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

I just switched from 150mg to 75mg the other day and fortunately I have not felt anything yet, I do have the occasional body zaps where everything is super sensitive and I feel like going crazy because of it. Its a very scary feeling and I have been taking this for about a year now with 150mg being my highest dose. I got out of the Marine Corps in 2015 and was diagnosed by my doctor with severe depression and ptsd. I have not tried tapering off of the medication yet but I am afraid of the nightmares and discomfort that comes with it. What can I do that is not more medicine or doctor related that will make this transition easier for me. I feel like I am coming out on top of all my problems mentally and I started to overcome my weaknesses that lead me to this point in life. I want to feel "normal" again without having the thought of running back to this lifestyle.

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@alextheman123

I just switched from 150mg to 75mg the other day and fortunately I have not felt anything yet, I do have the occasional body zaps where everything is super sensitive and I feel like going crazy because of it. Its a very scary feeling and I have been taking this for about a year now with 150mg being my highest dose. I got out of the Marine Corps in 2015 and was diagnosed by my doctor with severe depression and ptsd. I have not tried tapering off of the medication yet but I am afraid of the nightmares and discomfort that comes with it. What can I do that is not more medicine or doctor related that will make this transition easier for me. I feel like I am coming out on top of all my problems mentally and I started to overcome my weaknesses that lead me to this point in life. I want to feel "normal" again without having the thought of running back to this lifestyle.

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@alextheman123
Welcome and thank you for your service!!!
I don't know if you have had the opportunity to read some of the posts regarding the tapering off of Effexor.
Going from 140mg to 75mg in one move is A LOT!
Most of us have found that tapering off should be EXTREMELY SLOW!!
Withdrawal from Effexor can be very harsh!!!
There are some members who have wound up in the hospital because they made the jump too quickly and their bodies and minds could not take it.
I, myself, have been tapering down on my Effexor.
I started in mid-November taking 2-75mgs in the morning and at night.
It took me all this time to get to 1-75mg at night.
I have NOT yet even touched my morning dose.
Be VERY careful because the withdrawal impact can hit even weeks after.

Please understand that it is not that I am not trying to be negative, I just want you to do this in the healthiest way possible.
If you can, take the time to read through some of the posts.

Good luck!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@sandij

Checking in on day 5 effexor free. I have been vigilant about taking benadryl and ibuprofen for the dizziness and to prevent headaches, and continued vitamin D, omega 3, some CBD oil, and I have started taking dessicated liver on the advice of my acupuncturist due to the recent liver issues, and still taking my regular TCM remedy.
I have been eating like crazy!
One thing that is very different is that I have been urinating a lot more frequently, and have no idea why.
The dizziness is quite bearable actually, and sometimes I have some shivering. But this is NOTHING NEW! I have experienced these symptoms even worse at smaller tapers. From 75 to around 68 mg was the worst taper I had ever experienced. From that dose down to nothing has been easier so far. The best thing is that even though the dizziness is keeping me from being super productive (can hardly sew a straight line!) my motivation is back, I have not had to have naps, like I was doing for years and I actually feel like going outside instead of laying in a dark room watching youtube videos all day. I have had some serious crying jags but not coming from an emotional place, just more of a purge or release, and they pass pretty quickly. Same with some of the angry bouts. I actually have some hope that everything is going to be ok with this decision. Hope everyone is having a good day. Hang in there.

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@sandij

Good Morning!
Sounds like you've got things under control!
You seem to know just how to handle what symptoms you are having.

Continued luck with your tapering!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@alextheman123

I just switched from 150mg to 75mg the other day and fortunately I have not felt anything yet, I do have the occasional body zaps where everything is super sensitive and I feel like going crazy because of it. Its a very scary feeling and I have been taking this for about a year now with 150mg being my highest dose. I got out of the Marine Corps in 2015 and was diagnosed by my doctor with severe depression and ptsd. I have not tried tapering off of the medication yet but I am afraid of the nightmares and discomfort that comes with it. What can I do that is not more medicine or doctor related that will make this transition easier for me. I feel like I am coming out on top of all my problems mentally and I started to overcome my weaknesses that lead me to this point in life. I want to feel "normal" again without having the thought of running back to this lifestyle.

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Welcome @alextheman123
You are in the right place. My last dose of 150mg Effexor was Jan, 2018. I did it the hard way, cold turkey. DO NOT DO THIS, it's dangerous.
I found this site cuz I was having problems even months after my last dose. I had a stroke, the drag your foot to the door, drooling, kind in November, 2017. I am completely recovered except for missing brain cells.
The best thing you can do is get to reading cuz your don't have to re-invent the wheel. There are so many tips posted by others in their writings about what helped. See what you identify with and trust your gut. Then use those techniques. Get yourself on CBD now. It helps tremendously. I myself use 2400 mg a month and will take it until the day I die. It helps smooth all the stress you are about to send your body thru.
There is a method of counting beads inside the capsules to decrease that way. Much safer than the way I did it. Someone here knows exactly how many mg is in one bead.
Most important, keep coming back and sharing what is happening as you taper. This group of folks who write here have tons of tricks up our sleves to share with you. Use them or not, it's your choice.
BTW thank you for your service. My husband was a marine, 1954 to 1956, Korea. I honor you also. I am from the Vietnam war era, when the troops who came back were not honored. Times have changed for the better.
Have you joined a VFW? Those who have come before you in serving our country have many tips to share as so many of them have experienced what you are going thru. Talking about it helps.
I want you to keep one phrase in your mind as you feel the symptoms of withdrawal. "This too shall pass". Keep telling yourself this. Cuz it will.
Just keep coming back.
Smiling at you, Bright Wings

