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

It will be 4 months at the end of March that I completely stopped Effexor. I continue to suffer from extreme fatigue, hypoglycemic like symptoms, anxiety and shakiness. My cortisol is high at night which interferes with a good night's sleep. I have eliminated wheat from my diet, high carbohydrate foods and sugar. My diet is good and I am eating vegetables, seafood and other foods that provide protein. I rarely eat red meat. I don't know if these symptoms are a result from withdrawal from Effexor or caused by Adrenal dysfunction. Has anyone else experienced these side effects? If so, how long do/did they last in this withdrawal process?

REPLY

I, too, am suffering from extreme fatigue. I am now about 6 months out from the time I started weaning off of the Effexor. I am also experiencing severe gastric problems and have seen a gastroenterologist. He did blood work to check my adrenal and thyroid function and those both came back "normal". I lost my son 6 years ago to PTSD related suicide and I know that grief plays a HUGE role in my problems. Grief, depression and continued anxiety over losing my son are a certain cause of fatigue. I am divorced and live alone, am retired and just can't seem to find my purpose in this world. I live in Ohio and the weather has been unrelenting this winter. Cold and dreary which also adds to my depression. I am trying to eat healthier, eliminating sugar and processed foods. I don't eat red meat either. Actually, my appetite is almost nonexistent and have lost 30 lbs since January when the REAL side effects of the withdrawal hit me like a ton of bricks. From what I have read, it can take 6 months to a year to be totally free from the effects of withdrawal. I am hoping once the weather breaks, I can get out and ride my bike and walk. I am 60 years old and feel like I have a lot of life to live but dealing with the chronic fatigue is truly making me wonder how much longer I can go on. I have no motivation to do anything and rarely leave my home. I saw someone shared a post about CDB oil and I ordered the drops online today. I'm at my wit's end and will try anything at this point….I wish you the best….I guess the only thing we can do at this point is be patient, continue eating healthily and getting exercise which is a natural seratonin booster. God, I wish I could get my life back….

REPLY
@stressedmesseddepressed

What about CBD oil from the hemp plant, legal everywhere and the same benefits – I'm assured – as Medical Marijuana but no THC (therefore, no "high" and legal.) I have no affiliation at all with this company except as a customer, High quality, purefied. They suggest a 550 mg(?) bottle, 3 drops a day, (= about 26 mg) so it ought to last a month but it's $80! (You can buy smaller sizes like a 350 bottle. I suggest calling and they'll answer all of your questions. Hope it's helpful. Good health to you.

greenroadsworld.com

whatiscbd.com

(explains what it is. I personally don't know much about it, a little, and for depression / anxiety, they suggest starting at 3 drops a day. But I am not a medical provider so maybe get a small amount and see if it works to relieve anxiety. Best of health to you).

Jump to this post

I took your advice and placed my first order today….we shall see….

REPLY
@sadiesmom

I, too, am suffering from extreme fatigue. I am now about 6 months out from the time I started weaning off of the Effexor. I am also experiencing severe gastric problems and have seen a gastroenterologist. He did blood work to check my adrenal and thyroid function and those both came back "normal". I lost my son 6 years ago to PTSD related suicide and I know that grief plays a HUGE role in my problems. Grief, depression and continued anxiety over losing my son are a certain cause of fatigue. I am divorced and live alone, am retired and just can't seem to find my purpose in this world. I live in Ohio and the weather has been unrelenting this winter. Cold and dreary which also adds to my depression. I am trying to eat healthier, eliminating sugar and processed foods. I don't eat red meat either. Actually, my appetite is almost nonexistent and have lost 30 lbs since January when the REAL side effects of the withdrawal hit me like a ton of bricks. From what I have read, it can take 6 months to a year to be totally free from the effects of withdrawal. I am hoping once the weather breaks, I can get out and ride my bike and walk. I am 60 years old and feel like I have a lot of life to live but dealing with the chronic fatigue is truly making me wonder how much longer I can go on. I have no motivation to do anything and rarely leave my home. I saw someone shared a post about CDB oil and I ordered the drops online today. I'm at my wit's end and will try anything at this point….I wish you the best….I guess the only thing we can do at this point is be patient, continue eating healthily and getting exercise which is a natural seratonin booster. God, I wish I could get my life back….

