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

@chicago1211

Hi it’s me again. 2 weeks off this damned drug and I’m still suffering from absolute confusion, lack of concentration, extreme mood swings, anxiety, etc etc. Feels like my brain can’t find any balance. Something similar to being constantly high, living through a bad bad chemical trip.
Has anyone experienced something like that?
Is it going to stop.
Will I ever be able to think clearly again?
Without pills. Call me dumb but it feels so wrong to treat withdrawal symptoms with other psychoactive meds.
ISN’T IT JUST FALLING TO THE SAME SPIRAL.
You treat symptoms from withdrawal of one drug, need to then suffer from withdrawal of another. Repeat.

Ps.
The lack of concentration or difficulty making any decisions was already there while taking meds.

Jump to this post

Hi there… did you slowly ween yourself off? I was completely med free for 6 months after taking 18 months to ween off the last 37.5 mgs. (You read that correctly. 18 months. A few beads at a time). Even those last few beads, daily, seemed to work and then, when I was totally off I had symptoms of withdrawal. Not so much physical, but mental. Emotional. I literally cried every single day. Now, my father passed away during all this. Don’t ask me why on earth I would even attempt such a feat during this time, but I did. I also moved my family out of state. You could say I was going through major crisis mode.

But, when I couldn’t take it any longer, doc put me back on an SSRI. Turns out, a mood stabilizer was needed, too. I almost think the SSRI and the antipsychotic (scary name, right?) together make up the active ingredients in Effexor! (I’m going to google that now!)

Anyway, during the 6 mo this of no meds, meditation worked quite well for me. There are lots of free you tube videos and I downloaded an app, too. It can’t hurt.

Also, scroll through this forum for some ideas for supplements to take. And/or CBD oil.

Take it easy and I wish you well. Keep taking to us. There will be answers for you. Don’t give up.

REPLY
@chicago1211

Hi it’s me again. 2 weeks off this damned drug and I’m still suffering from absolute confusion, lack of concentration, extreme mood swings, anxiety, etc etc. Feels like my brain can’t find any balance. Something similar to being constantly high, living through a bad bad chemical trip.
Has anyone experienced something like that?
Is it going to stop.
Will I ever be able to think clearly again?
Without pills. Call me dumb but it feels so wrong to treat withdrawal symptoms with other psychoactive meds.
ISN’T IT JUST FALLING TO THE SAME SPIRAL.
You treat symptoms from withdrawal of one drug, need to then suffer from withdrawal of another. Repeat.

Ps.
The lack of concentration or difficulty making any decisions was already there while taking meds.

Jump to this post

My experience with a bad withdrawal sounds much the same, especially brain not being able to find balance. It is getting better, lighter, brighter. Still a very long way from emotionally stable and it seems once the pile of issues hiding in the back corners of my brain came busting out that they wont go back in. But, and its a big but, no more pukey, head spinny feeling. No more dreams that made me afraid to sleep. No more sugar craving. Certainly not as much anger and wanting to crush people. All I keep hearing is to be patient.
No choice but patience as nothing will speed up this re-adjusting time.
2 big challenges/frustrations – 1 is explaining to others and dealing with the wanting to explain, 2 is to feel vindicated as this was not self- directed, it was done to me. To us.

REPLY
@secretwhitepop

I just read a side effect of viibryd overdose is a headache. Perhaps cut the pill in half? Some folks (me!!) are highly highly sensitive to medications. Never go off cold turkey and I always ween on, too. Just to see how my body will react. I also always chat with the pharmacist whenever I get a new Rx. They are VERY helpful and easy to talk to.

I was on Effexor for about 20 years. And it worked! I thought hey, I’m 50 years old, gone thru menopause, feel great! Maybe I should try and ween off… well, a bit over two years later I’m back on an SSRI as well as a mood “stabilizer” Some folks just do better with science 🙂

Go easy on yourself and let your doc know everything you’ve learned here. Docs aren’t perfect and if s/he is any good, s/he will take what you say to heart and hopefully no other patients will have to endure what you’re going through!

Hang in there.

Jump to this post

I'm going to cut the Viibryd in half tomorrow and I can because it's a tablet. My doctor is going to have to replace the damn Viibryd anyway because I need the Prozac to get me off the Effexor XR anyway. I was on Prozac before and didn't seem to have a problem with it. These meds are so complicated you can't mix certain things and yet these doctors think certain combos won't hurt but they do as I've found out the last few weeks.

Liked by texasduchess

REPLY
@ksad

My experience with a bad withdrawal sounds much the same, especially brain not being able to find balance. It is getting better, lighter, brighter. Still a very long way from emotionally stable and it seems once the pile of issues hiding in the back corners of my brain came busting out that they wont go back in. But, and its a big but, no more pukey, head spinny feeling. No more dreams that made me afraid to sleep. No more sugar craving. Certainly not as much anger and wanting to crush people. All I keep hearing is to be patient.
No choice but patience as nothing will speed up this re-adjusting time.
2 big challenges/frustrations – 1 is explaining to others and dealing with the wanting to explain, 2 is to feel vindicated as this was not self- directed, it was done to me. To us.

