I did it!

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After being on Venlafaxine 225mg for 18 years, I stopped cold turkey. It's been almost 3 weeks now and I feel so different. But in a good way! The first week was awful but still not quite as bad as I had anticipated. I'm still having moments of extreme irritability, sensitivities to light, and problems sleeping. Ironically, sleeping was all I used to do. I stayed sleepy. I could write you a book about my experiences taking that terrible medicine!

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  • Posted

    Well done.  I;ve been back on this 225mg for about four months and I don't know if I'm depressed and lethargic because of my condition or because of the medication, Yet sometimes I have a few really good days. It's all very confussing. Are you taking anything to replace the Venlaflaxine ?

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    • Posted

      I'm determined to live a life without a pill. No, I haven't replaced it with anything else. So far, so good!

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  • Posted

    Sorry but if you were on it for 18 years, why would you quit cold turkey and not take the time to wean properly? And if it was such a terrible medicine, why didn't you stop it sooner? The only positive here is your current sense of empowerment which is what is making you progress the way you are. And i do wholeheartedly hope you continue to thrive as you are. But I do worry that you are sending out the wrong message to those who are on this medication and scared enough as it is - looking for any excuse to go against the advised course of action - and for some it could be dangerous. This terrible medication has helped scores of people I have met throughout 12 years of therapy. Mainly those battling extreme GAD and those with milder forms of depression. The only reason why you read so many horror stories about it is because the vast majority of these people either do not take it the right way or at right dosages OR their doctors (usually GPs instead of experienced psychiatrists) do not properly evaluate their responsivity to the drug and instead of trying other drugs they combine them with various other drugs...often at wrong dosages and for indefinite time periods.  Also most people stop sooner than they should or faster than they should. Further, those who have positive experience with the drug rarely take the time to share their stories. I have another question - why were you kept on the drug for 18 YEARS if it was not helping you?

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    • Posted

      Good questions!  I was wondering the same thing.  And I am one of those who is scared to wean off because of the horrendous withdrawal symptoms I have been reading about on this forum...But I would love to stop taking it because I am always sweating.  I guess I have to replace it with another drug so my anxieties don't return...I am so confused...

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    • Posted

      Don't get me wrong, I started on low does prescribed by obgyn for mood swings when I was 18 years old. At 19, I was pregnant with my first child and doctor advised me to discontinue through my pregnancy. I developed post partum depression after his birth and was started back. I kept close appointments with my doctor as I felt it wasn't working. Slowly the dosage was increased. At 22, I became pregnant with twins. I was considered a high risk pregnancy (reasons unrelated to subject), but was NOT taken off the meds because of such a high dose and my babies withdrawing from it. (Babies were ok) Still visits to doctors which lead to a Psychiatrist. The dosage continued to climb up to 300mg daily which was too high and then lowered back down to 225mg daily. I spoke to my doctor on a regular basis about my wanting to live without dependency of the drug. I was constantly asked why I felt I no longer needed it and was told I would have symptoms similar to a split personality if I discontinued use. I was scared to stop taking it! At that time, I had been on the meds for approximately 12 years. I had grown from basically a child to an adult mother and wife. I didn't know life any different. I didn't know what I would become without the medicine. So I kept taking it. Did I feel like it was helping? Did I feel normal? I don't know. What was normal? A lot happens to a person's mental state as they grow older, have children and become a mother, start life independently. I knew I was controlled by the drug. Missing a dose was horrific so of course my thoughts of what I would be like or how I would feel without it were sketchy. As our insurance has changed, now after 18 years, we no longer have just the co-pay but rather a high deductible to meet, paying for the meds became extreme. Wasn't able to get my meds here on time and went through 5 days without. Complete hell! But I survived and since I made it 5 days without, I thought this was my chance. I wanted to stop depending on a pill to function and figured I made it this far, let's do this. And I did! Not everyone is the same. I myself had no desire to feel those withdrawal symptoms every time I was weaned down a dosage and that's what it would have been. I'm not advising anyone by no means to do as I have to get themself free from the drug. I'm just one person sharing my experience.

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    • Posted

      OMG - than you, you're a breathe of fresh air. All I seem to read is bad stuff about this "terrible" drug.  I've re-started in after a four year break. I didn't have any problems with it for 12 years when I used it previously but was told to switch to Sertalin. I had no problems coming off it but the Sertraline didn't work so after four misrerable years I demanded to go back on Venlaflaxine.  Yopu are so right about getting the dosage right and other drug interactions. I am struggling a bit but it's only been four months. I have to say my anxiety is almost completly gone and the stupid thing I am doing is constantly reading stuff on line to try and get a clear picture and in the end it's so confusing because everyone has a different reaction. So, as from today I'm just going to take my meds and get on with my life!!

