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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@cp6401

I haven't posted in a while..need to reach out for support.. i've been off effexor and all ssri medication since feb 19th 2020. I'd love to report that finally things have improved, but I cannot do this. i suspect it has something to do with the fact that i've been on ssri's for 22+ years and that it will take more time. I recall when the withdrawals ended, but then something else set in.. is this the new me now?..To make a long story short.. even tho my taper was planned since 2017, i feel like it could not have happened at a worse time. Not only is this kind of a once in a lifetime thing (covid) but i couldn't have known to check the CDC website before starting taper.. just terrible, terrible luck.. and i'm sorry to dump this all out here but it has to come out… taper started fed 19th, 1month into taper, shit got serious with covid and i'm like uhh.. i've already stopped for a month, i should soldier on.. keep in mind i have ocd/obsessive thinking also… but after finally getting over the initial 2 weeks withdrawal from effexor XR, i started getting panic attacks (sometimes 4 in a row) in the middle of the night and anxiety, depersonalisation/derealisation (DPDR) and comorbid visual problems, all of this perpetuates panic and anxiety to levels i deem i've never had before. vicious cycle. i can't put my finger on it, but i have problems focusing, i don't know, it's like my eyes run at a lower frame rate than they used to.., i'm also hyper aware of bodily sensations, like a colarbone i broke when i was 15.. on the OCD front, "love ocd," or relationshiop ocd, where you question your love for your partner all the time.. which makes me question my entire 20year relationship and support pillar in this critical time of healing. i wonder now if we should even be together 🙁 and sleep.., but since a few days off effexor, sleeping is difficult, i'm lucky if i get 4 hours if any at all..and the days where i get no sleep, are awful days of anxiety/panic. Not to mention parenting fulltime now, and keeping a job, which i can luckily work from home..(i'm almost 43) there was a few times where i though i was packing my bag and going to a local crisis center, leaving mylife partner and 2 your boys behind..

Overall i'd like to dump the things that are on my mind.

anxiety/panic attacks
depersonalisation, derealization perpetuated by visual problems (sometimes feel disconnected from surroundings, terrifying) nothing feels real
feel stuck in my head, trapped
OCD/ obsessive thinking
jittery, always have to move some part of my body, especially when anxious
(relationship ocd, as it's a big one)
lately, dark depression on occasion.
due to covid, lacking real support, getting away to visit family for support and anything that goes with it.
guilt from not wanting to spend time with kids
stuck at home, can't get out to heal, go somewhere…

my options are the following:
Keeping fighting the fight, soldier on, put up with it all in hopes it goes away. (could take months as per psychologist)
Referral to a psychiatrist in the works (months delay)
prescription of Celexa waiting for me
Prescription of trazadone waiting for me, (which i may try for sleep..) any thoughts?
CUrrently using ativan as needed, but i hate this knowing how addiction it is.. and especially since my whole point was to come OFF meds..

I never though coming off SSRI's would present so many problems, even some not related.. I'm not one who usually scares easily, but this DPDR and visual thing scare the crap out of me and drives up anxiety…. Having said this.. i realize ALOT of this is perspective, but for me, that's in the gutter at the moment… I'm being torn apart by "should i just go back on SSRI's now and get some relief".. or keep fighting, i've already done 1.2months by myself. and if i go back in 3 months, will i just be like, "why did i wait so long"..

i'm seeing psychologist (holistic) who is guiding me reminding me of my decisions and techniques, and everything i've learned over the years. (diet, self care, exercise, hormones, (on TRT also) and thyroid)
my family gP, and pharmacist..
and waiting for psychiatrist referral.

Anyone else out there get off meds successfully after 20+ years? can be any SSRI. because right now, the toughest thing, is having no hope.. not knowing if this is even possible, no light.. and if i have to go back on, the side effects of being back on, and long term effects.. all concern me..

thanks i know this is a kindof rant, and a little erradic,

thanks for reading.

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@cp6401… please please know you tapered too fast. Too fast. Talk to a trusted doctor or pharmacist. I was on Effexor for about 20 years. I tapered the last 37.5 mgs over the course of 18 months. EIGHTEEN MONTHS. I thought I was ok and I stuck it out for 6 months drug free. I am now taking seroquel and zoloft. So, technically I’m off Effexor but not off SSRI’s. I don’t plan on ever going off again. I’m now 52. Panic and anxiety are real. Your post displays your pressured speech which is exactly how I used to act in front of my doctor. Please, perhaps ramp back up on Effexor. Maybe just hang out at 37.5. I went back on ssri’s mostly for my family. I was literally crying several times a day. Truly ruining my daughters first communion and other fun occasions. You’re a good person, a normal person and possibly also a person who, like many of us, functions better with pharmaceutical assistance. Please keep writing and reaching out.

