Withdrawing From Effexor (Venlafaxine)

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I am 72 years old and had depression for 30 years and have been on many different anti depressants.  I read a lot here about struggling to withdraw from Venlafaxine.  I just want to say on advice on my doctor I withdrew, and I am doing well.

I stopped cold turkey once, and so I know what withdrawals can be like.  This time I did it rreally slowly, and I want to give everyone assurance who wants to come off this drug, that it is not so hard if you are really disciplined about it.  I am a little old lady, and believe if I can do it, then anyone can.  I was on 150mg a day for 9 years.  Well I thought, let me see if I can cope without anti depressants after all these years.  Well it is 18 months since I stopped, and yes, I can manage without.  I am doing really well.  Have ups and downs, but feel I will never need to go onto anti depressants again, which is good news at my age.

I am not on any prescribed medication at all.  Now withdraw really, really slowly.  And I mean SLOWLY.  Reduce dosage a very little at a time.  Capsules only go down to 37.5mg, so only way I could reduce further was to go onto the generic tablets.  These can be cut into smaller and smaller doses.  I stayed at each stage for months.  I was down to a tiny amount on a finbger tip at the end. 

I kept charts to show me what I was taking each day.  I worked hard at it, and it paid off.  So to all you people who are finding it difficult to withdraw, I say if you do it slowly like me, you will be fine.  If you begin to feel bad, decide whether you think it is the depression or withdrawals.  Depression, for me, always returned in a few months if I stopped anti depressants.  This time it has not returned, and believe me I was in hell with this illness once.

Take heart.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Anne, I'm just wondering how you feel in your head with out any medication. I mean do you think you can think more clearly? I ask because I have been on various medications over about 10 years, including venlafaxine and I just wondering how much they affect you thinking. I've found they can be quite numbing, although I realize this could be the illness.

    I've been thinking I would like to be medication free for a while, not had the nerve try. I think the meds make my head fuzzy and would just like to know how I would feel without them.

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    • Posted

      I feel great.  Effexor blunted my emotions so I do have those back, which is a good thing.  My thinking was not affected as such, and the only numbing was those of my emotions.  The Effexor took away my anxiety and depression.

      Now I am doing well and feel no need to take anti depressants again, but I was taking them for 30 years, so I suppose I am back to how I should be.  About time too. 

      Only stop the medication if you really feel you can do without.  I have stopped quite a few times, and depression always returned.  Before, the longest I managed without anti depressants was six months.  This time is 18 months so I know I am OK.

      We are all different, but as I said, I am an old lady, and I am sure younger people will find it easier than I did.  I just made up my mind to see if I could manage without anti depressants.  And hey, I can!!!

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  • Posted

    It's so good to hear your story. I am 48 and been struggling for 13 years now. I wish I'd never gone on antidepressants. I am going to come off if I can as I am ill every 3 months and feel like these drugs are controlling me and taking over my life. I don't know if I'll feel better but hopefully I cant feel any worse Have tried a couple of times but got bad anxiety so may have done it too quick. Gps are too quick to put people on These pills I just hope I can do it. I do have terrible ringing ears and jaw tightness at the moment. Don't know if thats me not well or the drugs. Your story is an inspiration x
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  • Posted

    Hi Anne I was so impressed with your discussion and you have the power to help many. Your discussion was so clear and concise making withdrawal easy for everyone.I am 74 and recently I was able to quit alepam( oxazepam) in 6 weeks. This is a dangerous benzodiazepine,given for anxiety. It has a short half life of 8 hrs which means that then you go into withdrawal every afternoon.For 30 years I went thru this,as doctors thought I needed it! A kind doctor helped me quit in 6weeks. I felt like I had won lotto then.I felt so good. My son bought me flowers.Happy times.That was in Jan.Good chatting. Best wishes
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