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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@lovetheocean

Day six without the 150 mg a day. Ten years. So far my reaction has been brain zaps, not constantly, but definitely annoyingly there. Getting some body aches and low back pain, but that is probably due to resting so much. Some fear of the future. I do not know many people. Have kept my almost-adult kids in the loop. Weird almost-but-not-quite noises that are more of a sensation than a sound. Onward.

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I have been gradually reducing my dosage from 225mg daily. Started when I was having problems with high blood pressure. At that time I also started Weight Watchers and have cut out caffeine, and become mindful re:salt. I think I took on too much! I have lost about 10 lbs, and my BP is much better. I am not experiencing anxiety. But I am very distractable and "out of it". Would this be considered "brain fog"?
Am taking turmeric for arthritis and feel it helps me with anxiety.
Just this week trying CBD oil and also increasing omega 3 (using flaxseed oil caps). Last dosage reduction, was about 3 weeks ago.
Now down to c.164 mg.
I am 78, grandmother and retired. Really appreciate the info I find here. Do not want to give in to this drug! Hate that it is so powerful.

@arachel

I've been posting pretty regularly here since I started my withdrawal from 150 mg back in January. This is my second attempt at getting completely off of Effexor. The first try came in 2013 at my then doctor's encouragement. He thought I had been on the drug too long and he was right. Ten years was too long. Unfortunately, this doctor was not very well versed in this drug and how to guide a patient through the wean down process. After a very bumpy road, and six months into trying to withdraw, I ended up in the emergency room in the throws of the worst panic attack of my life. Diagnosis was "withdrawal" and I was encouraged to get back on the drug and I did. In retrospect, that recommendation was wrong, wrong, wrong. I was down to 10mg and if I had a doctor who knew what the hell was happening I could have gotten past that downslide and off the drug instead of back where I started. Five years after that incident and still taking Effexor, I was back in another doctors office. He also encouraged me to wean off the drug. He, like the other guy, didn't have any better insight into how to do it except to try to put a day between dosages. No, no, no…..wrong again. You can't skip a day without adding some Effexor to your diet. This time I felt I would be my own best advocate and I started with this forum. Somewhere here (don't quite remember who it was) I read that people were opening the capsule and removing the little beads in slow degrees until you've reached the ultimate goal of zero. Now, that seemed logical to me. That's how I started to do it. I got myself down to 75mg and then down to 37.5 with very little consequence. By the way, my doctor was completely against my doing it this way, but his way was too painful, so I took things into my own hands. I continued to open the capsule decrease the beads until I had 10 little beads left in the capsule. This was two weeks ago. It's here where I started to have a few problems. I started to have horrific nightmares, some dizziness and nausea and weird feelings in my head . The nightmares are the worst part. Two days ago I quit completely, zip, zero, nothing. Today was a bit better than yesterday and I hope that the nightmares start to subside but as long as I have my husband beside me to hold me during the night I'm going to see it through. I'm sitting here now with a glass of wine at my side….definitely helps….and the feeling that no matter what happens I will get on the other side of this. It bothers me that the medical profession, full well knowing how powerful this drug is, does not know how to help their patients to a successful result. Why do we have to suffer to achieve this end.
P.S. I want to note that I read that Fish Oil supplements are helpful with this process. I do take fish oil and maybe that's why I've gotten this far, but it's just a guess and after all, it doesn't hurt to try.

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@arachel I hope you are able to continue to move forward to stay off of Effexor. You sound very strong, and I am sure you will be victorious.
JK

