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

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@texasduchess

@farmboy
Please keep communicating with and letting your doctor know you are having issues.

My withdrawal symptoms started with my having trouble sleeping–had fear/reluctance about going to sleep, circling thoughts wouldn't let me slip into sleep, couldn't sleep for very long and if I woke, the whole cycle began again–the fear, circling thoughts, difficulty dropping off. When I had a particularly distressing day of ever-increasing anxiety and akathisia, my doctor had me take three days off work and take a whole 5mg Valium twice each day to "get ahead" of the anxiety and akathisia and she prescribed 15 more tablets to use as needed although her "get ahead of it" strategy was pretty effective.

I did not want to rely on Valium and through trial-and-error came up with a number of supplements that help me and have listed the supplements I take in previous posts (click on my name to go back through and read). Ben*dryl helped me sleep and kava kava and GABA during the day helped with anxiety.

Weekends are still hard for me; I am not retired and find working keeps my mind off my physical symptoms. I believe you are not working right now, so find distraction in reading, hobbies, exercise, etc.; avoid frenetic, or over-stimulating tv shows/movies/books; and don't listen to atonal, off-key, or minor key music (these set me off). It also helps to be with other people–go out to dinner, play cards/board games, find a walking buddy to go around the block, etc. Also, very important–get exposure to natural light; light reaching your eyes will lift your mood.

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@texasduchess, i live in the country so I got a nice peaceful road to walk on,I spend a lot of time in my shop working on projects and I live about 5 miles from a small farm town. So I usually go there in the morning to get breakfast and go back to get lunch. I do that to get out and visit with the locals. It's the kind of town where everyone knows everybody. Good people

@texasduchess

@farmboy
Please keep communicating with and letting your doctor know you are having issues.

My withdrawal symptoms started with my having trouble sleeping–had fear/reluctance about going to sleep, circling thoughts wouldn't let me slip into sleep, couldn't sleep for very long and if I woke, the whole cycle began again–the fear, circling thoughts, difficulty dropping off. When I had a particularly distressing day of ever-increasing anxiety and akathisia, my doctor had me take three days off work and take a whole 5mg Valium twice each day to "get ahead" of the anxiety and akathisia and she prescribed 15 more tablets to use as needed although her "get ahead of it" strategy was pretty effective.

I did not want to rely on Valium and through trial-and-error came up with a number of supplements that help me and have listed the supplements I take in previous posts (click on my name to go back through and read). Ben*dryl helped me sleep and kava kava and GABA during the day helped with anxiety.

Weekends are still hard for me; I am not retired and find working keeps my mind off my physical symptoms. I believe you are not working right now, so find distraction in reading, hobbies, exercise, etc.; avoid frenetic, or over-stimulating tv shows/movies/books; and don't listen to atonal, off-key, or minor key music (these set me off). It also helps to be with other people–go out to dinner, play cards/board games, find a walking buddy to go around the block, etc. Also, very important–get exposure to natural light; light reaching your eyes will lift your mood.

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@farmboy
Ok, what you call circling thoughts, I call being on the merry go round. I had a sleep disorder for so very many years…I would just keep going round in my thoughts when I laid down to sleep for years.
I was finally taught how to get off the merry go round… It takes time and effort but YOU CAN DO IT.
When I found myself starting to repeat thoughts I had already been dwelling on, I was to tell myself OUT LOUD, Now is the time for sleep, and I would keep saying that quietly to myself. Now is the time for sleep, repeating it till you can fall asleep. Oh, don't kid yourself, this takes time but with all the repeating thoughts circling unchecked, I would never fall asleep until I was told I could control it.
I really didn't believe I could do it but do you know what???? I did learn to stop the merry go round and now I rarely, oh man, that is a lie….so much has been going on to harm me in the last months since Sept, yes I have had repeating thoughts……AND WHEN I RECOGNIZE WHAT I AM DOING, I TAKE CHARGE.
I see the t.v., I see the carpet, etc, etc, etc.
Recently I started mentoring someone from my tribe…. I realized I am an expert at giving myself endorphins, while I am also an expert at eliminating negative chemical dumps in my brain.
I will share some of them tomorrow cuz it's getting late.
Another thing I do is work off mottos. I will start sharing about those tomorrow also. I need to go to bed but first have to talk to someone in Kenya…I am one of the spiritual mothers of the world….just saying.
Bye, you will get past this…hold that in your hand tonight, Bright Wings says I will get past this…Now these are good circling thoughts and each time you repeat it, softly, out loud, it puts you in control and gives you a healthy dose of endorphins to boot…the feel good chemical.
How did it get to be past 1 am.????
You are not alone, bye, Bright Wings

