Is there any hope or am I a lost cause to this horrible decision to try venlafaxine?

Thank you for your input.

REPLY
@sadiesmom

I encourage you to go to the FDA website and read the history about Effexor XR. It took 14 years for it to be approved by the FDA. FOURTEEN! It was “invented” to alleviate taking multiple pills daily but I think it would have been better to take take lower doses than to get hooked on this stuff. It is HELL and I mean HELL getting off of this stuff. I have been through horrible life trials (divorce and loss of my son) and I have NEVER had anxiety like I’m having right now. The physical affects are like the worst case of the flu you’ve ever had in your life. Chills, nausea, diarrhea (and I MEAN diarrhea to the point you can’t leave your house). I have absolutely NO appetite which isn’t a bad thing since this shit made me gain 50 lbs. but nothing sounds good and I have to force myself to eat. I can barely even get a glass of ice water down. Soup broth is about all I can tolerate. I am about six weeks into this so I’m not turning back. I’m going to ride it out (I hope I survive) and get off of this poison. It should be criminal to produce a drug this potent without giving explicit WARNINGS about the withdrawal symptoms. I had no intention of staying on it long term but a divorce after 30 years of marriage and the suicide of my son five years later made my depression unbearable. I think I have slept most of the last five years. But the Effexor only exacerbated the brain fog, total lack of any kind of motivation, poor personal hygiene and the inability to really take care of myself. I know that grief played a big part of my fatigue and always will but if I can get a handle on this anxiety, I’m NEVER going on any kind of antidepressant again. EVER. My case may be one out of the norm, and I hope that is the case. My advice is to get off of it as soon as you can….trust your body and how you feel….especially your mind. I have been hospitalized SIX times for overdosing in the past five years after my son passed away. I truly wonder if it was the drugs…..as they all come with a “may cause suicidal ideation” label. I truly wanted to die after I lost my son and still some days the urge is hard to resist but I think with the proper care from a physician, better support (grief support is almost non existent), and a true friend that would have been by my side through the worst, I don’t think I would be where I am now. Being single and alone was almost unbearable…..I had no idea I would get the kind of response I have from my posts…..I only hope that no one has to endure what I have in these past six weeks. It’s a hell on earth, that’s for sure….

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@sadiesmom

The pizza was strange because they didn’t put any cheese or sauce on one of them, a misunderstanding in the order.

A resource for comfort is a Google of Psalms of comfort. Another is Psalms of lament, which I think help me express my prayers during depression.

There are times when I don’t feel like praying or have no words, and feel like God is distant, indifferent or gone missing. For times like these, I appreciate the availability of written prayers, whether Scripture or a printed collection. Many traditions think written prayers are unspiritual and not extemporaneous enough, maybe impersonal. But, though I come from that tradition, the prayers that have been written by masters of prayer, are full of expression and have good theology and depth.

I need to get out and walk Sadie and her little housemate, Pete. Sadie’s showing some cabin fever.

Jim

REPLY
@yorkiemama

Hi All – I’ve been on Prozac and then Effexor for close to 20 years now and began to wonder exactly why I was taking them anymore. At first, it was because of extreme stress and anxiety and was periodic low dosages. Within a few years, it became seasonal and I needed them through the winter as well. Then it was continual. My doctor at the time, who regularly sent me to a psychiatrist for evaluations, explained that it was like a “brain vitamin” due to chemical imbalances, so that I did not feel the stigma associated with it. Several years ago, stressors in my life between job and relationships brought my dosage up to 375mg per day. But those stressors are now gone, so I began to seriously question why I would still need to take this medication. I began to slowly decrease my dosage about every three months, of course, with my doctor’s awareness. I have finally gotten down to 37.5 mg and it is absolutely terrifying. The brain zaps, dizziness, vertigo, unfocussed thinking, heightened awareness of sounds and movements, sleep disruptions…. I’m afraid to get rid of the last dose. Thankfully my doctor is patiently working with me. Going every other day on the dose was too much, so I’m back on for 3 days at a time. On my off day, I’m to take a Clonazepam twice, 12 hours apart. Do this for two weeks, then reduce it to every 2 days, then 1 off with the Clonazepam. I am only to take the Clonazepam on my “off” days. I’ve reduced my caffeine intake, scheduled my sleeping, and a friend is now my activity coach, as everyone knows that physical activity will help you produce natural serotonin. I’m going to stay on this path and keep moving at all costs. My life is finally GREAT so why should I have to be on this medication? I’m not going to let the withdrawals control my life…..
I wish everyone luck in their journey to remove themselves, but please ask to remember to be PATIENT with yourselves. Try different types of dosage removals…. once you get to the lowest dose, maybe try extended the dosage time from 24 hours to 30 hours for a couple of weeks, then 36 hours and so on. My brain zaps occurred immediately at the 25 hour mark, so that is why I’m going every 3 days and then 1 off. We’ll see. I have high hopes and determination.
Again, thanks everyone for sharing their stories and good luck to you all.