Liked by texasduchess, sears

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@texasduchess

The withdrawal effects are what keep folks on this medication. Tapering off slowly minimizes them; the stories on this blog show that most tapers are TOO FAST–the drops are too steep and the wait before dropping again is too short. Skipping days puts you into withdrawal every other day.

Effexor's effect on your brain neurotransmitter levels is very powerful and it takes TIME for you to adjust to lower levels of the drug, especially if you've been on it long-term.

You can read on here where others found relief by going back to the dosage where they weren't having withdrawal symptoms, or at least, having symptoms they could handle and stabilizing there for weeks/months before tapering by much, much less and much, much slower.

Have you told your doctor(s) today what is going on? What is their advice? Especially re the prescriptions you have? You can ask if these would be helpful to your current situation.

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Excellent advice! Everyone tries to taper too quickly. This isn’t a race or competition. Listen to your body and stop the needless suffering. If you have to find another doctor if you’re being pressured to taper too fast.

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@sears

Excellent advice! Everyone tries to taper too quickly. This isn’t a race or competition. Listen to your body and stop the needless suffering. If you have to find another doctor if you’re being pressured to taper too fast.

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thanks for the reply @texasduchess @secretwhitepop @sears . Sleep helps alot, that which i've been lacking lately, and which i've learned is fundamental when it comes to even "having a chance" at healing and coming off meds you've been on for 20+ years..or.. just cause.. and last night, i got a solid 7-8 hours (gravol assisted), which is the first time in weeks literally. I look forward to more restful sleep tonight. My doctors are aware and all agreed at the taper plan, which was suggested by my trusted "pharmacist, and GP and cpsych. Problem is, while i was "marginally better" on the 37.5. I had most of those symptoms already present just less severe. basically Effexor never worked for me, and the urgency to get off was born from there. I wish i could say i was feeling great, and so that's when i decided it was time to taper. But i wasn't. I never felt good on effexor, except when upping or lowering a dose, i would get one day of euphoric happiness, which soon faded. If my original dose of zoloft from my teens didn't stop working, i wouldn't be fighting this fight.. same with Celexa, which worked for a long time, then, either i had too much pressure in my life, or it just stopped working, then switched to lexapro, no help, then effexor xr. If the meds just kept on working, i would still be on them. That was my main motivation for the taper all together. that and taking holistic care of myself.. watching my diet, meditating, get hormones checked, and supplementing etc.. vitamin, self care…i've think i've already mentioned). this long planned journey since 2017. to do the right things, plan things out. I realize i've perhaps made some bad choices, but i feel like they were supervised choices nonetheless, and i have no choice now but to assume them.. I've been off since Feb 19th'. so 1.5 months. and i'm at that age old choice of "do i go back on or not".. do i soldier on? will things get better? i hate that question. but mostly, i hate that i don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.. i wish i knew someone in my circumstance, who's gotten through it. someone who can say.. yes, with time, things will get better.

thanks for reading

REPLY

It is possible to taper off any drug if done correctly over a long period of time. Many many people taper successfully.

Liked by texasduchess, cp6401

REPLY
@cp6401

thanks for the reply @texasduchess @secretwhitepop @sears . Sleep helps alot, that which i've been lacking lately, and which i've learned is fundamental when it comes to even "having a chance" at healing and coming off meds you've been on for 20+ years..or.. just cause.. and last night, i got a solid 7-8 hours (gravol assisted), which is the first time in weeks literally. I look forward to more restful sleep tonight. My doctors are aware and all agreed at the taper plan, which was suggested by my trusted "pharmacist, and GP and cpsych. Problem is, while i was "marginally better" on the 37.5. I had most of those symptoms already present just less severe. basically Effexor never worked for me, and the urgency to get off was born from there. I wish i could say i was feeling great, and so that's when i decided it was time to taper. But i wasn't. I never felt good on effexor, except when upping or lowering a dose, i would get one day of euphoric happiness, which soon faded. If my original dose of zoloft from my teens didn't stop working, i wouldn't be fighting this fight.. same with Celexa, which worked for a long time, then, either i had too much pressure in my life, or it just stopped working, then switched to lexapro, no help, then effexor xr. If the meds just kept on working, i would still be on them. That was my main motivation for the taper all together. that and taking holistic care of myself.. watching my diet, meditating, get hormones checked, and supplementing etc.. vitamin, self care…i've think i've already mentioned). this long planned journey since 2017. to do the right things, plan things out. I realize i've perhaps made some bad choices, but i feel like they were supervised choices nonetheless, and i have no choice now but to assume them.. I've been off since Feb 19th'. so 1.5 months. and i'm at that age old choice of "do i go back on or not".. do i soldier on? will things get better? i hate that question. but mostly, i hate that i don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.. i wish i knew someone in my circumstance, who's gotten through it. someone who can say.. yes, with time, things will get better.