Jump to this post

I’m so sorry you are going through this. I just had to move to another room because the sound of my boyfriend’s phone was making me angry. Completely irrational to let something so silly to get me heated… yet here I am – alone and angry over something dumb.

But that is just my disease and the withdrawal getting to me. I read a book once that said “you are not your mind” and that really resonated with me. Sometimes your mind is broken, but that doesn’t mean you are broken. You are you, beautifully imperfect. Please know that the negative thoughts don’t define you.

REPLY
@nicolejewel

Hello,
After 10 years of Effexor 375mg, many trials trying to get off it, or trying to switch to other meds, I finally decided I had to stay on it "for life"… Every time I tried to taper off, or even switch to a different med, I suffered from acute anxiety, and my depression came flooding back. I was over weight but eating healthy, excercising, watching my portions, restricting, restricting, restricting … and no weight loss. Just gradual and persistant weight gain. I was afraid of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, etc. I was afraid of living a shorter life. I "knew" I wasn't going to stop my meds but I had to do something. I decided to try a gluten-free diet, not expecting much, just wanting to feel in control of something about my health. The first 5 days off gluten I felt tired and a bit gloomy. Then a cloud lifted and I started to feel the meaning of a word I had never taken seriously: vitality. After 3 solid weeks gluten-free, I decided to lower my dose of Effexor, just by 75mg. Nothing. No withdrawl symptoms whatsoever. I was expecting the "electrical chocs" and of course the anxiety and depression to come flooding back. No reactions. Two weeks after that attempt, I decided to see just how much I could reduce Effexor without suffering the symptoms for which it had been prescribed (namely depression and anxiety). Weeks and weeks, months and months later, still no withdrawl symptoms. Nothing but steady cognitive functioning. Normal crying. No depression. No anxiety. I felt like I had been taking Effexor for a condition caused by my metabolism. Who would have thought my depression and anxiety were fuelled by a product so innocent as whole grains and multigrain wheat? I got my healthy weight back, my appetite back, my brain back. I feel younger. Gluten intolerance is in fashion at the moment but maybe it is also serious issue. Perhaps we should be checked for metabolic issues (not just thyroid problems!) before been given meds. I feel lucky my health didn't spiral down any further than it did. I try not to feel mad at my psychiatrist for not being more aware about metabolic issues. I really tried to accept my psychiatric diagnosis and prescrbed pills but I'm so glad I didn't give up trying "something" and that that "something" was so simple as giving up gluten to be healthy. Is gluten your problem? Maybe not. But checking your metabolism is a good idea if you are on meds or before going on them. Take gentle care.

Jump to this post

@nicolejewel this is very interesting to me! I’ve been off Effexor or over 2 months now. I am hesitant to go back on any other anti-depressants now that I’ve experienced the horror of withdrawal. However, I know I need “help” and have just started trying CBD oil BUT I am curious about your results with a GF diet. How would I go about getting tested or do you feel it’s best to give it a try on my own to see f I feel better? How do I go about getting started on a GF diet? Could you post exactly what you did and any tips?

REPLY
@stressedmesseddepressed

What about CBD oil from the hemp plant, legal everywhere and the same benefits – I'm assured – as Medical Marijuana but no THC (therefore, no "high" and legal.) I have no affiliation at all with this company except as a customer, High quality, purefied. They suggest a 550 mg(?) bottle, 3 drops a day, (= about 26 mg) so it ought to last a month but it's $80! (You can buy smaller sizes like a 350 bottle. I suggest calling and they'll answer all of your questions. Hope it's helpful. Good health to you.

greenroadsworld.com

whatiscbd.com

(explains what it is. I personally don't know much about it, a little, and for depression / anxiety, they suggest starting at 3 drops a day. But I am not a medical provider so maybe get a small amount and see if it works to relieve anxiety. Best of health to you).

