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

@lilmac44

This drug is insidious. It has been 6 weeks since I stopped taking effexor completely. I titrated down over a period of over 9 months. I have experienced depression, extreme emotions (crying a lot) and am now starting to experience anxiety. I’m getting frightening thoughts and its hard to get rid of these thoughts. I just read a post that said melatonin may seem to help with anxiety. I’m going to try that. I started taking 400 mgs. of SAMe about 30 days ago. I feel like it has helped. I had some problems with upset stomach, but drink a full glass of water when taking the tablet (must be taken on an empty stomach. I might need to increase the dosage. SAMe is an amino acid that is naturally produced by the body. I’m not sure that there is any prescription medication that doesn’t cause side effects. Anytime something messes with the chemistry of the brain side effects are bound to occur. If someone has any recommendation about other helpful options, please reply.

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@gagelle What you write makes so much sense. I never would have thought of exercise as being an aid to withdrawing from a drug but it does increase your endorphins and that is sure to help. I know how difficult it is to get your butt to do some exercise but I find if I manage to conquer my resistance I am always happy that I did – that side of me does generally win too.

Today I really did not feel like going to my club to do water exercise but I managed to do it and am very happy that I did. I am doing post knee replacement exercises and my ortho recommends most highly two things that I had been doing already for quite a while — “marching” laps in the water, and riding my recumbent bike.

Prior to my knee replacement I was doing at least an hour in the water about 5 days a week but at this point I am only up to about 35 minutes. I feel like I could do more but after that amount of time I really feel it in the evening and the next day. It’s so easy to overdo but you have to get yourself to set limits and gradually increase them.
JK

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@lukekee

Well, I have no aversion to THC but unfortunately it isn’t legal where I’m at and I actually work in a toxicology lab where it is definitely frowned up and would get me fired if I tested positive on the random drug screens we have to take.

It will be 2 weeks Sunday when I took my last dose and the last 2 weeks have been really rough with the stupid crying and emotional ups and downs. I told a friend that i have felt like I am on a roller coaster that never ends BUT after realizing that it is the Effexor withdrawal symptoms that have been making me like this it has helped and I feel like I am just about off the ride (so to speak). Haven’t had a crying episode in 2 days so I feel like I’m going to be okay.

This Saturday will be the true test because I am having a baby shower for my daughter and have been really emotional because the baby’s fathers mother has been trying to take over my mother position and kind of been excluding me from stuff and pushing me out, so to speak and I was very emotional about it until about 2 days ago when my mind just seemed to return to me and now I am feeling more like my old self who doesn’t let anyone push them out of their children’s lives so if I can make it through Saturday without crying, getting emotional, or cursing someone out then I think I will be on the other side of this Effexor HELL!

Thanks all for listening to me and for any and all advice or/and tips. I appreciate it more than I can say and just being able to read about what other people are going through and what has helped them has been a godsend to me.

Thanks all,

notsowell

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@lukekee It sounds like you are really making strides in getting off of this drug, congratulations.

I can relate to your emotional feelings about your daughter too. My daughter just got married. I really like her husband but he and his family do seem to expect her to be more part of their family. That’s a struggle and of course ultimately what my daughter does is up to her.
JK

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You saying that about what your daughter does is up to her made me laugh because I just told a friend of mine almost exactly the same thing.
I told my friend that once I haven’t gotten past (hopefully) the crying and emotional ups and downs it is like a light bulb has went off in my head and said “ his mom isn’t doing this; my daughter is allowing her to do this and my daughter is an adult so it is ultimately my daughters fault if she allows this woman to come between us and there’s not a lot anyone can do about that.

Thanks

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@lukekee

You saying that about what your daughter does is up to her made me laugh because I just told a friend of mine almost exactly the same thing.
I told my friend that once I haven’t gotten past (hopefully) the crying and emotional ups and downs it is like a light bulb has went off in my head and said “ his mom isn’t doing this; my daughter is allowing her to do this and my daughter is an adult so it is ultimately my daughters fault if she allows this woman to come between us and there’s not a lot anyone can do about that.

Thanks

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@lukekee I think (hope) there will always be a bond between my daughter and myself but she is not a warm and fuzzy person. I haven’t spoken to her since she was home at Christmas, just a few brief texts. I would love to be closer to her but I feel like she shuts me out a lot. My son is just the opposite. It makes me very sad that I have so little contact with her.
JK

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@lukekee

Hello All! I wrote a couple weeks ago about being prescribed Effexor for menopause symptoms and when it quit working I went on Prempro. The gyno that put me on both acted like just quitting the Effexor would be fine since i was only on 75 mg for about 3 months.
I decided to taper myself so went down to 37.5 mg for a few days and started Prempro at same time. Don’t know which or maybe both caused it but I had a horrible migraine for 3 days where I couldn’t hardly get out of bed and couldn’t work. After the 3rd day the headache went away and I decided right then to not take another Effexor EVER so I totally quit and actually thought I was doing fine but after reading some of these recent posts I’m beginning to wander if maybe some of my symptoms which i have thought were completely menopause related might actually be from stopping this drug.