Jump to this post

@sadiesmom

I know about “pathetic”, but I believe it’s not a description of the true me, but the condition of having an illness. It’s great to observe the forward progression of the awakening you’re experiencing. Just don’t let any bad days be too discouraging. My own experience is that those days do come, but the good news is that they come and GO!

Jim

REPLY
@aober

Hello,

I am a 23 yr old male. I am a disabled veteran diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome, degenerative disc disease, multiple disc herniations, radiculapothy of both lower extremities, spinal arthritis, PTSD, severe anxiety, amd major depression. Back in April of 2017 was hospitalized due to my back injury. Ive never taken any antidepressants before but my body does not respond well to medications. In 2014 I was given a lethal combination of painkillers and muscle relaxers by my on base health clinic which caused an overdose. Ever since then it seems like my body rejects meds or builds up tolerance at an alarmingly fast amount of time. Long story short during my 2 week hospital stint in April, i was visited by a physc doctor. She prescribed me Venlafaxine. I started at 75mg but very quickly was increased to 150mg. During the first few weeks of taking this medication, I noticed that I felt extremely ill and week as well as became easily frustrated, agitated, and much more angry. I notified the VA who had taken over my treatment. My doctor told me that those were commom side effect and they would soon gradually fade. Abput 2 1/2 to 3 months in the anger frustration and agitation had gained strength. My wife constantly told me that this medication was changing my personality drastically. About the same time my depression had came in full force and was always affecting me. I was always unhappy and would blow up at the smallest of things. I began to realize something was indeed wrong. My PCP instructed me to taper off which caused the sickness to come back along with intense amounts of pain. I was then told to just discontinue taking the meds and no present day, 8 months later my personality hasnt changed back to before the meds where even though in pain with depression, i was still able to enjoy things with my wife and be a caring loving husband as well as a devoted father. I am constantly angry and unhappy. Agitated with the smallest of things falling further and further into my depression. This has my marriage barley held together by strings and i need help. My doctor has now presceibed mw Prozac to help. But is there anything i can do to be the man I was. I hope and pray that this dark cloud in my life fades away. I want to be happy and have a strong marriage but these issues make it impossible. Has anyone experienced anything similar? Is there any hope or am I a lost cause to this horrible decision to try venlafaxine?

Thank you for your input.

Jump to this post

@aober

I have to apologize from time to time to my wife about my shortness and irritability. I didn’t serve in the military, but am treated for major depression, PTSD and other mental health issues, along with medical issues. I have what is called civilian PTSD, and I tell therapists I have PTSD from holy wars, having been a minister all of my adult life. After several suicide attempts, I retired at 55, and have seen a parade of therapists for twelve years. I’ve tried a parade of medications, as well. My psychiatrist added one last week to help with depression, which seems to have worsened the past several months.

I tried Effexor a number of years ago, but found it didn’t help me, and tapered on to Wellbutrin while I tapered off Effexor. I guess I was fortunate not to have taken it long enough for it to be a problem getting off.

I was blessed with a good psychiatrist (who has since retired), who cared about me and put a lot of extra time and effort to stabilize me. My current one is also concerned and wants to help me. I think that has been key to my treatment. I met with one 3 times, and had no interest in seeing him ever again. One of my good therapists moved to work for more money at the VA. I’m certain she’s doing good work with the veterans in her care.