@arachel

I've been posting pretty regularly here since I started my withdrawal from 150 mg back in January. This is my second attempt at getting completely off of Effexor. The first try came in 2013 at my then doctor's encouragement. He thought I had been on the drug too long and he was right. Ten years was too long. Unfortunately, this doctor was not very well versed in this drug and how to guide a patient through the wean down process. After a very bumpy road, and six months into trying to withdraw, I ended up in the emergency room in the throws of the worst panic attack of my life. Diagnosis was "withdrawal" and I was encouraged to get back on the drug and I did. In retrospect, that recommendation was wrong, wrong, wrong. I was down to 10mg and if I had a doctor who knew what the hell was happening I could have gotten past that downslide and off the drug instead of back where I started. Five years after that incident and still taking Effexor, I was back in another doctors office. He also encouraged me to wean off the drug. He, like the other guy, didn't have any better insight into how to do it except to try to put a day between dosages. No, no, no…..wrong again. You can't skip a day without adding some Effexor to your diet. This time I felt I would be my own best advocate and I started with this forum. Somewhere here (don't quite remember who it was) I read that people were opening the capsule and removing the little beads in slow degrees until you've reached the ultimate goal of zero. Now, that seemed logical to me. That's how I started to do it. I got myself down to 75mg and then down to 37.5 with very little consequence. By the way, my doctor was completely against my doing it this way, but his way was too painful, so I took things into my own hands. I continued to open the capsule decrease the beads until I had 10 little beads left in the capsule. This was two weeks ago. It's here where I started to have a few problems. I started to have horrific nightmares, some dizziness and nausea and weird feelings in my head . The nightmares are the worst part. Two days ago I quit completely, zip, zero, nothing. Today was a bit better than yesterday and I hope that the nightmares start to subside but as long as I have my husband beside me to hold me during the night I'm going to see it through. I'm sitting here now with a glass of wine at my side….definitely helps….and the feeling that no matter what happens I will get on the other side of this. It bothers me that the medical profession, full well knowing how powerful this drug is, does not know how to help their patients to a successful result. Why do we have to suffer to achieve this end.
P.S. I want to note that I read that Fish Oil supplements are helpful with this process. I do take fish oil and maybe that's why I've gotten this far, but it's just a guess and after all, it doesn't hurt to try.

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Thank you sooooo much for your encouraging words. I could not do this without the support of those who love me and without the support of this forum and people like you.

When I tried to quit Efexor the same thing happens after I took Chantex 11 years ago. Although I only took a half a pill for a month when I quit taking it I had issues for years where I couldn't find anything funny and those brain shivers were something I never understood before seeing that you all get them too.

@lovetheocean

Day six without the 150 mg a day. Ten years. So far my reaction has been brain zaps, not constantly, but definitely annoyingly there. Getting some body aches and low back pain, but that is probably due to resting so much. Some fear of the future. I do not know many people. Have kept my almost-adult kids in the loop. Weird almost-but-not-quite noises that are more of a sensation than a sound. Onward.

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Where are you getting the CBD oil? I would like to try, but don’t know where to get it. Thanks!

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@lovetheocean

Day six without the 150 mg a day. Ten years. So far my reaction has been brain zaps, not constantly, but definitely annoyingly there. Getting some body aches and low back pain, but that is probably due to resting so much. Some fear of the future. I do not know many people. Have kept my almost-adult kids in the loop. Weird almost-but-not-quite noises that are more of a sensation than a sound. Onward.

Jump to this post

I get CBD oil at the Flippin Hippee, Mountain Home, Arkansas. Google them. They can probably mail it out tomorrow. Tell them Cute Susie sent you. I am using Lazarus Naturals. 225 mg. 3 drops, 2 to 3 times a day. It completely changed the game (not) of getting off the Effexor. Gave me a peace I wasn't feeling while getting off this.
Sticking together makes this so much easier for all of us.
YIPPEE SKIPPEE. We can do this!!!

@lovetheocean

Day six without the 150 mg a day. Ten years. So far my reaction has been brain zaps, not constantly, but definitely annoyingly there. Getting some body aches and low back pain, but that is probably due to resting so much. Some fear of the future. I do not know many people. Have kept my almost-adult kids in the loop. Weird almost-but-not-quite noises that are more of a sensation than a sound. Onward.

