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

@sandij

@notaround I've woken up in a panic the last two days feeling so bad that I've cancelled my classes, putting myself in a worse financial situation and a precarious position with my company. I also cant determine if its withdrawal, depression, or just stressed out. I do the same as you, just yelling at myself to just do something, but I just can't. It's scary. I wish I had the answers for all of us. @farmboyfarmboy I hope you feel better soon too.

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I can relate to you too. I'm getting myself in such a financial bind it just adds more anxiety to the plate. Then that anxiety fuels another anxiety attack. Then I get to wondering if my meds haven't kicked in. It's like a broken record. Like you say scary, it is very very scary. It makes me so mad I scream or I get teared up and just cry. You know how you want to feel but it's like a big road block that keeps you from getting there.

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@notaround

Relapse is hitting me hard. Right now I'm in limbo trying to determine what is depression, what is withdrawal, or if I'm otherwise sick.

(I'm 3 weeks out after my last dose of venlafaxine and since Prozac had bad stomach problems – enough to have to call a friend and see if they had food poisoning so I could figure out if I did, I'm switching again. In the meantime I am definitely not adequately medicated.)

The up and down of having a little energy for an hour or a few and then down for the rest of the day is frustrating. Just enough to decide I want to do something but without being able to. I sit on my bed sometimes mentally yelling at myself to get up and at least do dishes. Doesn't work. I know it's called executive dysfunction. Not that knowing that helps.

One long day at a time.

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@notaround OMG! I could have written this myself! I’m 3 weeks off Effexor and feel the same way. I’m at my wits end. I try to stay busy, but that is a chore in itself, not to mention having to go to work everyday. I’m so ready to feel normal again!

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@babydoll

@notaround OMG! I could have written this myself! I’m 3 weeks off Effexor and feel the same way. I’m at my wits end. I try to stay busy, but that is a chore in itself, not to mention having to go to work everyday. I’m so ready to feel normal again!

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Thanks for the sympathy, everyone. I'm doing my best to be patient with myself.

Hope you all have as good a day as you can right now. Even if it's just making it to tomorrow.

One of the things that gets me through sometimes is knowing that any single episode can't last forever. Feelings and symptoms change. And over time, more treatments get approved. So I do what I can to nudge things towards a change I want and then wait. While it can be a little scary to think about, the idea of impermanence helps me.

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@notaround

Relapse is hitting me hard. Right now I'm in limbo trying to determine what is depression, what is withdrawal, or if I'm otherwise sick.

(I'm 3 weeks out after my last dose of venlafaxine and since Prozac had bad stomach problems – enough to have to call a friend and see if they had food poisoning so I could figure out if I did, I'm switching again. In the meantime I am definitely not adequately medicated.)

The up and down of having a little energy for an hour or a few and then down for the rest of the day is frustrating. Just enough to decide I want to do something but without being able to. I sit on my bed sometimes mentally yelling at myself to get up and at least do dishes. Doesn't work. I know it's called executive dysfunction. Not that knowing that helps.

One long day at a time.

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@notaround
Not that this will help but back in the day if we didn’t work we didn’t eat. My grandfather had a brain tumor which he died from in 1926.
When he could no longer walk my Dad hitched up his team and my Dad and his older brother carried him and tied him to the plow and at lunch they untied him and carried him to the house to eat. After lunch it happened all over again and was repeated until he died.
I believe we’re spoiled. In the past I think people were to busy just trying to survive to be depressed etc. In the past people didn’t enjoy the luxury of being able to pick and choose if they would work, stay in bed or watched tv etc. Just my 2 cents.
Jake

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@jakedduck1

@notaround
Not that this will help but back in the day if we didn’t work we didn’t eat. My grandfather had a brain tumor which he died from in 1926.
When he could no longer walk my Dad hitched up his team and my Dad and his older brother carried him and tied him to the plow and at lunch they untied him and carried him to the house to eat. After lunch it happened all over again and was repeated until he died.
I believe we’re spoiled. In the past I think people were to busy just trying to survive to be depressed etc. In the past people didn’t enjoy the luxury of being able to pick and choose if they would work, stay in bed or watched tv etc. Just my 2 cents.
Jake

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Probably right. But if I was born a century ago, I would have not made it to adulthood.

