Venlafaxine withdrawal help

Posted , 9 users are following.

I have been on venlafaxine for two years, 187.5 per day.

Last Monday I took a large overdose of a variety of medications, including ven. Needless to say but I am still here (and feeling pretty fed up about it).

The hospital discharged me on Friday and told me to stay off of them (I'd taken them all anyway so have no supply) until I'd spoken to my GP. It's now Monday again so have been without them for a week (although I guess they were in my system for a while longer). I cannot get an appointment with my GP until Thursday.

Yesterday (day 6 after overdose) I started to feel awful. Never known dizziness like it, vomiting, can't control my temperature, headaches, blurred vision and a weird fizzy feeling in my head. Had a total melt down last night, crying, screaming, pulling out my hair. My poor kids and husband had no idea what to do. When I eventually calmed down I actually slept really well.

But have woken up this morning and feel just like yesterday, possibly even more sick and dizzy.

I was hoping to come off of the venlafaxine and try something different as it obviously isn't working.

If I stay cold turkey, how long is this going to last? Or would I be better going back on a smaller dose and weaning off more gradually? It almost seems a waste as I've done a week already but if this feeling is going to last weeks rather than days, I'm not sure I can do it..

Sorry for the long post

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25 Replies

  • Posted

    Ah Lucy

    By reaching out on this amazing forum you have done something really good. There are people on here who will give you the best advise from their own experiences.

    One by one such wonder people will reach out to you and support you during this horrid time.

    To think you have gone cold turkey and are experiencing such frightening results. From my experience and from the advice given to me would be to reinstate an adequate dose of ven. Just to restabilize at least.

    I will follow your discussion and await the others responses.

    Stay strong and be kind to yourself. X

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  • Posted

    I feel very sad that you had come to the stage in your life that you have taken an overdose of lots of medication , is there no help available for you to discuss how low you went to actually try to take your life , it really has made me think as someone who has been on venlafaxine for only two months for depression and anxiety , I hope you get help to discuss your problems x
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  • Posted

    In Sept 2015 I was taken wrongly off 150mg ven by a locum, I have been suffering since. What the doc should have done is reinstate so I could later wean off properly. I restarted ven last June and am now up to 375 with little effect. Please restart the meds so you can stabilise xx
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  • Posted

    Thank you.

    I have spoken to one of the other doctors in our surgery and have decided to go back on them for now. They've started me back on 150 which I took about an hour ago. Still feeling a bit weird and dizzy but hopefully that will stop soon.

    I'll talk to my own GP on Thursday and come up with a plan to do this properly.

    I do have lots of support around me, I just didn't appreciate how much before. And sometimes you don't want the support, you don't want to be talked out of something you want to do. It's a strange thing, this brain of ours x

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    • Posted

      I'm the same with the self sabotage, if the pills start to make me feel a tiny bit better I'm googling how harmful they are! You'll soon feel better when it's back in your system x

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  • Posted

    Hi Lucy.

    Glad you are here. You should not feel fed up of being here but determined to never feel this way again. A slight change in perspective can create miracles - from my humble experience. I am glad you are here. Because it gives hope to those who are feeling low themselves. Getting on top of this is doable.

    Withdrawal in your case will not be smooth whether you taper or go cold turkey as you are in such turmoil right now. It is a complicated picture and it will be difficult to assess. Please know that whatever you are feeling now is horrible but normal given everything you have been through.

    On the subject of Ven: it is a potent medicine with quite a few challenges when it comes to coming off especially when therapy is prematurely discontinued. Reinstating lowest erffective dose of ven is usually the correct way to handle this under normal circumstances. BUT in your case, seeing that it was underperforming anyway and that you are reeling from it all right now, I am not sure that reinstating will be useful in the short or in the long run.Only a competent psychiatrist can gauge at this point.

    The first and most important thing for you to be aware of is that your GP cannot NOT be able to see you until Thursday. He/she should have seen you immediately upon discharge. This doctor is partly responsible for your escalation as they were clearly oblivious to the fact that they had you on 187.5 and you were still not improving after 2 years. This means that your depression was undermanaged all this time and due to this escalated to the point where you acted on the urge to take matters into your own hands. This is inexcusable. You should demand to be seen by a doctor immediately. If this GP does not have time, perhaps he can arrange for another to see you...what is the reason he can't see you until Thursday? You are off all medication now suddenly and just fresh from an overdose - this is therefore a priority or should be. For a psychiatrist it would be. If a GP has more pressing cases to deal with until Thursday it just highlights the fact that treating psychiatric patients is beyond him and he should know better and refer his unsuccessful attempts to a psychiatrist! At which point in these last 2 years did this doctor say " darn...this is not really improving enough on this medication, perhaps i should refer this patient to a psychiatrist..."?? 2 years??  This GP was not skilled enough to recognize the potential for self-harm and should apologize and send you to someone who specializes in recognising all the nuances of depressive disorders.

