Venlafaxine withdrawal and negative effects

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Bit of a back story:

April/May 2016 I went into nonspecific psychosis. Thoughts from doctors were bipolar, schizoaffective or the Marijuana I'd been consuming. In fall 2015 I started consuming edible Marijuana for relaxation and anxiety as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Whether it possibly be the drug itself or a lacing, it's unknown (Fentanyl started around this time). I was hospitalized for two months during which I was given 5 different antipsychotics to bring me out of mania. In the end they injected me with Invega sustenna, a drug that should be banned. On top of the injection, they overdosed me (confirmed by a second opinion from a doctor at a different hospital). I slept 20-23hours a day for a month, gained 30 lbs and became unfunctioning.

No follow up dose was required as the psychosis ended. But it's been pure he'll ever since. I experienced all the classic withdrawal symptoms; crying spells, depression, severe anxiety, irritability, lack of concentration etc. Things that mimicked depression. Because of this doctors labeled me bipolar. Please let me explain, I am 27, normal happy bubbly person. I've always been friendly, outgoing, caring and a fun person to be around... until the psychosis. Bipolar diagnosis stumped me and my family. I was put on Venlafaxine mid August to counter my 'depression'. I went from 37.5 to 75 to 150. By 150 I was irritable and grouchy, tired and unmotivated. Prior to all of this I was a fit 120lb gym rat full of muscle (I'm 5'6). Now I'm a plump 160lbs with no motivation, low mood, brain fog and miserable. Due to the hospitalization and pyschosis I ended up moving cities (and provinces). My friend support is minimal here and I little to no routine or established life here. I've been off work due to a layoff from economical downturn. I decided to come off the venlafaxine as I think it was causing more harm than good. I tapered down to 75 for a week and then went cold turkey. Please note, I've only been on this for 2 months. I planned to go down to 37.5 for a week but after forgetting (forgetfulness has been happening a lot) to pick up my lower dose, I thought I'd give it a shot. The day was great, I had motivation, clear mind and energy. The best I'd felt in months! But by 4:30 pm I was vomiting for a solid 2 hours, the the vertigo and brain zaps started. It's now the next day and thsee symptoms, along with diarrhea, seem intermittent. The low mood and negative thoughts have just crept in... im terrified. I should note, my doctor and pharmacist are aware and I'm using the very close aid of a herbalist. I'm taking a few suppliments; magnesium, HTP (L-Tyrosine, 5-HTP etc complex), vitamin D, peppermint oil and bifidophilus. These are supposed to help aid the symptoms. My herbalist thinks I should experience the withdrawal symptoms for 3-5 days then progressively get better. I'm terrified about the low mood. Can anyone out there help answer some questions based on their own experience?? Please....

-Thoughts on how long my withdrawal symptoms will last based on our 2 months of use.

-Has anyone experienced low mood or depression all thoughts and did they pass or get better?

-Has anyone been through something similar and have theyou recovered (how long did it take)?

-Any general advice?

Thank you for your time to read my story and thank you for any input!

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5 Replies

  • Posted


    Just a quick reply as I'm on my lunch break, but I'll reply in more detail later.

    I was on 225mg for 6 years and went cold turkey on 25th August, so have been off it for about 7.5 weeks. Has been a real rollercoaster of emotions - anger, crying, lethargy, irritability, etc etc etc. The brain zaps were the worst thing though and are still happening, but more so when I'm tired now.

    I have good days and bad days and am not sure if that's still withdrawal or proof that I need the meds. Either way I'm going to keep going, as it is getting easier and the symptoms do pass (I hope).


    • Posted

      Thank you Liz, it really is comforting knowing that you aren't alone in this. Like you I won't give up, I intend to beat this. Jan

  • Posted

    Jennifer you have had a difficult time, unfortunately I believe much of this is now down to you and how you face this.  I got up slowly this morning, on my own as usual, dogs wouldn't let me have much of a lie in, husband working away again, when he is here he is very supportive and calls me constantly whilst a way, this can be a pain at times.

    I made a desicion that today, today was going to be different I would work through the discomfort of my brain being in one place, my body some where else, sweating, the odd brain zap,  I set about doing all the things in the house that I would leave for another day. You know I am amazed at how much better I feel, no way have all the symptoms gone, if I could drive the car and go out I would, my co ordination still isn't brilliant, best stay around home, other wise I could take the dogs on a long walk.  Don't give up hope, push yourself.  Drink plenty of fluids, eat properly, don't drink alcohol this will put you back, might make you feel a bit better at the time, seriously not a good idea.  Tomorrow I may not feel so good, but I am definitely on the whole getting there.  Believe in yourself, believe that this is just another challenge that you have to face and once you are winning and you can feel and see you are winning it will become easier.  I wish you all the best, you must keep faith, there is light at the end of tunnel. Jan

  • Posted

    it has been almost four weeks off for me and low mood can still be problematic but i was on the drug almost a year. i spoke with a doctor who believes with certain people it can affect longer even on it for a short time- which may just be worse case scenario and not apply to you.

    i see it has already been a few days was your herbalist's 3to5 day time frame realistic? i hope you are feeling better.

    (i wrote you privately too)

  • Posted

    Hi Jennifer

    Wow you have been through a lot. No wonder you feel the way you do, coming off marijuana and being put on those drugs straight away your body went into shock again when you put weight on, no one likes putting on weight and can be devastating to some. You also moved away which is one of the most stressful things you can do, especially if you're on your own you've not had anyone to support you.

    Sounds like you really did hit rock bottom which is good because you can now only go up.




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