thanks for reading

Jump to this post

I’m seeing myself in your posts, what you describe is exactly what I experience right now, I just had to reply.
Well, in case you think you are alone in this hell.

REPLY
@sears

It is possible to taper off any drug if done correctly over a long period of time. Many many people taper successfully.

Jump to this post

How about that rest who can’t taper successfully. Are we at the dead end.

REPLY

Please read my recent post. In all likelihood, when this particular time of unprecedented stress and anxiety is over and the pandemic has passed, you will be able to come up with a tapering plan that will ensure minimal side effects. The KEY is to taper in tiny amounts. However for NOW, I highly recommend that everyone attempting to taper at this time to refrain from doing so and resume taking the lowest dose you were on when you were symptom free. And whatever you do, put a post it where you can see it in order TO NOT FORGET TO TAKE YOUR MEDS…..we know how that feels! PLEASE READ MY RECENT POST!❤️🙏❤️

Liked by texasduchess, sears, ksad

REPLY
@cp6401

thanks for the reply @texasduchess @secretwhitepop @sears . Sleep helps alot, that which i've been lacking lately, and which i've learned is fundamental when it comes to even "having a chance" at healing and coming off meds you've been on for 20+ years..or.. just cause.. and last night, i got a solid 7-8 hours (gravol assisted), which is the first time in weeks literally. I look forward to more restful sleep tonight. My doctors are aware and all agreed at the taper plan, which was suggested by my trusted "pharmacist, and GP and cpsych. Problem is, while i was "marginally better" on the 37.5. I had most of those symptoms already present just less severe. basically Effexor never worked for me, and the urgency to get off was born from there. I wish i could say i was feeling great, and so that's when i decided it was time to taper. But i wasn't. I never felt good on effexor, except when upping or lowering a dose, i would get one day of euphoric happiness, which soon faded. If my original dose of zoloft from my teens didn't stop working, i wouldn't be fighting this fight.. same with Celexa, which worked for a long time, then, either i had too much pressure in my life, or it just stopped working, then switched to lexapro, no help, then effexor xr. If the meds just kept on working, i would still be on them. That was my main motivation for the taper all together. that and taking holistic care of myself.. watching my diet, meditating, get hormones checked, and supplementing etc.. vitamin, self care…i've think i've already mentioned). this long planned journey since 2017. to do the right things, plan things out. I realize i've perhaps made some bad choices, but i feel like they were supervised choices nonetheless, and i have no choice now but to assume them.. I've been off since Feb 19th'. so 1.5 months. and i'm at that age old choice of "do i go back on or not".. do i soldier on? will things get better? i hate that question. but mostly, i hate that i don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.. i wish i knew someone in my circumstance, who's gotten through it. someone who can say.. yes, with time, things will get better.

thanks for reading

Jump to this post

I am glad today is a better day and that you were able to get enough quality sleep last night. If we each had a crystal ball, we'd make a LOT of different choices. I agree with @sheffieldsmith that anyone thinking of tapering right now should hold off and if already started, hold where they are; sheltering-in-place and social distancing are stresses enough. If you can, avoid the news and agitating/violent TV, movies, books and music. A regular routine and taking meds/supplements on schedule help maintain an even keel (you mentioned you had forgotten about your thyroid medication). I will be off Effexor two years shortly–it does get better.

REPLY
@texasduchess

I am glad today is a better day and that you were able to get enough quality sleep last night. If we each had a crystal ball, we'd make a LOT of different choices. I agree with @sheffieldsmith that anyone thinking of tapering right now should hold off and if already started, hold where they are; sheltering-in-place and social distancing are stresses enough. If you can, avoid the news and agitating/violent TV, movies, books and music. A regular routine and taking meds/supplements on schedule help maintain an even keel (you mentioned you had forgotten about your thyroid medication). I will be off Effexor two years shortly–it does get better.

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Yes no tapering right now!

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@chicago1211

How about that rest who can’t taper successfully. Are we at the dead end.