Mental illness isn't some new thing. Just used to be people died from it more often and everyone else kept it a secret. Well that still happens. Dead or considered an invalid.

I grew up homeless and I know firsthand the attitude of work or don't eat is tragic. I will probably never stop tying my own judgment of my worthiness to live based on my employment because of it. I work myself sick and better than my coworkers in every job I've had, but am always laid off after a year or less.

Your grandfather's suffering is exactly the kind of thing that a humane society has a duty to prevent.

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@jakedduck1 you make a very accurate observation by saying "not that this will help".

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jakeduck, I had 3 very hard working friends that all committed sucide. (Not all at the same). My first buddy to die was along haul truck driver that spent many a nights away from his family. He stayed busy but depression got the best of him. My second buddy same way. Hard worker at being a lineman, farmed and raised show cattle. Depression got the best of him. My third buddy was gangmen for the railroad. Worked his ass off. Same thing depression got the best of him to. Yes keeping busy probably does help keep your mind off things. But depression is evil. It doesn't pick and choose who will fight it and who won't fight it. So did working kill my friends or depression?

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@farmboy

Good evening everyone. I'm on day 10 of starting effexor again. I started on 75mgs which that is the dose I was doing good on before tapering off. Question is should I be noticing any improvements. Right now I'm still feeling sick, anxiety/panic attacks come and go. I feel lost and confused.

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I really wish I could help you with this one, I guess the doctor should be able to find the right dose for you. I had such a bad reaction going off of the drug years ago that I don't even remember well now how we got me back on it. Thanks to what was incredible teamwork between my husband, my doctors and my mother all working together and 'checking up' on me, making sure to was taking the proper meds at the proper doses, etc every day for a long time until I began to act 'normal' again

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Effexor withdrawal has been REAL! I have read so many posts and different sites about the withdrawal effects. This one being the most informative. Thank You to all that shared your stories, side effects and what helped them. Your stories helped me tremendously.

I am currently 3 weeks Effexor free… I still have minimal side effects that seem to get worse when I am stressed or upset… I wanted to share my story and what worked for me… Please Please understand I am in no way affiliated in any medical field and am in no way giving medical or DR. advice. I am here only to share what helped me during this horrific ordeal.

A year and a half ago I went thru major depression due to many things hitting me all within a 6 month period and I sought help because I knew I had reached a breaking point that I no longer controlled. Effexor was what was given to me to help me during these life changing events. I explained to my DR I do not like taking pills of any sort so he chose the extended release for me. By the third day of taking this drug, I already felt 150% better, it worked so fast for me. At the time I thought this was a miracle drug because, let me tell you, I was on top of the world!! Not only did it kick depressions @$$ but on top of that, it totally suppressed my appetite and made me lose 50lbs quickly. (What woman complains about losing weight, especially when weight is an issue… not me, that's for sure!)

Fast forward 6 months. I am feeling at my peak, better than I had in years. Me being a person who doesn't like medication, I am ready to stop taking it because I feel my body no longer needs it, so I stopped cold turkey! I was absolutely unequivocally not ready for the side effects. I went into instant withdrawals within hours of not taking my medication, by day 4 I'm having brain zaps, inside I feel like someone is sparking two wires together and my brain is an old black & white TV channel with "snow" on the screen, add the inability to string a sentence together, fainting spells, naseau / diarrhea let's just say I was a walking disaster. If it's listed as a withdrawal symptom, I experienced it. It gets so bad, I am sent home from work, told to work from home as I much as I was able and to contact my DR immediately. So I did what my boss told me to do. When I call my DR, the nurse freaks out, schedules a 911 appointment and I get a scolding of a life time from both the nurse and DR. I am explained that you have to taper off this drug, my DR wants me on it for a minimum of 9 months and increased my dose to 150mg.
Had I known this when I started taking this drug I probably would have never taken it to begin with, for that I am happy because I really needed to be on it at the time I was placed on it. I am certain my DR told me this when it was prescribed, but I was in no mindset to listen and was at the lowest low of my entire life.