Jump to this post

Hi, @ksad – if you are having withdrawal symptoms that are too hard to manage, don't hesitate at all to contact your doctor or go to an urgent care for some help. I did this one time when a taper was not going well at all, and they gave me some bridge medication to help me over the hump a bit.

Liked by texasduchess

REPLY

I did end up in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and don't remember much of the first week except staff constantly reminding me how sick I was. Didn't understand, at the time, what was happening. Escitalopram is taking the edge off now, along with Seroquel. Curious to hear about issues with those? The end goal is no meds at all.

REPLY
@ksad

I did end up in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and don't remember much of the first week except staff constantly reminding me how sick I was. Didn't understand, at the time, what was happening. Escitalopram is taking the edge off now, along with Seroquel. Curious to hear about issues with those? The end goal is no meds at all.

Jump to this post

I am going to ask my doctor to put me on a bridge med to help get me off the Effexor XR and I know that's going to mean stopping the Viibryd but I don't care at this point because the Viibryd sure as heck isn't a bridge med at all it only intensifies the Effexor XR headaches you get withdrawals and I for sure do not need that.

REPLY
@chicago1211

Hi it’s me again. 2 weeks off this damned drug and I’m still suffering from absolute confusion, lack of concentration, extreme mood swings, anxiety, etc etc. Feels like my brain can’t find any balance. Something similar to being constantly high, living through a bad bad chemical trip.
Has anyone experienced something like that?
Is it going to stop.
Will I ever be able to think clearly again?
Without pills. Call me dumb but it feels so wrong to treat withdrawal symptoms with other psychoactive meds.
ISN’T IT JUST FALLING TO THE SAME SPIRAL.
You treat symptoms from withdrawal of one drug, need to then suffer from withdrawal of another. Repeat.

Ps.
The lack of concentration or difficulty making any decisions was already there while taking meds.

Jump to this post

@chicago1211 I FEEL THE EXACT SAME! It’s been I think a little over 2 weeks and I’m having the worst mood swings and I’m ANGRY! I’ve been taking supplements and exercising daily and it’s just awful! I had to take 12 mg tonight of Venlafaxine. I feel like a complete failure. I’m scared to fall back into feeling the brain fog and useless, but now I feel angry and miserable, that’s awful too. The withdrawal I could handle, I can’t handle being irritated all the time, ESPECIALLY, that I’m raising my daughter!

I’m so frustrated! 🥺

Liked by chicago1211

REPLY

Hi All,

Not sure if you have read my previous response to @chicago1211, but the last few days have been getting progressively worse in terms of my mood. Yes, I feel more motivated and “out of the brain fog” and not feeling like I’m having so much withdrawal symptoms. But, I can’t handle my mood! It’s absolutely awful and I almost don’t recognize myself. Mostly with anger and frustration. Everything irritates me and I feel like I’m extremely snappy. I’ve been taking supplements, exercising, eating better and it’s not getting better. I woke up at 4 am upset and frustrated and decided to take 12mg of Venlafaxine. I feel like a complete failure and I’m scared. I’m scared to fall back into the brain fog, I’m scared to have to go through ALL that withdrawal again. I’ve done research on some other supplements and was looking at 5-HTP to try and help, but I’m not sure that will help. I’m feeling worried like I need to be on meds for the rest of my life! I also feel worried because I think I may need more of an SSRI instead of an SNRI and have heard a lot of the SSRIs have caused weight gain. I’ve been struggling so much with losing weight that I don’t want that at all!

I don’t know what to do! I feel stuck!

REPLY
@laujenkins

Hi All,

Not sure if you have read my previous response to @chicago1211, but the last few days have been getting progressively worse in terms of my mood. Yes, I feel more motivated and “out of the brain fog” and not feeling like I’m having so much withdrawal symptoms. But, I can’t handle my mood! It’s absolutely awful and I almost don’t recognize myself. Mostly with anger and frustration. Everything irritates me and I feel like I’m extremely snappy. I’ve been taking supplements, exercising, eating better and it’s not getting better. I woke up at 4 am upset and frustrated and decided to take 12mg of Venlafaxine. I feel like a complete failure and I’m scared. I’m scared to fall back into the brain fog, I’m scared to have to go through ALL that withdrawal again. I’ve done research on some other supplements and was looking at 5-HTP to try and help, but I’m not sure that will help. I’m feeling worried like I need to be on meds for the rest of my life! I also feel worried because I think I may need more of an SSRI instead of an SNRI and have heard a lot of the SSRIs have caused weight gain. I’ve been struggling so much with losing weight that I don’t want that at all!

I don’t know what to do! I feel stuck!

Jump to this post

I think antidepressants are worse than benzodiazepines.

Liked by Parus

REPLY
@ksad

I did end up in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and don't remember much of the first week except staff constantly reminding me how sick I was. Didn't understand, at the time, what was happening. Escitalopram is taking the edge off now, along with Seroquel. Curious to hear about issues with those? The end goal is no meds at all.