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@alextheman123

I just switched from 150mg to 75mg the other day and fortunately I have not felt anything yet, I do have the occasional body zaps where everything is super sensitive and I feel like going crazy because of it. Its a very scary feeling and I have been taking this for about a year now with 150mg being my highest dose. I got out of the Marine Corps in 2015 and was diagnosed by my doctor with severe depression and ptsd. I have not tried tapering off of the medication yet but I am afraid of the nightmares and discomfort that comes with it. What can I do that is not more medicine or doctor related that will make this transition easier for me. I feel like I am coming out on top of all my problems mentally and I started to overcome my weaknesses that lead me to this point in life. I want to feel "normal" again without having the thought of running back to this lifestyle.

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Best thing you can do, Alex, is to read this forum and count the beads. Perhaps consider that the Rx was given to you NOT because of any weakness on your part – far from it. You were strong enough to seek attention to live your best life. You’re strong enough now to consider living your best life without Effexor. Again, far FAR from weak.

You made a huge jump going from 150 to 75. If you can last a week on 75 and have some good days, I suggest staying on 75 for at least a month. Then grab 30 capsules and remove about 10 beads from each for your next thirty days.

It’ll take several months to get down to half, but then get a RX for 37.5.

When I was down to 37.5 (what my ill-informed doc called “pediatric” and that I could go cold turkey off of) I counted beads again, only 5 per month from each pill. (5 one month, then 10, then 15…). Took me 18 months.

You’re a smart guy. Remember that as your dose gets smaller, 5 beads is a larger and larger jump, no shame in doing 3 beads! And always “hold whatcha got” if you start feeling bad during a transition. Let your body slowly adjust.

Remember, YOU WILL SUCCEED! Just take time. The world needs people like you. Myself and my Country are grateful for your sacrifices!

Stay with this forum. Let us know what’s going on. All will be well.

🙂

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Ok, checking in…I am continuing to guard my energy and being successful at it. My house is looking better, as I go thru different rooms, I am straightening up things. Since I don't get the same energy while in a MS relapse, I have to ignore things till I do have energy. It sucks but I do not have OCD like my mom.
I did go to my VFW breakfast. Giggling, I did not get one of the leftover cinnamon rolls, they were all gone by the time I got there at 8 am. They were a big hit. For the music at the VFW Thursday, I am making what I have named, banana dirt pie…regular pie crist, banana pudding, bananas and crumbled brownies on top. That will be a big hit too.
It seems I worried so many folks by not attending Monday night music. They know how much I love it..they were worried I was ill. I will certainly notify folks if I am not attending again.
I have thought a lot about my statement of feeling punished and realize this was a residual of my childhood. It's so rare for me to have anything jump up from my past anymore. I chose actively to stay home, so no one was punishing me. Interesting to have this jump up now.
Ok, the only plans I have today is to head to the senior center for lunch and spend some time at the waterfall. Weather permitting as I see dark clouds rolling in…
Bye, have a great day, I know I am. Happy and hopeful, Bright Wings

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@secretwhitepop

Best thing you can do, Alex, is to read this forum and count the beads. Perhaps consider that the Rx was given to you NOT because of any weakness on your part – far from it. You were strong enough to seek attention to live your best life. You’re strong enough now to consider living your best life without Effexor. Again, far FAR from weak.

You made a huge jump going from 150 to 75. If you can last a week on 75 and have some good days, I suggest staying on 75 for at least a month. Then grab 30 capsules and remove about 10 beads from each for your next thirty days.

It’ll take several months to get down to half, but then get a RX for 37.5.

When I was down to 37.5 (what my ill-informed doc called “pediatric” and that I could go cold turkey off of) I counted beads again, only 5 per month from each pill. (5 one month, then 10, then 15…). Took me 18 months.

You’re a smart guy. Remember that as your dose gets smaller, 5 beads is a larger and larger jump, no shame in doing 3 beads! And always “hold whatcha got” if you start feeling bad during a transition. Let your body slowly adjust.

Remember, YOU WILL SUCCEED! Just take time. The world needs people like you. Myself and my Country are grateful for your sacrifices!

Stay with this forum. Let us know what’s going on. All will be well.