    I would say worse things but i hope how i feel about this doctor is clear without having to use language that will get me moderated. Your doctor is responsible and should be responsible also for immediately attending to your needs given the circumstances.

    Demand proper care. I think a psychiatrist would likely review your medication history and try you on a different line of antidepressants at this point. I know Prozac is usually well tolerated and is considered a reliable bridge for easing patients off venlafaxine when speedy weaning is required as in your case. However, being prescribed any medication now would also require weekly appointments and reviews. I am sure your GP is too busy for that (scoff) - ask for a referral to a psychiatrist.

    Did something specific happen for you to escalate to this point? Any major life changes or extreme circumstances? Or was it just building up over time?


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    • Posted

      Hi Purpledobermann (good name!)

      My GP is away on holiday. Officially not back in the surgery until Monday but has booked me in for a telephone appointment on Thursday. I've spoken on the phone to two other doctors at the practice, both were available to go and see if I felt I needed to. The problem is I don't have the energy to start at the beginning with them when my own GP knows my history.

      To be honest, I don't have much faith in GP's for anything more than a simple health problem. I have suffered with depression for over 30 years, since in my teens and none of the GP's I have seen over the years has been able to do any more than hand me a prescription and mumble some empty promises. But I don't tell them the truth, I never have done. I reach a crisis point, go to the GP where I cry a little and get handed some medication. It never makes a difference but I don't have the energy to fight so I just nod that I'm feeling much better and wait for the next time. I am an expert in hiding my feelings, not even my nearest and dearest had any idea I have depression until last week. Unfortunately I mucked up my attempt in such spectacular fashion that the world and his mother now have little doubt about my mental state.

      It's been there to some degree or another for years but has been slowly building since last summer for a range of reasons - ongoing marriage problems that are getting increasingly hard to ignore, a stressful time at work and a feeling that the world isn't a nice place any more. I've never been particularly political but the amount of hatred and unfairness in this country fills me with despair. And so many people seem to think it is acceptable that I can't see things changing.

      I don't believe I am capable of happiness. There is something in me that won't allow it. Medication helps for a while but then I'm back to where I started. I'm tired of it, I just want to get off.

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    • Posted

      I would like to share my background -  so we both know more of where the other is coming from, in case it may help.

      I had GAD, with crisis point in my late teens, escalated to post-partum psychosis in my mid twenties after being followed by several GPs, one useless psychiatrist and three different therapists. I developed harm ideation directed towards my newborn and reached out to new doctors after I slapped my infant, followed by a barely contained urge to throw her through the window and jump myself, and turned around to see dozens of cats in my apartment - where i had no pets... (the cats were cute and they did not speak to me for which i am still grateful).

      My then psychologist who was going on holiday found a psychiatrist to mind me while she is away and she was sure it is just temporary stress and all i needed to do was talk. And off she went on her holiday. But that psychiatrist she left me with was also going on holiday shortly. He started therapy however, left me with emergency back-up, made it clear to my family that i am not just being 'difficult' and that they have to make sure i am not alone with the child and also not pestered and nagged until i settle a bit). This psychiatrist, who ultimately performed miracles in only a few words and brought me to a point of full recovery, called me twice a day from his family holiday. He listened to my rants, listened to my silences and guided me with some tricks to overcome each major crisis for 2 weeks. He knew the answers to my questions (mostly), and he knew the questions to ask. He knew what i was going through and he knew why without me even knowing at that point. He also knew that if he puts in extra effort in early therapy he will be free sooner smile This is the difference between a psychiatrist and a GP. They know when someone is critical. They know what to ask and how to read between the lines. I made it easy because i am so very open. But i have seen them in action with much more reserved people too. I have actually studied psychology. Despite this I believe psychiatrists are much better equipped than psychologists for any moderate to severe case of  depressive/anxiety disorder.

      My question is this: Why are you not angry? Is it because you have lost your sense of being able to actually feel better? This is not your fault or a sign of uynsurmountable life situations or sign of you being incurable, it is a sign of neglect: Why the hell were you not referred to a psychiatrist when after 30 years you are still struggling with any degree of depression? No matter how well you minimize and mask it, the fact is that you were given repeated prescriptions without any real effects. This is not how it should be. You were just maintained if you like. Managed. And even that, barely. GPs are the chief cause of protracted and complicated depression. And now, following your overdose, If you are not given a referral to a psychiatrist that would be negligence on top of negligence. I believe you have suffered enough, you balanced well so far and you are tired. Your nervous system is a mess. Your sense of self is blurred. Your life complications and challenges have left you reeling. No wonder you feel you have had enough. There comes a point when you can simply not handle any more stress, big or small, and start to crack.