@brightwings

@farmboy
Ok, what you call circling thoughts, I call being on the merry go round. I had a sleep disorder for so very many years…I would just keep going round in my thoughts when I laid down to sleep for years.
I was finally taught how to get off the merry go round… It takes time and effort but YOU CAN DO IT.
When I found myself starting to repeat thoughts I had already been dwelling on, I was to tell myself OUT LOUD, Now is the time for sleep, and I would keep saying that quietly to myself. Now is the time for sleep, repeating it till you can fall asleep. Oh, don't kid yourself, this takes time but with all the repeating thoughts circling unchecked, I would never fall asleep until I was told I could control it.
I really didn't believe I could do it but do you know what???? I did learn to stop the merry go round and now I rarely, oh man, that is a lie….so much has been going on to harm me in the last months since Sept, yes I have had repeating thoughts……AND WHEN I RECOGNIZE WHAT I AM DOING, I TAKE CHARGE.
I see the t.v., I see the carpet, etc, etc, etc.
Recently I started mentoring someone from my tribe…. I realized I am an expert at giving myself endorphins, while I am also an expert at eliminating negative chemical dumps in my brain.
I will share some of them tomorrow cuz it's getting late.
Another thing I do is work off mottos. I will start sharing about those tomorrow also. I need to go to bed but first have to talk to someone in Kenya…I am one of the spiritual mothers of the world….just saying.
Bye, you will get past this…hold that in your hand tonight, Bright Wings says I will get past this…Now these are good circling thoughts and each time you repeat it, softly, out loud, it puts you in control and gives you a healthy dose of endorphins to boot…the feel good chemical.
How did it get to be past 1 am.????
You are not alone, bye, Bright Wings

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@brightwings thank yo for chatting and have a good night.

@farmboy, well with the above answer to my questions I want to change your name to FarmMan. Yes, by all means, keep thinking of your kids…allow yourself to see their cute faces and give yourself good endorphins.
Also, go stand in front of the mirror.
If your mouth is curved downward, negative chemicals get dumped in your brain. And if you keep it down, oh man there is no way to feel good, you just perpetuate your circling thoughts and negative chemical dumps.
One of my best mottos was "Fake it till you make it"
I did it By smiling at folks, Pets, anytime and anywhere and everywhere, I kept smiling. All those good endorphins helped me stabilize my moods and thoughts….
Spend 20 minutes in front of the mirror and smile at yourself. Be silly too. Get your kids to play the smiling game with you…..and eventually you get to be in charge of your life again….I promise you, you will, if you are doing the things that folks tell you to do.
You DO HAVE A CHOICE…take charge of your life…or give up…..
I chose life….why??? Because I am a "do what ever it takes kind of girl."…
All the best to you…keep saying, Bright Wings says I can do this….let that be your repeating thoughts when the other destructive thoughts come circling.
You can only have one thought in your mind at a time….now which kinds of thoughts do YOU CHOOSE?
I want you to find some 3×5 cards, tomorrow am we will Start writing motos on them and I want you to use masking tape to post them where you can see them. Each time you read them, guess what happens, you cement that motto in your brain AND you take back your power AND you give yourself some good endorphins…win/win/win!!!!
Night all, smiling at you…(see I use what I teach) Bright Wings

