New to Venlafaxine

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Hi there - after trying fluoxetine, citalopram and sertraline over the last 3 years, my GP wants to try Venlafaxine to help relieve periods of extreme anxiety. How has it helped your anxiety and was it more effective than the other medication I mentioned above?

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  • Posted


    How are you today? Keep breathing! I've been where you have been! I've always been anxious, even as a child and always thought it was normal until I had a devastating knee injury about 17 years ago. (Finally got a new knee a year ago 😀wink.

    They injury threw me into a major panic. We got it under control but the anxiety never left. After trying Zoloft, which left me feeling entirely flat, I switched to Effexor XR.

    It has been a miracle for me. And that's not an understatement. I feel excited, which is way different than anxiety, I sleep, I'm not crying, I'm not scared, and the what ifs are gone.

    Almost 4 months ago, the generic that I was on was discontinued and was substituted with another generic. It was then that my doctor suggested I start which I had an adverse reaction in that my anxiety worsened on it even after 10 weeks. So now I'm back on brand name Effexor XR 75 mg and I'm once again myself!!! Let me just say that a generic can and should work for you, I just couldn't find a local pharmacy that carried or was supplied with the one that I was taking because the company that made it discontinued making it.

    It takes about 4-6 weeks for the Effexor to work and for those periods of extreme anxiety, you can use Ativan which is fast acting. I'd quarter my tablets and use just 1 mg throughout the day. But for the most part, I'd exercise, pray, use the "calm" app. And I saw a therapist for talk therapy which was key!!!!

    You're going to be okay, and I truly believe this medicine will help you. Please try and be patient and let me know how you're doing!!! God bless you!!!

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    • Posted

      Hi Tammy - many thanks for the reply and the kind words. 

      I think I suffer from some kind of 'anticipatory anxiety' - which, when at its worst, does its best to ruin my life.

      Back in 2014 I had one, random sleepless night for no particular reason (probably playing with my phone). The experience of being awake all night scared me so much that it happened again the next night. By day two I was already a quivering a wreck during the day and night and it was severely impacting my whole life. 

      My main fear was that I seemed to lack the ability to think that I would recover and things would be back to normal. I was catastrophising virtually 24/7 that I would be stuck with this for the rest of my life. After around 5 months I did break the cycle - after fluoxetine, amitriptyline and proving to myself I could actually sleep properly again.

      In fact I slept OK for the next 3 years - although I did take a small dose of mirtazapine most nights (appox. 7.7 mg). 

      Then last week I had a important day planned (interview and social occasion). My sleep had been disrupted slightly the previous week due to a sinus infection and I started getting nervous about what had happened 3 years ago and hoping to God it would never happen again - especially the night before the interview. Anyway it did ... and I lay awake all night completely stressed that a) it had happened again b) I was too anxious to get even a wink of sleep c) how the hell I was going to manage the interview d) How the hell I was going to stop it from repeating itself again night after night and e) ...and most scarily - HOW THE HELL CAN I ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN? WHERE IS MY DEFENCE MECHANISM?

      In short, Hell on earth was real.

      So I've had a difficult week. I'm taking zopiclone and lorazepam at night and it's making feel ill.

      My problem (diagnosed by various counsellors and my own reflections) is my hard-wired negative thought patterns. I spent a lot of my childhood and adolescence hiding anxiety, nerves and a weak bladder up to the age of 15. (Bedwetting). I'd spend day after day trying to work why I felt so anxious and how on earth I could stop the bedwetting. (It stopped aged 15).

      Now when I experience a sleepless night, my negative thoughts and catastrophising takes over and I find it so difficult to brush it aside like some people can.

      This has actually very difficult to write.

      I'm seeing a psychiatrist next week as I need help. I also need something short / long term to relax my mind - hence asking about Venlafaxine.

      I have no other physical health problems - just this hellish anxiety and it's making my life so miserable and I just want to lead a life where I can manage this awful condition.


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    • Posted

      Oh David. The things in our childhood and teenage years really have an effect on us adults. There's no question in my mind that your bedwetting years are definitely behind you. But somewhere along the line, you must have developed a great fear of sleep. How could you not? The anxiety that came with not knowing if you would or wouldn't, your friends, sleepovers, camp, etc. And God forbid if anyone knew. My heart breaks for the kid that you were! You're a man now, and seeing the psychiatrist is definitely going to help you unwind that terrible connection. It's going to take some time but I'm sure that you're going to come out in the other side.

      You might still have anxiety, you might not, but I'm sure you're going to figure out the trigger and the association with your anxiety an panic and the experiences of your youth. This medication has been a godsend for me, no side effects, good sleep patterns and everything is manageable. I do get a bit anxious from time to time, but it quickly guess away within in minutes. I think you should try it. Your doctor is your partner in all of this and the two of you together will figure it out. Please keep me posted,! God bless you! You're going to get better!!!!

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  • Posted

    Hi David! I’m in the same boat as you. I was on celexa which worked wonders for 18 months and then all of a sudden it just didn’t anymore! I am on day 12 of Effexor xr 37.5. These first few weeks are always the hardest for me so I am just trying to remain positive. (Easier said than done!) good luck to you! 
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