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

@mommapsych

Hang in there! My daughter has hit a wall at about 40mg. We're going to take a break from the weaning so she can stabilize and then we'll try again. You've always given such wonderful advice and support…we're pulling for you!♥️

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Thank you! Continued good luck to you and your daughter!

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@sandij

@secretwhitepop it used to work, now it's making me more anxious! This recovery stuff is so weird. I really have no intention of torturing myself but I have no idea what to do next! The NP I see says maybe I am one of those people with a chemical imbalance that needs to be on medication. I'm not sure I believe that or not and I dont want to start something that wont work. I'm so glad you found what works for you! You're going through a rough time with so many changes.

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Yeah. I thought since I’ve gone through “the change” maybe I could ween off Effexor and be ok. Well, life is too rough for me. And looking at my family, I think it’s kind of a heredity thing. Maybe a real chemical thing.

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@motormouth79

How long were you off of Zoloft before finding success with it again? My mom was on it years ago. It stopped working. She’s tried like 5 diff meds with no success. Currently on remeron with no good result. Thinking of asking dr abt going back to Zoloft.

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I was on Zoloft, successfully, about 20 years ago then switched to Effexor due to low libido side effects. Doc put me on seroquel as a mood stabilizer since Lexapro caused me to have crazy anxiety. The Zoloft seems to be … well… not having bad side effects. My mood is slightly less bleh but I’ve only been on both for about two weeks. Not giving up. And sadly, and I’m not kidding, sad news and drama abounds still in my life! Praying and listening to uplifting stuff and meditating and eating healthy as much as possible. And yes, even after only two weeks, feeling slightly better.

Sigh. It’s such a shame so many of us feel better in chemicals. Why? What gives? Sugar? Plastic? Fluorescent lighting?

Wish I knew. But truly, life is short.

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@sandij

How is everyone doing? Withdrawals are kicking my butt. I'm finding that CBD oil is now causing me loads of anxiety so I'm going to stop taking it. It's so hard to tell what's working and what's not at this point, I'm just beyond frustrated. Thinking about the prozac bridge but I'm so scared to go back on something. I really wanted to be drug free.

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It’s admirable to want to be drug free. It would be ideal. But depending on the diagnosis and neurochemistry you may very well have to treat it like a medical condition no different than type 1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperlipidemia or any other condition where the body is simply wired in such a way as to cause problems.

Some individuals and groups sneer at psychiatry but it’s really puzzling because the same biochemistry, genetics and developed anatomy that sends them running to the doctor for medical emergencies is somehow not the same as that of the brain. I’ve absolutely never understood that disconnect.

Therefore, while one can take any other physical, genetic, endocrinological, or analogous system and modify one’s lifestyle, habits and factors to minimize disruption, the fact remains that a part of the system isn’t functioning well. The problem with any condition is how it interrupts life’s daily activities and quality of life. The underlying condition will remain regardless of taking medicine, so you can certainly stop, many do. But they are not always enthusiastic about the consequences and what can follow in its wake.

There are reasons that bipolar people have life expectancies at least ten years less than the average, are more susceptible to weight issues, type 2 diabetes, job instability and a trail of unhappy relationships. My suggestion is to fix what you can wherever possible to improve health, habits and stress triggers while firmly acknowledging that the biological is a fixture of life.

Finding ways to cope and improve is a vital and lifelong pursuit with no guarantees except that as one gets older it can get harder. (I think we get more intolerant, inflexible and simply slow down making bounce back and adaptation harder).

There is a book I read by an author named Alisa Roth,
Insane : America's criminal treatment of mental illness

It is worth a read and should be at the local library. It covers what happens when people stop. Everyone here likely already knows but the book is a good read and equips you to warn others and understand the bigger problems with treatment today.

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@renwald

It’s admirable to want to be drug free. It would be ideal. But depending on the diagnosis and neurochemistry you may very well have to treat it like a medical condition no different than type 1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperlipidemia or any other condition where the body is simply wired in such a way as to cause problems.