I oblige my DRs direction anything to stop the side effects and had instant relief. I take it for another 6 months in the meantime about my 3rd month at 150mg, I start researching everything on this drug possible… because I don't like going to DRs, I hate medication, I know my body/mind enough that I knew I was ready and I wanted off this medication. For fear my DR would tell me he wanted me to continue this drug for even longer I decided to once again stop taking this medication. Only this time I was prepared for what would happen once I quit taking it. After reading tips / trips from everything I could get my hands on, I weaned myself off this drug without my DR! I know, I know this is a serious issue that needs medical supervision.

****** Please Note I do NOT recommend weaning yourself off this or any other DR prescribed drug. Yes I did it, but I know my body very well, I have a great support system, and I know I am extremely sensitive to ANY and ALL medications… so I knew what I could tolerate. How did I wean myself off of Effrxor:

I did not take my medication on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The effects were in full force, but I was able to work from home and sleep a lot. I limited turning my head from side to side and limited anytype of quick motions because this seemed to cause dizzy spells and most severe zaps. When I did move my head to look side ways, it was done very slow/ mythotical to let my eyes, ears and brain track together. I had read where Benedryl helps with the withdrawal side effects, so I decided to try it. I took Children's dissolve tablets twice a day when I felt the worst. (Children's Benadryl was used only because I am so sensitive to medication that regularl strength knocks me out for a minimum of 16 hours, usually longer)

By Tuesday, I'm over the worst part of withdrawals, but still have symptoms that were more annoying than anything. At this time I notice I'm a little more moody, things make me angry that normally would never make me bat an eye. Because I have to work around people, I am moody and still having withdrawal symptoms I decided to break open one of my pills, dumped the beads into a ziplock baggy and about mid-day when my dizziness or zaps were at their peak, I would wet my fingertip and dip it into the beads taking about 10-20 and would take one Children's Benadryl late afternoon or around dinner time. I did this Tuesday-Thursday and took nothing at all Friday-Monday. I am on week 3 of withdrawals but have only had to take 1 Benadryl so far this week and haven't had any Effexor in my system for a week. I have had a couple of minor zaps, that were very minimal but nothing serious.

Sorry for the extremely long message, but if a oneone thing I did. helps someone else get off this drug, it was worth it. Effexor Free, healthy and happy!!!

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@effexor

Effexor withdrawal has been REAL! I have read so many posts and different sites about the withdrawal effects. This one being the most informative. Thank You to all that shared your stories, side effects and what helped them. Your stories helped me tremendously.

I am currently 3 weeks Effexor free… I still have minimal side effects that seem to get worse when I am stressed or upset… I wanted to share my story and what worked for me… Please Please understand I am in no way affiliated in any medical field and am in no way giving medical or DR. advice. I am here only to share what helped me during this horrific ordeal.

A year and a half ago I went thru major depression due to many things hitting me all within a 6 month period and I sought help because I knew I had reached a breaking point that I no longer controlled. Effexor was what was given to me to help me during these life changing events. I explained to my DR I do not like taking pills of any sort so he chose the extended release for me. By the third day of taking this drug, I already felt 150% better, it worked so fast for me. At the time I thought this was a miracle drug because, let me tell you, I was on top of the world!! Not only did it kick depressions @$$ but on top of that, it totally suppressed my appetite and made me lose 50lbs quickly. (What woman complains about losing weight, especially when weight is an issue… not me, that's for sure!)