Jump to this post

On day 2 of the Green Roads CBD oil, 100mg. I started small but will increase in a day or two. I’m hoping for great success!

REPLY
@nicolejewel

Hello,
After 10 years of Effexor 375mg, many trials trying to get off it, or trying to switch to other meds, I finally decided I had to stay on it "for life"… Every time I tried to taper off, or even switch to a different med, I suffered from acute anxiety, and my depression came flooding back. I was over weight but eating healthy, excercising, watching my portions, restricting, restricting, restricting … and no weight loss. Just gradual and persistant weight gain. I was afraid of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, etc. I was afraid of living a shorter life. I "knew" I wasn't going to stop my meds but I had to do something. I decided to try a gluten-free diet, not expecting much, just wanting to feel in control of something about my health. The first 5 days off gluten I felt tired and a bit gloomy. Then a cloud lifted and I started to feel the meaning of a word I had never taken seriously: vitality. After 3 solid weeks gluten-free, I decided to lower my dose of Effexor, just by 75mg. Nothing. No withdrawl symptoms whatsoever. I was expecting the "electrical chocs" and of course the anxiety and depression to come flooding back. No reactions. Two weeks after that attempt, I decided to see just how much I could reduce Effexor without suffering the symptoms for which it had been prescribed (namely depression and anxiety). Weeks and weeks, months and months later, still no withdrawl symptoms. Nothing but steady cognitive functioning. Normal crying. No depression. No anxiety. I felt like I had been taking Effexor for a condition caused by my metabolism. Who would have thought my depression and anxiety were fuelled by a product so innocent as whole grains and multigrain wheat? I got my healthy weight back, my appetite back, my brain back. I feel younger. Gluten intolerance is in fashion at the moment but maybe it is also serious issue. Perhaps we should be checked for metabolic issues (not just thyroid problems!) before been given meds. I feel lucky my health didn't spiral down any further than it did. I try not to feel mad at my psychiatrist for not being more aware about metabolic issues. I really tried to accept my psychiatric diagnosis and prescrbed pills but I'm so glad I didn't give up trying "something" and that that "something" was so simple as giving up gluten to be healthy. Is gluten your problem? Maybe not. But checking your metabolism is a good idea if you are on meds or before going on them. Take gentle care.

Jump to this post

So glad it’s helping you but I too would love to know how you got started on GF diet and how you are sticking with it. I have r as a little about it but just seems like it would be hard to stick with it especially if one is already feeling down.

Liked by lalyfa

REPLY
@nicolejewel

Hello,
After 10 years of Effexor 375mg, many trials trying to get off it, or trying to switch to other meds, I finally decided I had to stay on it "for life"… Every time I tried to taper off, or even switch to a different med, I suffered from acute anxiety, and my depression came flooding back. I was over weight but eating healthy, excercising, watching my portions, restricting, restricting, restricting … and no weight loss. Just gradual and persistant weight gain. I was afraid of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, etc. I was afraid of living a shorter life. I "knew" I wasn't going to stop my meds but I had to do something. I decided to try a gluten-free diet, not expecting much, just wanting to feel in control of something about my health. The first 5 days off gluten I felt tired and a bit gloomy. Then a cloud lifted and I started to feel the meaning of a word I had never taken seriously: vitality. After 3 solid weeks gluten-free, I decided to lower my dose of Effexor, just by 75mg. Nothing. No withdrawl symptoms whatsoever. I was expecting the "electrical chocs" and of course the anxiety and depression to come flooding back. No reactions. Two weeks after that attempt, I decided to see just how much I could reduce Effexor without suffering the symptoms for which it had been prescribed (namely depression and anxiety). Weeks and weeks, months and months later, still no withdrawl symptoms. Nothing but steady cognitive functioning. Normal crying. No depression. No anxiety. I felt like I had been taking Effexor for a condition caused by my metabolism. Who would have thought my depression and anxiety were fuelled by a product so innocent as whole grains and multigrain wheat? I got my healthy weight back, my appetite back, my brain back. I feel younger. Gluten intolerance is in fashion at the moment but maybe it is also serious issue. Perhaps we should be checked for metabolic issues (not just thyroid problems!) before been given meds. I feel lucky my health didn't spiral down any further than it did. I try not to feel mad at my psychiatrist for not being more aware about metabolic issues. I really tried to accept my psychiatric diagnosis and prescrbed pills but I'm so glad I didn't give up trying "something" and that that "something" was so simple as giving up gluten to be healthy. Is gluten your problem? Maybe not. But checking your metabolism is a good idea if you are on meds or before going on them. Take gentle care.

