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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@sandij

That's great news! Yes, we stay positive these changes will move us forward!!

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I’m needing advice. I am off of Effexor since March. I took Prozac as a bridge for a while as the withdrawals were bad. Since then I have been on every SSRI available and have horrible side effects, restlessness, restless legs, anxiety, agitation. It seems my body is super sensitive to it. I was recently put on WellbutrinXL, this was even worse for me. I realize I need something for depression and anxiety, and I am hesitant about going back on a SNRI, but I don’t think I have a choice. Any suggestions on what I should try? I left my Psychiatrist and went to my Primary Care Provider, but I believe that was a big mistake. What medicine do you suggest that is not so mind altering as Effexor? I feel like a failure going through all I went through with Effexor and it’s withdrawal to just go back there.

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@babydoll

I’m needing advice. I am off of Effexor since March. I took Prozac as a bridge for a while as the withdrawals were bad. Since then I have been on every SSRI available and have horrible side effects, restlessness, restless legs, anxiety, agitation. It seems my body is super sensitive to it. I was recently put on WellbutrinXL, this was even worse for me. I realize I need something for depression and anxiety, and I am hesitant about going back on a SNRI, but I don’t think I have a choice. Any suggestions on what I should try? I left my Psychiatrist and went to my Primary Care Provider, but I believe that was a big mistake. What medicine do you suggest that is not so mind altering as Effexor? I feel like a failure going through all I went through with Effexor and it’s withdrawal to just go back there.

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Since stopping effexor in March, you've been on several different ADs? That seems unhelpful at the least. It takes a while, like weeks, for medications to take effect, so changing them so often is going to cause lots of instability and send you into withdrawal from all of them. What are your symptoms now? As it anxiety/depression or is it withdrawal from the multiple meds?

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@babydoll

I’m needing advice. I am off of Effexor since March. I took Prozac as a bridge for a while as the withdrawals were bad. Since then I have been on every SSRI available and have horrible side effects, restlessness, restless legs, anxiety, agitation. It seems my body is super sensitive to it. I was recently put on WellbutrinXL, this was even worse for me. I realize I need something for depression and anxiety, and I am hesitant about going back on a SNRI, but I don’t think I have a choice. Any suggestions on what I should try? I left my Psychiatrist and went to my Primary Care Provider, but I believe that was a big mistake. What medicine do you suggest that is not so mind altering as Effexor? I feel like a failure going through all I went through with Effexor and it’s withdrawal to just go back there.

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Never feel like a failure, first of all. Second, I needed a mood stabilizer for a week then Zoloft in top. Seroquel then SSRI. Almost like taking an snri all over again. But that’s what works for me.

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@babydoll

I’m needing advice. I am off of Effexor since March. I took Prozac as a bridge for a while as the withdrawals were bad. Since then I have been on every SSRI available and have horrible side effects, restlessness, restless legs, anxiety, agitation. It seems my body is super sensitive to it. I was recently put on WellbutrinXL, this was even worse for me. I realize I need something for depression and anxiety, and I am hesitant about going back on a SNRI, but I don’t think I have a choice. Any suggestions on what I should try? I left my Psychiatrist and went to my Primary Care Provider, but I believe that was a big mistake. What medicine do you suggest that is not so mind altering as Effexor? I feel like a failure going through all I went through with Effexor and it’s withdrawal to just go back there.

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@babydoll
Failure doesn't come into it; how you respond (or don't) to a medication isn't a character flaw. Antidepressants are VERY powerful and are DESIGNED to mess with your head–of course, it's going to take some time and real effort to get off them and YES, sometimes, you find out you do need to be on them.

@sandij has a good point about ping-ponging on/off other ADs over a short period of time although I certainly understand how awful the anxiety and agitation/restlessness can be–I wanted mine to stop NOW. I did not use Prozac, but was prescribed Valium to take as needed and started taking a LOT of supplements. You can click on my name and go back and read my posts.