Some individuals and groups sneer at psychiatry but it’s really puzzling because the same biochemistry, genetics and developed anatomy that sends them running to the doctor for medical emergencies is somehow not the same as that of the brain. I’ve absolutely never understood that disconnect.

Therefore, while one can take any other physical, genetic, endocrinological, or analogous system and modify one’s lifestyle, habits and factors to minimize disruption, the fact remains that a part of the system isn’t functioning well. The problem with any condition is how it interrupts life’s daily activities and quality of life. The underlying condition will remain regardless of taking medicine, so you can certainly stop, many do. But they are not always enthusiastic about the consequences and what can follow in its wake.

There are reasons that bipolar people have life expectancies at least ten years less than the average, are more susceptible to weight issues, type 2 diabetes, job instability and a trail of unhappy relationships. My suggestion is to fix what you can wherever possible to improve health, habits and stress triggers while firmly acknowledging that the biological is a fixture of life.

Finding ways to cope and improve is a vital and lifelong pursuit with no guarantees except that as one gets older it can get harder. (I think we get more intolerant, inflexible and simply slow down making bounce back and adaptation harder).

There is a book I read by an author named Alisa Roth,
Insane : America's criminal treatment of mental illness

It is worth a read and should be at the local library. It covers what happens when people stop. Everyone here likely already knows but the book is a good read and equips you to warn others and understand the bigger problems with treatment today.

Jump to this post

@renwald thanks for this! I'm not sure what I believe about mental illness. I just know I would like to give myself a chance to become stable, at the least, before making a hasty decision. Honestly the effexor never helped me avoid anxiety, it was kind of crazy for me to stay on it. I think I'm experiencing withdrawals, not relapse, I'm hoping it will let up soon.

Liked by texasduchess

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@sandij

@renwald thanks for this! I'm not sure what I believe about mental illness. I just know I would like to give myself a chance to become stable, at the least, before making a hasty decision. Honestly the effexor never helped me avoid anxiety, it was kind of crazy for me to stay on it. I think I'm experiencing withdrawals, not relapse, I'm hoping it will let up soon.

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😊

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In reply to @renwald "😊" + (show)
@renwald

A good way to think about this is to ask questions with what I’ve described and have people explain why I’m not correct. I’m quite willing to be proven wrong and have been plenty of times but when it comes to science and medicine, it seems reasonable to approach this issue from that angle. To be sure science and medicine evolve, change completely, and re-examine. But those disciplines are often the best ones in a position to offer rational and intelligent guidance in the latest understanding though it is anything but perfect.

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@secretwhitepop

Not sure if this got posted or not… but I never had good luck with CBD either. And I also just went successfully back on Zoloft. And seroquel. But everyone is different. Don’t torture yourself. Life is short.

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That's what we have to remember.
We are all different and react differently.

Liked by texasduchess

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@mommapsych

Hang in there! My daughter has hit a wall at about 40mg. We're going to take a break from the weaning so she can stabilize and then we'll try again. You've always given such wonderful advice and support…we're pulling for you!♥️

Jump to this post

I've done the same.
I weaned myself down 25%.
I've stopped for a few months to let my body acclimate.
I'll continue again after the summer and summer activities.
No rush!

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@secretwhitepop

Yeah. I thought since I’ve gone through “the change” maybe I could ween off Effexor and be ok. Well, life is too rough for me. And looking at my family, I think it’s kind of a heredity thing. Maybe a real chemical thing.

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Could be. There IS a genetic component for some people.
I, for one have that component.
So does my daughter, son and now my 8 year old granddaughter!

Liked by texasduchess

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@secretwhitepop

I was on Zoloft, successfully, about 20 years ago then switched to Effexor due to low libido side effects. Doc put me on seroquel as a mood stabilizer since Lexapro caused me to have crazy anxiety. The Zoloft seems to be … well… not having bad side effects. My mood is slightly less bleh but I’ve only been on both for about two weeks. Not giving up. And sadly, and I’m not kidding, sad news and drama abounds still in my life! Praying and listening to uplifting stuff and meditating and eating healthy as much as possible. And yes, even after only two weeks, feeling slightly better.