Jump to this post

I'm curious about the gluten free diet, as well….any help would be greatly appreciated!

Liked by lalyfa

REPLY
@stressedmesseddepressed

What about CBD oil from the hemp plant, legal everywhere and the same benefits – I'm assured – as Medical Marijuana but no THC (therefore, no "high" and legal.) I have no affiliation at all with this company except as a customer, High quality, purefied. They suggest a 550 mg(?) bottle, 3 drops a day, (= about 26 mg) so it ought to last a month but it's $80! (You can buy smaller sizes like a 350 bottle. I suggest calling and they'll answer all of your questions. Hope it's helpful. Good health to you.

greenroadsworld.com

whatiscbd.com

(explains what it is. I personally don't know much about it, a little, and for depression / anxiety, they suggest starting at 3 drops a day. But I am not a medical provider so maybe get a small amount and see if it works to relieve anxiety. Best of health to you).

Jump to this post

I ordered mine today and should get it next week. I think they suggested 350mg but I think I'm going to start slow like you….keep us posted on your progress. I am hoping that this horrible fatigue will subside with its use.

Liked by lalyfa

REPLY
@sadiesmom

I, too, am suffering from extreme fatigue. I am now about 6 months out from the time I started weaning off of the Effexor. I am also experiencing severe gastric problems and have seen a gastroenterologist. He did blood work to check my adrenal and thyroid function and those both came back "normal". I lost my son 6 years ago to PTSD related suicide and I know that grief plays a HUGE role in my problems. Grief, depression and continued anxiety over losing my son are a certain cause of fatigue. I am divorced and live alone, am retired and just can't seem to find my purpose in this world. I live in Ohio and the weather has been unrelenting this winter. Cold and dreary which also adds to my depression. I am trying to eat healthier, eliminating sugar and processed foods. I don't eat red meat either. Actually, my appetite is almost nonexistent and have lost 30 lbs since January when the REAL side effects of the withdrawal hit me like a ton of bricks. From what I have read, it can take 6 months to a year to be totally free from the effects of withdrawal. I am hoping once the weather breaks, I can get out and ride my bike and walk. I am 60 years old and feel like I have a lot of life to live but dealing with the chronic fatigue is truly making me wonder how much longer I can go on. I have no motivation to do anything and rarely leave my home. I saw someone shared a post about CDB oil and I ordered the drops online today. I'm at my wit's end and will try anything at this point….I wish you the best….I guess the only thing we can do at this point is be patient, continue eating healthily and getting exercise which is a natural seratonin booster. God, I wish I could get my life back….

Jump to this post

I'm so sorry that you are having such a difficult time & I understand how debilitating all of this is. I just wish the medical community would take a closer look at the health consequences caused by these powerful drugs and question why they continue to prescribe them. If I knew for certain that I would be back to a more normal life in 6 months to a year then I could probably survive this. Its the uncertainty of it all and the possibility of being like this the rest of my life that weighs me down. Please continue to update your progress via this forum & let us know how the CDB oil works. I think I may check into that as well. God Bless.

