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How long is Effexor withdrawal supposed to last?
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932 Comments
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1119505_tn?1259145372
You know what, to read through what other people have gone through over the past two years is actually quite interesting. every post on here is by a "non-specialist", ie. patients. we are all here for a reason and are all clearly in need of advice, help, or simply to see that we are not alone, and others have gone through or are going through similar pain or discomfort.
i wish my doctors would read these posts, i've had many family doctors and ones I have met in the ER who seem to be in complete denial about the far reaching detrimental effects these meds can cause. perhaps put the post in an archive of sorts, but please don't delete it!
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1110049_tn?1384640486
New members like me find it really helpful to read all this.  Remember not all of us have seen it for a long time.  I only joined a couple of weeks ago so it is all new to me.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I am so glad to have found a place where I can get some answers and validation. I am not going crazy!!!! There is no way to put into words what hell i have been going through over the past six weeks trying to get off of the effexor----which never really worked for me anyway.  The paranioa I felt this past week was awful and I felt like I was probably going to get fired. I feel like everyone is looking at me and talking about me. I can't talk normally, type, right, process words, drive.... The best is when I see things that aren't even there. Why would any doctor put a patient on this med. if they knew the possible withdrawal symptoms??? Do they even know? This drug company ***** and should be held accountable for the pain and suffering it has inflicted on the families and friends of people plaqued by these horrible symptoms. I'd love to see one of them try to go off!!!!!
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1281452_tn?1275863379
okay, I have been off Effexor for 11 days and I have had a headache that just won't relent. Is this a withdrawl (withdrawal) symptom? How long am I going to be getting that noise in my head? My doctor said a few days!  11 days is more than a few!  
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1292548_tn?1272244124
I quit Effexor cold turkey 9 days ago.  I was on 75 mg in the morning, and 37.5 mg at night.  I tried to taper my dose by 18.75 mg every 3 days, but this was simply unbearable and I couldn't function.  Hence, I quit over a 5 day weekend.  Let me tell you it was terrible.  If you are in the same situation here is my advice:
   1. Take benadryl (it helps, I don't know why)
    2. Soy milk, yogurt, ice cream, and green veggies replace your acetycholine (sp?) that is depleted by Effexor withdrawal
    3. I ate a lot of fatty comfort foods (fat helps your brain in this case, but also tastes good)
   4. B12 supplements - or just eat more meat
   5. Take Xanax or other sedatives
   6. I found alcohol worsened my symptoms (depletes brain of vitamins)
   7. Avoided caffeine to help with panic attacks
   8. Smoked pot (this helped the most.  It settled my stomach and made me happy and relaxed.)  This might be illegal, but it definitely has medicinal value.  If you have enough, you can make pot milk and take it that way.  I would recommend that if you have enough.  I would strongly recommend marijuana for this withdrawal process if you have access.  I wouldn't have been able to survive without it!!!

9 days in I am still tired, irritable and have the brain zaps.  I am functioning though, and feel 90% better.  Good luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
I am in the same situation as aprilgirl1963, it has been around 10 days now and I still have headaches and the buzzing in my head. I generally feel crummy all over. I originally thought I had an infection and went to an ENT, had a CAT scan and all that and found out my sinuses were clear. Now I'm just starting to think it's Effexor. This stinks.

I went from 112.5 down to 75 down to 37.5 down to nothing in about a week and here I am feeling like I'm going crazy. If anyone wants to chat off this forum my e-mail is ***@****.
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Avatar_m_tn
Ooops, I guess you can't put an e-mail on here. Weird. Anyhow, this is a scary deal huh?
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Avatar_f_tn
The first time I quit Effexor, I was weaned off of it by my doctor. I'd say probably about 2 weeks, maybe a little more, until the side effects subsided.

The second time I quit Effexor, I quit it cold turkey. That was November 2005. I still have very mild head buzzing whenever I turn my head or move my eyes. Emotionally, I do not believe I have ever been the same since quitting it.
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Avatar_m_tn
OMG.

