Tips on minimizing 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

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I got off gabapentin quite quickly. Been on the max dose of it which is 3,600mg but I’ve heard of people taking 6,000mg with no side effects. I now take 900mg my doc feels it helps neuropathic pain, maybe so but not mine. Personally I think to many off label uses are being used for to many different drugs, just my opinion. You can’t stop it all at once being an anti seizure medication. I can’t believe this whimpy drug is being used as a recreational drug at such low doses. I have been very powerful meds and never felt a high or whatever dope attics feel. Just speculating here but I wonder if a person really needs a medication if they can’t get high??? Anyone know???

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@nanke99

Sure, my pleasure! I would not go cold turkey! Not just the pain but the mental & emotional effects are unpredictable and could be dangerous. Do you have a doctor experienced with this? It is important to find one with specific experience w/ Effexor withdraw. When I did it years ago, there were very few, but now you should be able to.
What is your current doctor saying?

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@gailb

I can’t understand how a sublingual form of medication although I won’t call Marajuana a drug takes so long to work. Do you understand why??

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Anyone know why these pages go to page 8 instead of the last page (90)

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@brightwings

Checking in: I am extremely tired. I must have cut down my edibles too much. I am using 16 times less now. I started with 2 whole ones. Now I cut each one into 8 pieces. I only had one tiny piece last night. I will up that again tonight to 2 pieces like I used before. I was up at 430 am. Only 5 hours sleep is not good for my multiple sclerosis.
However today, being my own detective to be in charge of my challenges, I am wondering if my sleep disorder is re-emerging. I will monitor this more.
I know after 26 years of Effexor, being off for only 14 weeks means all my brain wiring previously controlled by Effexor has not yet been rewired. I really am having much more difficulty writing today. Usually I just bang the posts out. This is my 3rd edit.
I am still not aware of any dreams or am not aware of any. Hmmmm, I just realized I have not had any dreams since the nightmares caused by withdrawing in November. That's when I had the mini stroke which I have recovered from. I am so grateful for that.
I am still having problems processing information I hear at times. I sometimes have to make a little video in my head to understand things or write it out to understand things. Now, is this withdrawal or multiple sclerosis? Could be either.
I am so lucky to have the good kind of MS. Mostly it is my balance at times, I used to fall over instantly, often. I have learned to control that using the wedding hesitation step. I can balance my wobbling by keeping my toe pointed down into the earth when I get wobbly. I often have no warning my balance is going. So I have taughtmyself if I feel my balance going, just pause with my toe pointed. I rarely fall now. Other than brain challenges, I am pretty good except for getting too hot. I will lose my life as I know it if I get too hot, sometimes for months. Like I said, I am one of the lucky ones.
The other challenge I notice is still with problem solving. Sometimes, I just can't figure out what I am trying to do. Oh well, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Smiling as soon as I wrote that. That phrase always gives me hope. I know things won't always be this bad. BRIGHT WINGS

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@brightwings Sounds you are doing despite the problems. Go take a nap. 😉 I find I need one often. When I mentioned to my PCP that I am tired a lot and often take a nap in the afternoon he asked, "what's wrong with that?" Of course I am older than you are though.
JK

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@jakedduck1
My stepfather started programming computers in 1966. I started using them in 1986. I have yet to figure out how this crazy site works. I feel sorry for the new folks cuz their posts can show up anywhere. It makes it hard to stay on top of new folks posts and they need the immediate attention.
Wow, Leonard, that drug put me on the couch for 3 weeks. It made me so dizzy. I needed it for the inner ear thing I had going on, can't think of the name but it made that famous artist cut off his ear. I was so glad to be off that med. I won't take it again.
Sounds like it has been working for you though. Smiling at you, Bright Wings

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@brightwings

@jakedduck1
My stepfather started programming computers in 1966. I started using them in 1986. I have yet to figure out how this crazy site works. I feel sorry for the new folks cuz their posts can show up anywhere. It makes it hard to stay on top of new folks posts and they need the immediate attention.
Wow, Leonard, that drug put me on the couch for 3 weeks. It made me so dizzy. I needed it for the inner ear thing I had going on, can't think of the name but it made that famous artist cut off his ear. I was so glad to be off that med. I won't take it again.
Sounds like it has been working for you though. Smiling at you, Bright Wings

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@brightwings my career was in IT also, first as a programmer and then as an analyst. Back then they called it DP — Data Processing. I “retired” when my son was born in 1980. By the time I returned to working I was too out of date to return to that career so I ended up managing an upscale Inn here in town.
I believe they are currently working on this site to make it more user friendly. It is very difficult to find responses in the long strings. There have been a few times i have had to give up.
JK

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@coloradogirl

So, I just finished this process with Zoloft (sertraline) and here are some things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully these are low risk for you to try.

