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

Thanks so much. I do see a psychiatrist who prescribes for me but this was a mess up and we both came to the conclusion that the worst part may be over. To her credit she did tell me I can go up in dosing at anytime if I felt discomfort. This should t have been a decision but rather her new script as I don’t know that I knew enough to make an informed decision. I’ve been on all kinds of meds since I was 23. This is the worst and I’ve been on some bad stuff. My therapist suggested acupuncture for the physical toll it is taking . Anyone have an opinion?

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@dmp532

Thanks so much. I do see a psychiatrist who prescribes for me but this was a mess up and we both came to the conclusion that the worst part may be over. To her credit she did tell me I can go up in dosing at anytime if I felt discomfort. This should t have been a decision but rather her new script as I don’t know that I knew enough to make an informed decision. I’ve been on all kinds of meds since I was 23. This is the worst and I’ve been on some bad stuff. My therapist suggested acupuncture for the physical toll it is taking . Anyone have an opinion?

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…sorry I wish I could give an opinion that would help you. Thing is, we all have our lives to live outside the doctor's office… and a Plan to taper or whatever sounds possible while discussing it with a doctor but then get home to our various lives and problems and coping and issues to deal with , and possibly many other illnesses, or caring for someone else; money issues; fatigue and trying to keep a household together and stresses : it's not as if we can leave dr office and go back to some peace and tranquility and have someone at our beck and call when we are having a difficult time…life is hard and it is a lot more hard for some than others and doctors see us for a few minutes in their office and come up with a Plan. Try putting that Plan in place when "life" has other plans for us…. we arent like some movie stars who go into rehab an get the best of help 24/7… we are dealing with withdrawal, other illnesses, (and like the lady who has to climb stairs to get to her apt. while ill), etc. etc. coping best we can. and I am not blaming doctors they cant follow us home and hold our hands, but it is HARD, and harder for some people than others I am tired of hearing: Oh, Mr….. did it; oh Mrs so and so found it easy…we are not all the same . Happy for those who achieves results more easily but some of us need more help and it's not there!!!

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Thank you. This site is so helpful. It will get better, I know. But you are absolutely right- drs only know you for 15 to 30 minutes. Meds seem to be the only answer. I’m on so many I don’t even know which one is supposed to do what. There’s a person behind it all just wanting to know if the medicated me is the real one or a dulled version based on someone else’s idea of normal.

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@dmp532

Thanks so much. I do see a psychiatrist who prescribes for me but this was a mess up and we both came to the conclusion that the worst part may be over. To her credit she did tell me I can go up in dosing at anytime if I felt discomfort. This should t have been a decision but rather her new script as I don’t know that I knew enough to make an informed decision. I’ve been on all kinds of meds since I was 23. This is the worst and I’ve been on some bad stuff. My therapist suggested acupuncture for the physical toll it is taking . Anyone have an opinion?

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@dmp532
If you’re referring to the physical problems related to your Effexor taper just decrease your taper amount. Simple and effective. I don’t understand for the life of me why you say it's so hard, what is hard about just taking a little bit less instead of a lot less and suffering withdrawal. If you insist you’re unable to do it yourself you need to enlist the help of a doctor and a compounding pharmacist. I have to use a sterile compounding pharmacy for one of my meds and yes they are more expensive however insurance may pay especially if your doctor intervenes on your behalf. However, you may have to pay him for doing so. Another reason for going very slowly, who’s to say your depression or whatever problem you’re taking it for will completely go away. By going slowly you can check the progress of your condition. You may need to continue on some type of medication. Don't be afraid to confront your doctor and insist on the treatment you need. Remember who works for who and a medical degree isn't a guarantee they always know best. If you read this thread you’ll see how wrong they have been and how much pain and agony they have caused unnecessarily.
I wish you the very best of luck,
Jake

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@dmp532
As far as acupuncture is concerned I have personally never had any experience with it.
however I took my father to a couple of them although their treatments were unsuccessful. I wonder if my dad‘s paralysis could have been the reason why it wasn’t successful. He was paralyzed from the neck down and perhaps that may have played a part in it, I certainly don't know. however I have heard from people who have been very successfulon.
good luck with that also,
Jake

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It’s so hard for the life of me because I have a mental illness that makes challenging others decisions difficult and frightening.

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@dmp532

Thank you. This site is so helpful. It will get better, I know. But you are absolutely right- drs only know you for 15 to 30 minutes. Meds seem to be the only answer. I’m on so many I don’t even know which one is supposed to do what. There’s a person behind it all just wanting to know if the medicated me is the real one or a dulled version based on someone else’s idea of normal.

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@dmp532 your last words resonated with me and I would say I too no longer know who I am; or rather, I certainly am not the person I used to be… after illness, pain , suffering, medications, lots of time in or on bed: from the busy working wife and mother I was.it is very very hard fo rme to accept. Wishing you the best, J.