I was on 25mg Effexor for 18 years for hot flashes. It's only NOW–16 months after my last tapered dose–that I feel NORMAL. AND that's with me still taking supplements (L-tryptophan, GABA, ashwaganda, fish oil and L-methylfolate). I haven't been posting here for a couple of weeks because feeling normal has been so STARTLING that I keep waiting for "the other shoe to drop." My husband asked if I was going to discontinue one set of supplements because I'm doing so well–honestly, I'm afraid to mess with success right now! (Although I probably will after a few more weeks of normalcy as taking all this stuff is not cheap.)

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@sandij

Since stopping effexor in March, you've been on several different ADs? That seems unhelpful at the least. It takes a while, like weeks, for medications to take effect, so changing them so often is going to cause lots of instability and send you into withdrawal from all of them. What are your symptoms now? As it anxiety/depression or is it withdrawal from the multiple meds?

Jump to this post

A week in my symptoms intensified greatly, that I felt like I was going out of my mind, restless, agitated, anxiety. I tried to get through that and I couldn’t, so I would stop and two days later I was better. Then a month being on nothing I was needing something again. My PCP is definitely not helping.

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@texasduchess

@babydoll
Failure doesn't come into it; how you respond (or don't) to a medication isn't a character flaw. Antidepressants are VERY powerful and are DESIGNED to mess with your head–of course, it's going to take some time and real effort to get off them and YES, sometimes, you find out you do need to be on them.

@sandij has a good point about ping-ponging on/off other ADs over a short period of time although I certainly understand how awful the anxiety and agitation/restlessness can be–I wanted mine to stop NOW. I did not use Prozac, but was prescribed Valium to take as needed and started taking a LOT of supplements. You can click on my name and go back and read my posts.

I was on 25mg Effexor for 18 years for hot flashes. It's only NOW–16 months after my last tapered dose–that I feel NORMAL. AND that's with me still taking supplements (L-tryptophan, GABA, ashwaganda, fish oil and L-methylfolate). I haven't been posting here for a couple of weeks because feeling normal has been so STARTLING that I keep waiting for "the other shoe to drop." My husband asked if I was going to discontinue one set of supplements because I'm doing so well–honestly, I'm afraid to mess with success right now! (Although I probably will after a few more weeks of normalcy as taking all this stuff is not cheap.)

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I just know, I can’t continue like this. I can’t function at work or home. Have no energy or interest in anything and I cannot enjoy life at all. I just want to cry and hide from everyone and everything.

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@babydoll

I’m needing advice. I am off of Effexor since March. I took Prozac as a bridge for a while as the withdrawals were bad. Since then I have been on every SSRI available and have horrible side effects, restlessness, restless legs, anxiety, agitation. It seems my body is super sensitive to it. I was recently put on WellbutrinXL, this was even worse for me. I realize I need something for depression and anxiety, and I am hesitant about going back on a SNRI, but I don’t think I have a choice. Any suggestions on what I should try? I left my Psychiatrist and went to my Primary Care Provider, but I believe that was a big mistake. What medicine do you suggest that is not so mind altering as Effexor? I feel like a failure going through all I went through with Effexor and it’s withdrawal to just go back there.

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I would not fo back on Effexor if I was you. I WAS ON effexor for 3 years and yes it was a complete nightmare to come off of but I guess everybody's bodys are differant because most people here didnt think it was a good idea for me to just stop taking it after I tapered down to 37.5 but I did and I went threw it for sure. I hallucinated I couldn't sleep. My head hurt so badly I ached everywhere. My heart rate went up for awhile But I DID GET THREW IT with just valium a couple times a day. Took the edge off only. Any ways it took me probably 20days and now I'm done with that poison and I feel 100percent better. I still have bad days but not bad enough I would ever take effexor again…
If you need to take an anti depressant Ask the Dr about lexapro. Have u tried that before. I was on that for anxiety and depression for about year before I started effexor. When I quit taking lexapro my only side effect was extreme crying No where near the effects of effexor!!!!!!!!
I know it's hard girl. You
Will find yourself a food psychologist and get on a good regimen I JUST WOULDN'T TAKE EFFEXOR.
I take magnesium to help me sleep plus helps muscle spasms and I am on klonopin 2x a day. Maybe they will help u that way and you should just try klonopin just once a day cause I'm aware its addicting in itself or when needed. I
This is just my story
Everyone has there own story on here
Everyone's so helpful and knowledgeable and seems like always there to help.
This gave me an outlit when I was going threw my withdrawls. I would just get on here and go on and on and get my days mixed up on goodness they thought I was crazy on here. I just was so scared and confused but It was the best thing i could of ever done was to leave that effexor and move forward
Good luck your in a great chat room that's for sure
God bless
Lisa