       

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    • Posted

      I am appalled at the way you have been let down. I am truly angered at the fact that there was noone there to try to cure you as opposed to just managing your symptoms for such a long time. You were started on VENLAFAXINE for mood swings at 18? What kind of moodswings are we talking about here? And why Venlafaxine? There are way better mood stabilizers out there. That obgyn should have known better than to tamper - this is not his field! How sad. And then the psychiatrist... "I was constantly asked why I felt I no longer needed it and was told I would have symptoms similar to a split personality if I discontinued use. " Exactly what were you diagnosed with by the psychiatrist who took you on after you obgyn?? Personality disorder? Mood disorder? What were they treating exactly? Did they account for the fact that you were started on Ven for 'mood swings' at 18, discontinued for pregnancy and likely had notable post-partum aggravation to follow?

      And now: "  I don't know. What was normal? A lot happens to a person's mental state as they grow older, have children and become a mother, start life independently. I knew I was controlled by the drug. " You are right. You can't know what's normal. not in that sense. Your normal will be the normal that emerges from this mess. It is a rare occasion that I will say this but in your specific case, you had to get off medication. I'd say it would have been better to have tapered off still, instead of just stopping however, but at this point you have been messed with for so long - it is time to sit back and see how you can turn yourself around. You have managed to start a family, grow and change. Once you are clean of the drug you will know yourself better. And then if any kind of therapy is needed a good doctor will be in a better position to diagnose you, assess you and help you. The ones dealing with you until now were working on tainted symptoms of a girl just over puberty and under the influence of a very potent medication. I truly wish you to maintain confidence and keep thriving. But if you ever feel that you are crashing, ask for a doctor's help and don't consider yourself a failure. The doctors who were taking care of you failed YOU. And unless you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia (in which case - again wrong medication biggrin it is fixable. Sending you my best wishes for a full turnaround. You so deserve it!

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    • Posted

      Oh i hear you...I was blessed to have had to take it at a time when I did not have regular internet access and google wasn't so well stocked LOL smile I read very little and for the initial rough patch, the adjustment time, I was guided by a wonderful psychiatrist who said very little except to say that it is all regiular and that it will pass soon and to get up and do some chore when anxiety used to escalate. And it did pass soon. I adjusted very well over time. And after some years, when it was time to get off the drug, it was a breeze. Because i took my time, because i stabilized before making cuts and most of all because I didn't look for issues. The only fear i had was a relapse. That never came. 12 years to rebuild a better, stronger and happier version of me. It was not wasted and I am glad i went through this. I learned a lot from it. Trust in your doctor and yourself is what gives you the right frame of mind to build on the stability forced by the drug. If one doesn't work, another will or a combo will. Just important to keep trying and not to fear it so much. As for ven...awesome for anxiety indeed 8 times out of 10 judging by what i have seen in others as well. x

       

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  • Posted

    I was also on this dose and weaned off under my GP guidance of 6 weeks. This was the worst mistake he made. Like you I felt okish, then it hit me! Be prepared. Don't want to scare you, but it hit me like a bullet. This medication needs the slowest reduction possible. I have been off this drug for 8 months now, however I'm still experiencing side effects. I had to see the mental health team who advised 6 weeks reduction without a replacement also was too much. I had been on Ven for 16 years. I now take sertraline and feel as 'normal' as I think I can be. Feel free to ask me any questions if anyone would like help. Thank you

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    • Posted

      These forums can be scary. Don't let them be. You know your body and mind best above everyone else. I believe there is hope. I'm one that believes doctors that push this meds and tell you that you can't come off this drug are out for their paychecks only. Not all doctors, but for the most, especially in my area I believe, are not for my well being. They think a pill is the answer for everything. NOT ME!

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    • Posted

      No need to be scared at all. My advice do it as slow as you can. I'm quite sure if I'd reduced slower, I'd have felt a lot better. I think the withdrawal wouldn't have been so severe. After all, there's no rush to stop. My doctor did it over 6 weeks which was way too quick. They thought I had a cardiac problem, hence having to stop them.

      Just take your time, one day at a time and be honest how your feeling 💕

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