Reinstate, White Knuckle It or Prozac Bridge? Withdrawal Sucks

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Hi,

So glad I found this forum. 

 Looking for some feedback about whether to go back in Venlafaxine XL after 4 months of being complete off it, white knuckle it and stick it use with the supplements or use Prozac to ease this prolonged withdrawal.

 I’m 54 and have been on and off anti-depressions since 1985 after my first panic attack. I started taking Venlafaxine XL 37.5 mg April 2015, increased to 75 mg in May 2015 after being on Citalopram 40 mg for a number of years and finding that it lost its effectiveness. I was overwhelmed with looping, racing negative thoughts, exteme fatugue, forgettfulness and drepressed. I did have a lot of stressors in my life but most of that has eased off. Though, I am in my 15 year of being a caregiver first to my Mom with dementia and my Dad for the last two years of his life (RIP 2010) and now my husband who has MS while running a business.

My anxiety, depression and irritation has gotten worse over the last 2 years and I was thinking about running away (gosh, I sound like a kid) and suicide a lot, more like day-dreaming not planning.  I thought that I may have Bi-polar 2 because of my rage so my GP referred me to a Psychiatrist.

The Psychiatrist told me I didn’t have depression or anxiety or Bipolar 2 (though I’ve suffered since I was 21) and it was the ADHD that was causing this. Taper off the Venlafaxine and up my Dexedrine from 5mg to 40 mg. and if needed increase to 60mg. . His instructions where take 75 mg for one week, then take 37.5 mg for one week then stop.

 I couldn’t handle that, so I tapered over the course of 6 weeks ending with 3 beads for 3 days than nothing. I was pretty messed up and was afraid to up the Dexedrine dose more than 40mg. I saw him a month into the tapering and told him I was really struggling with withdrawal and his reply was, “Well nobody has died from it.”  I felt alone and wasn’t going to reach out again to any doctor’s.

Back to the early withdrawal. After a week of severe withdrawal that included 3 days and nights of not being able to eat or get out of bed, save for going to the toilet to void or vomit. I ever so slowly felt I wee bit better before I would slide backwards, making only the most minute move forward with experiencing all the typical symptoms.

The almost constant tension, tingling headache with blurred vision stopped when I spend all day in the water snorkeling in Maui with a friend (Feb. 2016) for two weeks but stared the minute I started packing for home!

I did go to a counselor for 6 weeks near the beginning of the tapering but found that I was getting overwhelmed with the CBT. The intense and foreign emotions that I was experiencing were rising and falling so fast that I figured I’d go back when I was settled. i believe they were neuro-emotions. I did really get a lot out of our mindfulness, mediation and self-care discussions though.  

 To date, I am still not functioning well. I’m floored with a migraine like headache for a day if I do more than 2 hours of socializing (very rare as I don't want to be around people much), working, or shopping. I have a long list of supplements that I believe or helping but are certainly not curing this extended withdrawal.

 If I decide to reinstate, should I start with my last dose of 3 beads ? What is the usually time frame of relieve after reinstatement? What’s the worst that can happen to me? Please don’t say that I’ll revert back to week one!!!

Was also considering asking my GP to prescribe Pozac as a withdrawal bridge and not reinstating the Venlafaxine. Wondering what your expereince has been with that?

I’m SO afraid of being that sick again I feel immobilized in making a decision. 

On a positive note, I found I'm sleep less and I'm not thinking/daydreaming of suicide. Please excuse the spelling/grammar. I don’t write well at the best of times, ha.

Experience, Thoughts and Suggestion extremely welcome.

With Love,

Jan808

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Desided to restart the Effexor at 10 beads. Day four and I'm feeling slightly better but not anywhere near 100%.

    Saw new doctor, as my regular GP is on holiday, and she was familiar with the challenge of Effexor w/d. Yeah !!!!