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@babydoll

A week in my symptoms intensified greatly, that I felt like I was going out of my mind, restless, agitated, anxiety. I tried to get through that and I couldn’t, so I would stop and two days later I was better. Then a month being on nothing I was needing something again. My PCP is definitely not helping.

Jump to this post

I'm not understanding your timeline when you said after the intensified withdrawal you couldn't get through it and would "stop and two days later I was better. You were going back on the effexor then? And then started prozac to bridge, then you were on several other antidepressants since March? Im sorry to be so obtuse in understanding when and what you have been on. Bottom line is, after you stop taking effexor, reinstatement can actually be dangerous, unless it's been within 10 days since the last dose, or six months after. You can google that for references (I'm on my phone and limited in my ability to cut and paste). If you've also been starting and stopping various ADs since March, depending on the half life of each of those, you are most likely going to, or possibly are now, experiencing withdrawal symptoms from some if not all of those. Also, it is very difficult to discern whether you may need experiencing a "relapse" with the original diagnosis (anxiety, depression) OR if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Doctors are very quick to say that you need medication for any symptom you might have. And of course at this point desperation has set in and you are willing to do anything to make it all stop. Whether or not you need an AD is not a moral dilemma, there is no shame in needing medication, but you need to be at a baseline in order to determine that, and your brain and body are very confused right now due to all of the medication changes. I think taking vistaril helped me through some of the later withdrawal symptoms, it's an antihistamine. Or you could try benadryl and ibuprofen. Personally i would hesitate to go on a benzo such as valium or klonopin to get you through, only because they are extremely difficult to withdrawal from,and the abuse potential would be too high for me myself to risk. We all have such different experiences theres no one solution. In fact through the recovery process the solutions dont always stay constant. I co.pletely understand where you're at. It WILL improve. But you also need to remember waves and windows, which is rarely discussed in this forum and is SO important to understand!! So please research that, it will give you hope.

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@sandij

I'm not understanding your timeline when you said after the intensified withdrawal you couldn't get through it and would "stop and two days later I was better. You were going back on the effexor then? And then started prozac to bridge, then you were on several other antidepressants since March? Im sorry to be so obtuse in understanding when and what you have been on. Bottom line is, after you stop taking effexor, reinstatement can actually be dangerous, unless it's been within 10 days since the last dose, or six months after. You can google that for references (I'm on my phone and limited in my ability to cut and paste). If you've also been starting and stopping various ADs since March, depending on the half life of each of those, you are most likely going to, or possibly are now, experiencing withdrawal symptoms from some if not all of those. Also, it is very difficult to discern whether you may need experiencing a "relapse" with the original diagnosis (anxiety, depression) OR if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Doctors are very quick to say that you need medication for any symptom you might have. And of course at this point desperation has set in and you are willing to do anything to make it all stop. Whether or not you need an AD is not a moral dilemma, there is no shame in needing medication, but you need to be at a baseline in order to determine that, and your brain and body are very confused right now due to all of the medication changes. I think taking vistaril helped me through some of the later withdrawal symptoms, it's an antihistamine. Or you could try benadryl and ibuprofen. Personally i would hesitate to go on a benzo such as valium or klonopin to get you through, only because they are extremely difficult to withdrawal from,and the abuse potential would be too high for me myself to risk. We all have such different experiences theres no one solution. In fact through the recovery process the solutions dont always stay constant. I co.pletely understand where you're at. It WILL improve. But you also need to remember waves and windows, which is rarely discussed in this forum and is SO important to understand!! So please research that, it will give you hope.

Jump to this post

I have not taken Effexor since March. I was on Prozac for 2 months and the anxiety and dry mouth were unbearable, so I tapered off of that, then was put on Zoloft, same thing after a week, horrible side effects, tapered off of that, then a month later on nothing I was put on WellbutrinXL. One week and I was crazy anxious and irritable. I stopped this 3 days ago. Today I am so irritable and depressed it’s horrible. I just hope I can get back in with my Psychiatrist soon.