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@jakedduck1

@dmp532
If you’re referring to the physical problems related to your Effexor taper just decrease your taper amount. Simple and effective. I don’t understand for the life of me why you say it's so hard, what is hard about just taking a little bit less instead of a lot less and suffering withdrawal. If you insist you’re unable to do it yourself you need to enlist the help of a doctor and a compounding pharmacist. I have to use a sterile compounding pharmacy for one of my meds and yes they are more expensive however insurance may pay especially if your doctor intervenes on your behalf. However, you may have to pay him for doing so. Another reason for going very slowly, who’s to say your depression or whatever problem you’re taking it for will completely go away. By going slowly you can check the progress of your condition. You may need to continue on some type of medication. Don't be afraid to confront your doctor and insist on the treatment you need. Remember who works for who and a medical degree isn't a guarantee they always know best. If you read this thread you’ll see how wrong they have been and how much pain and agony they have caused unnecessarily.
I wish you the very best of luck,
Jake

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@jakedduck1 Wow… just my lowly opinion and I agree with second part of your post; however , and I realize its your personal opinion, but re your opening comments, aren't they are bit harsh?we are not all the same and do not all respond the same, for a multitude of reasons…. this is similar to what I face with my adult children. However, some things they find hard, I find easy; and some things I find hard, they think "should" be easy.. we are all unique even though share same/similar medical conditions, same medications dont you think? J.

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@dmp532
Would you be willing to share your diagnosis?
Jake

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No. I tried this group. I’m really fragile. I thank you for the kindness but it’s no longer for me.

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@dmp532

No. I tried this group. I’m really fragile. I thank you for the kindness but it’s no longer for me.

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@dijoy @sears @rew4946 @dmp532 @sru97 @lacy2 @jakedduck1
To One and All: I can’t actually feel your pain but I certainly understand and am compassionate to you and here’s why. I know from experience that depression is the pits – literally in a dark, deep pit. I had a nervous breakdown, even catatonic, and numerous meds could not bring me out until the Drs. said my only chance was shock treatments (15 of them) Then 12 years later another breakdown (probably because I refused any meds) and 12 more shock treatments. I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar II which is basically all depression all the time. I was prescribed Lithobid (name brand of Lithium) and after a severe concussion that has left me unable to sleep, I was also prescribed Seroquel. For me it is a Godsend and allows me to get a great night’s sleep. I believe I’ve said this in the past but all meds do not act the same on all people and some that are good for some have bad reactions on another. So I also think it is dangerous to claim that any med is dangerous across the board. I have noticed so many of you adjusting your dose up or down or stopping without checking with your Doctor. Please, please know that is a dangerous practice especially with antidepressants! I have found that it is helpful for me and the doctor to make a list of all the things that are going on, side effects, etc. I just hand it to him and I don’t forget anything and I make sure he covers everything. Most important is that God loves you and wants to see you well. If HE can cure me from out of the dregs then I know He can do it for you. Isaiah 41:10 says: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.” Keep looking up to His Light and never, ever give up. With all my love, Sharon

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@jakedduck1

@dmp532
If you’re referring to the physical problems related to your Effexor taper just decrease your taper amount. Simple and effective. I don’t understand for the life of me why you say it's so hard, what is hard about just taking a little bit less instead of a lot less and suffering withdrawal. If you insist you’re unable to do it yourself you need to enlist the help of a doctor and a compounding pharmacist. I have to use a sterile compounding pharmacy for one of my meds and yes they are more expensive however insurance may pay especially if your doctor intervenes on your behalf. However, you may have to pay him for doing so. Another reason for going very slowly, who’s to say your depression or whatever problem you’re taking it for will completely go away. By going slowly you can check the progress of your condition. You may need to continue on some type of medication. Don't be afraid to confront your doctor and insist on the treatment you need. Remember who works for who and a medical degree isn't a guarantee they always know best. If you read this thread you’ll see how wrong they have been and how much pain and agony they have caused unnecessarily.
I wish you the very best of luck,
Jake

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@jakedduck1, it is not our place to judge what should and shouldn't be hard or what someone finds hard or not. Please be careful with words. It is all we have to use for communication on this forum without the benefit of body language and tone of voice.

Mayo Clinic Connect is a place where people can share their experiences honestly and openly. It is during times of vulnerability that we need support the most. I agree with you that tapering very slowly is crucial. It is here, in a safe, anonymous, non-judgemental online environment that people can learn 1) they're not alone, 2) everyone is different 3) what slow tapering means and 4) how to get support from their prescribing doctor or find support if they're not getting it.

@dmp532, I'm glad that you found this group and shared the challenges you are facing. I hope you will reconsider returning to the discussion so we can support you during this fragile period.

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