@farmboy
I recently started listening to music on u tube….go find the album's you enjoyed when you were a teen. It must be music you especially enjoyed that you associate with good times.
Sing with the music, why??? Good chemical dumps.
For me, its Simon And Garfunkel. And John Denver…but that's my feel good music…what is yours? Bye, yawning…out of here. Bright Wings
Pssst, even my name, Bright Wings was once a fake it till I made it…I was anything but bright wings when I chose it…now I AM Bright Wings cuz I was worth changing my negative self image….
Oh when I came here today, I felt like crap…missing my husband so badly…wanting to be with him….so teary, but by reaching out to others, and sharing here, and taking extra CBD, I totally changed that for myself…why, cuz I was worth the effort!!!!
(Good chemical dump!!!!)
Another mind altering motto, be grateful…..for anything AND everything….. Why, positive chemicals dumps….even if it is a lie today, be grateful….fake it till you make it and each time you say out loud you are grateful guess what happens, positive chemical dump…what a wonderful thing to teach your kids…in all things, good and bad, be grateful…
Ok you got lots to think about…
Bye, smiling at you again!!!! Bright Wings

I gave myself so many endorphins, I am singing. But its almost 3:30…I will have to pay for this cuz of my MS…and who cares, I feel terrific.
I've been singing…I'll be a rover and I'll be a dandy, you will know who I am by the songs that I sing….
I am mighty proud of myself right now.
I do show who I am NOW. I worked for many years to get to here.
Yup, pretty proud of myself…. That will be the merry go round thoughts tonight I choose.
I know myself, but even I am surprised at how good I feel as opposed to when I started posting today…smiling at you, The very bright, Bright Wings…..

How is everyone doing tonight?

@farmboy

@brightwings ,no I don't feel sucidal. To many people need me and I wouldn't do that to my girls. To answer your question. This all started about a month or so ago. I was weaning down and got to 75mg every other day. Then stopping after a week of doing that. I was completely off for about 2 weeks. Then the anxiety and panic attacks started. So I went back on the effexor. I've been back on it going on 3 weeks I believe. When I went back on the effexor I started at 75 and now the Dr wants me to go through 150. Not really liking that idea. She also put me on serquel to help with the anxiety and panic attacks. I also take clozepam as needed. No more than 3 times a day. The reason I don't want to go to 150 mg is it will be that much harder to get off of the effexor. This is like a broken record. I get anxiety and panic attacks because I'm not working and bills are coming in. But I get anxiety and panic attacks about getting back in my semi and driving. It's a evil circle. Thank you for your replies.

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@farmboy
Please consider your doctor's recommendation to reinstate Effexor at 150mg; you may think you're losing ground by going back, but the discomfort you're experiencing is not worth it. You can start over and taper off sloooowly by much smaller reductions. This is not a race won by rushing through the process.

@texasduchess

@farmboy
Please consider your doctor's recommendation to reinstate Effexor at 150mg; you may think you're losing ground by going back, but the discomfort you're experiencing is not worth it. You can start over and taper off sloooowly by much smaller reductions. This is not a race won by rushing through the process.

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I have thought about that and I am going to 150. I'll do about anything to get back to feeling better. I'm so tired of not being me. It's like I'm forgetting how it feels to be me. SCARY

Ok, I am reporting in…I just got home from having the time of my life.
I did go to the music jam. Oh, my, I had such a good time. I sang The Beautiful Tennessee Waltz. It was the number one song the day I was born. I also sang, In the Garden.
Next week I will add Teen Angel and Wake up, Little Susie.
Oh my, I have not been able to sing since 2008 or so.
So many folks told me I sang beautifully and told me to make sure I came back!
Oh I am a happy girl and that's a fact, Jack…
I am so incredibly grateful……
Smiling in wonder and happiness.
Bright Wings

