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

@texasduchess

@nathan5
From your first post, you mentioned having a lot of anxiety as well as other troubling withdrawal symptoms. I'm glad you're seeing your doctor tomorrow. You never said why you quit Effexor; if it was because of side effects, you might ask about a "Prozac bridge" to help you stay off Effexor.

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Hi @texasduchess I had been on them for near 20 years so I wanted to try get off them before my 40th birthday. No, no major side effects. I'll update here what my Dr says tomorrow. Thank you to you all here. Its a massive help to be able to chat to others who know what it's like. Xx.

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@nathan5

So after 3 months of hell trying to get off Effexor I just took a pill now. My anxiety has been off the scale like I've never experienced before. I believe most of that is actually my actual anxiety returning and not the Effexor withdrawal.
Last night I woke just after falling asleep with the most dreaded terror feeling I've ever felt. It only lasted 10 mins and I can't now describe it but it was very scary.
No one can say I didn't try extremely hard to stay drug free, but I think it's obvious I need them. Off to my doctor tomorrow anyway, so we'll see what he says.

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@nathan5
Good morning!
So sorry you have been having such a difficult time!
I believe that it is important to remember WHY you were put on meds in the first place.
If you were experiencing anxiety then (and that is why you were put on the meds), it is reasonable to expect that when you got off your meds, you would experience anxiety, again.
As you know, the meds don't "cure" the anxiety.
I am not suggesting that you should go back on Effexor, but you might be able to try another med or some of the 'compounds' others in this group are using.
You certainly don't want to suffer with attacks.
Just remember that many of the meds and/or 'compounds' require time for them to help.

Good luck!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@nathan5

So after 3 months of hell trying to get off Effexor I just took a pill now. My anxiety has been off the scale like I've never experienced before. I believe most of that is actually my actual anxiety returning and not the Effexor withdrawal.
Last night I woke just after falling asleep with the most dreaded terror feeling I've ever felt. It only lasted 10 mins and I can't now describe it but it was very scary.
No one can say I didn't try extremely hard to stay drug free, but I think it's obvious I need them. Off to my doctor tomorrow anyway, so we'll see what he says.

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I hear you, loud and clear. My anxiety and panic returned full force, and I've gotten great relief from Celexa. I started with 10mg citalopram — generic Celexa — for a week to try it out; when it seemed to be helping, I went up to 20mg daily. I've been there for a couple of weeks now with no side effects except some initial diarrhea. I also take 25mg daily of a generic beta blocker. When I went on Effexor, I'd been taking Buspar for anxiety and panic, but in the 25 yrs I was on venlafaxine, I forgot that it was taking care of anxiety/panic as well as depression!! The return of anxiety/panic was making my life a living hell, but I was determined not to go back on Effexor, so I was more than willing to try some other drugs to get relief. Best of luck to you and please keep us posted! FYI I have a couple of friends who've been on Celexa/citalopram for anxiety for years and they've had great results, too. One word of warning: Before I tried Celexa, my doctor wanted me to try Wellbutrin, but warned that it could increase anxiety, which it did, so it definitely wasn't for me.

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@nathan5

So after 3 months of hell trying to get off Effexor I just took a pill now. My anxiety has been off the scale like I've never experienced before. I believe most of that is actually my actual anxiety returning and not the Effexor withdrawal.
Last night I woke just after falling asleep with the most dreaded terror feeling I've ever felt. It only lasted 10 mins and I can't now describe it but it was very scary.
No one can say I didn't try extremely hard to stay drug free, but I think it's obvious I need them. Off to my doctor tomorrow anyway, so we'll see what he says.

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One more suggestion from me: I've gotten great help from books and CDs by Claire Weekes (now deceased), an Australian physician who wrote about anxiety and panic. I used them way back when I was on Buspar and got them out again when anxiety/panic returned this time. I used the books I already had and ordered her others as well as two CDs by her (I think she has three of them). They're every bit as helpful and meaningful now, maybe even more. Also, there's an article in either yesterday's or today's Washington Post about panic attacks that I thought was good. (I don't know how to provide a link or I would!)

