Life after Venlafaxine.......

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hello

yesterday was Christmas Day, what a disaster thanks to Venlafaxine! I've weaned myself off these dreaded tablets over the last 8 weeks, quite successfully I thought after taking them for 4years since my husband had a severe stroke. What I never realised are the feelings I have now. Is it normal to feel so dreadful....all I want to do is make an argument, comlain about absolutely everything, and bearing in mind I fly off to Australia on  Monday for a month long holiday, couldn't give a dame about anything let alone that!! Has anyone else suffered like this after coming off Venlafaxine? Please tell me you have but they soon went and you became a happy upbeat person again. I look forward to any replies. Thanks

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  • Posted

    Hello Sooboo, 

    I'm sorry you are having such a dreaded time after coming off ven.  I wish I could say that you're at the worst and will only get better, but unfortunately withdrawal from ven can get pretty brutal, and what you are experiencing is pretty normal.   Though you thought that you did a slow taper coming off, in actuality, it was still too fast.

    What was the highest dose you were on, how long, and what was the dose you jumped off from? People usually hit the worst symptoms at 2-3 months out, and it sounds like you are there.  But know that it is WD and not something else, not relapse or "you."  It can be a frightening time. 

    Some people are able to get relief by reinstating a very small amount, a fraction of what you jumped off from.  I was off for 10 months and going through hell when I reinstated, and I felt dramatically better within an hour!  But it could take four or more days for reinstatement to work, and for some it doesn't.

    The idea of reinstatement is not to resign yourself to being on meds for the rest of your life but to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms, get stable, and then you can choose to when to start tapering.  The second benefit of reintatement is that you can then do a much slower taper which will allow your nervous system to adapt to the cuts more gently.  See, it isn't about the drug in your system, it's about the neurological adaptive changes that occurred when you were on the drug.  When you drop the dosage without adequate time to adjust, or drop too steeply, your system becomes destabilized and it takes time for your system to adapt change to regain stability.  Smaller cuts mean smaller imbalances and smaller amounts of adjustment for your nervous system, so gentler on you.

    The authorities on withdrawing from psych meds recommend cutting no more than 10% of your previous dosage per 3 to 4 weeks.  Withdrawal symptoms will still occur with small cuts, but usually at a level that is tolerable.  However, then can take a week or more to emerge, then last a few days, followed by stabilization.  By journaling when you do what, when symptoms emerge and when you feel well again, you can predict what interval you need to take between cuts to let your system settle and adapt.

    There is a link within the following link that discusses the 10% taper method, and takes you to a support forum full of experienced people who can advise you along the way.  I highly recommend your joining this forum.  You can also find people on there who are tapering or have completed their tapering off Effexor, and see what their experiences are like so that you can make decisions about your own journey and avoid their mistakes!  

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/depression-resources-298570

    I'm on that forum and they are a wonderful bunch of people who have been in the trenches.

    Effexor is serious business.  I wish I could say it will get better in the next weeks, but it likely won't.  It really depends on how long you were on it and what your highest dose was.

    If your Effexor was immediate release tablets, say 37.5 mg, you could actually dissolve those tablets in a  known volume of water, mix thoroughly and then take 1/4 of that and see if that dose makes you feel better.  If you have capsules full of beads, count how many beads are in severeal capsules, get an average of a few, and then remove 1/4 of the beads and take them.  Save the extra beads for future dosing.  

    Let me know if you need more help and I will guide you.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Betsy I read your words with interest. My dosage was small, slow release 75mg a day. I cut them down to half a day with no probs, then cut out one day and waited another 2 weeks before the next cut, again didn't have any probs. Now, last week, was the last one and now it's hit me, big time! Unfortunately I can't do any of your recommendations as I binned the last few plus no doc's open now before my hols. Guess I have to just keep everything crossed and hope the sunshine helps. Thanks again Sue
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    • Posted

      Sue, you aren't the first to have binned the meds!  Hang in there and know that what is happening is WD.  WD causes what we call neuro-emotions, anger, sadness, anxiety, fear, all of it, to the extreme and often the trigger doesn't warrant the degree of the emotional response.  It has a chemical, irrational element to it.  The best you can do is nurture yourself through it, be kind to yourself, don't judge and give yourself permission to lay low and hunker in on the couch with a blanket and the tv if that helps distract you.

      Some find fish oil (2 g a day) and magnesium helpful.  Magnesium is calming and is best taken in the chelated form.  I use magnesium glycinate in the morning and at bedtime.  Be careful because other forms have a laxative effect!  I use 400 mg of the glycinate.  Can help with sleep.  

      The worst thing you can do is obsess over how you are feeling, because it just causes even more anxiety and distress!

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  • Posted

    Hi.

    I too had four years of it and am now ten weeks off. Funny you should mention those things as i am the same though see it as a little old my old self coming back. I find i am particulary in tolerant to people at the mo especially rude shop staff and any call centres. I' m trying to see the funny side of it and and see it as "venting off" after so long of being supressed. Still getting funny headaches and brain fog but am pushing through it all.

    Have a great time in Aus and don't worry about it too much, we will return to normal. Venlofaxine is a very dangerous drug to many of us but i'm sure the sun down there will aid your recovery and you will come back your old self.

    Ian

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    • Posted

      Hi Ian thanks for your message. Such a little dosage but such severe side effects! I'm intrigued to know how long have you been tablet free? I can't begin to see the 'funny side' of things is it around the corner? You mention rude call centre and shop staff being the brunt of your mood, everyone is getting it in the neck from me but sadly no one has done anything wrong to merit it. Sue
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    • Posted

      It will be 10 weeks free on monday after almost 5 years on it. I have been advised by people on this forum that it can take many months to fully recover from venlofaxine although my ill informed Doctor tells me it is a week or two.

      I have had many momments when i have reached for the box of pills knowing that a small dose will put things right but am hanging in there knowing my brain will eventually recover. As for the anger it is subsiding.

      Ian

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    • Posted

      It's really all about whether you can withstand the fallout.  You will eventually recover, but nothing can speed it up; it is what it is.  I tell people it is like a rollercoaster ride.  Once you are on the ride it may get scarier than you can handle but nothing will stop the ride so that you can get off, so you just have to hang on tight and try not to catastrophize along the way because doing so will only make it worse.  

      I will say that reinstating in the earliest stages is like being able to get off the ride before it really gets rolling.  The reason people recommend reinstating early on is because there is still a chance it could stop the symptoms, and then you can resume a much slower taper.  Once you are far out into the ride, reinstatement often won't work.

      So, you are right in that time frame where the wheels can come off the bus, though hopefully not.  Going into this with awareness is KEY, and may allow you to just sit the ride out.  It may not be until month 10 that things start to get better.  I'm not trying to scare you but just to let you know what to expect.  Withdrawal recovery tends to follow a windows and waves pattern.  You may feel better, think that it will only get better here on out, and then find yourself in a bad wave again.  Over time the windows will get longer and the waves less severe. 

      I did read a WD story of a woman who said at 3 years out she thought she was all better, but then she starting exercising really heavily and found herself in a wave that was just as bad was when she first went off!  So, be careful about stressors of any kind, since they can cause a wave to resurface!

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