I just had to leave work because I was feeling so sick to my stomach.  The first time I tried to quit effexor I had a terrible crash and ended up in the psych. ward. (I also was fired from my job at the same time...) However I do believe that the approach my doctor had me on was too aggressive.  I went from 150 to 75 to 37.5 in like two weeks.  A far less aggressive appraoch has been working much better.  I'm on 37.5 mg now and have one more month then I'm calling it quits.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Been there done that. Hang in there we are all here to support you. Going off of Effexor was the worst time in my life. I felt that my family and job suffered greatly. I understand what you are saying. Make sure you have support from family, friends and your doctor. Lean on them and know that it is all related to the effexor withdrawal and it will not last forever. I went through this and it is TERRIBLE. I will be praying for you- stay strong!
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Avatar_f_tn
I think it really does matter how much you are on to start with, and what kind of support you have too. I'm so nervous about the time i'll have to get off this stuff as for the past 8 years I have been on 300 mg a day so I will be tapering down EVER so slowly when my pychiatrist says it's ok.
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Avatar_f_tn
Well here I am today 22 days after stopping effexor and feeling terrible! I had a very good week last week but now the symptoms are back. Anxiety, palpitations, emotional, nauseated, unable to eat, jitter, afraid and fearful. I sure hope this is related to effexor withdrawals and I am not going NUTS! I don't know what to do, I just know I don't want to feel like this anymore. I was on 75mg and tapered down over about two months. I took my last effexor 37.5 1/4 pill 22 days ago. Can this still be withdrawal symptoms? Do the symptoms come and go?
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Avatar_f_tn
Here I am again. I went to see my doctor today and he informed me to take Clonazapam 0.5mg tid to help with my anxiety. I am such a mess. I don't know if this can still be effexor withdrawals or if I have terrible anxiety. Anyway regardless I do not want to feel this way. I am so destrot that my doctor gave me a week off of work. I don't know how that is going to work out. Hope I still can keep my job as I am a professional and make good money. I have considered going back on effexor to get my life back in order. I would hate to ever go through what I have gone through the 22 days again getting off of effexor. Hope someone can give me some advice.
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Avatar_f_tn
My experience has been completely different.  I lost my job and my insurance, and COBRA ran out last month so I couldn't afford to refill my Effexor.  I know it's completely not advised, but I quit 450mg daily Effexor XR cold turkey 16 days ago.  I have had "brain zaps" that went away after about 10 days.  I have had no other symptoms, other than the returning depression.  (I plan to see a doc and get a prescription for a generic AD med in July or August when I have enough money.)  

Should I be worried that I am going to have withdrawal symptoms in the near future that just haven't materialized yet?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, my Effexor prescription refill got stuck between my PCP and Walgreens. Now I've been without it for 3 days and having lots of problems. My sister happens to take the same medication and same dosage and was willing to share some to get me through until I get my refill. I have been wanting to get off Effexor but not like this. Having read all the horror stories from both people who quit gradually and people who quit cold turkey, my dilemma is that I am not sure whether to get back on it right away or continue this unplanned getting off Effexor cold turkey. Anybody who's been in a similar situation? Also, is there anybody out there who is now off Effexor and withdrawal symptom free? Thanks for any info you can share.
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1331182_tn?1275479204
Why did you go back on effexor after your first weaning off quit? Was it easier the first time?
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Avatar_f_tn
Your saga mirrors mine. I've been off Effexor for 3 days and I'm not just kinda dizzy but REALLY dizzy. So, I think I will see my PCP first thing tomorrow and get the low dose and wean off.
Had I known the extent of the issues of effexor (I'm taking it for hot flashes), I would have endured the hot flashes and been done.
I am going to get off this stuff no matter what and NEVER go back on anything like this EVER.
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow, Effexor for hot flashes! That's a little extreme of your PCP. He needs to be be slapped! :)

