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

You may be going way too fast. What was your original dosage?

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My original dosage was 150mgs.

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@doorman

You are NOT alone.

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Thank you!

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@graygale

I have been weaning myself off of Effexor for the last six weeks. I have been taking it for 24 years. I had no idea how hard this would be. I decreased my dose every seven days and had headaches, dizziness, and zaps for a few days each time I decreased. I took my last dose on Saturday. I thought I would have only a few days of symptoms. I have had constant headaches, dizziness, and the zaps are almost constant. This is the first day I am going to try to get out. I am so glad I found this thread, just to know I’m not alone. I am very active and people have no idea what we go through when we try to gain some control over our lives. I had no idea how much this drug was controlling how I think, feel, and how numb I was to normal emotions. I normally don’t post on any sites, but the support each of you are giving others in sharing your most personal experiences is something I want to be a part of. So glad not to be as alone as I thought!

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Wow, I didn’t think there was that many ppl who have been on anti depressants for so long. That fact that I’ve been on for that long makes me feel alone and wondering if I’ll ever recover or be able to live without them.. I too, have been weaning myself off of Effexor, although I’ve been on many Different anti depressants. Personally I want to get off because I feel like it’s marking me worse.. creating mood drops and keeping my perception surreal… I also get anxiety for no apparent reason. (Pretty good at this as I have ocd, I got pretty good at picking off my triggers over the years..)..is this crazy? Can I ask what is your reason for wanting to quit? Or anyone for that matter? What’s your reasons to quit? I’d be interested in hearing from anyone but especially those who have been on for more than 10years..

Thanks so much

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@lisalucier

Hi, @cp6401 – good to hear you are much better.

A couple of other Connect threads you might want to check out include:

– Long-term depression https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/long-term-depression

– Best antidepressants for anxiety https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/antidepressants-and-benzo-taper

– Going off citalopram (Celexa) https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/going-off-citalopram

When you mention TRT, are you referring to testosterone therapy like that described in this Mayo Clinic article https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/testosterone-therapy/art-20045728?

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Hi @lisalucier thanks for the links. Yes that trt. Delatestryl to be exact. My testosterone was barely on the charts it was so low..

Unfortunately I just went through another rough patch while still at 37.5.. I think I will stay here till the new year.. then resume..for what it’s worth.. personally I don’t care abut the brainzaps or headaches, but the anxiety and irritability are horrible.. I feel so bad subjecting my family and kids to that behavior🙁

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@cp6401

Wow, I didn’t think there was that many ppl who have been on anti depressants for so long. That fact that I’ve been on for that long makes me feel alone and wondering if I’ll ever recover or be able to live without them.. I too, have been weaning myself off of Effexor, although I’ve been on many Different anti depressants. Personally I want to get off because I feel like it’s marking me worse.. creating mood drops and keeping my perception surreal… I also get anxiety for no apparent reason. (Pretty good at this as I have ocd, I got pretty good at picking off my triggers over the years..)..is this crazy? Can I ask what is your reason for wanting to quit? Or anyone for that matter? What’s your reasons to quit? I’d be interested in hearing from anyone but especially those who have been on for more than 10years..

Thanks so much

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I have recently found a joy in my spiritual growth that I have never felt. I want to experience life as myself with no chemicals to change who I am or who I am becoming. I have a growing personal relationship with Christ and I find that for a long time I have given to much control to mankind and medication to solving my life’s problems. I am a recently retired RN. Most people would be surprised at the number of medical professionals are on antidepressants. It’s so easy to go into a Drs office with problems that are never discovered, but only symptoms which are controlled or covered up with a pill. For the first time in my adult life I am working on myself. This has been very difficult, but I am determined to see it through. Please don’t think that I believe that medication is not a good solution to mental health issues. For me, I just want to find out who I am after all of these years of taking a drug that has a direct effect on my brain chemicals. I hope you can find some inspiration from my story. I understand how you feel when you say your perception is surreal.

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@graygale

I have recently found a joy in my spiritual growth that I have never felt. I want to experience life as myself with no chemicals to change who I am or who I am becoming. I have a growing personal relationship with Christ and I find that for a long time I have given to much control to mankind and medication to solving my life’s problems. I am a recently retired RN. Most people would be surprised at the number of medical professionals are on antidepressants. It’s so easy to go into a Drs office with problems that are never discovered, but only symptoms which are controlled or covered up with a pill. For the first time in my adult life I am working on myself. This has been very difficult, but I am determined to see it through. Please don’t think that I believe that medication is not a good solution to mental health issues. For me, I just want to find out who I am after all of these years of taking a drug that has a direct effect on my brain chemicals. I hope you can find some inspiration from my story. I understand how you feel when you say your perception is surreal.

