Mirtazapine withdrawal with Effexor

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I went off Effexor last fall after 12 years on it.  I didn't realize that what happened next was fallout from withdrawal up through April.  I was having such terrible emotional trouble, depression and anxiety like I had never experienced in my life, as well as physical symptoms which I chalked up to menopause.  I wanted to be off psych drugs for lots of reasons, but thought I was relapsing and I was desperate, unable to live like that.  Not wanting to die, but not wanting to live, either.  So, a new p-doc started me on Remeron, at 7.5 mg, but he said it was "gentle" and I could play with it, increase it as needed.

At first it really helped, and I slept so wonderfully!  But soon, it wasn't and I started adding more, until in short order I was six weeks out and at 37.5 mg and miserable, totally apathetic, depressed, no motivation, on the couch.  Saw him in desperation again and he reinstated the Effexor, dropping the mirtazapine to 30 mg.

I noticed tingling/burning/numbing of my lips and tongue, asked the doc about it and he wasn't concered, but didn't recognize it to be what I know is mirt WD.  After all, he had tapered me by 20%!  Not long after this, I learned about WD and realized all my horrid symptoms since the fall were Effexor WD, and now I was on TWO meds!  Since the mirt didn't help me other than sleep, I decided to get rid of it. I had learned that it is a tough one to get off of and that the best approach is a 10% taper per month.  Not considering the first drop in dose from the doc, I dropped by 10% again just two weeks later, duh!  That's a 30% cut in just a couple of weeks!  I went along at that dose without much trouble other than the burning, and cut 10% again one month later.  Again, not too much difficulty, just some burning and diarrhea periodically.  Another four weeks later, I did another 10% to 22 mg.  Last week, not two weeks later, I am having cortisol surges of anxiety, agoraphobia, depression, no motivation, burning, just feeling uncomfortable in my skin, not a happy camper.  I am now at 57% of the highest dose, and I want off of it bad because it finally did cause me to gain weight even though I wasn't eating much more.

I can handle the physical WD no problem, forgot to mention occasional headaches, but the emotional fall-out is horrid and I am having another day of it today, can't stand it!  I can't believe what being on this drug for such a short time has done to me!

It is hard to accept that this is WD, and that I'm not relapsing, but that's what happens in WD - your mind tricks you and you start to think "it's me."   They call it windows and waves of WD, and last week before this wave, I had a window where I felt good and actually started a project I'd had trouble getting going on.  Now I can't fathom going outside to do anything. All I want to do is stay inside on the couch.

Has anyone else had this kind of emotional fallout coming off of mirtazapine?  I foolishly thought that doing a slow, 10% taper per month would be relatively painless but boy was I wrong!

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  • Posted

    Hi Betsy,

    Definitely too many different drugs overlapping one another, these drugs stay in your body a lot longer than what most doctors realise or even know,  I am trying to come off Amitriptyline but it is playing havoc with my nervous system and also my ears!!!!

    popping, blocked, ringing noises!!!  Like you I have days where I feel really 'together' other days I feel like I am going crazy.  I was actually considering Mirtazapine but I have now read too many negative things about it, so where I go from here is anybody's guess!!!  My one motivation for the day is to care for my little dog, nothing else seems important.  Hang in there Betsy, we are gonna beat this so stay in touch please.

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  • Posted

    Hello Betsy

    I have just come off 15 years of Seroxat which was done by my GP over about four week, me requesting it was reduced to 20 mg just after Christmas.   She has put me straight onto Mirtazapine and some diazapan, with the later now down to only one 2 mg tablet a day, whilst the Mirt is 30 mg.  To be honest most of the  time I do no seem to know whether I am coming or going, a bit like a mentally defective yo-yo.  I suffer from OCD and anxiety, so feel unsure of just going cold turkey and trying to live without chemical support. Just had a phone call from a Community Nurse who my GP has referred me to (amazingly only one week ago), so talking with her next Tuesday might give me the opportunity to ask all he relevant questions. Have little interest in doing anything at the moment, but do not want to let my 94 year old Mother who is in residential care down by totally giving in an opting out.  My husband and children know how I am feeling and are trying their best to support me, but it is quite shocking how powerful these negative, unhappy, dont want to exist anymore feelings are.  Must not give in.  We must learn to fight this fight and become positive, no matter how difficult it might be at times.   I feel certain there is life after drugs like Seroxat and Mirtazapine, and I suppose, having a logical moment for a change, it is us who must rule the drugs and not the drugs rule us.  Be determined Betsy like I a trying to be and I am sure we will both come out of this having a good laugh. Despite the modern day horrors, it is still a beautiful world, quite amazing and full of more good than bad.  We must not forget that and learn to appreciate life more.  My sincere good wishes to you and all people in our current situation.  As least Betsy we know we are not alone wth these perishing problems, and there is always a lot of people in the world who are in far worse situations than us I am sure. Keep your chin up and fight the good fight.  You and I can win!!!!! 

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    • Posted

      Thanks, so much Jillian!  I know that I have been in a wave for the last few days, not sure where my head is yet, today, since I haven't been up for long, but still feeling vulnerable.  A friend who is also in withdrawal from another AD turned me on to Emotional Freedom Techniques, "tapping," which I had heard of before.  I didn't really research it before and sort of poo-poo'd it, but that's the funny thing with this journey:  you can be at totally different places mentally at different times!  Anyway, I looked into it further and am going to give it a good go!  It combines tapping  accupressure points while stating affirmations, so positive thoughts.  

      I know that people reading these posts are probably already on these drugs, but boy, if you aren't/haven't been, please think twice about starting!  Now I am learning that CBT is more effective than these meds, and had I known this 20 years ago, I would have gone that route.  However, all of the therapists I saw were did "talk" therapy which did nothing to rewire my brain.  That is the key to our future happiness without chemical intervention.  If you don't know of EFT, Jillian, look into it!  There's lots of youtube videos demo'ing it.  I feel hopeful that it will be key to dealing with the horrible mental states we can get into with withdrawal.

      We will win!  I am also trying to see WD symptoms as signs of my brain healing, a more positive spin on the experience!

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  • Posted

    Thanks for your response Betsy,

    I will do as you say and find out about this other treatment. Because I have OCD as well as anxiety problems, I have tried CBT on 3 different occasions, which I found mildly beneficial, especially with a lady who gave me the last course of it about 6 years ago. My GP has arranged for me to see a member of the mental health team in Carmarthenshire next Tuesday, and although I am not sure about going down this route I will try anything. I have to admit my GP has been nothing short of A1 and I do have upmost faith in her. I have only been a patient in her surgery when I moved to this area about 18 months ago. Bet she wishes I had not during the past month or so!!! Have to laugh and I thank God I still can. You take care and I wish you every success with your treatment. Sincere good wishes, Jill

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