Functioning Depressive

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My gp prescribed Venlafaxine for me 3 years ago when I was on the point of losing my job, stopped eating, couldn't look after my son because of the depth of my depression. It's weird but it is when you don't actually know you are depressed that you are the most severely depressed.

I am now a functioning depressive as venlafaxine got me back into the real and functioning world.

I have decided that it would now make sense for me to come off venlafaxine as the side effects appear to outweigh the need i have for it.

I never intend to go back to the hell my mind was in and be in a position where this would effect the care of my 11 yr old son. Staying in control, or probably better put, managing any symptoms of withdrawal, is therefore of prime importance to me.

My GP has advised cutting to a 75mg dose from 150mg over 6 weeks. Going back and then tapering off the 75mg fully after that. Any advise on symptoms and management would be welcome.

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  • Posted

    If you have reached a point where you are comfortable, the first step is a maintenance therapy for at least 6 months. You need to be original symptom-free for at least that long and the longer the better. Then you are supposed to make quarter-dose cuts not halves. The space between cuts needs to be at least 3 months to ensure that youu stabilize before the next drop. You count 3 months from the point you feel stable so it is 3 months plus. This rate ensures minimal chances for relapse. GPs should not be prescribing this medication. The reason why most people have trouble coming off them is because they do it wrong - too soon or too fast. the only time a taper like the one you are about to embark on is justified is if there is a medical reason why you need to come off fast. I would consult a psychiatrist for appropriate reductions or at the very least share this insight with your GP. The method explained is used by psychiatrists where I am. Not only my personal experience. For my own background - 150mg for 8 years. 2 years for reduction of initial symptoms, 2 years fine-tuning, 2 years maintenance and 2 years tapering. Drug-free for 4 years now. No issues coming off. No relapses. No new symptoms. Good luck.

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you Purpledoberman. Ironic isn't it that my GP told me that the way she is advising me may seem a prolonged length of time! Has venlafaxine got a bad reputation? I know my night sweats are severe and very unpleasant, the most obvious of the side effects.

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    • Posted

      Venlafaxine has a bad reputation for severe withdrawal disturbances. I would like to say that going on it was harder for me than going off it. It is very subjective as with all psychotropics. Sweating is a common side-effect of the drug yes. Withdrawal symptoms can often be protracted. And this is usually because the tapering is improper. It is not your GPs fault. They can only help based on what they are told. Unfortunately withdrawal is not taken very seriously by GPs. Only experienced psychiatrists who know that the brain needs an x amount of time to stabilize. If therapy has been successful it is a pity to mess it up by inapropriate withdrawal. But you also mention being a functioning depressive. i would still suggest a consultation with a good psychiatrist if this is at all possible. Whatever you decide I wish you an uneventful withdrawal smile

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    • Posted

      I have been taking venlafaxine for 4 years.

      I have currently cut from 150 mg to 75mg over 3 weeks by going from 150mg to 137.5mg, essentially 25 percent less. Now I'm on 50 percent less is 75mg for another 3weeks, the half again till I'm no longer taking it. I have been fine so far!

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  • Posted

    I agree my pain management doctor prescribes it for me and he wanted me to quit taking it cold turkey he said it wouldn't be a problem. Well I was on 75mg for 3 and a half years so yes there was a problem a huge problem coming off of it like that I didn't know anything about the drug & stopping it so when the withdraws started I had no idea what was going on. I finally started researching it. Once I figured out what was going on I had to call my doctor and literally beg him to prescribe it again because of it. At first he wouldn't because he didn't believe me but luckily he did, if he hadn't when he did I would have been in the hospital, the withdraws were that bad. So please do not stop it too quick it will be a big mistake.

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    • Posted

      I hate when they minimize the potency of these drugs. I love Ven personally. It really saved the day for me. And I am lucky to have been in good hands. Cold turkey from 75 is just stupid. So sorry for your bad experience.
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    • Posted

      I guess the best thing is being aware and prepared. From what I've seen it is supposed to be one of the anti depressants that causes the most significant withdrawals?

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    • Posted

      Yes, the adjustment disturbances - had them all: shakes, chills, electric shocks, intrusive thoughts AND intrusive images, extreme anxiety, dry mouth, depression, sound and light sensitivity, headaches, awful nausea, sleepiness, foggy vision, foggy thinking, sluggishness, malaise, low energy, some dizziness...felt hopeless and felt like i was losing touch...4 weeks until they started to calm the heck down and 2 more weeks until i started to climb back up again. I knew then that it was SO worth it. The doctor explained that the side effects are only as bad as the level of chronic tension you had been dealing with. The tension starts to leave and your system reacts and it feels worse. I realize now he was right.
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    • Posted

      Sounds like a ball Purpledoberman:-/ When you say 'chronic tension' are you speaking about a tenseness you felt when taking the venlafaxine anti-depressant as per side effects?

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    • Posted

      By chronic tension i mean the tension induced by anxiety and depression that in the end resulted in me having to take the medication. The stress build-up from anxiety disorder and depression takes its toll. Once you start medication you begin to release the tension. It can't feel good because your brain is so hung up on holding on to perceived threats and responses it devised to 'protect' you, that when you start to force a release you feel like you are losing touch and dying. It is a normal response. It is not like when you are tense and get a massage and you feel relief. Your brain does not take kindly to being forced to release. And all that built-up crap cuts through you on its way out. If it sounds dramatic ....that's because it is. I am grateful for the experience. I learned a lot about myself in the process.

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    • Posted

      Hi again. I can't relate to 'chronic tension', just feeling so low I had to peel myself if the ground, couldn't eat, sleep, wash, go to work or look after my son. Venlafaxine basically motivated me to be alive again. Maybe everyone experiences things differently.

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