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

@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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Md's prescribed these drugs too casually w/o warning of side effects This must stop !!!

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@coloradogirl

Happy to help. Good luck with your process. I also forgot to mention that both stress and sugar seem to make the brain zaps worse for me. Even though I’ve been off for about a month now, I had a cupcake yesterday afternoon and within about an hour, I had quite a few. Worth watching in case it does the same thing to you.

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Thanks

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@nanke99

Hi! I was on Effexor XR for a few years and got off it several years ago. It was a very difficult process, so I fully sympathize. You MUST wean off
VERY SLOWLY. I don’t remember what my dosage was at the time (225mg?), but it took me about 9 months. Please do not let that long time scare you, it’s worth going slow, that will be your biggest help w/ withdrawal. At the time I had a very difficult time finding any doctor with experience getting people off it.
Luckily I was advised to to find one and luckily I did. It is considered harder to get off than heroine. Not trying to scare you, just want to make sure you go as slow as possible. Mostly, I was moody/angry, had headaches, and some brain “shivers”. The brain shivers I already had while on the meds.
I think we went down in 25mg increments over several weeks for each reduction. Keep us posted and good luck! Just give yourself some time and it will be over before you know it!

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Xanax is similar I got very sick after NOT taking it for 3 days Scary Went to ER

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@kerwea

Can the withdrawal symptoms include paranoia, anxiety or strange nightmares?

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Beware of Xanax Its can be insidious getting off it or lowering dose

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@kathymurphy55

I have been taking Effexor/Venlafaxine for stress induce menopause hot flashes.
I quit cold turkey once because I blame it for gas and weight gain. What a mistake that was. All I did was cry.
Now I am told I have dry mouth and this med can be the reason. I don't know what to do

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wean off very gradually See if that helps Big pharm makes tons with these 'addictive' meds

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@parus

All I can say is my withdrawal from EFFEXOR over 8 years ago is NOT something I would want to experience again. I can say I am more at peace with myself and others without this DRUG. Withdrawal from these type of DRUGS can be lethal w/o proper supervision. Sad that professionals are NOT better educated or just don't care…

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which NO one reads MD's have a responsibility to inform, protect their patients First DO NO harm '

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@brightwings

CBD OIL
IS IT WORKING FOR YOU AND HOW DOES IT HELP?

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BTW CBD oil made from hemp is legal in all 50 states.

Liked by edziner

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@brightwings

I am posting this so any that are interested can participate.
The NEXT SACRED CEREMONY in southern Missouri is scheduled for June 23, it starts at 9 am. Don't be late unless you have long distances to travel. I like to get there the evening before. The folks who attend are so wonderful, interesting, and healing folks.
The church is called New Haven Native American Church, Ava, Missouri. Google it.
There is a small chapel to stay in overnight if you choose. Lots of others will be there. We are up to about 70 or so folks every ceremony.
The location of the ceremony is 14 miles west of Ava, Missouri, straight west of Ava on highway 14. When you cross the Bryant River, you are there. Turn right at first driveway after river.
This ceremony is called Be Still in The Moment. Or Peyote. These sacred medicines have allowed me to get off the antidepressants. AND Ayawaska ended my depression.
So any questions, ask away. Smiling at you, Hope to see you there. Bright Wings

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@tennessegirl
Here is the info about Sacred Ceremony's right above this text. Smiling at you girl….so much!

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@brightwings

I am posting this so any that are interested can participate.
The NEXT SACRED CEREMONY in southern Missouri is scheduled for June 23, it starts at 9 am. Don't be late unless you have long distances to travel. I like to get there the evening before. The folks who attend are so wonderful, interesting, and healing folks.
The church is called New Haven Native American Church, Ava, Missouri. Google it.
There is a small chapel to stay in overnight if you choose. Lots of others will be there. We are up to about 70 or so folks every ceremony.
The location of the ceremony is 14 miles west of Ava, Missouri, straight west of Ava on highway 14. When you cross the Bryant River, you are there. Turn right at first driveway after river.
This ceremony is called Be Still in The Moment. Or Peyote. These sacred medicines have allowed me to get off the antidepressants. AND Ayawaska ended my depression.
So any questions, ask away. Smiling at you, Hope to see you there. Bright Wings

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@amelia42
I have been told 2 hours but for some things it works quicker. You will regret it if you forget to take it…just saying…
I had my first brain zap today in about 2 weeks. And I have to say I was stressing my body big time driving a friend to get an emergency tooth extraction with no air conditioning. Going to the big city Definately is a strain with no air conditioning. Ok getting off, repeating myself. Take care everyone. Bright Wings

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@toasty how are you feeling? It broke my heart when you mentioned "trying to act normal". I can relate. Trying to hide our anxiety is exhausting.

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@brightwings

I am posting this so any that are interested can participate.
The NEXT SACRED CEREMONY in southern Missouri is scheduled for June 23, it starts at 9 am. Don't be late unless you have long distances to travel. I like to get there the evening before. The folks who attend are so wonderful, interesting, and healing folks.
The church is called New Haven Native American Church, Ava, Missouri. Google it.
There is a small chapel to stay in overnight if you choose. Lots of others will be there. We are up to about 70 or so folks every ceremony.
The location of the ceremony is 14 miles west of Ava, Missouri, straight west of Ava on highway 14. When you cross the Bryant River, you are there. Turn right at first driveway after river.
This ceremony is called Be Still in The Moment. Or Peyote. These sacred medicines have allowed me to get off the antidepressants. AND Ayawaska ended my depression.
So any questions, ask away. Smiling at you, Hope to see you there. Bright Wings

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THANKS

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It is exhausting trying to hide Anxiety.

Liked by toasty

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@nanke99

Hi! I was on Effexor XR for a few years and got off it several years ago. It was a very difficult process, so I fully sympathize. You MUST wean off
VERY SLOWLY. I don’t remember what my dosage was at the time (225mg?), but it took me about 9 months. Please do not let that long time scare you, it’s worth going slow, that will be your biggest help w/ withdrawal. At the time I had a very difficult time finding any doctor with experience getting people off it.
Luckily I was advised to to find one and luckily I did. It is considered harder to get off than heroine. Not trying to scare you, just want to make sure you go as slow as possible. Mostly, I was moody/angry, had headaches, and some brain “shivers”. The brain shivers I already had while on the meds.
I think we went down in 25mg increments over several weeks for each reduction. Keep us posted and good luck! Just give yourself some time and it will be over before you know it!

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Hey going off Effexor went from 150 to 75 to37.5 each a Month
Now every other day. Feeling a little yuck
Tell me where cannget oils. !!
Not going back onit!!

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@anxiouslisa

@toasty how are you feeling? It broke my heart when you mentioned "trying to act normal". I can relate. Trying to hide our anxiety is exhausting.

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@anxiouslisa The days I take 150mg, I feel ok mostly but on the days I take 75mg I can tell by the end of the day that things are right. Today is a 75 mg day and it's about 3pm here. I feel ok except for a headache which may not be related. But later tonight will be when I feel bad. Day before yesterday I felt very dizzy, like feeling that I needed to reach out and grab the wall at times. It's very scary and people that haven't been through it don't understand. I'm thinking I might try doing 75 each day by the end of this week. I've been switching them for about 2 weeks.

Trying to act normal is very exhausting. I know people that say oh yea I have anxiety too….but they are out doing things that I know I can't do, smh after this experience I am not going back on anything. It's just too scary. I'm thinking of trying CBD oil.

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@anniegk

It is exhausting trying to hide Anxiety.

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@anniegk
I agree, it really is!

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