It’s been a 1 1/2 weeks since i quit taking Effexor completely and since then I have been so emotional and cry over everything especially anything that upsets me even a little. This is really strange behavior for me and people who know people have commented that something isn’t right with me because I am not and have never been a crier. Not that I think there is anything wrong with crying ( I don’t); it’s just that is not in my personality and my staff and bosses have noticed it. It is very embarrassing to be discussing a work issue and have tears come to my eyes and get all choked up when trying to talk. I have always been more of the Kiss my a**; this is the way it is going to be kind of person. Not unkind but never a crybaby. I certainly hope this passes soon (if it’s related to the Effexor) because it is really impeding my job performance and my personal relationships too.

I hate feeling like this but not sure how to overcome it but I can tell you for sure I won’t be trying to overcome it by going back on Effexor because one way or the other: This too shall pass; it might pass like a kidney stone but it will pass! 🙂

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Too many physicians prescribe antidepressants off-label as a kind of panacea. They often cause more problems than the original illness. I had a friend who’s doctor prescribed Prozac for his back pain. He had a terrible reaction to that drug. He started getting seizures and became completely despondent. After he stopped taking the drug, his seizures didn’t stop. He went to a good neurologist who determined that his condition wasn’t being caused by any physical disease. The Prozac released emotions that he couldn’t deal with. While in therapy, he remembered that he was sexually molested as a child by an older sister. The whole point of psychotherapy is to bring up painful emotions but in a controlled manner. The mind has to gradually assimilate painful events. Antidepressants are unpredictable. A psychologist once told me that they’re kissing cousins to LSD. Patients are rarely informed of the risks because many doctors believe the pharmaceutical companies’ propaganda.

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@lukekee

Hello All! I wrote a couple weeks ago about being prescribed Effexor for menopause symptoms and when it quit working I went on Prempro. The gyno that put me on both acted like just quitting the Effexor would be fine since i was only on 75 mg for about 3 months.
I decided to taper myself so went down to 37.5 mg for a few days and started Prempro at same time. Don’t know which or maybe both caused it but I had a horrible migraine for 3 days where I couldn’t hardly get out of bed and couldn’t work. After the 3rd day the headache went away and I decided right then to not take another Effexor EVER so I totally quit and actually thought I was doing fine but after reading some of these recent posts I’m beginning to wander if maybe some of my symptoms which i have thought were completely menopause related might actually be from stopping this drug.

It’s been a 1 1/2 weeks since i quit taking Effexor completely and since then I have been so emotional and cry over everything especially anything that upsets me even a little. This is really strange behavior for me and people who know people have commented that something isn’t right with me because I am not and have never been a crier. Not that I think there is anything wrong with crying ( I don’t); it’s just that is not in my personality and my staff and bosses have noticed it. It is very embarrassing to be discussing a work issue and have tears come to my eyes and get all choked up when trying to talk. I have always been more of the Kiss my a**; this is the way it is going to be kind of person. Not unkind but never a crybaby. I certainly hope this passes soon (if it’s related to the Effexor) because it is really impeding my job performance and my personal relationships too.

I hate feeling like this but not sure how to overcome it but I can tell you for sure I won’t be trying to overcome it by going back on Effexor because one way or the other: This too shall pass; it might pass like a kidney stone but it will pass! 🙂

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Oh my.

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Does anyone have any suggestions for insomnia relief? I have tried melatonin, Benadryl, Tylenol PM. The PM’s seem to have been working (1 at night) but now nothing! I have been sleeping only about 2 hrs per night for the last 5 nights…help!

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I would see a good physician. He/she would have to get a solid medical and psychological history to eliminate any conditions that might be the cause. Usually, if I’m sleep deprived for a day or two, my body makes up for it by giving me a longer, deeper sleep. The sleep deprivation you describe can be dangerous. You wouldn’t want to operate a motor vehicle, for example. There may be other medications you’re taking that are causing your insomnia. Or it may be a physical condition. I’m just guessing, of course. I don’t want to alarm you but urge consultation with a doctor who will spend some time getting to the root cause of your insomnia. I would walk away from anyone who throws you sleeping pills. They only work for short periods of time as you quickly build a tolerance. They also interfere with the deep stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement. Paradoxically, they block the kind of revitalizing sleep that allows you to wake up refreshed. I would also stay away from melatonin. It is a complex hormone that has many risks despite its loyal following. I hope this helps.

