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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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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Never heard of TMS…..what is it?

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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@sadsadiesmom – I wrote a note to you last night, but my Internet wasn’t up to speed, and it never sent.

I can’t even imagine how much you are going through right now. I wish I could give you a magic, quick and easy answer, but alas, I’m not a magician. What I can offer is my prayers.

Have you considered calling the suicide hotline? Though it doesn’t sound like you’re at risk right now, they may very well be able to offer or recommend some resources.

I pray that you’ll find the best treatment for all of the pain you’re living with right now. I’m glad that you have reached out to this Mayo group. We understand at least to some extent what you’re experiencing.

Jim

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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Jim, thank you so much for your kind words. Baby steps, one foot in front of the other….I just want to find some peace and happiness on this earth…just a little….

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@sadiesmom — Sounds like coming off the Effexor/venlafaxine has been truly horrible. I also can’t imagine how painful it would be to have a long marriage end in divorce and to lose a precious child.

Sounds like you really need a doctor’s help at this point. As your psychiatrist did not yet respond how you had hoped to get you some relief, would you consider calling back again? That doctor’s office should have an emergency number if waiting till tomorrow seems too tough. Do you have a general practitioner you can call?

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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yes, wanted to know that as well?

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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What is TMS?

REPLY
@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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@bekinprogress @sadiesmom, I believe that Wendy is referring to transcranial magnetic stimulation TMS. You can read more about it here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/transcranial-magnetic-stimulation/home/ovc-20163795

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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sadiesmom, gosh..bless your soul. I’m not a doctor but when my anxiety and panic attacks were at their highest, .25 did nothing for me! And I’m sensitive to most medicines. I don’t take any med except the Effexor. I take about 6 vitamins along with it. Even though I have been feeling good I would still like to get off the Effexor before it starts causing any issues. I got on this chat as I’ve been thinking about it and now I’m nervous to take the plunge but also glad to know of these symptoms so that it will not freak me out if I have start having some of them. I know how I felt and I couldn’t think or get anything accomplished either. If I got my kids home from school I was doing good. I cried and was very scared A LOT! I was scared to take xanax thinking it would make me feel more sad but when I finally did and it took the edge off I’d wished I had done it earlier. I would take one .25 and didn’t feel any better. My friend who was a nurse said to take another one that at the hospital they don’t give less than .5 in the hospital so I did and was scared since I have am typically so sensitive to meds. My doctor then told me to take the .5 in the morning and the evening but this is when I also started the Effexor. I did me a world of good and I the xanax for 2 weeks 2 times a day and got over my hump and was in a better place. I know it’s addictive and that is why they are so careful about using it but my doctor says I have anxiety disorder and that is what xanax should be used for. I still take it when needed maybe once a month or less but I’m thinking I will have to use it when weaning. This just may be a time you need a little more help for a week or so until you are feeling a little better and able to go exercise and function normally. I WISH YOU THE BEST b/c I know what it’s like to feel like that and it’s awful! Take Care of yourself!

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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Hello @sadiesmom

I am so sorry to hear of all of the difficulties you have been through. Losing a marriage and a child are by far some of the biggest stressors we can face. My heart goes out to you.

During this time, you have also encountered physical problems which compounds things, doesn’t it? You didn’t mention how much Effexor you were taking prior to decreasing the dose and replacing it with Prozac. I understand that doctors are reluctant to prescribe meds like Xanax to those of us over 60 as it increases the chances for falls as well as addictions.

Have you sought a second opinion on making this dosage and medication change? This may be a good idea based on the symptoms you are having.

Please keep in touch with Mayo Connect and let us know how you are doing.

Teresa

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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Hi, @sadiesmom — In case you need to talk to someone, here is the suicide hotline number that Jim referred to in his message earlier: 1-800-273-8255. I am so sorry that you are going through this. It’s important to know you are not alone! I’m tagging @johnbishop, @contentandwell and @IndianaScott, who may be able to provide some support. Your Connect community is here for you!