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If you go to youtube and type in Claire Weekes, her books and talks are available through many channels there. She has an excellent program and a soothing voice. Theres also a wonderful guy, aptly named "wonderbro", who draws heavily upon her works. He has livestreams and lots of videos. His emphasis is not on withdrawal but I have found it very valuable.
I also stumbled upon an audio book available for free on youtube called "an untethered soul" by Michael Singer. I've listened to a few chapters and wow, does it resonate with me!
Happy mothers day to all, be grateful for mothers today and everyday, without them we would not exist.

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@nathan5

So after 3 months of hell trying to get off Effexor I just took a pill now. My anxiety has been off the scale like I've never experienced before. I believe most of that is actually my actual anxiety returning and not the Effexor withdrawal.
Last night I woke just after falling asleep with the most dreaded terror feeling I've ever felt. It only lasted 10 mins and I can't now describe it but it was very scary.
No one can say I didn't try extremely hard to stay drug free, but I think it's obvious I need them. Off to my doctor tomorrow anyway, so we'll see what he says.

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Try to be kind to yourself. The main thing is you valiantly tried and just because you need to go back on, it’s all about the quality of your life. I also may need to make that decision so big pat on the back, could not have been easy for you.

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@searchgirl

Try to be kind to yourself. The main thing is you valiantly tried and just because you need to go back on, it’s all about the quality of your life. I also may need to make that decision so big pat on the back, could not have been easy for you.

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You are so right!!

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@amberpep

Hi …. I've been taking Effexor for about 2 years now, and I'm usually very conscientious about taking all my meds. daily. Well, last Saturday I ran out, and because of the date of the month, I had only $1.00. I have not had any since last Saturday. Today was the first day I noticed anything at all ….. I felt dizzy and didn't feel I should be driving anywhere. My dear daughter went and picked them up for me, so about an hour ago I took one. I'm wondering why I didn't notice anything sooner ….. I sure expected to.
abby

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I’ve been on Effexor for ten years and it was for short term memory problems which it helped… but now I feel lazy and uninspired…I’ve tried to quit but always go back and start when the withdrawal symptoms begin, which include confusion…but it seems like when I’m in the throws of withdrawal symptoms and take a pill, relief is not immediate… that scares me

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@sarat

I’ve been on Effexor for ten years and it was for short term memory problems which it helped… but now I feel lazy and uninspired…I’ve tried to quit but always go back and start when the withdrawal symptoms begin, which include confusion…but it seems like when I’m in the throws of withdrawal symptoms and take a pill, relief is not immediate… that scares me

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Yes, it’s the way it interacts with the neurotransmitters in your brain. That’s one of the reasons I’m afraid to go back on. I’m afraid it won’t work! But moreso, I’m determined to stick it out as long as possible without Effexor. It’s been since February first after about 20 years on. I had two solid days of depression not lifting, but I’m also determined NOT to make any big decisions while depressed. So, I wait for the sun to shine and perhaps during a jog and then ask myself that question. I also gravitate to people who encourage me to stay off. It’s ultimately your decision, and, with all the supplements and even Eastern medicine remedies, perhaps try something different to get you through.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about it. Effexor worked for me, but on a personal note, it put my libido in the toilet. Still waiting for things to come back, but I have hope :).

Oh I wish I could turn back the clock.

