I’m being weaned / tapered off of venlafaxine (Effexor slow release)

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I have been taking venlafaxine venlalic effexor slow release tablets for 4 years now. I was on 225mg a day. Before this I was on mirtazapine mertazapine for about 4 months. The first two months I felt great then the last two months I started to feel as if I wasn't in my body anymore, taking really bad panic attacks at night (to the point where I thought I was taking a brain hemirage and my sister and friend phoned an ambulance for me.) having to walk out of work for bursting in to tears for no reason and snapping at people for no reason. Before this I was on citalopram for 3 years which was fine until I was on the highest dose and felt it wasn't working for me anymore. I am being taken off venlafaxine as it messes with my sleeping terribly (lucid dreams, night sweats to the point where i wake up and my full bed and pyjamas are soaked with sweat, shouting in my sleep to the point people where scared! and generally being overly tired all the time. I was taking 225mg a day, my psyciatrist gave me orders to miss a day then take 75mg and continue for 8 before starting 5mg Vortioxetine(brintellex) for one week and continue with 10mg. I am now on my second day without anything as I have decided I want to see if I can manage without being on an anti depressent. I also take a mood stabiliser (lamotrigine 300mg daily) this was 200mg but was upped to 300mg when the venlafaxine was dropped to 75mg, I assume to help with the mood swings and emotions which come with the withdrawals. The beginning of the tapering in week one was extremely difficult (missing a day then taking 75mg the next) I had no control whatso ever with my emotions. Crying uncontrollably one minute then in hysterics the next. At absolutely nothing. head shocks. fuzzy eyes. diziness. blacking out for a second. panic attacks. severe anxiety and tension. severe worry and guilt for no reason. anger, guilt, fear, sadness. overthinking and rational thoughts. muscle jerks. weight loss. night sweats, nightmares, insomnia, sleep paralyses, racing heart, palpitations, heart flutters, feelings of falling when awake, flu like feelings, nausia, sickness, bowel problems and feelings of a full bladder or tingling in bladder. shaking, confusion. shaking and trembling inside. going from freezing to over heating in seconds. the last 2 days of that week the withdrawals started dying down. YOGA and excercise has helped massively with taking control of my thoughts and being aware of whats happening to my body. Going with the flow helped me, instead of thinking of past events or future possibilities, i tried focussing on what was hapening there and then and being honest about it and thinking rationally instead of with emotion. meditation and mindfulness helps with this type of calmness and controll. also using brainwaves (google the different types for the different states you can send your brain in to) closing your eyes and focussing on your breath whilst lying down really sends you in to a relaxed state with a clear mind. i tend to start with counting my breaths in throgh the nose out throug the mouth 12 times then i tend to pray for the half hour as i believe when you open your mind to an altered state you should protect yourself from UNKNOWN forces. unknown meaning we dont know enough about altered states or dreaming. i also use crystals for this purpose. drinking plenty of water and lemon has helped also. i am now on day two with 0mg and am

beginning to feel the heart flutters and chills and head zaps again. I am hoping this is not just the beginning and things are going to get worse. my head has started doing over time researching in to what to do. Has anybody had the same situation before? I Dont know i am

doing the right thing. i have yoga in the morning again which tends to tire me out later and helps me sleep at night. i will see how day 3 goes on 0mg. wish me luck!

2 likes, 21 replies

21 Replies

  • Posted

    NATASHA: Since you have past suicidal thinking and a history of self-harm you must be VERY careful in going on & off any psychotropic meds! GOING OFF COLD TURKEY WILL BE UNBEARABLE AND COULD BE LIFE THREATENING FOR YOU! Work closely with your doctor(s) and be safe, girl! My thoughts are with you. Hugs!

  • Posted

    hello everyone. just to let you all know im completely off of venlafaxine now and on brintellex (vortioxetine) 20mg along with lamotrigine 300mg and pregablin 100mg.

    the withdrawals got alot worse which lead me to accident and emergency where my vitals were checked and i was given diazepam. they said it was serotoin syndrome.

    i found the instructions my psych had given me as i misplaced them, which were totally different to the medication dose i was described. i took this list to my gp yesterday who said this sounded like a rapid drop and she would check up on this. (i was also diagnosed with endometrioses to top it all off)

    i recieved a phone call today from

    my gp apologising massively and calling a meeting for the full surgery as they made a mistake and read the letter from

    my psych wrong. i was supposed to be tapered off by 37.5mg daily from 225mg until i was on

    37.5mg miss a day then start brintallex.

    so because of whatever doctor signed this off and gave me the wrong prescription and reading the letter wrong i suffered greatly. i wanted to commit suicide. i was on the phone to community psyciatric nurse most nights because of my suicidal thoughts.

    if this was someone who hadnt had the years of experience of this illness and coping mechanisms they could have killed themselves. or died of serotonin syndrome.


    due to this experience i will constantly need to be re assured of the what and they why. everything happens for a reason and the person who has made this mistake will more than likely be in alot of trouble maybe even lose their job.

    mistakes simply cant be made in these situations and processes need to be in place where everything should be TRIPPLE checked before being signed off. such stupidity!

    NHS UK - undestaffed and too busy to properly look after patients.

    hope this helps.


    • Posted

      Natasha I am so glad you reached out to the available resources when you were going through that awful time! So proud of you for advocating for yourself. I'll be thinking of you as you keep tapering. You got this girl!

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