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@crownjewel

Does anyone have any suggestions for insomnia relief? I have tried melatonin, Benadryl, Tylenol PM. The PM’s seem to have been working (1 at night) but now nothing! I have been sleeping only about 2 hrs per night for the last 5 nights…help!

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@gagelle

I would see a good physician. He/she would have to get a solid medical and psychological history to eliminate any conditions that might be the cause. Usually, if I’m sleep deprived for a day or two, my body makes up for it by giving me a longer, deeper sleep. The sleep deprivation you describe can be dangerous. You wouldn’t want to operate a motor vehicle, for example. There may be other medications you’re taking that are causing your insomnia. Or it may be a physical condition. I’m just guessing, of course. I don’t want to alarm you but urge consultation with a doctor who will spend some time getting to the root cause of your insomnia. I would walk away from anyone who throws you sleeping pills. They only work for short periods of time as you quickly build a tolerance. They also interfere with the deep stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement. Paradoxically, they block the kind of revitalizing sleep that allows you to wake up refreshed. I would also stay away from melatonin. It is a complex hormone that has many risks despite its loyal following. I hope this helps.

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I have turned to Melatonin for sleep the past couple of months. Due to my grief the holidays are especially hard and I can barely make it. What does Melatonin do to us? UGH! I thought it was natural and safe. I’ve come to the conclusion, we can’t put any kind of pill into our systems.

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Hello. I read your post and thought I would share my experience. I finally am past the effects of Effexor withdrawal. I took this medicine for a few years after the death of my parents. The process of coming off off this drug was incredibly slow. The withdrawal symptoms that are listed are very real and intense.
It took me 6 months to finally take my last dose. Tapering off over a 6 month period seems long but it worked. I was very sick and the brain zaps were the worst.
I ate absolutely zero fattening foods. I flushed out my system with an incredible amount of water. I took vitamin C and exercised everyday.
I had to back off caffeine and get lots of sleep.
I had heard the Effexor bonds to fat so being healthy Is the key.
I also read a new book to help promote new cell growth and use creativity like drawing. It sounds ridiculous bit it worked. The brain zaps, confusion, and eye twitching were the worst for me.
I have been 3 weeks clean from this drug and would never take another antidepressant.
It was very difficult but possible. The intensity of the symptoms subsided slowing but after a week of my last dose I could see a dramatic difference in symptoms.
Please take care of yourself and know your not alone. I had great support and also stayed really calm and relaxed. Exercise was a tremendous help. Don’t panic. Stay calm. Remember your brain will heal from this. It just takes patience.
I did not feel suicidal coming off the medicine. I was told replacing antidepressants is not a good idea until you completely are clean from another.
I did not replace Effexor with another. I finally feel like myself…
Good luck.

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@amylove1

Hello. I read your post and thought I would share my experience. I finally am past the effects of Effexor withdrawal. I took this medicine for a few years after the death of my parents. The process of coming off off this drug was incredibly slow. The withdrawal symptoms that are listed are very real and intense.
It took me 6 months to finally take my last dose. Tapering off over a 6 month period seems long but it worked. I was very sick and the brain zaps were the worst.
I ate absolutely zero fattening foods. I flushed out my system with an incredible amount of water. I took vitamin C and exercised everyday.
I had to back off caffeine and get lots of sleep.
I had heard the Effexor bonds to fat so being healthy Is the key.
I also read a new book to help promote new cell growth and use creativity like drawing. It sounds ridiculous bit it worked. The brain zaps, confusion, and eye twitching were the worst for me.
I have been 3 weeks clean from this drug and would never take another antidepressant.
It was very difficult but possible. The intensity of the symptoms subsided slowing but after a week of my last dose I could see a dramatic difference in symptoms.
Please take care of yourself and know your not alone. I had great support and also stayed really calm and relaxed. Exercise was a tremendous help. Don’t panic. Stay calm. Remember your brain will heal from this. It just takes patience.
I did not feel suicidal coming off the medicine. I was told replacing antidepressants is not a good idea until you completely are clean from another.
I did not replace Effexor with another. I finally feel like myself…
Good luck.

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You sound like you’re good in a good place ! Yay! I’m planning to start a withdrawal of the effexor. I’ve been taking it for about 10 years -150 mg. I’m going open the capsules and take a few grains out at a time . I’m sort of concerned about work… i’ve had the brains apps when I forgotten 2 days dose and those are horrible ! My doctor was out of her office having a baby and her staff took three weeks to call in my prescription it made me realize that I was being held hostage by a drug . I had called and advance because I knew the pharmacy needed a new prescription luckily I had enough to get me through …just!

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