REPLY
@nicolejewel

Hello,
After 10 years of Effexor 375mg, many trials trying to get off it, or trying to switch to other meds, I finally decided I had to stay on it "for life"… Every time I tried to taper off, or even switch to a different med, I suffered from acute anxiety, and my depression came flooding back. I was over weight but eating healthy, excercising, watching my portions, restricting, restricting, restricting … and no weight loss. Just gradual and persistant weight gain. I was afraid of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, etc. I was afraid of living a shorter life. I "knew" I wasn't going to stop my meds but I had to do something. I decided to try a gluten-free diet, not expecting much, just wanting to feel in control of something about my health. The first 5 days off gluten I felt tired and a bit gloomy. Then a cloud lifted and I started to feel the meaning of a word I had never taken seriously: vitality. After 3 solid weeks gluten-free, I decided to lower my dose of Effexor, just by 75mg. Nothing. No withdrawl symptoms whatsoever. I was expecting the "electrical chocs" and of course the anxiety and depression to come flooding back. No reactions. Two weeks after that attempt, I decided to see just how much I could reduce Effexor without suffering the symptoms for which it had been prescribed (namely depression and anxiety). Weeks and weeks, months and months later, still no withdrawl symptoms. Nothing but steady cognitive functioning. Normal crying. No depression. No anxiety. I felt like I had been taking Effexor for a condition caused by my metabolism. Who would have thought my depression and anxiety were fuelled by a product so innocent as whole grains and multigrain wheat? I got my healthy weight back, my appetite back, my brain back. I feel younger. Gluten intolerance is in fashion at the moment but maybe it is also serious issue. Perhaps we should be checked for metabolic issues (not just thyroid problems!) before been given meds. I feel lucky my health didn't spiral down any further than it did. I try not to feel mad at my psychiatrist for not being more aware about metabolic issues. I really tried to accept my psychiatric diagnosis and prescrbed pills but I'm so glad I didn't give up trying "something" and that that "something" was so simple as giving up gluten to be healthy. Is gluten your problem? Maybe not. But checking your metabolism is a good idea if you are on meds or before going on them. Take gentle care.

Jump to this post

Through a saliva test, I was found to have gluten intolerance. I have eliminated all wheat products from my diet and I have noticed that I no longer have heartburn or indigestion. There is a ton of information on the web that is helpful and that's where I've gotten my information. Your public library should have numerous recipe books on that topic that will help you as well.

Liked by lalyfa

REPLY
@lilmac44

It will be 4 months at the end of March that I completely stopped Effexor. I continue to suffer from extreme fatigue, hypoglycemic like symptoms, anxiety and shakiness. My cortisol is high at night which interferes with a good night's sleep. I have eliminated wheat from my diet, high carbohydrate foods and sugar. My diet is good and I am eating vegetables, seafood and other foods that provide protein. I rarely eat red meat. I don't know if these symptoms are a result from withdrawal from Effexor or caused by Adrenal dysfunction. Has anyone else experienced these side effects? If so, how long do/did they last in this withdrawal process?

Jump to this post

I have had some of the same symptoms you are experiencing. It is 530 am and I have not been able to sleep- that is why I am on here. I did a search to find out if anyone else is having problems getting weaned off the drugs. I started a couple months ago weaning off effexor. I started taking it when going through menopause (it helps menopause symptoms) . Started on 75 mg then a few years later had a melt down and they upped it to 150mg. Well i have been on it now for 10 years at least and have completed menopause so i decided to wean off. I started on my own by doing 1 capsule every other day then went to the physician and asked how to get completely off. I took 75 mg. a day for 2 weeks and then he told me to go to every other day for one week and stop, He said that was adequate timing to get off the drug. That has not exactly worked. I was ok on the 75mg. daily but now I am having panic attacks, crying for no reason during a movie etc. Tonight I have not been able to sleep due to tearfulness throughout the day and a panic attack tonight. I have had several panic attacks over the past few days.I have debated about asking for more meds but I only have 4 more to go. I can't sleep so i read suggestions on here & went to buy appropriate food hoping it might help.I do not want to go back to effexor again, I had no idea getting off would be so hard, I am going to try and stick it out because I am not working this week. Hopefully my symptoms will be gone before returning to work. The panic attack is the scariest thing for me….At least now I know what to tell people who ask me about antidepressants. Just want to get over the withdrawal S&S.