Anyway, I ended up going back to Effexor over the weekend, surprise surprise! My symptoms were so severe I actually started "hearing" my eyes move. It took about 5 hours after taking the first capsule for the symptoms to subside to the point where I could function. I still plan on getting off Effexor but obviously I will do it very very slowly. Good luck on your journey to an Effexor-free life.
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Avatar_f_tn
I can't read these problems people got into while going off cold turkey and think it is an option. Some people here don't think their doc is competent, which may be true for all I know, but that is no reason to go off cold turkey. It has to hurt more going off that way than the medically prescribed tapering way.
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1331182_tn?1275479204
Talk to your doctor about switching to another anti depressant that is easier to get off. Effexor has a half life of 5 hours which means that 5 hours after you take it, there is only half of it left in your system, then 5 hours later 1/2 again. This is why you feel so bad if you miss a pill.....if you skip a day then take another 37.5 mg you have just put yourself back where you were the last time you took a pill.

Prozac has a half life of a week! This is why there are no withdrawals with it.

Talk to your doctor and if he or she won't listen then find someone who will!
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Avatar_n_tn
After reading the posts I don't find anyone with my withdrawal symptoms.  Tapered off at 37.5 mg for 4 weeks after 14 months on 75mg and 150 mg.  At night I cant put my teeth together, my family is noticed (and then I started noticing) I am constantly leaving my mouth open.  The jaw pain feels like I've had a wisdom tooth removed.  If any one has had these symptoms --how long do they last?
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Avatar_n_tn
I came off of effexor aobut 2 months ago, cold turkey.  I had dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations, moodiness, and was very emotionaland paranoid.  I started to do better and now lately I feel like evil Psycho B----.  I don't know if I just really need the drug or if it could still be withdrawal.  I was never this bad before I ever took it (for anxiety).  Now I feel really discouraged cuz I feel like I need something, anything to keep me from feeling the way I do.
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Avatar_f_tn
I want to find someone who says "I came off 2yrs ago and this is how and i'm still off it" But it seems once people are better they don't come back to tell everyone the good news!
I have taken my last 37.5mg on friday 4th June, I feel fine apart from the dizzyness - I just want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I will stop feeling like I am on a boat.
Anyone with a success story??????
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Avatar_f_tn
OMG! Just got tappered off Effexor XR 75 mg and thought I had a brain tumor ! I have Dizziness~nAUSEA~LIGHTHEADED~AND SOMETHING LIKE eLECTRICAL JOLTS FROM THE BACK OF MY HEAD AND NECK REGION.I WAS SO SCARED UNTIL I READ ALL THE ADVERSE SIDE EFFECTS OF COMING OFF.IM SO PISSED OFF AT MY PA WHO PRESCRIBED THE MED FOR ME SEVERAL YEARS BACK!!!!FOR HOT FLASHES.i ALSO FEEL TEARY AND IM NOT THAT TYPE OF PERSON. AS A NURSE I FEEL SO DUMB TO THE FACT THAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE SOME RESEARCH B4 STARTING BUT NEVER THOUGHT A PA WOULD STEER ME SO WRONG.I CAN TELL U THAT THE BENADRYL HELPS ALSO IF U CAN GET YOUR PA OR MD TO GIVE U A RX FOR PROMETHAZINE PLO GEL U JUST RUB IT ON YOUR WRISTS IT HELP THE NAUSEA
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Avatar_f_tn
Glad you now know you are not alone.
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Avatar_n_tn
You are so not alone!  I am a nurse too and if I would have known what it would be like to be on and then try to get off of this med, I NEVER would have done it.  I started on Effexor for some neurological itching on my arms, perimenopause and for the AD effects.  A few weeks ago, I had my tonsils out (not a great time as I am in my 40's).  While recuperating, I was not able to take my meds daily and the withdrawal started.  I am so very emotional and feel like my life is falling in around me.  I have a husband and two great kids that I would be lost without, but I am having a hard time just putting one foot in front of the other some days.  It helps to know I am not alone and I am truly sorry that the rest of you are going through this too.  
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Avatar_m_tn
How long do the  brain zaps last?
I had PPD 2 times. Effexor was the  only medication that  I was not having an allergic reaction to. I an absloute panic after having my second child I started it again. My first withdrawl (withdrawal) was hell. Slowley cutting pills into these tiny little sizes untill I stopped at 10mg. This time around same approach but having a horrific time getting off the meds! I am past the 72 hour mark and the brain zaps are overwhelming.  Are there any proven tricks to help? What causes teh brain zaps ? Are they going to cause permanant damage?
AND NEVER LET ANYONE TAKE EFFEXOR! I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN! I DO NOT CARE HOW PANICINKY I AM OR HOW MANY TIMES I HYPERVENTOLIATE A DAY NEVER EVER AGAIN!
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Avatar_n_tn
My heart goes out to you.