    She asked if I had any other central nervous system sensitivity like; ibs, allergies, tinnitus, chronic fatigue. I guess looking for a reason why I'm experiencing this prolonged withdrawal.

    Light bulb moment of realizing. Yes, I am very sensitive and really need to honour and respect my nervous system instead of challenging it.

    Although no one had replied to my post directly, I thank you all for adding your voice to this discussion.

    What an awesome lifeline!

    With respect and love,

    Jan

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  • Posted

    Hi Jan. While I dont really have any advise to give about what meds to go on, I just wanted to offer some support. It sounds like you really have an awful lot going on in your life! Caretaking for your mother must be stressful, along with a business and your husbands illness!  Whew! When do you have time to care for yourself? 

    I hope that you do well with going back on the the Effexor. Are you planning on staying on it, or doing a slow taper off? My experience with ven has not been good, I have been on it for well over 10 years,and I am in the process of tapering off, but I think that every person must have a different experience with medications. I have had tinnitus with Effexor also..kind of annoying, isnt it?rolleyes

    I think sometimes it is difficult to remember to honour our bodies, at least it is for me! It seems that so much of the time I am struggling against myself, trying to make myself do things that I just cant quite seem to do for one reason or another. Many times its because the thing I want to do I JUST SIMPLY CANT...my brain no longer connects properly to the logic that allows me to organize, or socialize, or focus, or just live as I suppose 'normal' people do. Stinks, really. So I fall into a pit of darkness..the black dog comes to stay.

    I agree with you, thank goodness for this forum. I really thought I was loosing my mind until I came here and realised that so many people are struggling with the same problems! 

    I hope that you are well, and hope to hear from you again!

    Jen

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    • Posted

      Jen, thanks you so much for your reply!

      Yeah, I really think that my long-term lack of self care if was got me into this “merry-go-round” of meds in the first place, big sigh. Time to change all that!

      It seems that I’m doing a wee bit better with taking the 10 beads daily but not it’s not being like a magic wand has been waved. I am though relieved that I have a professional who it working with me. My original goal was to micro-taper but the doctor asked if it works why don’t I stay with the 10 beads? I have such tunnel brain I didn’t even think of that as an option. I appreciate you bringing up the question, too. I’m just looking for stability now and will cross that bridge when I’m symptom free, ha.

      Sorry to hear of your challenge with tapering off ven. I so hear you with the desire just have a “normal” day and before you know it you’ve slide back into pain and dark thoughts.

      We all do have our own unique responses to medications. I’m just starting to realize that I really need to amp up the noticing what helps and support me and what my RIGHT NOW limits are. Hard to do etch out, as I have two loved ones who are in so much need of my daily support.

      Cheers, Jan

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  • Posted

    I was on xl aprox 9 years ago, my suggestion is to not go back on. Prozac is hard to get off of as well, Can you try more herbal stuff like St. johns wart during day, Valarian Root at night with alot of ginger for nausea. I will never go back on, the withdrawls are worse than what it is trying to remedy.

    You can do it I know you can, 4 months wow, withdrawls should almost be over 😉.

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    • Posted

      Hi darkest,

      Thanks for being my cheer-leader! Sorry for not replying sooner. I had planned on responding but I'm all fogged out, I'll be back.......

      Cheers,

      Jan

       

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    • Posted

      Hi darkest,

      Sorry to hear of your difficult Prozax withdrawal.  Thank you for sharing your suggestion. I think I'm good with my choice of taking a micro dose (10 beads) of Venlafaxine.

      I appreciate you suggesting alterative like herbal supplements. Early in my w/d I did start 5HTP, L-Tyrosine, ginger, magnesium, Vit B complex, Vit d3, zinc Vit C, Omega 3 oil and lastly Benadryl  to stop the headaches. It simply wasn't helping me enough, if at all, and after 4 months I’m  still having really bad days. It's like my w/d symptoms are morphing and changing every day. I really need a break from this roller-coast that I thought was going to end but just keeps going and going. I have to try a different tack. 

