Tips on minimizing 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

@catcatanzaro60

Last year this site gave me light and hope. Of course, it still does. Haha! I went down deep into depression. It was the first time for me that I could not take
care of myself. My boyfriend jumped up to the plate and took care of me financially. I still have Chronic Pain but understand what is happening to me. I did lose 5 people in my life last year. It was all I could take. 5 jobs lost and now after several medications (Drove my MD doctor crazy)I am back on my Prozac at a stronger dose. I feel much better. I have changed my diet. My stomach is 100% better No bleeding etc. I use Celebrex at a higher dose now and Tylenol. I am gonna try to go back to the Mayo Clinic again in the future. I still have PTSD but understand myself better now too. Thanks for everyone that has kept me going. This has been a great place to grow!!!!

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I wholeheartedly agree.

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It's so good to hear people's healing journeys!

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I joined this group in the hopes of finding ideas to help my mom. She was on a variety of meds but after an in patient stay, weaned off of them. Thankfully the tremors went away. Unfortunately the remeron dr prescribed didn’t work. So now she’s back on Zoloft after 5 years or so. Praying it kicks in soon. We’re all exhausted. Thank you for all of your uplifting thoughts.

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@lisa0878

I would not fo back on Effexor if I was you. I WAS ON effexor for 3 years and yes it was a complete nightmare to come off of but I guess everybody's bodys are differant because most people here didnt think it was a good idea for me to just stop taking it after I tapered down to 37.5 but I did and I went threw it for sure. I hallucinated I couldn't sleep. My head hurt so badly I ached everywhere. My heart rate went up for awhile But I DID GET THREW IT with just valium a couple times a day. Took the edge off only. Any ways it took me probably 20days and now I'm done with that poison and I feel 100percent better. I still have bad days but not bad enough I would ever take effexor again…
If you need to take an anti depressant Ask the Dr about lexapro. Have u tried that before. I was on that for anxiety and depression for about year before I started effexor. When I quit taking lexapro my only side effect was extreme crying No where near the effects of effexor!!!!!!!!
I know it's hard girl. You
Will find yourself a food psychologist and get on a good regimen I JUST WOULDN'T TAKE EFFEXOR.
I take magnesium to help me sleep plus helps muscle spasms and I am on klonopin 2x a day. Maybe they will help u that way and you should just try klonopin just once a day cause I'm aware its addicting in itself or when needed. I
This is just my story
Everyone has there own story on here
Everyone's so helpful and knowledgeable and seems like always there to help.
This gave me an outlit when I was going threw my withdrawls. I would just get on here and go on and on and get my days mixed up on goodness they thought I was crazy on here. I just was so scared and confused but It was the best thing i could of ever done was to leave that effexor and move forward
Good luck your in a great chat room that's for sure
God bless
Lisa

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Sorry I typed that fast and misspelled alot of words like ….A food psychologist….lol…omg how funny and embarrassing…sorry about that

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@babydoll

I’m needing advice. I am off of Effexor since March. I took Prozac as a bridge for a while as the withdrawals were bad. Since then I have been on every SSRI available and have horrible side effects, restlessness, restless legs, anxiety, agitation. It seems my body is super sensitive to it. I was recently put on WellbutrinXL, this was even worse for me. I realize I need something for depression and anxiety, and I am hesitant about going back on a SNRI, but I don’t think I have a choice. Any suggestions on what I should try? I left my Psychiatrist and went to my Primary Care Provider, but I believe that was a big mistake. What medicine do you suggest that is not so mind altering as Effexor? I feel like a failure going through all I went through with Effexor and it’s withdrawal to just go back there.

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@babydoll
Have you considered tranquilizers or mood stabilizers? Either going back to your original psychiatrist or finding a new one could prove beneficial for talk therapy or talk therapy with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is also often effective. Also s/he may have other medication suggestions. Do you know what is causing your depression/anxiety?
Jake

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@motormouth79

I joined this group in the hopes of finding ideas to help my mom. She was on a variety of meds but after an in patient stay, weaned off of them. Thankfully the tremors went away. Unfortunately the remeron dr prescribed didn’t work. So now she’s back on Zoloft after 5 years or so. Praying it kicks in soon. We’re all exhausted. Thank you for all of your uplifting thoughts.

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Sending prayers. One of the reasons I went back on meds was for my family. I didn’t realize how stressful my anxiety was on them.

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@lisa0878

Sorry I typed that fast and misspelled alot of words like ….A food psychologist….lol…omg how funny and embarrassing…sorry about that

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No worries, I knew what you met, but probably need a food Psychiatrist as well! lol, it made me smile, things happen for a reason and I needed that smile. So thanks for the typo, don’t be embarrassed.

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@jakedduck1

@babydoll
Have you considered tranquilizers or mood stabilizers? Either going back to your original psychiatrist or finding a new one could prove beneficial for talk therapy or talk therapy with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is also often effective. Also s/he may have other medication suggestions. Do you know what is causing your depression/anxiety?
Jake

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My mother and my work are the two biggest stressors. I have always been quiet and backward, so social anxiety is horrible, my mother is a compulsive gambler and is being evicted for not paying her rent. She blames everyone else but herself. Meaning, she blames her kids for not helping her and the landlord for not letting her make payments to catch up her back rent. And the already gave her two payment plans that she didn’t keep. So exhausting.

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@babydoll

My mother and my work are the two biggest stressors. I have always been quiet and backward, so social anxiety is horrible, my mother is a compulsive gambler and is being evicted for not paying her rent. She blames everyone else but herself. Meaning, she blames her kids for not helping her and the landlord for not letting her make payments to catch up her back rent. And the already gave her two payment plans that she didn’t keep. So exhausting.

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@babydoll
I know absolutely nothing about compulsive gambling other than to not give them money. If my mom were doing that I’d try and get her conserved if she refused help. Any money she got would be money left over after all her expenses were paid. At least she would have a place to live, food and be safe. If my mom was unwilling to help her stud feel responsible to help her.
Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Often times anxiety is caused by the way we look at a situation. People with anxiety often look at it in a negative way. Try looking at things more positively. Yes I know, easy for me to say. But sometimes the most difficult situations have the greatest rewards.
You didn’t say why your job was so stressful.
Good luck,
Jake

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@coloradogirl

So, I just finished this process with Zoloft (sertraline) and here are some things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully these are low risk for you to try.

1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

No lie – it’s a painful process, but this did really help make it easier. Also, at a certain point, when I was down the below the normal starter dose, I just ripped off the bandaid and went to zero. At that point, it felt like each taper was just prolonging the suffering. Don’t just go cold turkey from your current dose, though, as that can be dangerous. Also, don’t add any supplements or substitutes for the SSRI without talking to your doctor first (also dangerous).

And of course, watch for the return of depression / anxiety type symptoms. For a while it was hard to tell whether I was tired because of the change in meds or because my depression was returning. I figured as long as I felt okay enough to function and wasn’t thinking about being harmful to myself or anyone else, I could play it out and see. It turned out to be the meds and on the other side, I can see that I was more worried about it than I needed to be.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy life.

Mardee

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Mardee, 5 yrs ago you wrote this but you helped me tons today in 2019! Thank you!!!!

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Mom has zero appetite now that she’s on a low dose of remeron (15 mg) and 150 of Zoloft. Any suggestions?

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Don't give up!!! My GP cut me off of effexor 225mg a year ago. It is without a doubt the worst withdrawal post effexor. I started seeing a psychiatrist and with her help my life has finally returned to normal. It's hell going thru effexor withdrawal but there is help available.

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