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@babydoll

I have not taken Effexor since March. I was on Prozac for 2 months and the anxiety and dry mouth were unbearable, so I tapered off of that, then was put on Zoloft, same thing after a week, horrible side effects, tapered off of that, then a month later on nothing I was put on WellbutrinXL. One week and I was crazy anxious and irritable. I stopped this 3 days ago. Today I am so irritable and depressed it’s horrible. I just hope I can get back in with my Psychiatrist soon.

Jump to this post

Yes! I couldn’t take the side effects of lexapro. Terrible anxiety! So I weened off that the. Got in seroquel. A mood stabilizer. Then added Zoloft (a mood lifter). Now almost feeling like myself. Almost. Having vertigo and not sure if it’s a sinus thing or SSRI thing. And still not gaining any weight back.

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@texasduchess

@babydoll
Failure doesn't come into it; how you respond (or don't) to a medication isn't a character flaw. Antidepressants are VERY powerful and are DESIGNED to mess with your head–of course, it's going to take some time and real effort to get off them and YES, sometimes, you find out you do need to be on them.

@sandij has a good point about ping-ponging on/off other ADs over a short period of time although I certainly understand how awful the anxiety and agitation/restlessness can be–I wanted mine to stop NOW. I did not use Prozac, but was prescribed Valium to take as needed and started taking a LOT of supplements. You can click on my name and go back and read my posts.

I was on 25mg Effexor for 18 years for hot flashes. It's only NOW–16 months after my last tapered dose–that I feel NORMAL. AND that's with me still taking supplements (L-tryptophan, GABA, ashwaganda, fish oil and L-methylfolate). I haven't been posting here for a couple of weeks because feeling normal has been so STARTLING that I keep waiting for "the other shoe to drop." My husband asked if I was going to discontinue one set of supplements because I'm doing so well–honestly, I'm afraid to mess with success right now! (Although I probably will after a few more weeks of normalcy as taking all this stuff is not cheap.)

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@babydoll Hello Everybody I just wanted to take a moment and say What great advice that texasduchess gave you guys!

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Last year this site gave me light and hope. Of course, it still does. Haha! I went down deep into depression. It was the first time for me that I could not take
care of myself. My boyfriend jumped up to the plate and took care of me financially. I still have Chronic Pain but understand what is happening to me. I did lose 5 people in my life last year. It was all I could take. 5 jobs lost and now after several medications (Drove my MD doctor crazy)I am back on my Prozac at a stronger dose. I feel much better. I have changed my diet. My stomach is 100% better No bleeding etc. I use Celebrex at a higher dose now and Tylenol. I am gonna try to go back to the Mayo Clinic again in the future. I still have PTSD but understand myself better now too. Thanks for everyone that has kept me going. This has been a great place to grow!!!!

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@catcatanzaro60

Last year this site gave me light and hope. Of course, it still does. Haha! I went down deep into depression. It was the first time for me that I could not take
care of myself. My boyfriend jumped up to the plate and took care of me financially. I still have Chronic Pain but understand what is happening to me. I did lose 5 people in my life last year. It was all I could take. 5 jobs lost and now after several medications (Drove my MD doctor crazy)I am back on my Prozac at a stronger dose. I feel much better. I have changed my diet. My stomach is 100% better No bleeding etc. I use Celebrex at a higher dose now and Tylenol. I am gonna try to go back to the Mayo Clinic again in the future. I still have PTSD but understand myself better now too. Thanks for everyone that has kept me going. This has been a great place to grow!!!!

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I wholeheartedly agree.

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It's so good to hear people's healing journeys!

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I joined this group in the hopes of finding ideas to help my mom. She was on a variety of meds but after an in patient stay, weaned off of them. Thankfully the tremors went away. Unfortunately the remeron dr prescribed didn’t work. So now she’s back on Zoloft after 5 years or so. Praying it kicks in soon. We’re all exhausted. Thank you for all of your uplifting thoughts.

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