      Cheers, Jan

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  • Posted

    Please don't go back on venlafaxine. I have just come off it in two weeks and am starting to feel well again although I suffered massive withdrawel symptoms. I have been on it for six months on 150mg. I am going to go back on Prozac tomorrow as that is the drug that has always worked for me and I felt no side effects from it whatsoever. I suffer from mdd which for some unknown reason happens to me every 1.5 to 2 years. I have had about twelve very bad bouts over the years. That's my opinion anyway. I did find ven made me extremely forgetful, unable to deal with stress and just not feeling my true self for six months anc then having to come off it fast was barbaric. I know we don't die from the withdrawels but it feels like you get pretty close that's for sure. Just stay clear of the snris as they have the worst withdrawel symptoms and stay in a ssri that works for you. Keep up with counselling, look after yourself and I believe everything will fall into place for you. I do wish you the very best of luck.
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    • Posted

      Hi Jojocull,

      Thanks for sharing your experience! You make some good point but alias, I am tooooo bagged out right now to respond. Best of luck to you as well. 

      Cheers,

      Jan

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  • Posted

    Quick up-date....... I'm feeling sooooooo much better!!! 

    I've been holding on 10 beads of Effexor for about a month now and most of my chronic day long headaches are gone. I only get them when I'm really tired or not feeding and watering myself properly. wink

    I will stay at this dose for awhile longer and enjoy the relief. Plugging back into "normal" life and thinking clearer than I have been for years! 

    Thanks you everyone on this forum,

    Luv,

    Jan

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    • Posted

      I just wanted to point out that anything less than 3-6 months is too soon for each next dosage decrease on ven. Take it really slow. The trick is to be symptom free for 3 months before the next decrease. Most doctors rush this, sometimes out of necessity though, and this results in protracted withdrawal. It takes that long (at least) for your brain to shift gear. All the best.
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    • Posted

      You are absolutely right. I have been off ven since 13th of April and I still feel awful. I feel emotionless and still unable to cry properly. I also feel extremely drained all the time. I can have a great night sleep and still sleep all day the next day. I read that fish oil can also make you very tired so I stopped that for the time being. I came off ven over a two week period from 150mg. I have a sensitivity to medicine so for me that was extra fast. I surely am paying the price for it. The first two weeks I was bed ridden and I couldn't feed myself. I had migraines all the time and I couldn't write. I still have trouble writing, its awful. I so desperately want to feel like me Again but its just not happening yet. I saw a psychiatrist yesterday and he said there is no point putting me back on ven as I would only be delaying the inevitable. He also struggled to believe I was suffering from withdrawal syndrome and not just depression. I definitely know the difference and this is something I never want to go through ever ever ever again. For now I will stick to my 40mg Prozac and just wait. Sorry about the long post!!
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    • Posted

      Yes, thanks you Purple for the the reminder. I don't have any plans to taper as my "side effects" from taking the Effexora have gone and I'm finally starting to heal nicely from this withdrawal.

      Ah, to be welcoming my old self back after this horrendous jouney feels so encouraging.

      I hope that others are finding the relieve that I am.

      Luv,

      Jan

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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    • Posted

      I'm a bit surprized that your psychiatrist isn't supportive of reinstating the Ven. to stabilize you and then, and only then, taper down in a conservative manner. I guess they aren’t the ones going through it! Shame on them for not being open to listening and learning from their patience.

       

      I hear you about the writing. It would take me at least quadruple the time to do our shops books with this brain altering effects. I was in the kitchen the other day and turned quickly because I hear a noise, braced myself for the dizziness to start and was pleasantly surprized when it didn’t. It’s the little things like that I’m so happy to notice.

      It sounds like you’re doing a bit better then before, Jocjocull. Just remember our healing is in "windows and waves". 

      Be well,

      Jan

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

       

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