My brother is a Vietnam vet, and had a rough life the 30 years after. Around ten years ago, he was almost dead from drugs and alcohol abuse. Our parents and a sister stuck close to him for a few years, and he’s been clean and sober for quite awhile now, and lives alone in our parents’ condo since they died. He lives in Fresno, close to a reasonably good VA hospital.

I guess I’m just saying that each of us needs an advocate, good doctors, and many of us need good psychiatric care. I hope that you find those people who are able to treat you appropriately and compassionately. I hope, as well, that your wife is strong enough to walk through this process with you.

Jim

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@lolita9

Just joined the conversation. I’ve only been on effexor for less than a year that my doctor and I decided to take me off. Side effects coming off when I do not take the 75 mg is horrendous. I haven’t told anyone in my family that I’m on this and now am alone in coming off. I’m so scared but I can only trust my doctor to help me through this. It help to read I’m not alone. I wish I never taken it.

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Just an update… I’ve been on the 25mg a day and have found that the depression is setting back in. It always affects me more during holidays and celebrations of any kind bring on anxiety. I just had to force myself to breathe literally every minute, and at times go and hide. I’d look in the mirror and saw I looked normal. No symptoms visible, so back to life I went. One day at a time. Can’t wait to Monday to call my doctor about putting me on Prozac or something. My heart pounds every afternoon. I do take the multi vitamins Omega 3… But the l-theanine really helps with the anxiety n depression. It helps me within 20_30 minutes, I feel normal.
My last dose of 25 mg is this Wednesday, I’m really dreading and looking forward to Thursday, my first day without effexor… I hope none of the brain zaps come back. Or dizziness etc. Looking forward to not having to take this awful medicine

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@sadiesmom

I totally agree with you about it being a life-long disease. I didn’t have it until I went through my divorce and the loss of my son. I think that once the chemicals in your brain are shaken up, there’s a slim chance that they will ever return to “normal”, whatever that is these days. The reason I wanted to wean off of the Effexor after 14 years of taking it is because I am experiencing critical physical symptoms that, according to the Effexor warning label, are caused by long term use of this drug. I was suicidal after my divorce….had been married to my hs sweetheart for almost 30 years and my son was in Iraq on his second of his third tour with the USMC. I had a nervous break down. In the meantime, I lost the best job I ever had in my life; one that would ensure financial stability through the divorce. I had to leave the dream home we had built ten years before, my son came home from Iraq very depressed and I worried to death about him. Then when he had to deploy for a third time, I tanked again and had to be hospitalized. When my son passed away in 2012, I went on disability because I couldn’t deal with the grief of losing my 29 year old son. I really think my mind and body have never healed from one tragedy before the next struck. The Effexor caused me horrendous brain fog to the point I could barely take care of myself and my dog. I literally didn’t know where I was half the time. I couldn’t go to the grocery store, do laundry, cook for myself, dishes….nothing. My house went to complete hell. I slept probably 16 or 18 hours a day. I gained 50 pounds in about 4 months which sent my bp skyrocketing….my doctor increased the Effexor because of my critical state which only made my bp worse. I just turned 60 and am beginning to truly worry about my physical health as it relates to the drugs I am ingesting….Please, please, please, anyone who is taking antidepressants READ THE WARNING LABEL EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU GET A REFILL. Side effects change and the date of the last update is on the BACK page in teeny tiny little numbers in the left hand corner of the warnings instead of in big, black bold letters on the FRONT. I am convinced that the cocktail of antidepressants the VA gave my son caused his suicide. Today, we are losing 20-30 Veterans a DAY by their own hand. 90% of it is because of the medication that the VA prescribes. It is absolutely criminal. Big pharma contracts with the government, gets these men and women addicted and then they die by their own hand. I think it’s cheaper for the government to buy the drugs than treat them medically for their problems. That’s another chapter in the book, though, and I won’t bore you with statistics most of you don’t even care about.

