Venlafaxine withdrawal: please give me some help, advice & comfort :-(

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I have finally finished weaning off Venlafaxine. I am on day 8 now from withdrawing and I am struggling to find the strength inside me to carry on :-( This is hell, I have never known mental torture like it. I had been on Venlafaxine since the middle of last year. Started on low doses, but had to have them upped as they weren't working for me. It got to around February this year and I had to say/do something... I couldn't go on any longer. I had a huge relapse/break down whatever you may call it and thought I cannot keep taking this medication it is making me worse! I was on 225 mg in the end and I felt as though I wasn't me anymore, I couldn't feel anything :-( that being emotions, purpose, love, meaning - anything! I was numb!

When the weaning process began mid March, after discussing it with my psychiatrist to do it even slower than what he recomended, I was fine. He warned me of certain side effects and the main two I was feeling was 'flu like symptoms' & headaches. It took me 6 week to wean off the antidepressants and I couldn't believe how fine I actually was. BUT OH NO, WAS I WRONG! That wasn't even the start! The day after taking my very last tablet was herroundous :-( I started having the side effects of withdrawal: brain zaps, severe anxiety, severe diarrhea (I suffer with IBS, it made it worse - it brought more attacks on), stomach ache, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, vivid dreams, nightmares, mood swings, palpitations, heart beating very fast, shakes, I feel really depressed, low, upset, very emotional, suicidal, fed up, angry, irritable, confused, up, down, scared... I'm going out of my mind :'( I am still having all of the side effects now and I cannot believe that this is happening to me. I cannot believe that such a drug is out there and given to us! Its so easy for the 'professionals' to dish out the meds and not warn us of all this :-( I am beside myself. Please can somebody help the pain and comfort me, tell me it gets better please! :-( Is this all normal? Will I ever be happy again? Will I survive without any medication? How can I get through this? What advice do you have? I just want reassuring :-(

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    You ought to go right to your dr and seek out some meds that can help you through this withdrawal if that's what it is.  Maybe he can prescribe some lorazepam to relax you.  Also, there are other ssri meds that he can start you on that could help you feeling a lot better.  Just because the venlafaxine didn't work doesn't mean that something else like fluoxetine or sertraline, or paroxetine or buproprion won't work.  
  • Posted

    I feel for you. Try taking Diphenhydramine HCl (Nytol or Boots Sleepeze in the UK, Benadryl in the U.S.) at night.

    It worked for me and curbed some of the horrendous withdrawal symptoms.

    Be strong.

  • Posted

    I can't believe I am reading this. Its as if I wrote it.

    I am going through the exact same thing.

    I was on 150mg slow release in January 2014 although I have been on other meds before that.

    It was cut down to 75mg about 5 months ago and just 4 weeks ago they cut it down to 37.5mg quick release and was told its just for 3 weeks and then nothing.

    Its been about 7 days without any and I am having same symptons as you

    Today has been so bad Been in a state crying and shaking and very suicidal

    Also been getting angry and irritable.

    I applied for an accreditation for Eurovision and had it rejected by the BBC yesterday.

    That set me off worse and I have been sending very irrate and aggressive messages to the BBC which I know is an over-reaction but I couldnt control myself.

    I tried to call Mental Health to be seen as emergency, just to get some rude receptionist who wouldn't even take a message for me.

    Of course this made me more irrate.

    I wish I had advice but believe me, you are not alone x

    • Posted

      I hear that prozac given and titrated up as one is coming off of venlafaxine can be helpful in many ways.  I just started that two days ago with a small reduction in venlafaxine and a small addition of prozac.
  • Posted

    Hang in there!! I got some xanax from my doctor. My last dose was Oct 17, 2014. The withdrawals last a while. But do ease up. Hang in there benadryl helps omega 3 helps b12 helps. I was on V for 12 years