@brightwings

Ok, I am reporting in…I just got home from having the time of my life.
I did go to the music jam. Oh, my, I had such a good time. I sang The Beautiful Tennessee Waltz. It was the number one song the day I was born. I also sang, In the Garden.
Next week I will add Teen Angel and Wake up, Little Susie.
Oh my, I have not been able to sing since 2008 or so.
So many folks told me I sang beautifully and told me to make sure I came back!
Oh I am a happy girl and that's a fact, Jack…
I am so incredibly grateful……
Smiling in wonder and happiness.
Bright Wings

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@brightwings
Good Morning!
I am so happy for you!!!! I can feel the energy and excitement in your post!
Continue to enjoy and live!!!!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

My 16 (then 15) year old daughter has been weaning from Effexor for about 8 months. We couldn't find anyone to help us as we live in an area with a critical shortage of adolescent psych. providers. Our pediatrician finally consented to supervise. She had been on Effexor for about 9 months and was taking 150 mg when we began the weaning process. At first, our pediatrician thought we could go from 150 to 75…no go. My daughter reacted like she did when she forgot a dose once that ended up in an ER visit! We sat down with our doctor and asked if we could wean her by just counting out the little balls and taking her down a couple every week. We found out that one little ball approximately equals 1 mg. We started June of 2018 and are now down to 55 mg. So far, so good. She does have headaches the first couple of days after we reduce the dosage. She is also experiencing significant and on-going gastro-intestinal difficulties and we won't know until she is off completely what role the Effexor is playing with these symptoms. We DEEPLY regret ever putting her on this medication. The effects were understated by the prescribing provider. In retrospect, she was in crisis that ended up resolving itself after a few lifestyle changes and we jumped the gun with medication. Sometimes I just wish we could rip the bandaid off and be done with it, but she just can't tolerate it when we take her down more than 5 mg at a time. We see the light at the end of the tunnel though and are cautiously optimistic that we will be done weaning this summer although we understand from this forum that it could still take weeks/months until she is feeling more herself again. Good luck to all of you and know that you have a friend on your journey!

@mommapsych

My 16 (then 15) year old daughter has been weaning from Effexor for about 8 months. We couldn't find anyone to help us as we live in an area with a critical shortage of adolescent psych. providers. Our pediatrician finally consented to supervise. She had been on Effexor for about 9 months and was taking 150 mg when we began the weaning process. At first, our pediatrician thought we could go from 150 to 75…no go. My daughter reacted like she did when she forgot a dose once that ended up in an ER visit! We sat down with our doctor and asked if we could wean her by just counting out the little balls and taking her down a couple every week. We found out that one little ball approximately equals 1 mg. We started June of 2018 and are now down to 55 mg. So far, so good. She does have headaches the first couple of days after we reduce the dosage. She is also experiencing significant and on-going gastro-intestinal difficulties and we won't know until she is off completely what role the Effexor is playing with these symptoms. We DEEPLY regret ever putting her on this medication. The effects were understated by the prescribing provider. In retrospect, she was in crisis that ended up resolving itself after a few lifestyle changes and we jumped the gun with medication. Sometimes I just wish we could rip the bandaid off and be done with it, but she just can't tolerate it when we take her down more than 5 mg at a time. We see the light at the end of the tunnel though and are cautiously optimistic that we will be done weaning this summer although we understand from this forum that it could still take weeks/months until she is feeling more herself again. Good luck to all of you and know that you have a friend on your journey!

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@mommapsych bless her heart! Such a young age to have to go through this. But so glad you know to go slow. Your in my prayers!