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My take on going back on when feeling WD symptoms are the same as you guys! Its not going to take effect immediately and make the symptoms go away so why bother doing it? Unless I find that I absolutely have to have a medication in order to not kill myself, there is no good reason for me to take it. My ups and downs have always been there anyway, its just part of who I am. I know this new doctor looked at me strangely when she asked "have your moods ever been stable?" and I said, no, but that's just me. Like there was something wrong with me for accepting that. People are way too quick to try and find a quick fix…myself included! I WISH I had never started taking prozac when the psychiatrist told me that research was showing most depression was caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that they were finding that talk therapy was passe, better living through chemistry was the future of psychiatry. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was SO desperate to find out what was "wrong" with me. I never considered the possibility that I was not the problem and thus needed to find the solution.
@secretwhitepop yes, if I could turn back the clock.
I cannot change the past but I can damn sure try to warn other people of the consequences, I am living proof, I'm sure we all are, of falling for all the lies.
LOL a bit angry today, but I was pretty triggered this weekend..my husband's oldest son wanted us to "meet" his girlfriend…meeting to me would be having dinner, not an entire weekend of company. He already has one child who is 7, with a "baby momma" and lo and behold, they walk in the door and she is obviously very pregnant. And neither one of them says a word about it. I mean, what do you even say? LOL. Finally my husband just came out and asked his son "is she pregnant?" I mean, bizarre. Why would you even put someone in the position to have to ask that question? I felt like I was in the twilight zone all weekend. Just weird.
Anyway, today I am feeling good. I still have some shaking. Has anyone heard of TRE? Its a therapy based on the premise that shaking is a way to discharge energy, particularly trauma. I had heard of it years ago and tried it, but I didn't like it. I am wondering though if its our bodies response. My acupuncturist seems to think there is a lot of validity in it. I know that after sessions of therapy/bodywork/acupuncture sometimes my body shakes. So I am looking at the WD shaking as being a positive thing. Just the body releasing stuff. Sorry for rambling on. Have a great day, everyone!!

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@sandij

My take on going back on when feeling WD symptoms are the same as you guys! Its not going to take effect immediately and make the symptoms go away so why bother doing it? Unless I find that I absolutely have to have a medication in order to not kill myself, there is no good reason for me to take it. My ups and downs have always been there anyway, its just part of who I am. I know this new doctor looked at me strangely when she asked "have your moods ever been stable?" and I said, no, but that's just me. Like there was something wrong with me for accepting that. People are way too quick to try and find a quick fix…myself included! I WISH I had never started taking prozac when the psychiatrist told me that research was showing most depression was caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that they were finding that talk therapy was passe, better living through chemistry was the future of psychiatry. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was SO desperate to find out what was "wrong" with me. I never considered the possibility that I was not the problem and thus needed to find the solution.
@secretwhitepop yes, if I could turn back the clock.
I cannot change the past but I can damn sure try to warn other people of the consequences, I am living proof, I'm sure we all are, of falling for all the lies.
LOL a bit angry today, but I was pretty triggered this weekend..my husband's oldest son wanted us to "meet" his girlfriend…meeting to me would be having dinner, not an entire weekend of company. He already has one child who is 7, with a "baby momma" and lo and behold, they walk in the door and she is obviously very pregnant. And neither one of them says a word about it. I mean, what do you even say? LOL. Finally my husband just came out and asked his son "is she pregnant?" I mean, bizarre. Why would you even put someone in the position to have to ask that question? I felt like I was in the twilight zone all weekend. Just weird.
Anyway, today I am feeling good. I still have some shaking. Has anyone heard of TRE? Its a therapy based on the premise that shaking is a way to discharge energy, particularly trauma. I had heard of it years ago and tried it, but I didn't like it. I am wondering though if its our bodies response. My acupuncturist seems to think there is a lot of validity in it. I know that after sessions of therapy/bodywork/acupuncture sometimes my body shakes. So I am looking at the WD shaking as being a positive thing. Just the body releasing stuff. Sorry for rambling on. Have a great day, everyone!!

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Wow! A pregnant girlfriend! Ha! You seemed to have done surprisingly well!

I have not heard of TRE, but yesterday my friend who is a massage therapist worked on my and did a technique called a sort of medical massage. She drains your adrenal glands through touch. Light touch. Clothes on. I’ll find out more and pass it along. I can’t say I feel great today, but I don’t feel utter despair. Still going through a lot of life stuff that is rough, and I cried, but not that despair feeling.