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I can completely relate to everything you are saying. On my quest to do the same I decided to taper off effexor as I'd been on it for over 20 years. Unfortunately I went too fast, suffered for six months, reinstated, and am still not myself. I'm back up to 150 mg and got put on buspar as well. I am not myself. Ironic that on my desire to become the real me, I'm now further from that goal than ever. I just try to hold hope that it's all in gods plan. Praying for you on your journey.

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@sandij

I can completely relate to everything you are saying. On my quest to do the same I decided to taper off effexor as I'd been on it for over 20 years. Unfortunately I went too fast, suffered for six months, reinstated, and am still not myself. I'm back up to 150 mg and got put on buspar as well. I am not myself. Ironic that on my desire to become the real me, I'm now further from that goal than ever. I just try to hold hope that it's all in gods plan. Praying for you on your journey.

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Thank you. I hope if it is still your desire, the right time comes for you to try again. Thanks for your prayers!

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@cp6401

Wow, I didn’t think there was that many ppl who have been on anti depressants for so long. That fact that I’ve been on for that long makes me feel alone and wondering if I’ll ever recover or be able to live without them.. I too, have been weaning myself off of Effexor, although I’ve been on many Different anti depressants. Personally I want to get off because I feel like it’s marking me worse.. creating mood drops and keeping my perception surreal… I also get anxiety for no apparent reason. (Pretty good at this as I have ocd, I got pretty good at picking off my triggers over the years..)..is this crazy? Can I ask what is your reason for wanting to quit? Or anyone for that matter? What’s your reasons to quit? I’d be interested in hearing from anyone but especially those who have been on for more than 10years..

Thanks so much

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Oh! I started on zoloft for a few months, then Effexor for the best part of 20 years! Then weened off now back on zoloft. And nope, don’t feel like myself yet, but I am also suffering from vertigo currently… so that’s a whole other ball of wax!

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@secretwhitepop

Oh! I started on zoloft for a few months, then Effexor for the best part of 20 years! Then weened off now back on zoloft. And nope, don’t feel like myself yet, but I am also suffering from vertigo currently… so that’s a whole other ball of wax!

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You know that’s interesting. I’ve also always had kind of a sensitivity to dizziness from as early as I can remember. I’m 42 now. And I’ve been on them since late teens.. thanks for mentioning that. I’ve always wondered if the drugs induced that in me..

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@secretwhitepop

Oh! I started on zoloft for a few months, then Effexor for the best part of 20 years! Then weened off now back on zoloft. And nope, don’t feel like myself yet, but I am also suffering from vertigo currently… so that’s a whole other ball of wax!

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I also have had vertigo for years! This doesn’t sound like a coincidence does it? I’m having increased dizziness now that I’ve been off of the Effexor for 5 days. It gets worse with the zaps. I expect to have neither as I compleat the withdrawal. I am being positive.

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It’s interesting that few Doctors know anything about withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants. I knew nothing about withdrawal from antidepressants all these 43 years as a nurse, even though I’ve been on them so long myself and practiced as a psych. nurse for a few years. I expect that the Mayo Clinic is getting an extreme data collecting benefit from our shared experiences. I’m glad we’re sharing on their site. Maybe they will gather enough information so that others want have to blindly search and feel so alone in their journey.

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Sounds like withdrawal symptoms. Maybe tapering too fast.

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@graygale

I also have had vertigo for years! This doesn’t sound like a coincidence does it? I’m having increased dizziness now that I’ve been off of the Effexor for 5 days. It gets worse with the zaps. I expect to have neither as I compleat the withdrawal. I am being positive.

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I’ve been diagnosed with something called PPPD. And I want to say Mayo Clinic is studying it as well. Unfortunately I’m at work (with kids) and can’t remember what PPPD stands for… but the last work is dizziness.

Vertigo stinks! And anxiety plays a role.

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@secretwhitepop

I’ve been diagnosed with something called PPPD. And I want to say Mayo Clinic is studying it as well. Unfortunately I’m at work (with kids) and can’t remember what PPPD stands for… but the last work is dizziness.

Vertigo stinks! And anxiety plays a role.

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Persistent postural-perceptual dizziness

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I am trying to stop taking effexor xr. I have been taking 150 mg for 20 years. I have slowly reduced 37 1/2 mg each month with no problems. Now that I am on the last 37 1/2 , I have tried to stop taking this last dose and I got the brain shivers and was violently sick. Per my docter I am now taking it every other day. Even then I am getting brain shivers and agitation after 36 or so hours. I really want off this medication. Any suggestions to help?

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