      For what it's worth, I would call the doctors on it. I would fight for a more comfortable state of being. 

      I am 4 years post-treatment. Doing well inside with only occasional brief moment of gloom smile that is however mostly situational and justifiable gloom as i work to collect the pieces of my life that i allowed to slip over the years. I have no money, i have over a quarter million EUR debt my husband generated while I was still asleep, a very challenging marriage that we can't even afford to get out of right now and am the sole provider for a family of 4 plus an unemployed parent and I work a very demanding job with long hours. I am also apparently the housekeeper and not sure how i ended up being a martyr. LOL I keep my head above the water when i can, sink a little, cry a little, die a little, live a little. But i refuse to go. Even though things look bleak in my personal affairs as also in the world affairs as you mention  I am learning to not focus on things i can't change. So i do little things that i CAN change whenever i can bring myself to do it. Even if on a bad day the only thing i can influence is a flower in a pot i can water or smile instead of frowning smile And those little things add up, build me up, keep me going and becoming more and more comfortable and at peace under whatever circumstances.

      Since you mentioned it, how do you define happiness lucy1969? Because i am curious what kind of standard of happiness you have for yourself or as a general idea?

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    • Posted

      You have been through so much, I have no idea how you are still standing.

      I don't do anger, I never have unless it's towards myself (apart from the occasional shouting match with one of my teenagers!). I think it's because I assume that most things that go wrong are my fault.

      I have no idea how I would define happiness... I guess looking forward to the future instead of dreading it. Or just going to sleep at night without hoping you won't wake up.

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    • Posted

      Nothing extraordinary. Everyone here has been through much. Depressive disorders send us on long, laborious inner journeys. And those are quite lonely. There is no one worse off or better off. Same journey inward and back out for each of us. The details are just...details. I wouldn't say I am standing any more than you are haha. I am embracing the stuff in between the lines though, not with a view to any particular destination or goal, other than hoping to die one day at peace that I tried to do better by me and those I care for until the actual end. Not ridden with weight of the world and sense of failure or guilt or whatever. I want to be ok with me i think. Accepting what i can't change and playing around with whatever i can do something about. Yes, knowing that one day relief will come if nothing else ever even goes right. Luckily for us then the ONLY certainty in life is that we will all die one day. Meanwhile, since i am here, may as well use up all the time i have. Sometimes pretty cool little things happen, like seeing someone comfort someone just because. Seeing a funny movie. You have an argument with your teen and actually win once LOL. Embarrassing them in front of friends is also very satisfying on occasion. fFind a kindered spirit and laugh some sXXt away. Being able to do something that makes you feel pretty good even for a bit. Getting over something you never thought you could. Learning something new. I don' t know, the kist is endless. Good definition of happiness in a very dark backdrop lol. Just my cup of tea. The second part. Going to sleep at night without hoping you won't wake up. What would it take? Who took the magic out of stupid little things for you? Who made you so hard on yourself and so isolated. Because look at this place full of isolated people who are tired. Each of us have been convinced we are somehow not capable/not good enough/not strong enough/ not...insert whatever self-demeaning thing you can think of. If you think this is pointless, try to imagine how scary life is for those who are really happy, since you want to be dark lol. They have more to lose than us when end does come smile I mean twist it all around a bit to suit yourself better because that is the mature thing to do, haven't you heard. Sending love and apologies for any dark humour but I am on 4 hrsbof sleep and nothing great ever comes of that. smile

      Moderator comment: I have edited this post due to the swearing. These are open forums so as per the T&Cs please do not use offensive language in posts otherwise they may be deleted.

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    • Posted

      Ah, I am being moderated because I mentioned a synonym for excrement I think. I apologize to the moderators but I am tired and no other word would have fit better smile sending much love to all fellow travellers. X
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    • Posted

      Ooooh sneaky, Anne! I love it. I never knew it has a designated icon...emoticon...whatever I suck at tech. Struggling to maintain spelling on my daughter's tablet and can't even use her phone. And I am not that old but neither as cool as I thought before I had a tween! Frustrating.

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    • Posted

      To the lovely Purpledoberman

      Your messages of advice are very welcomed to those of us that experience some form of mental health. And I wanted to thank you for all your good advise and for sharing just some of the pain you have suffered.

      Thank you ❤️

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