Im not a dr (im a lawyer) but my extensive research tells me that the zaps normally go for 2 weeks, but can go for a month, altho they should slow down a lot after 14 days. Please look at my post, just above yours. I heavily researched the ways to survive this experience.

I honestly do not think you should try to go thru it without medicines (I list the ones I know will work), especially with small children, God bless you, they can cause frustration, and for that two week period, you won't be able to tolerate much frustration and will probably cry a lot and see your life as pointless, may have body aches. Warn your husband or partner or whoever lives with you that you are NOT going to be yourself for two weeks and that it is NOT your fault and that 'trying hard to be okay' isn't going to work, and they should be in FORGIVENESS MODE! i mean this sincerely.

Do you have a doctor who would look online at the millions of posts that confirm what you are going through, and who would have wisdom and MERCY and give you a two-week prescription for sedatives or best of all, something like hydrocodone justy for 14 days, which relieves the pain, the tears, and the darkness in your mind. My post lists other drugs and things that help. Do NOT try alcohol. You will immediately get twice as many zaps.

You're not alone! I will be thinking about you. Im sure everyone here will be. Please REMEMBER that this is NOT your fault, you are NOT crazy, and this WILL PASS. But for the rest of your life, talk people out of ever touching this evil, horrific drug.

hang in there. we're all together in this.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am on day 4 of no Effexor, and it is NOT FUN!  I am getting off of it because I missed an appointment, and they will not see me again until July 2nd.  Nor, will they call my script in because I haven't been checked out.  Grrrrr.......... I have 4 children, ages 9, 6, 3, and 2.  This is VERY challenging.  I have taken benedryl yesterday, and one this morning when I woke up.  It seems to help a tad.  I will also try the Omega3,4,5 pills when I pick some up this afternoon.  I almost feel short of breath, this is NO FUN!  My pcp doesn't prescribe Effexor (smart man) so when I called them for a refill to hold me over until my appointment, I was turned away by his secretary.  I was thinking of making an appointment today and describe my symptoms, see if he'll give me something to help with the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms.  This is the 2nd time, first time was when I was pregnant almost 7 years ago.  Would love to find a fellow withdrawing buddy to chat with throughout this ordeal!

Sorry if this is rambly, you know how I am feeling right now!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hang in there -  I am on day 13 since my last effexor and the dizzyness has GONE!!!!!
I feel physically normal again. I am now worried what the mental effects will be as I cannot remember "ME" before the tablets - what if my husband doesn't like the real me? But I will deal with that if it happens.
Anyway - just wanted you to know you should keep going and the physical symptoms will pass. I did not take anything else - I just hung on for the ride and now I am out the other side and you will be too. When I was going through it all I needed to know was there is a light at the end of the tunnel so I hope my post helps you.
I am so thankful everyday not to have to take effexor.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much for the encouraging words!  You know, this morning, I do not feel bad at all really.  I mean, yes, I have the zingers (brain shivers, just the sound), when I move or divert my eyes, but physically, not bad at all.  :)  Do not feel dizzy.  The benadryl I have been taking really has been cutting back on the intensity of those.  I haven't taken benadryl today, but I will be in a few.  Maybe I won't have it too terribly bad.  I plan to "hopefully" spend a good part of the day in the pool relaxing!  Surely after 5 days, it will continue to worsen.  Keeping fingers crossed!  Ha!  I am hoping that by my day 13, I will feel pretty good, also!