1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

No lie – it’s a painful process, but this did really help make it easier. Also, at a certain point, when I was down the below the normal starter dose, I just ripped off the bandaid and went to zero. At that point, it felt like each taper was just prolonging the suffering. Don’t just go cold turkey from your current dose, though, as that can be dangerous. Also, don’t add any supplements or substitutes for the SSRI without talking to your doctor first (also dangerous).

And of course, watch for the return of depression / anxiety type symptoms. For a while it was hard to tell whether I was tired because of the change in meds or because my depression was returning. I figured as long as I felt okay enough to function and wasn’t thinking about being harmful to myself or anyone else, I could play it out and see. It turned out to be the meds and on the other side, I can see that I was more worried about it than I needed to be.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy life.

Mardee

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Hi @medfree17,
Sadly you will still have to taper off, even after only one week of taking them. They are strong and get into your system that fast. I have been reading studies on it as I was wanting to get off but my doctor won't let me, so was going to try and put info together to make my case but all I have done is made my self realise that I am not ready to go of them just yet. I have been on them for 7.5 years.
They are also for anxiety and probably why you were given a low dose, as that would be enough to treat it. I am taking it for anxiety as well as major depression disorder. For the first time in 7 years, i actually have started feeling happy again and that's why I wanted off but I realised that's the worse thing to do.

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@coloradogirl

So, I just finished this process with Zoloft (sertraline) and here are some things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully these are low risk for you to try.

1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

No lie – it’s a painful process, but this did really help make it easier. Also, at a certain point, when I was down the below the normal starter dose, I just ripped off the bandaid and went to zero. At that point, it felt like each taper was just prolonging the suffering. Don’t just go cold turkey from your current dose, though, as that can be dangerous. Also, don’t add any supplements or substitutes for the SSRI without talking to your doctor first (also dangerous).

And of course, watch for the return of depression / anxiety type symptoms. For a while it was hard to tell whether I was tired because of the change in meds or because my depression was returning. I figured as long as I felt okay enough to function and wasn’t thinking about being harmful to myself or anyone else, I could play it out and see. It turned out to be the meds and on the other side, I can see that I was more worried about it than I needed to be.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy life.

Mardee

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@medfree17 Where do you get CBD oil from as I have heard it works amazing but I cant find it.

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@coloradogirl

So, I just finished this process with Zoloft (sertraline) and here are some things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully these are low risk for you to try.

1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

No lie – it’s a painful process, but this did really help make it easier. Also, at a certain point, when I was down the below the normal starter dose, I just ripped off the bandaid and went to zero. At that point, it felt like each taper was just prolonging the suffering. Don’t just go cold turkey from your current dose, though, as that can be dangerous. Also, don’t add any supplements or substitutes for the SSRI without talking to your doctor first (also dangerous).

And of course, watch for the return of depression / anxiety type symptoms. For a while it was hard to tell whether I was tired because of the change in meds or because my depression was returning. I figured as long as I felt okay enough to function and wasn’t thinking about being harmful to myself or anyone else, I could play it out and see. It turned out to be the meds and on the other side, I can see that I was more worried about it than I needed to be.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy life.

Mardee

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@charleyxx thanks for that info. Glad there is a way to get help to get off it. I wanted to try the methadone addict program but its not the same as opioid addiction, they said it won't work for Efexor.

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@coloradogirl

So, I just finished this process with Zoloft (sertraline) and here are some things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully these are low risk for you to try.

1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

No lie – it’s a painful process, but this did really help make it easier. Also, at a certain point, when I was down the below the normal starter dose, I just ripped off the bandaid and went to zero. At that point, it felt like each taper was just prolonging the suffering. Don’t just go cold turkey from your current dose, though, as that can be dangerous. Also, don’t add any supplements or substitutes for the SSRI without talking to your doctor first (also dangerous).

And of course, watch for the return of depression / anxiety type symptoms. For a while it was hard to tell whether I was tired because of the change in meds or because my depression was returning. I figured as long as I felt okay enough to function and wasn’t thinking about being harmful to myself or anyone else, I could play it out and see. It turned out to be the meds and on the other side, I can see that I was more worried about it than I needed to be.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy life.

Mardee

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@dianrib

Efexor doesn't actually give you a feeling of being addicted, as it works different to addictive drugs and its not classed as an addictive medication.

Addictive drugs such as opiods and cocaine give you a craving for the drug and it actual controls your mind, which keeps you being addicted. You get the same withdrawls but withdrawls arent what class a drug addictive. It's the craving and mind control, that classes it as addictive.

Efexor you don't have the cravings but the withdrawal symptoms are that bad, you have to taper off them. Once you off them completely, you dont get the craving and constant fighting with you own mind, to try stop yourself going back on the drug.

Where as with addictive drugs, tapering off with the craving and mind control is almost impossible but can be done. They have things like methadone to help them., which stops the cravings and any withdrawl symptoms.

Sorry for long post.

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