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Im sorry for your situation and send my condolences in the loss of your son. I am a Marine Corps Veteran myself and completly agree with you 100% in regards to the VA. I am diagnosed with PTSD, Depression, and severe anxiety. My first appointment my doctor prescribed me with 75mg of effexor then after a week jumped it to 150mg. After 3 to 4 months my symptoms were becoming more and more aggressive. I spoke to my doctor who told me to stop taking it immediately. I did and now 8 months later im on the brink of divorce, falling deeper and deeper into my depression, unhappy and always angry and agitated. My wife who has always been supportive and has been by my side since my diagnosis says that venlafaxine completely changed who I was and replaced him with a complete stranger. Through evreything Ive been through, all the demons constantly battling to take over, the mental war I fight every day, none of that has done as much damage as venlafaxine. I am now just being prescribed to Prozac to hopefully help. I am truley fearful that it will cause the same if not more damage but I am willing to do and try anything to save my family being torn apart and leaving my 3 children a split family and childhood like I had. I believe that the Government should employ professional and knowledgeable staff who treat vets every day. I am lost countless brothers in arms not just to combat, but to the demons they are left to fight alone and without proper health care. I strongly urge against the use of venlafaxine and recommend anyone currently on it to seek help from their doctors to properly stop this evil medication and the damage it will if not already have caused. I wish you luck to the future.

Semper Fidelis

REPLY
@amyers1367

I have been on Effexor for 13 years. After having a child, my dosage was doubled as I felt it wasn’t working anymore. I was also prescribed wellbutrin. I started seeing a psychiatrist who thought I was ok to be taken off the meds. Trying to taper off Effexor was hell. I was a single mom, going to college, and literally could not function with all the crazy withdrawal symptoms. After a week of the side effects, I called and told my psychiatrist to put me back only regular dosage. Maybe it just wasn’t a good time in my life to try to wean off it. I recently didn’t keep track of how many refills I had left, so ran out of medicine and because of the holiday, the doctors office was closed for five days. After two days of having no medicine, I caved in and went into the ER to get a couple day supply until my doctor is open again. I think depression is a life long disease and is a chemical or neural imbalance in the brain, so it is not just going to fix itself. As much as I wish I didn’t need medication, I have came to the terms that this is a lifelong disease, and certain life changes or supplement can make it better, medication does things that supplements or life changes cannot.

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HI, @amyers1367, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thanks for sharing your experiences with Effexor and Wellbutrin.

How are your symptoms going lately?

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@aober

Hello,

I am a 23 yr old male. I am a disabled veteran diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome, degenerative disc disease, multiple disc herniations, radiculapothy of both lower extremities, spinal arthritis, PTSD, severe anxiety, amd major depression. Back in April of 2017 was hospitalized due to my back injury. Ive never taken any antidepressants before but my body does not respond well to medications. In 2014 I was given a lethal combination of painkillers and muscle relaxers by my on base health clinic which caused an overdose. Ever since then it seems like my body rejects meds or builds up tolerance at an alarmingly fast amount of time. Long story short during my 2 week hospital stint in April, i was visited by a physc doctor. She prescribed me Venlafaxine. I started at 75mg but very quickly was increased to 150mg. During the first few weeks of taking this medication, I noticed that I felt extremely ill and week as well as became easily frustrated, agitated, and much more angry. I notified the VA who had taken over my treatment. My doctor told me that those were commom side effect and they would soon gradually fade. Abput 2 1/2 to 3 months in the anger frustration and agitation had gained strength. My wife constantly told me that this medication was changing my personality drastically. About the same time my depression had came in full force and was always affecting me. I was always unhappy and would blow up at the smallest of things. I began to realize something was indeed wrong. My PCP instructed me to taper off which caused the sickness to come back along with intense amounts of pain. I was then told to just discontinue taking the meds and no present day, 8 months later my personality hasnt changed back to before the meds where even though in pain with depression, i was still able to enjoy things with my wife and be a caring loving husband as well as a devoted father. I am constantly angry and unhappy. Agitated with the smallest of things falling further and further into my depression. This has my marriage barley held together by strings and i need help. My doctor has now presceibed mw Prozac to help. But is there anything i can do to be the man I was. I hope and pray that this dark cloud in my life fades away. I want to be happy and have a strong marriage but these issues make it impossible. Has anyone experienced anything similar? Is there any hope or am I a lost cause to this horrible decision to try venlafaxine?

Thank you for your input.

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Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect, @floyd1956. Your experience with tapering off Effexor/venlafaxine and then feeling like you were dying unfortunately seems to be a common one, from what other members have shared on this thread.

How are you feeling today?