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Does anyone know if CBD oil helps with relaxing so you can fall asleep? That's a problem with me. I discovered as an adult, after I had children, that I have an attention deficit. Both my son and daughter do and that's what made me realize I did. Back in my day they either called me lazy or if they were nice, an underachiever. I wonder too if you can use it if you are on immunosuppressants. I suspect it would be OK but of course would check first.
I bring this up because when my daughter was writing her college essays she wrote one on having ADD — my son had ADHD. She said it's not that you don't pay attention, it's that you pay attention to EVERYTHING, which I find very true. As I lay in bed at night trying to think quiet thoughts and say some prayers my mind goes off in a million different directions. If I am concerned about something, it makes it even worse.
JK

@lovetheocean

Day six without the 150 mg a day. Ten years. So far my reaction has been brain zaps, not constantly, but definitely annoyingly there. Getting some body aches and low back pain, but that is probably due to resting so much. Some fear of the future. I do not know many people. Have kept my almost-adult kids in the loop. Weird almost-but-not-quite noises that are more of a sensation than a sound. Onward.

Jump to this post

I am using the CBD oil to help me sleep. I have to say I had my doubts this stuff would work. Just more hippee stuff, I thought. But do you know what, it really does help WHEN I USE IT CONSISTANTLY.
If I take it hit or miss, I lose ground on my withdrawal symptoms. Racing mind, can't fall or stay asleep, and the crazy rushes of emotions. Wow, I realize I didn't have as many today. Yea cuz they suck.
I had a sleep disorder since I was 3 years old. Crazy abuse in those days and nights. Long story short, my therapist taught me to say over and over again, this is the time for sleep, this is the time for sleep, etc and so on. I have other sleep tricks too.
When my mind is so overactive, I was taught to think of thoughts like a merry go round…one turn all the way around and I had to get off.
That means…when I notice I am starting to repeat my thoughts, its time to repeat over and over, now is the time to sleep…
I really did get rid of my sleep disorder. The first nights are exhausting, but I did learn how to quiet my brain. I certainly hope this helps.
Are these little tips helping??? I have so many tips to share. The more you speak of your challenges, the more tips pop up to share.

I was here a bit ago, franticly looking for my start date because I forgot exactly when I took my last Effexor. I have to tell you I was shocked to read all the symptoms of withdrawal I started with when I arrived here at Mayo Clinic Connect. Shocked and horrified. No wonder I tried for so many years to get off it With no success.
Today I am 10 weeks with no Effexor. I can tell I am starting to come out the other side and really enjoy life again.
I am posting this to share the hope of being Effexor free. It really is possible!

@arachel

I've been posting pretty regularly here since I started my withdrawal from 150 mg back in January. This is my second attempt at getting completely off of Effexor. The first try came in 2013 at my then doctor's encouragement. He thought I had been on the drug too long and he was right. Ten years was too long. Unfortunately, this doctor was not very well versed in this drug and how to guide a patient through the wean down process. After a very bumpy road, and six months into trying to withdraw, I ended up in the emergency room in the throws of the worst panic attack of my life. Diagnosis was "withdrawal" and I was encouraged to get back on the drug and I did. In retrospect, that recommendation was wrong, wrong, wrong. I was down to 10mg and if I had a doctor who knew what the hell was happening I could have gotten past that downslide and off the drug instead of back where I started. Five years after that incident and still taking Effexor, I was back in another doctors office. He also encouraged me to wean off the drug. He, like the other guy, didn't have any better insight into how to do it except to try to put a day between dosages. No, no, no…..wrong again. You can't skip a day without adding some Effexor to your diet. This time I felt I would be my own best advocate and I started with this forum. Somewhere here (don't quite remember who it was) I read that people were opening the capsule and removing the little beads in slow degrees until you've reached the ultimate goal of zero. Now, that seemed logical to me. That's how I started to do it. I got myself down to 75mg and then down to 37.5 with very little consequence. By the way, my doctor was completely against my doing it this way, but his way was too painful, so I took things into my own hands. I continued to open the capsule decrease the beads until I had 10 little beads left in the capsule. This was two weeks ago. It's here where I started to have a few problems. I started to have horrific nightmares, some dizziness and nausea and weird feelings in my head . The nightmares are the worst part. Two days ago I quit completely, zip, zero, nothing. Today was a bit better than yesterday and I hope that the nightmares start to subside but as long as I have my husband beside me to hold me during the night I'm going to see it through. I'm sitting here now with a glass of wine at my side….definitely helps….and the feeling that no matter what happens I will get on the other side of this. It bothers me that the medical profession, full well knowing how powerful this drug is, does not know how to help their patients to a successful result. Why do we have to suffer to achieve this end.
P.S. I want to note that I read that Fish Oil supplements are helpful with this process. I do take fish oil and maybe that's why I've gotten this far, but it's just a guess and after all, it doesn't hurt to try.