Sigh. It’s such a shame so many of us feel better in chemicals. Why? What gives? Sugar? Plastic? Fluorescent lighting?

Wish I knew. But truly, life is short.

Jump to this post

Sometimes trying to figure out the whys can make you nuts.
It is what it is.
Now let's work to find out what will make it better.
Sometimes it will be chemicals.
Sadky, it can take time to find the right med or combination of meds and/or therapy.
Hey, this is no different than what is going to happen to someone with other illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure.
We're all the same in that way.
We have to have medical interventions to be well and to live our best lives.

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@renwald

It’s admirable to want to be drug free. It would be ideal. But depending on the diagnosis and neurochemistry you may very well have to treat it like a medical condition no different than type 1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperlipidemia or any other condition where the body is simply wired in such a way as to cause problems.

Some individuals and groups sneer at psychiatry but it’s really puzzling because the same biochemistry, genetics and developed anatomy that sends them running to the doctor for medical emergencies is somehow not the same as that of the brain. I’ve absolutely never understood that disconnect.

Therefore, while one can take any other physical, genetic, endocrinological, or analogous system and modify one’s lifestyle, habits and factors to minimize disruption, the fact remains that a part of the system isn’t functioning well. The problem with any condition is how it interrupts life’s daily activities and quality of life. The underlying condition will remain regardless of taking medicine, so you can certainly stop, many do. But they are not always enthusiastic about the consequences and what can follow in its wake.

There are reasons that bipolar people have life expectancies at least ten years less than the average, are more susceptible to weight issues, type 2 diabetes, job instability and a trail of unhappy relationships. My suggestion is to fix what you can wherever possible to improve health, habits and stress triggers while firmly acknowledging that the biological is a fixture of life.

Finding ways to cope and improve is a vital and lifelong pursuit with no guarantees except that as one gets older it can get harder. (I think we get more intolerant, inflexible and simply slow down making bounce back and adaptation harder).

There is a book I read by an author named Alisa Roth,
Insane : America's criminal treatment of mental illness

It is worth a read and should be at the local library. It covers what happens when people stop. Everyone here likely already knows but the book is a good read and equips you to warn others and understand the bigger problems with treatment today.

Jump to this post

Funny I just wrote the same sentiment before reading your post.

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@renwald

It’s admirable to want to be drug free. It would be ideal. But depending on the diagnosis and neurochemistry you may very well have to treat it like a medical condition no different than type 1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperlipidemia or any other condition where the body is simply wired in such a way as to cause problems.

Some individuals and groups sneer at psychiatry but it’s really puzzling because the same biochemistry, genetics and developed anatomy that sends them running to the doctor for medical emergencies is somehow not the same as that of the brain. I’ve absolutely never understood that disconnect.

Therefore, while one can take any other physical, genetic, endocrinological, or analogous system and modify one’s lifestyle, habits and factors to minimize disruption, the fact remains that a part of the system isn’t functioning well. The problem with any condition is how it interrupts life’s daily activities and quality of life. The underlying condition will remain regardless of taking medicine, so you can certainly stop, many do. But they are not always enthusiastic about the consequences and what can follow in its wake.

There are reasons that bipolar people have life expectancies at least ten years less than the average, are more susceptible to weight issues, type 2 diabetes, job instability and a trail of unhappy relationships. My suggestion is to fix what you can wherever possible to improve health, habits and stress triggers while firmly acknowledging that the biological is a fixture of life.

Finding ways to cope and improve is a vital and lifelong pursuit with no guarantees except that as one gets older it can get harder. (I think we get more intolerant, inflexible and simply slow down making bounce back and adaptation harder).

There is a book I read by an author named Alisa Roth,
Insane : America's criminal treatment of mental illness

It is worth a read and should be at the local library. It covers what happens when people stop. Everyone here likely already knows but the book is a good read and equips you to warn others and understand the bigger problems with treatment today.