Fast forward 6 months. I am feeling at my peak, better than I had in years. Me being a person who doesn't like medication, I am ready to stop taking it because I feel my body no longer needs it, so I stopped cold turkey! I was absolutely unequivocally not ready for the side effects. I went into instant withdrawals within hours of not taking my medication, by day 4 I'm having brain zaps, inside I feel like someone is sparking two wires together and my brain is an old black & white TV channel with "snow" on the screen, add the inability to string a sentence together, fainting spells, naseau / diarrhea let's just say I was a walking disaster. If it's listed as a withdrawal symptom, I experienced it. It gets so bad, I am sent home from work, told to work from home as I much as I was able and to contact my DR immediately. So I did what my boss told me to do. When I call my DR, the nurse freaks out, schedules a 911 appointment and I get a scolding of a life time from both the nurse and DR. I am explained that you have to taper off this drug, my DR wants me on it for a minimum of 9 months and increased my dose to 150mg.
Had I known this when I started taking this drug I probably would have never taken it to begin with, for that I am happy because I really needed to be on it at the time I was placed on it. I am certain my DR told me this when it was prescribed, but I was in no mindset to listen and was at the lowest low of my entire life.

I oblige my DRs direction anything to stop the side effects and had instant relief. I take it for another 6 months in the meantime about my 3rd month at 150mg, I start researching everything on this drug possible… because I don't like going to DRs, I hate medication, I know my body/mind enough that I knew I was ready and I wanted off this medication. For fear my DR would tell me he wanted me to continue this drug for even longer I decided to once again stop taking this medication. Only this time I was prepared for what would happen once I quit taking it. After reading tips / trips from everything I could get my hands on, I weaned myself off this drug without my DR! I know, I know this is a serious issue that needs medical supervision.

****** Please Note I do NOT recommend weaning yourself off this or any other DR prescribed drug. Yes I did it, but I know my body very well, I have a great support system, and I know I am extremely sensitive to ANY and ALL medications… so I knew what I could tolerate. How did I wean myself off of Effrxor:

I did not take my medication on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The effects were in full force, but I was able to work from home and sleep a lot. I limited turning my head from side to side and limited anytype of quick motions because this seemed to cause dizzy spells and most severe zaps. When I did move my head to look side ways, it was done very slow/ mythotical to let my eyes, ears and brain track together. I had read where Benedryl helps with the withdrawal side effects, so I decided to try it. I took Children's dissolve tablets twice a day when I felt the worst. (Children's Benadryl was used only because I am so sensitive to medication that regularl strength knocks me out for a minimum of 16 hours, usually longer)

By Tuesday, I'm over the worst part of withdrawals, but still have symptoms that were more annoying than anything. At this time I notice I'm a little more moody, things make me angry that normally would never make me bat an eye. Because I have to work around people, I am moody and still having withdrawal symptoms I decided to break open one of my pills, dumped the beads into a ziplock baggy and about mid-day when my dizziness or zaps were at their peak, I would wet my fingertip and dip it into the beads taking about 10-20 and would take one Children's Benadryl late afternoon or around dinner time. I did this Tuesday-Thursday and took nothing at all Friday-Monday. I am on week 3 of withdrawals but have only had to take 1 Benadryl so far this week and haven't had any Effexor in my system for a week. I have had a couple of minor zaps, that were very minimal but nothing serious.

Sorry for the extremely long message, but if a oneone thing I did. helps someone else get off this drug, it was worth it. Effexor Free, healthy and happy!!!

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Congratulations on your success of getting off of effexor. My story is a horror story. Much like a lot of people on here.

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@farmboy

Congratulations on your success of getting off of effexor. My story is a horror story. Much like a lot of people on here.

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Farmboy my first time trying was a horror. I'm am seriously praying I never have to take it again. I have read so many that have had to return to it.

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@effexor

Farmboy my first time trying was a horror. I'm am seriously praying I never have to take it again. I have read so many that have had to return to it.

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I had to return to it almost 2 weeks ago. The anxiety and panic attacks got to be to much. It's really playing mind games with me to. Thoughts that doesn't make sense, confusion and getting depressed.

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