REPLY
@aober

Hello,

I am a 23 yr old male. I am a disabled veteran diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome, degenerative disc disease, multiple disc herniations, radiculapothy of both lower extremities, spinal arthritis, PTSD, severe anxiety, amd major depression. Back in April of 2017 was hospitalized due to my back injury. Ive never taken any antidepressants before but my body does not respond well to medications. In 2014 I was given a lethal combination of painkillers and muscle relaxers by my on base health clinic which caused an overdose. Ever since then it seems like my body rejects meds or builds up tolerance at an alarmingly fast amount of time. Long story short during my 2 week hospital stint in April, i was visited by a physc doctor. She prescribed me Venlafaxine. I started at 75mg but very quickly was increased to 150mg. During the first few weeks of taking this medication, I noticed that I felt extremely ill and week as well as became easily frustrated, agitated, and much more angry. I notified the VA who had taken over my treatment. My doctor told me that those were commom side effect and they would soon gradually fade. Abput 2 1/2 to 3 months in the anger frustration and agitation had gained strength. My wife constantly told me that this medication was changing my personality drastically. About the same time my depression had came in full force and was always affecting me. I was always unhappy and would blow up at the smallest of things. I began to realize something was indeed wrong. My PCP instructed me to taper off which caused the sickness to come back along with intense amounts of pain. I was then told to just discontinue taking the meds and no present day, 8 months later my personality hasnt changed back to before the meds where even though in pain with depression, i was still able to enjoy things with my wife and be a caring loving husband as well as a devoted father. I am constantly angry and unhappy. Agitated with the smallest of things falling further and further into my depression. This has my marriage barley held together by strings and i need help. My doctor has now presceibed mw Prozac to help. But is there anything i can do to be the man I was. I hope and pray that this dark cloud in my life fades away. I want to be happy and have a strong marriage but these issues make it impossible. Has anyone experienced anything similar? Is there any hope or am I a lost cause to this horrible decision to try venlafaxine?

Thank you for your input.

Jump to this post

Life surely isn’t easy on us who suffer with mental issues, is it? I also have civilian PTSD from my son’s suicide. He was a young Marine who took his life after he returned home from Iraq after his third deployment. I am SO glad that your brother is getting the care he needs, earned and deserves from his local VA. Most Veterans are not so fortunate. I am divorced and live alone and really don’t have much of a support system, which is my real problem. My parents and siblings have “had enough” as they say, thinking that after losing a child time should heal all wounds and life should resume as normal. That will never happen for me. Thank you for your advice about your psychiatrists. It’s true. Some are meant to be and some are not. And those who are not are a REAL detriment to those who look to them for real help. I’ve been seeing someone since my psychiatrist also left her practice a couple of years ago to go to work for the VA. She enlisted in the Army and is helping (I hope!) our Veterans. Her husband was a Veteran and she and I talked a lot about my son….it was a connection I really hated to lose….unless you’ve gone through it, you can’t imagine the pain of losing a child. One day at a time…baby steps and lots of prayers….I hope you continue to improve on your journey….

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I stopped taking Effexor XR 450mg 13 days ago with no withdrawal symptoms other than being tired but was tired when taking it. My counselor of 3.5 years left that state and the her office had no one who was experienced in severe PTSD, panic attacks, high anxiety due being hospital Chaplain (pediatrics) for 24 years, responder with Red Cross for 9/11, Katrina, Alabama tornadoes and air plane crash. To much death. Couldn’t find anyone qualified/willing to accept Medicare as I’m on percent disability. My question is when do the symptoms begin? Is it possible not to have any.

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@lolita9

Just joined the conversation. I’ve only been on effexor for less than a year that my doctor and I decided to take me off. Side effects coming off when I do not take the 75 mg is horrendous. I haven’t told anyone in my family that I’m on this and now am alone in coming off. I’m so scared but I can only trust my doctor to help me through this. It help to read I’m not alone. I wish I never taken it.

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Thanks, @lolita9, for updating us. Please do keep us posted on how it goes when you are no longer taking the Effexor. Hoping for you it will go smoothly and that your depressive symptoms will subside.

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Hi, @footballref2. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Did you taper down your dose of Effexor/venlafaxine, or did you stop right from the 450 mg dose?

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