Jump to this post

Wow! You truly summed it up! I appreciated that. Truly. I’m one of those folks that want desperately to be drug free. But wanna know what happened when I went off (well, very slowly weened – successfully, I might add, when it came to side effects). I moved my family from our home of 15 years, bought a house and two pieces of property and got another job. (About to leave the one I’ve had for over 20 years – all while on Effexor)

There’s no denying that I, personally, have a more stable life while on SSRI or SNRI’s. There’s no denying that my family suffers when I am drug-free (although I’ve only done this the one time).

While I didn’t make completely irrational decisions and, being drug free “inspired” me to take chances I hadn’t previously taken – I can’t say I regret my decisions. Additionally, I am in the middle of family loss and menopause! Ha!

I am grateful for my family and friend who stuck around. And, I am slowly accepting that I am a happier and much more stable person with the assistance of meds.

Not sure I’ll go back on Effexor, but there’s a chance I will since I’m on two meds now and would prefer just one 🙂

Anyway – thanks.

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I am not opposed to being on a medication if that's what I need. I think I was out on prozac back in the 80s because of the situation that I was in and because it was "the thing" psychiatrists had discovered to use, better living through chemistry. Then sadly I never gave it a thought to come off because my husband used the fact that i was "on something" to make me feel like i was the crazy, weak one. When I became premenopausal and started having more anxiety than usual (because prozac never helped with that), another doctor switched me to effexor. I have to say it's never worked to keep me anxiety free. Not that I expect to live an anxiety free life. I've been through a lot of changes in my life that would make anyone depressed and anxious at times. Other times I've handled things fine.
I'm not going to engage in a lot of discussion about what science proves, because there are so many conflicting theories out there, and because they change over time. Besides, as has been pointed out here, everyone is different.
I am taking vistaril to help with withdrawal, as well as vit d, omega 3, vitamins. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs although I've been without either for several weeks leading me to believe that MAY be the missing piece. There are a lot of factors that play into this whole business and I am certainly willing to try different things but cant be too hasty about changing things up too much too soon, because then who knows what does and doesn't work. When I worked as a nurse in treatment facilities and mental health hospitals it really surprised me how quickly doctors would switch patients to different meds, throw so many at them at the same time, without giving one time to even make a difference (since we know these types of meds typically dont make a difference immediately). It was scary to see.
I can see clearly even through the withdrawal, that a lot of my symptoms are ones I had when I withdrew from neurontin, and I survived that, so it gives me hope. It's just a rough spot. The last thing I want to do is to reinstate something that didn't really work but I also see the doctors point in wanting me to start on a low dosage to eliminate the wd symptoms, I got the rx filled several weeks ago but I'm not convinced it will help. I'm happy it works for some people to be on whatever dosage they feel comfortable with and eventually I may be there again, who knows.
I'm only reaching out for support during this situation and getting strength from members here who are on the other side of this.
Thanks everyone for all your input.

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@secretwhitepop

Wow! You truly summed it up! I appreciated that. Truly. I’m one of those folks that want desperately to be drug free. But wanna know what happened when I went off (well, very slowly weened – successfully, I might add, when it came to side effects). I moved my family from our home of 15 years, bought a house and two pieces of property and got another job. (About to leave the one I’ve had for over 20 years – all while on Effexor)

There’s no denying that I, personally, have a more stable life while on SSRI or SNRI’s. There’s no denying that my family suffers when I am drug-free (although I’ve only done this the one time).

While I didn’t make completely irrational decisions and, being drug free “inspired” me to take chances I hadn’t previously taken – I can’t say I regret my decisions. Additionally, I am in the middle of family loss and menopause! Ha!

I am grateful for my family and friend who stuck around. And, I am slowly accepting that I am a happier and much more stable person with the assistance of meds.

Not sure I’ll go back on Effexor, but there’s a chance I will since I’m on two meds now and would prefer just one 🙂

Anyway – thanks.

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That's great I am glad you are doing well.

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