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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@sadiesmom @lisalucier I am so sorry for what you are going through and can only imagine how difficult it must be to face each new day not feeling well. I have never experienced anything like this so I really do not have advice based on experience. I also have never taken any of the drugs mentioned. Right now my personal main concern is not getting dependent on pain meds.
I just know that the more you can push yourself to do, no matter how difficult it may be, the better each day will be. Anything you can do will give you that positive sense of accomplishment and that is a first step, I think. I know it is for me when I am feeling at all down. Fortunately for me those times have been situational so not long term.
It’s obviously easier said than done but I hope you can push yourself to muster enough energy to get moving every day, even for any small accomplishments.
Please feel free to just vent and air out your feelings to this very caring group of people. Everyone I have contact with here is very caring and sympathetic.
JK

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@sadiesmom

I am really struggling with the withdrawal off of Effexor. I had taken it for about 10 years. First subscribed after divorce of 30 year marriage and then five years later lost my son to PTSD related suicide from serving 3 tours to Iraq. The Effexor was making me physically ill. My BP was off the charts and no bp meds were helping. I was a walking sweat box. By the time I had showered, done my hair and got dressed, I was ready for another shower. At night I had to get up and change my pjs, sheets, blankets or put a dry beach towel down to get back to sleep. At my last PCP I told him I thought I had a kidney infection so he did a urine culture. He found a “considerable amount” of blood in my urine. I was retested the following three months and referred to a urologist. I began reading symptoms of long term use of Effexor and decided it was causing severe physical complications. I found a reputable psychiatrist (good luck with that!) and told her about my physical problems and my concern about the Effexor. She acted like it was a piece of cake to get off of it. She weaned me off of the Effexor (took about 4 weeks) while she started me on Prozac. The Prozac was increased as the Effexor was decreased. I immediately noticed that I didn’t have that “foggy brain” that I had had for so many years and felt like my concentration definitely improved. Then BAM! After being off of the Effexor for about two months, my anxiety is off the charts. Before I even open my eyes in the morning, the anxiety is unbearable. I have a little wiener dog that I have to get up and feed and let out. I literally feel like getting in my vehicle and running it into the river. It’s total hell. I eat a bit of breakfast and try to get on with my day but within an hour I am literally incapable of taking care of myself or my dog. I become paralyzed with the anxiety. Absolutely paralyzed. I cannot function. I have asked my psych to up the Xanax to 3 or 4 .25 tabs a day but she’s refusing telling me I just have to tough it out. By noon or 1:00 I have already taken the 2 tabs allowed for the day and then the anxiety REALLY goes through the roof. I try to stay busy, (I’m retired) but I literally cannot function. If I can heat up a can of soup to eat for the day or load the dishwasher, I feel like I’ve accomplished something. It is absolutely HORRIBLE. My 60th bday was last week and I was in such horrible shape I couldn’t leave the house to go to dinner with my daughter and her family. Now I am having the “flu like” symptoms of withdrawal; achy joints, nausea and diarhea (sp??) and extreme weakness. I can barely stand long enough to get from the couch or bed to the bathroom. And taking a shower doesn’t happen but maybe once a week. I’m wondering if I’m going to survive this. It is such a double edged sword. I know the Efffexor was killing me, literally, with my kidney and bp problems but I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it through this. All I think about is killing myself because I don’t see a way out of this….I know that grief plays a huge part of my anxiety and depression and the holidays are definitely a trigger, but I have never felt this badly in the six years since my son is gone….I feel like a train wreck…..

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Hello @contentandwell

I would like to “double like” your comment. Your comment is very well worded. Yes, often we do have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone in order to feel better.

Teresa

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@sadiesmom, I can’t begin to imagine your pain and what you are going through. From my limited knowledge and what I have read about the drug Effexor/venlafaxine it’s extremely difficult to taper off and should never be done quickly. I agree with @lisalucier that it sounds like you need a doctor’s help and they really need to know about the pain you are going through so that they are able to help and come up with a better treatment plan.

You are a survivor – that’s why you are reaching out looking for answers and help. My struggles tapering off of prednisone are nothing compared to what you are going through but I have learned to taper very slowly – sometimes reducing the dose by 1mg or less per month vs every 1 or 2 weeks as the normal schedule. This is why I think your doctor needs to know and understand what you are feeling and why it’s hard to taper off of the Effexor.

Hoping you have some pain free days ahead.

John

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@johnbishop

Great words of advice for @sadiesmom!

Teresa

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@johnbishop

@sadiesmom, I can’t begin to imagine your pain and what you are going through. From my limited knowledge and what I have read about the drug Effexor/venlafaxine it’s extremely difficult to taper off and should never be done quickly. I agree with @lisalucier that it sounds like you need a doctor’s help and they really need to know about the pain you are going through so that they are able to help and come up with a better treatment plan.

You are a survivor – that’s why you are reaching out looking for answers and help. My struggles tapering off of prednisone are nothing compared to what you are going through but I have learned to taper very slowly – sometimes reducing the dose by 1mg or less per month vs every 1 or 2 weeks as the normal schedule. This is why I think your doctor needs to know and understand what you are feeling and why it’s hard to taper off of the Effexor.

Hoping you have some pain free days ahead.

John

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Thank you for your kind words, John. It’s a living hell…

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