@mommapsych

My 16 (then 15) year old daughter has been weaning from Effexor for about 8 months. We couldn't find anyone to help us as we live in an area with a critical shortage of adolescent psych. providers. Our pediatrician finally consented to supervise. She had been on Effexor for about 9 months and was taking 150 mg when we began the weaning process. At first, our pediatrician thought we could go from 150 to 75…no go. My daughter reacted like she did when she forgot a dose once that ended up in an ER visit! We sat down with our doctor and asked if we could wean her by just counting out the little balls and taking her down a couple every week. We found out that one little ball approximately equals 1 mg. We started June of 2018 and are now down to 55 mg. So far, so good. She does have headaches the first couple of days after we reduce the dosage. She is also experiencing significant and on-going gastro-intestinal difficulties and we won't know until she is off completely what role the Effexor is playing with these symptoms. We DEEPLY regret ever putting her on this medication. The effects were understated by the prescribing provider. In retrospect, she was in crisis that ended up resolving itself after a few lifestyle changes and we jumped the gun with medication. Sometimes I just wish we could rip the bandaid off and be done with it, but she just can't tolerate it when we take her down more than 5 mg at a time. We see the light at the end of the tunnel though and are cautiously optimistic that we will be done weaning this summer although we understand from this forum that it could still take weeks/months until she is feeling more herself again. Good luck to all of you and know that you have a friend on your journey!

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@mommapsych There is something called 5HTP. You can get it over the counter or on the internet. Very helpful. Also, Omegbrite and Complex B vitamins were recommended to me before I ever started the process. When she has the headaches, check her blood pressure. It caused mine to go extremely high. I was on it for about 10 years. After 8 months, my pressure was rising so high, my doctor said to rip the bandaid off and I was down to a sliver anyway, so i did it. It is a horrible drug. If you have access to it, look into NAD therapy…. they have a formula that goes under the tongue. I've been off for about 6 weeks and have the worst brain fog ever still. The brain zaps were intense for me about 2 weeks, now less and less and I get a little light headed, especially in the evening. The 5HTP really helps… Good luck

@patrn

I am new to this forum…. 11 years ago I had a crown put on a tooth. The next day I was overwhelmed with a sudden and extremely dry mouth. My first reaction was that nickel was used…which I am allergic. Long, long story shortened, dentist didn’t agree, I had crown removed, changed dentists and went in search of reason for the over intense, high anxiety reaction to my mouth. After going to 8 different specialists, an oral pathologist was able to show me literature which described my situation to a T. Diagnosed with Burning Mouth Syndrome ( similar to Sjogrens Syndrome, but brought about quickly and without explanation, such as taking medication which could cause it)…I was put on Pristq for anxiety. Improvement at approximately 50-60% was obtained which helped but would have liked better, I was on that until changed to Effexor for anxiety due to cost/government. Etc.
I have always had a low tolerance of meds, and take nothing other than this, so only put on 37.5mg. The Effectiveness was about 10% better .. so after talking with my Dr he was going to change me to something that worked on neuropathy type problems..Cymbalta. I was given instructions on decreasing my Med with took about 2 weeks until completely being off them. Last Tues was my last pill. There was no deterioration of the discomfort of my mouth so I thought I might stop taking any other Med at this time. I had no problems until Friday. Got ready to go to the gym but nausea and dizziness started up. I have vertigo occasionally, and thought that was what was happening. Rested for a couple of hours only to get up with multiple other things going at me! Hot/cold, nausea/ headache, emotions swinging right and left, tears/anger/rage…just to name a few. The weekend has been UNBELIEVABLE! Started reading on this sight on Friday night, from posts dating back to early 2005..Described me to a tee except the sucidal thoughts Insomnia hit that night but when able to sleep had scary nightmares! So sorry for this long post…went to gym yesterday..stumbling, confused and emotional but determined to exercise. Rode the stationary bike for 5 miles. Unable to do anything else. I have read on here that it could be up to 3 weeks to longer to get thru this nightmare. Has anyone had faster improvement using exercise? What about diet? Nothing sounds good. Have eaten soup for 3 days and only water. Having the shakes more today (Sunday) with tears popping up unexpectedly. Has anyone seen improvement with a specific diet? Thank you for this forum. It has given me insight and hope that there is light somewhere, sometime at the end of this tunnel. Looking for milestones..one week down on Tues! Patrn

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Did anyone check you for lead poisoning? Classic reaction after dental work…

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