🙂

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@secretwhitepop, Bubbles
I want to share how Good I felt after reading this post. Honey, you are getting so wise and expressing yourself so well. Ah I understand, this empath has once again connected to you and I am feeling the love and caring you were expressing to Alex. It came thru loud and clear. It made me feel so good. I thank you.
How is it going with mom?
Any trouble maintaining your shield?
Smiling at you and sending a huge ball of love to surround yourself with when you choose. Pass it on when you don't need it anymore.I am so proud of you!
Bright Wings

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Alex, you are the man! Thank you for your service. It is possible to get off of this horrid drug. It takes much courage and the determination, both of which I am sure you have plenty of! And you have come to the right place for support and education. You will see that many of our members have had so many experience that you can learn from. Of course there is nothing like having your own individual experience through trial and error. The most important thing to remember is that you will NOT die from this! Although you may experience discomfort, it is only temporary.
My first cut in mg was back in September of 2018.I had been on 225 mg for many years and I went directly to 150. I felt great for one month, I couldn't believe it! Then some withdrawal set in which disappointed me, but it was ok. Mostly affected my mood and depleted my energy. My next cut, in December, was down to 75. Again, some withdrawal. I hated the bad days, especially when they strung together seeming to be endless. But I survived it!
I had heard that after reaching a smaller dose it would become more difficult to handle the tapers, so at 75 mg I started opening capsules and counting beads, removing enough to make my dosage approximately 68 me. It was horrible. The fatigue, body aches, depression, lack of interest in doing anything, I basically slept all the time. I felt defeated and added some beads back in. I honestly was disgusted with the whole process and at some point, I just decided to rip off the bandaid and quit. I must say that one of the reasons behind this decision was that I started reading Claire Weekes and listening to her many videos on youtube. She was definitely a pioneer in the field of anxiety and depression and although her work is not directly on the topic of ADs it is so very useful. I also started watching various youtube videos about anxiety, withdrawal, and depression.One of my main challenges is becoming anxious about experiencing withdrawal! It is a vicious cycle.
There are so many of us out here that have suffered the effects of these medications, I find strength and hope in their experiences. My hope is that you will, as well!
So here I am, this is day 6 of being effexor free and remaining cautiously optimistic. If I can help you navigate through this journey please let me know!!
Sandi

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I would also recommend a great website, Jovian Archives, not at all about effexor but a wealth of material about realizing who you are meant to be in this life. Human Design has changed my life by allowing me to see and align myself with my design.

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This was in my inbox today. I subscribe to Daily Stoic.
Look, nobody wants to go through hard times. We’d prefer that things go according to plan, that what could go wrong doesn’t, so that we might enjoy our lives without being challenged or tested beyond our limits.
Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen. Which leaves us then with the question of what good there is in such difficulty and how we might—either in the moment or after the fact—come to understand what it is that we’re going through…today, tomorrow, and always.
This passage from Sonia Purnell’s wonderful biography of Clementine Churchill, wife of Winston Churchill, is worth thinking about this morning:
“Clementine was not cut out from birth for the part history handed her. Adversity, combined with sheer willpower, burnished a timorous, self-doubting bundle of nerves and emotion into a wartime consort of unparalleled composure, wisdom, and courage. The flames of many hardships in early life forged the inner core of steel she needed for her biggest test of all. By the Second World War the young child terrified of her father…had transmogrified into a woman cowed by no one.”
The Stoics believed that adversity was inevitable. They knew that Fortune was capricious and that it often subjected us to things we were not remotely prepared to handle. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. Because it teaches us. It strengthens us. It gives us a chance to prove ourselves. “Disaster,” Seneca wrote, “is Virtue’s opportunity.” As he writes in On Providence:
“Familiarity with exposure to danger will give contempt for danger. So the bodies of sailors are hardy from buffeting the sea, the hands of farmers are callous, the soldier’s muscles have the strength to hurl weapons, and the legs of a runner are nimble. In each, his staunchest member is the one that he has exercised. By enduring ills the mind attains contempt for the endurance of them; you will know what this can accomplish in our own case, if you will observe how much the peoples that are destitute and, by reason of their want, more sturdy, secure by toil.”
Basically, he was describing the same phenomenon that transformed Clementine Churchill from a timid young girl into the brave woman who inspired millions of Britons and Europeans through one of the darkest ordeals in the history of the modern world. The difficulty she went through early in life forged for her a backbone upon which she and countless others came to depend.
And so the same can be true for you and whatever it is that you’re going through right now. Yes, it would probably be preferable if everything went your way and if you could count on smooth sailing for the rest of your life. But you can’t. You’re stuck with this present moment instead.
So use it. Be hardened and improved by it. Be transformed by it. The world needs more Clementines. And you can be one of them.

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@grandmar

@sandij

Good Morning!
Sounds like you've got things under control!
You seem to know just how to handle what symptoms you are having.

Continued luck with your tapering!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@grandmar thank you, this means so much!!

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@sandij

@grandmar thank you, this means so much!!

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@sandij
The more I read your posts, the more I see how alike we are. Nurses, helpers, both struggling and being victorious in meeting our many needs. I sure wished we lived closer cuz I would love to be your friend in real life. We are both examples of having enough heart AND strength to change the things that were not ideal in our lives to start, and moving to get to be where WE WANT TO BE.
My hat is off to you. I know you WILL BE Victorious in gaining the life you desire. I see the heart of a lion in you.
Best wishes and support, Bright Wings.

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