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@arachel

I am so sorry you are having such a horrible time of it.
I am no doctor but it sounds like you are going through withdrawals.
Keep doing self-talk.
Turn on the TV or try to do something that will occupy your mind.
I cannot find your original message.
I don't know why you are going off the Effexor or if you are doing it with the help of a doctor, preferably a psychiatrist .
I also don't know how you are doing it.

Sounds like a good idea to take your Xanax. How about a warm bath to settle your body down?

I am in awe of you doing this.

Send a warm hug…..

Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

A QUESTION TO ALL WHO USES OR HAD USED EFFEXOR……

I've been on Effexor to years and I am pleased with the way it has kept my anxiety attacks away.

Why are so many of you trying to or have come off the Effexor?
Are your anxiety attacks gone?
Do you and/or your doctor prefer you take something else?

Thank you!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

@lovetheocean

Day six without the 150 mg a day. Ten years. So far my reaction has been brain zaps, not constantly, but definitely annoyingly there. Getting some body aches and low back pain, but that is probably due to resting so much. Some fear of the future. I do not know many people. Have kept my almost-adult kids in the loop. Weird almost-but-not-quite noises that are more of a sensation than a sound. Onward.

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Hi
I do not want to sound ignorant, but what is CBD? How do you use it? What is it used for?

Thank you for any information you can give me about it.

Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

@jmanon

Hello All,

I am on day 21 off Effexor and life is going really well. The first 7 to 10 days were the worst. Then the withdrawal symptoms began to taper off. It feels like I won the superbowl so I should head to Walt Disney World. In fact I might just do that. 🙂

I don't expect to share more on there as my journey off the medication is complete. Now it's time to build on all the positive changes and silver linings that happened over the past three weeks. If you need me please feel free to reach out. I wish you all the best on your journey. The experiences people have shared are filled with excellent insights and recommendations. Work with a doctor your trust who understands you and this medication. All the best.

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@kathymurphy55 — just wanted to touch base and see how it's going. Are you still reducing your dosage?

@lovetheocean

Day six without the 150 mg a day. Ten years. So far my reaction has been brain zaps, not constantly, but definitely annoyingly there. Getting some body aches and low back pain, but that is probably due to resting so much. Some fear of the future. I do not know many people. Have kept my almost-adult kids in the loop. Weird almost-but-not-quite noises that are more of a sensation than a sound. Onward.

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@grandmar

I have written several posts about CBD on other threads. CBD is a derivative of marijuana that eases anxiety and some pain without the "high" that comes from the THC in marijuana. There is usually a small amount of THC in CBD but not enough to cause a high. It is safe, and was effective for my withdrawal anxiety from Tramadol 50 mg. I will copy my post with links to education and on line purchase information for reputable sites.

Gail
Volunteer Mentor

@lovetheocean

Day six without the 150 mg a day. Ten years. So far my reaction has been brain zaps, not constantly, but definitely annoyingly there. Getting some body aches and low back pain, but that is probably due to resting so much. Some fear of the future. I do not know many people. Have kept my almost-adult kids in the loop. Weird almost-but-not-quite noises that are more of a sensation than a sound. Onward.

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@grandmar and everyone

Here's the post:

For those who are interested in using CBD/marijuana as a pain or anxiety reliever, here are two websites that provide excellent quality products and one has an extensive educational programs that are free. One series of the education programs helps each person determine their own dosage for their problems.

1. http://www.cbdlivingwater.org — has good products. I used the Living Water to help me withdraw from Tramadol.

2. https://mjstherapeutics.org — this is where I purchased my CBD Daily tincture. It's an excellent quality product and they have others you can order online.

3. https://healer.com/about-us/ educational programs. I need to take their education programs and determine the correct dosage for my arthritis and radiculopathy pain.

These are good sites with reliable products and information. I have tested these links now and they work.

Gail
Volunteer Mentor

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