Good luck with "the real you", esb222!  I'm sure you will be just fine!  One symptom I forgot to mention is my temper is a bit short, but I have 4 kids(ages 2 to 9), so I do my best not to let that take control of me!  I know that will get better, also!   I did go into this with a very positive outlook!  I think it probably makes a difference in how you feel, also.

For anyone else coming off, I read somewhere they closed their eyes and shook their head, and no zingers, that it's seems to be visual.  That is soooo true for me!  So when I get to feeling them zaps too bad, I just shut my eyes, relax, and they go away!  I haven't had too much trouble sleeping.  Going to bed, a little later, but getting up at a nice reasonable time in the morning.  

Good luck, everyone!  I will probably update daily on my condition!
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Avatar_n_tn
I am new here and I am starting to go off of Effexor XR.  I started taking it 8 years ago and came off of it once then went back on.  I have terrible insomnia and I have to take two sleep drugs in order to sleep.  I can go 2 days without Effexor before I get the withdrawal.  I have gone to 1 150 mg every other day down from 300 mg per day.  Then I will start to go down from there.   I would love to have someone to chat with through this.  I am self employed and have a couple weeks of down time - I would love to get off this in two weeks.  Last time it took me 5 months.  I ended up having the drug compounded in a liquid so I could take less than 37.5 mg.  

Wish me luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
ahhh yes my temper is also short & I don't have kids so you are doing REALLY well !!!
Thanks for your kind words - he has not divorced the "real me" yet !!!