Jump to this post

This is just my opinion but with the right doctor and the Ashton method I do believe you will be able to taper completely. Have you researched the Ashton Method? Benzo users swear by this method and Dr. Ashton also offers a tapering schedule for antidepressants. Effexor and Seroquel seem to be a more evil drug than any benzo. Just my opinion.

Liked by texasduchess, cp6401

REPLY
@chicago1211

I’m seeing myself in your posts, what you describe is exactly what I experience right now, I just had to reply.
Well, in case you think you are alone in this hell.

Jump to this post

And so do I. Is this it? Is this what better looks like?

REPLY
@sears

This is just my opinion but with the right doctor and the Ashton method I do believe you will be able to taper completely. Have you researched the Ashton Method? Benzo users swear by this method and Dr. Ashton also offers a tapering schedule for antidepressants. Effexor and Seroquel seem to be a more evil drug than any benzo. Just my opinion.

Jump to this post

Here's the link to the Ashton Manual; it can be downloaded as a PDF and for the Nook, or Kindle–
https://www.benzoinfo.com/ashtonmanual/

REPLY
@sheffieldsmith

Please read my recent post. In all likelihood, when this particular time of unprecedented stress and anxiety is over and the pandemic has passed, you will be able to come up with a tapering plan that will ensure minimal side effects. The KEY is to taper in tiny amounts. However for NOW, I highly recommend that everyone attempting to taper at this time to refrain from doing so and resume taking the lowest dose you were on when you were symptom free. And whatever you do, put a post it where you can see it in order TO NOT FORGET TO TAKE YOUR MEDS…..we know how that feels! PLEASE READ MY RECENT POST!❤️🙏❤️

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Here is the link to @sheffieldsmith's post.

– Now is NOT the time to be Tapering off Depression or Anti-Anxiety Meds https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/now-is-not-the-time-to-be-tapering-off-depression-or-anti-anxiety-meds/

It is an anxiety-ridden time right now. Do practice self-care and stay connected with your fellow travelers here on Mayo Clinic Connect, You may also be interested in this discussion:
– How are you handling anxiety in this time of COVID-19? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/anxiety-7/

What helps you?

Liked by texasduchess, sears

REPLY
@cp6401

thanks for the reply @texasduchess @secretwhitepop @sears . Sleep helps alot, that which i've been lacking lately, and which i've learned is fundamental when it comes to even "having a chance" at healing and coming off meds you've been on for 20+ years..or.. just cause.. and last night, i got a solid 7-8 hours (gravol assisted), which is the first time in weeks literally. I look forward to more restful sleep tonight. My doctors are aware and all agreed at the taper plan, which was suggested by my trusted "pharmacist, and GP and cpsych. Problem is, while i was "marginally better" on the 37.5. I had most of those symptoms already present just less severe. basically Effexor never worked for me, and the urgency to get off was born from there. I wish i could say i was feeling great, and so that's when i decided it was time to taper. But i wasn't. I never felt good on effexor, except when upping or lowering a dose, i would get one day of euphoric happiness, which soon faded. If my original dose of zoloft from my teens didn't stop working, i wouldn't be fighting this fight.. same with Celexa, which worked for a long time, then, either i had too much pressure in my life, or it just stopped working, then switched to lexapro, no help, then effexor xr. If the meds just kept on working, i would still be on them. That was my main motivation for the taper all together. that and taking holistic care of myself.. watching my diet, meditating, get hormones checked, and supplementing etc.. vitamin, self care…i've think i've already mentioned). this long planned journey since 2017. to do the right things, plan things out. I realize i've perhaps made some bad choices, but i feel like they were supervised choices nonetheless, and i have no choice now but to assume them.. I've been off since Feb 19th'. so 1.5 months. and i'm at that age old choice of "do i go back on or not".. do i soldier on? will things get better? i hate that question. but mostly, i hate that i don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.. i wish i knew someone in my circumstance, who's gotten through it. someone who can say.. yes, with time, things will get better.

thanks for reading

Jump to this post

I forgot to mention this before, but, have you tried meditation? That helped me tremendously while I was med free. Like I said before, I’m back on zoloft and seroquel and I like the effect better than Effexor. And I always wish I was on nothing. But, well, like they say, it is what it is.

Liked by texasduchess, sears

REPLY
@secretwhitepop

I forgot to mention this before, but, have you tried meditation? That helped me tremendously while I was med free. Like I said before, I’m back on zoloft and seroquel and I like the effect better than Effexor. And I always wish I was on nothing. But, well, like they say, it is what it is.

Jump to this post

Please be cautious with the Seroquel.

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