Liked by Effexfree4ever

REPLY
@lilmac44

It will be 4 months at the end of March that I completely stopped Effexor. I continue to suffer from extreme fatigue, hypoglycemic like symptoms, anxiety and shakiness. My cortisol is high at night which interferes with a good night's sleep. I have eliminated wheat from my diet, high carbohydrate foods and sugar. My diet is good and I am eating vegetables, seafood and other foods that provide protein. I rarely eat red meat. I don't know if these symptoms are a result from withdrawal from Effexor or caused by Adrenal dysfunction. Has anyone else experienced these side effects? If so, how long do/did they last in this withdrawal process?

Jump to this post

I am by no means an expert but I too had issues with feeling scared and anxious when I went to bed. Not sure if they were panic attacks for me but I have always loved to sleep in total darkness but was scared not to have some kind of light on. It made me feel like there was something there in the darkness. Freaky feeling when I started weaning off Effexor. I didn't know it was caused by the Effexor but after reading what everyone else is going through I now know it was.

If I were you I would go back to the lowest dose that didn't make me feel so bad and didn't cause the panic attacks and start weaning a lot slower from there. A lot slower.

You will get lots of good information on this site. They helped me tremendously! Good luck and don't give up! You will get there.

One more thing, I was also taking Effexor for my menopause symptoms but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) it didn't work for me after a couple months and by that time I had researched the drug enough to know I didn't want to go to a higher dose so then started weaning off it. I was only on it for a few months and it took me a couple months to get off it successfully so you need to go a lot slower and be patient, I think! Also, the doctor I was seeing didn't even think I needed to wean off it since I was only taking 75 mg so that tells you they don't always know what is best for each individual.

REPLY
@lilmac44

It will be 4 months at the end of March that I completely stopped Effexor. I continue to suffer from extreme fatigue, hypoglycemic like symptoms, anxiety and shakiness. My cortisol is high at night which interferes with a good night's sleep. I have eliminated wheat from my diet, high carbohydrate foods and sugar. My diet is good and I am eating vegetables, seafood and other foods that provide protein. I rarely eat red meat. I don't know if these symptoms are a result from withdrawal from Effexor or caused by Adrenal dysfunction. Has anyone else experienced these side effects? If so, how long do/did they last in this withdrawal process?

Jump to this post

That is way to fast to withdraw from Effexor. I withdrew over a period of 9 months & I still experienced extreme emotions, crying, anxiety, panic attacks. Plus, I was never on anything larger than 75 mgs. Everyone is different, but I strongly suggest that you taper much slower than what you are currently doing.

REPLY

It’s now been about 2-1/2 months since stopping Effexor. I was hoping to not have to go back on any anti-depressants but don’t see that happening. I’ve been trying the cbd oil but that doesn’t seem to help either. I see my doctor next week and will talk to her about it. I hate the thought of going through the different meds again trying to find one that works for me. In the past I’ve tried Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, and Effexor. Right before stopping all the meds she suggested I try Wellbutrin so I’m wondering if I should give it a try. I’m so afraid of going back on any of these meds since seeing the effects these drugs really have on us but I’m making everyone around me miserable including myself. Has anyone had success with Wellbutrin? Is it as hard to stop taking as the Effexor?

REPLY
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