    . I am adjusting to life without it.. I feel again. I've lost 20 lbs and am not Hungry 24/7. It will get better. Excuse my language but those doctors and drug companies are full of sh*t!!! It's like getting off major drugs. Our brain receptors are working on their own again and not being suppressed by that stupid drug!I went thru the same withdrawals it F...ING sucks! Sorry for the language. I was also going thru marital problems and the death of a close childhood friend. I'm still not back to normal although people who have never been depressed or on antidepressants say I should be back to normal they don't get it. Tho having marital problems, my husband was my rock. You need someone by your side. The anxiety depression and suicidal thoughts are there and DO go away. I have a very easy work environment as well. This website helped as well. My doctor was clueless as far as withdrawals go. Hang in there and keep talking on this site. Cause peeps on the outside don't get it!!

    Good luck and hang tough!

  • Posted

    Every medication reacts differently on all individuals. Sounds like this wasn't the right one for you.

    Your GP usually prescribes another medication to help reduce the side effects. I know a lot take Prozac when withdrawing from Effexor.

    You still sound as if you are having periods of depression. Apologies if not.

    I would ask your GP as there is alternative medicine to help. Good luck

  • Posted

    ookj me 10 months to withdraw and I am fine now.  Must do it really slowly.  I had no withdrawals at all as I took it so slowly.  I was on 150mg daily for 9 years.  You will not get any withdrawals if you just don't rush it, honestly.  I expect you did it much too fast.  Your doctor should have helped you through this.  Mine did for a while, but in the end I had to cut tablets into smaller and smaller doses.  Capsules only go down to 37.5mg so I had to go onto generic tablets so I could gradually reduce. 

    It is a difficult drug to come off but people should be warned to do it really slowly.  It will take time for you to feel better, but you will get there.  Such a shame you did it so fast.  Yes it gets better.  Give it time.  It is 18 months since I stopped, and I am an old lady, and doing well.  After 30 years on anti depressants I am fine.  Take heart, like me you will get through depression.  May have ups and downs, but so much better, and I was in hell for years.

    • Posted

      Agree with this reply in just about every way. Venlafaxine worked fir me, but I have found it so far very difficult to reduce the dose. There us a pharmacological reason fir this to with drug half life.

      And if you try to give up, and can't, don't be harsh on yourself ( which will be the depression talking). You can try it again another time.

  • Posted

    I will try to help as much as I can. I am a Venlafaxine taker. 10 years. My doc said, if it works, why try to come off it, so I havent. I admit, when I did try to cut down, I failed. Some points tho'.

    1. My opinion is just an opinion, but I have a bit of medical background to back it up.

    2. It seems that one drug may work for some, and another drug may work for others, and for some no drug will work. For some a drug might work but have unacceptable side effects. We all vary in our drug responses, and personally, I think it may be related to the factors that causes the depression. Some peoples depression may be related to external factors (e.g. losing job, life events), others may come from an internal susceptibility.

    So, consider changing the drug, but do give them time to work (which is a big ask, I know)

    3. Supplementing drugs with psychotherapy e.g CBT, is a good idea, as it can equip you with a psychological strength to counter the depression. If u can't get professional, try the self help books. Heard great things about Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, which is a personal experience book.

    4. I know depression robs  u if the very strength u need to do things, but drag yourself up and out and get as much into nature as u can, where u can get external stimulation from things around you. And if u do indeed do this, or something else u like, congratulate yourself for doing it, you've overcome the depression on this occasion, and u can do it again.

    5. All these awful symptoms, it's so hard to sort out if it's the depression that causes them or the drugs. Depression really undermines ones ability to be objective about such things, so do your very best not to make black and white judgements.

    6. Oh, I could go on but I hope this helps a bit. Again, try (and I know in depression that try is a big thing to ask), to not be hard on yourself, that's what depression does.

    I wish you the best, and hope things do get better for you.

  • Posted

    Hi everyone who has been suffering horrendously by these drugs:

    Report your withdrawal symptoms and adverse reactions through the correct channels. Officials need to know so doctors are forced to be more careful and inform you when prescribing:


    Rest of Europe:



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