It’s odd trying to explain that to people. The see hole that just doesn’t lift. But enough about that because it’s not here today!

Carry on!

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Wanted to check in so people know I'm still alive. Still venlafaxine free. I don't think I'm getting any withdrawal symptoms. Prozac bridge worked for me. Didn't help the depression but it stopped the withdrawal.

I'm not really reading this forum regularly anymore so sorry if I worried anyone.

Maybe someday I'll find a treatment that works. Next step is a prescription stimulant under the idea that if I have more energy I'll actually be able to do the self care stuff. Still angling for a clinical trial for ketamine.

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@notaround

Wanted to check in so people know I'm still alive. Still venlafaxine free. I don't think I'm getting any withdrawal symptoms. Prozac bridge worked for me. Didn't help the depression but it stopped the withdrawal.

I'm not really reading this forum regularly anymore so sorry if I worried anyone.

Maybe someday I'll find a treatment that works. Next step is a prescription stimulant under the idea that if I have more energy I'll actually be able to do the self care stuff. Still angling for a clinical trial for ketamine.

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Good luck, and please let us know about the ketamine. Thinking about that myself if I don’t stop crying so much!

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@secretwhitepop

First of all, no, I do believe you will feel better eventually, but that was an extremely fast taper. As folks already know, I was on a comparatively very low dose of 75 mg. When I tried to ween off the way my doc said, it was too fast, but she didn’t think there’d be a problem since I was on a “pediatric dose.” Anyway, for the next ten years or so, I took 37.5 mg. When I decided to ween off for good, I counted the little beads inside and tapered over a period of 18 months. And, strangely, after my last done in February of this year, I’m still having some withdrawal symptoms. Dizziness, odd smells, vertigo, anxiety and crying jags. All of which are getting better, but they’re still there. Mostly the anxiety.

Effexor is a weird drug. It changes your brain from what I’ve read. I don’t know what to recommend you do since I’m not a doctor, but maybe if you can get yourself back to a tolerable dose where your withdrawal is at bay, then go ridiculously slowly, that might help.

Good news is there is a light at the end of this Effexor tunnel!

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Thank you so much! I went back to 37.5 mg. The pill is 75 mg and it's full of tiny beads so I have to count the beads inside and divide them in half. Such a pain in the arse! So I guess I'll just stay on that dosage for a couple of weeks and then maybe go down 10 beads. Oh, and the derealization episodes stopped so now I know they were from withdrawal.

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@grandmar

@canadaanj
Hello!
First, let me say how sorry I am for how you are feeling.
When your head feels all the things you describe, that feeling of depersonalization could be a part of that.

I hate to break this to you, but you did NOT taper off slowly.
As a matter of fact, you did it very quickly, which is why you are having the withdrawal symptoms.
I started at 300 mg, too.
I started to taper down in November.
About 3 weeks ago, I got down to my first goal.
I tapered down ONLY 25%.
That's right, only 24% since November.

I am NOT a medical person, but I am a person dealing with Effexor.
I am sure all you are feeling is the withdrawal.
For some, it is immediate, others within weeks and yet others within months.
You may need to add back some of the Effexor for a while then wean back down MUCH, MUCH SLOWER!

Good luck!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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Thank you so much for your advice! I just couldn't understand why I felt nothing for the first 3 or so days after my last dose and then suddenly started having these symptoms on about the 4th day after stopping. Anyway, I went back to taking 37.5 mg and the depersonalization feelings have disappeared so I know they were from the withdrawal. It's a pain in the ass though, to have to divide all the little beads inside the 75 mg pill in half…lol. But I will take 37.5 mg for a month or so I guess, then go down to 85 beads. (Half of a 75 mg pill is about 97 little beads), and see how I feel then I guess.

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