Jump to this post

Try to stay away from the Seroquel. It’s an antipsychotic used off label as an antidepressant. If you haven’t already done do research the side effects.

REPLY

Hi, members of this discussion on tapering off of venlafaxine (Effexor),

As anxieties have increased and social interaction has become limited with the COVID-19 virus, Mayo Clinic Connect has opened up a brand new group dedicated to COVID-19, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/covid-19/. The hope is to help members connect and cope during these unprecedented times.

Please follow the COVID-19 group by clicking on +Follow, look at the discussions there and participate. You are also welcome to start a new discussion on any COVID-19-related topic you'd like to discuss.

Liked by laujenkins

REPLY
@secretwhitepop

I just read a side effect of viibryd overdose is a headache. Perhaps cut the pill in half? Some folks (me!!) are highly highly sensitive to medications. Never go off cold turkey and I always ween on, too. Just to see how my body will react. I also always chat with the pharmacist whenever I get a new Rx. They are VERY helpful and easy to talk to.

I was on Effexor for about 20 years. And it worked! I thought hey, I’m 50 years old, gone thru menopause, feel great! Maybe I should try and ween off… well, a bit over two years later I’m back on an SSRI as well as a mood “stabilizer” Some folks just do better with science 🙂

Go easy on yourself and let your doc know everything you’ve learned here. Docs aren’t perfect and if s/he is any good, s/he will take what you say to heart and hopefully no other patients will have to endure what you’re going through!

Hang in there.

Jump to this post

I cut the Viibryd in half today and it's only a 20 milligram pill but I swear it's been giving me headaches and most likely I probably cannot take the stuff as I'm finding out. I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow and he's going to have to take me off of the stuff anyway to put me on the Prozac bridge so I can get off the Effexor XR. Since the Viibryd was giving me headaches anyway and coming off the Effexor was probably too it's no wonder I wasn't feeling well.

REPLY
@secretwhitepop

Hi there… did you slowly ween yourself off? I was completely med free for 6 months after taking 18 months to ween off the last 37.5 mgs. (You read that correctly. 18 months. A few beads at a time). Even those last few beads, daily, seemed to work and then, when I was totally off I had symptoms of withdrawal. Not so much physical, but mental. Emotional. I literally cried every single day. Now, my father passed away during all this. Don’t ask me why on earth I would even attempt such a feat during this time, but I did. I also moved my family out of state. You could say I was going through major crisis mode.

But, when I couldn’t take it any longer, doc put me back on an SSRI. Turns out, a mood stabilizer was needed, too. I almost think the SSRI and the antipsychotic (scary name, right?) together make up the active ingredients in Effexor! (I’m going to google that now!)

Anyway, during the 6 mo this of no meds, meditation worked quite well for me. There are lots of free you tube videos and I downloaded an app, too. It can’t hurt.

Also, scroll through this forum for some ideas for supplements to take. And/or CBD oil.

Take it easy and I wish you well. Keep taking to us. There will be answers for you. Don’t give up.

Jump to this post

I just read something very interesting about people going from Effexor Xr to Viibryd and you get the sick headaches from still being on the Effexor XR from transitioning to the Viibryd.

REPLY
@ksad

I did end up in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and don't remember much of the first week except staff constantly reminding me how sick I was. Didn't understand, at the time, what was happening. Escitalopram is taking the edge off now, along with Seroquel. Curious to hear about issues with those? The end goal is no meds at all.

Jump to this post

Hi, @ksad – here are a couple of Connect threads you might check out on the medications you mentioned:

– On seroquel/quetiapine https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/seraquel/

– On escitalopram https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/escitalopram/

REPLY
@secretwhitepop

Hi there… did you slowly ween yourself off? I was completely med free for 6 months after taking 18 months to ween off the last 37.5 mgs. (You read that correctly. 18 months. A few beads at a time). Even those last few beads, daily, seemed to work and then, when I was totally off I had symptoms of withdrawal. Not so much physical, but mental. Emotional. I literally cried every single day. Now, my father passed away during all this. Don’t ask me why on earth I would even attempt such a feat during this time, but I did. I also moved my family out of state. You could say I was going through major crisis mode.

But, when I couldn’t take it any longer, doc put me back on an SSRI. Turns out, a mood stabilizer was needed, too. I almost think the SSRI and the antipsychotic (scary name, right?) together make up the active ingredients in Effexor! (I’m going to google that now!)

Anyway, during the 6 mo this of no meds, meditation worked quite well for me. There are lots of free you tube videos and I downloaded an app, too. It can’t hurt.

Also, scroll through this forum for some ideas for supplements to take. And/or CBD oil.

Take it easy and I wish you well. Keep taking to us. There will be answers for you. Don’t give up.

Jump to this post

Thank you @secretwhitepop
I’ve started doing meditation. Let’s see if thiswill help organising my thoughts.
They are in complete mess.
I’m just unable to give my thoughts any structure.
This shit scares me, a lot.

REPLY
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