whatashock - wishing you luck - that's great though that you can go 2 days without a 150mg...I hope it get's easier on the 37.5mg. I had almost about 11 days off work and that really helped.
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Avatar_f_tn
Did you say you came off efffexor when pregnant? That's why I am coming off so I can try and get pregnant and was too worried about the effect of the pills on the baby. BUT then again I am worried about not taking the pills and all those hormones whilst pregant getting me depressed.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been on Effexor for almost 10 years and have tried weaning off of it several times only to return to this horrible drug because the withdrawl (withdrawal) syndrome was too intense to tolerate any longer.  I have been weaning this time over several months and was down to 37.5 every other day (even less than that because I was opening the capsule and dividing the beads).  I am now approaching day 5 of no effexor and today is the first day that I don't feel like I'm going to fall down or throw up.  I missed work yesterday because of the symptoms and partly because the withdrawl (withdrawal) syndrome causes me to have little impulse control (with my mouth, that is!)  Wish me luck this time.  I'm 47 years old and can't handle being so overweight any longer.  
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Avatar_f_tn
This is my first contribution to this forum. I have been on Effexor for 15 years on 75mg a day during which I have had no significant episodes of depression. Everyone gets the odd day or two of feeling a bit down and that was the extent of it for me after years of being plagued with serious depression 2 -3 times a year. Effexor worked when no other drug did so I appreciate how effective it can be. In 15 years I did not gain weight or have any side effects from the drug. However I am now free (I hope) of many of the anxieties and feelings of low self esteem that plagued me all those years ago and I want to see if I can live Effexor free. After reading several forums I decided to taper off very very gradually. I started in November 2009 by removing a few little beads from the capsules daily which I kept. I worked out a chart whereby I dropped the dosage by very small amounts weekly and then kept on that dose for a week before reducing further. Having kept the beads in an airtight jar I am now withdrawing from my stock. Currently I'm on 37 beads a day which equates to about 15.4mg. I've decided to reduce now by one bead per day which means I should be off it in 37 days. I am concerned that this may be too rapid however so I'm going to just see how it goes. I have started to take 3 x 1500mg of Omega 3 fish oil per day to see if that helps with the final coming off. I have not had any side effects yet but I'm expecting to. I tried this once before many years ago but more quickly and did it by breaking up 37.5 mg tablets. Not being slow release, I found it much more difficult to cope and suffered bad zaps and nausea if I didn't stagger the reduced dose throughout the day. I had a big meltdown at work when I was under extreme stress so gave up withdrawing when I was down to 5mg a day on doctor's orders. This was not a depressive episode however and I regret not continuing now. I found then that missing even a few mg per day produced just as bad a reaction as missing a whole dose when I accidentally forgot my tablet pre withdrawal. Hopefully the Omega 3 will help. I tried Prozac on the previous withdrawal and found it did not alleviate the Effexor withdrawal symptoms at all. Bearing in mind the dearth of personal success stories I will keep you informed in this final stage as to how it all goes. It will be interesting to see if slow and steady wins the race or whether it is just as bad as quicker withdrawals. I just can't deal with nausea (which as people say is just like motion sickness except unrelenting) so may find I have to slow down this final stage. Will keep you posted. :-)
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1352399_tn?1277153701
OK---SCARED CRAPLESS NOW!  I take 225mg Effexor daily, missed a dose 2 days and the nausea and brain zaps were awful! I was awful and mean to my friend (tried to sic my dogs on her, little jack russells--but she's afraid of dogs) I was evil and cruel  to everyone around me, and on the drive back to my home another driver honked at me and i cursed him out, pulled over and prayed for him to pull over so i could beat his a$$! I was homicidally angry--seriously.  i have not missed a dose since--the side effects scared me  that bad! It has helped stabilize my mood but i think i will talk to my doc about switching to something else.
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Avatar_f_tn
Brain Zaps go away, but just to be safe take the bus or have somebody drive you places. Taking another drug to deal with a drug *****. As long as you feel safe with your Dr., he will probably say that you are safe to be by yourself. Pot, Alcohol, and benzos aren't worth the new addiction to take care of the symptoms. Some drugs you must ask your doctor about  before taking, that may help are: Clonodine, Tramadol, Inderal, and Vistaril. These drugs are not tolerance drugs, so they wont get you addicted to something new. Ask your doctor about each medicine, however because self medication is deadly period.
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Avatar_n_tn
Everyone.....Be very, VERY aware of this withdrawal is very dangerous! It has more than likely cause me severe permanent damages, I;m not even such of how many different conditions yet. I started weening in November of 09, got sick by Christmas, went up a little for a couple weeks, then continued going down again. By April, I nearly died. I had Occipital Neuralgia and my body still has an heat intolerance for the past 6 and a half months, my body has been boobing and jerking as if I have MS or Parnkinsons. I didn't even get down to 0, then I had to go back up to 150 to stop any more damage.Being on the drug for 9 years has made my eyesight worse, broke down my cavity teeth and majorly weakened my immune system and gave me many infections. This drug is bad!!
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Avatar_f_tn
Today is day 3 for me of quitting cold turkey and I am debating about whether to ride out the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms or cave in. I have been taking Effexor XR 150 every morning for the past 8 months and just can't have the expense anymore. I seemed to be ok if I am sitting down but when I get up I feel like I am going to pass out. The headaches (I have suffered from severe migraines since I was 12) are being dealt with every 4 hours with Tylenol Rapid Release gels. Nausea comes and goes and my concentration has been ok today at work. If anyone can offer advice that has quit cold turkey and made it through - let me know. I know this isn't the best way but I am willing to try.
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow! At least I know I am not alone here. It has been 4 days and the Brain Zaps omg. I am actually crying right now becuase of my withdrawal and happy someone understands. I would just like to know how long this will last. I have been taking generic form of effexor for about a year and this gave me an everlasting period, it was light but never stoped. Prior to the generic form I took effexor xr for 5 years. I never knew that it caused this many issues. I am so happy to be done with it even with the withdrawals because I know they will end some day. I will start smoking Pot today because of your suggestions, anything that will help...
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Avatar_f_tn
Since you noted cold turkey is not the best way, why do it? This is not the drug to be doing science experiments on yourself, so if I was you, I would follow medical advice and taper. It is not addictive, so cold turkey is not necessary.
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Avatar_f_tn
Just keep at it - It took about 10days and then all dizzyness and symptoms were gone. You will get through this.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Everyone,

First post here.  I've just successfully tapered down from Effexor XR after being on 150mg a day for just over two years for Panic Disorder and Depression.  Some of the comments I'm reading here are very worrying and I'm concerned a lot of you aren't preparing yourselves enough to stop taking the drugs.  

Before I even thought about tapering down I went to see a Psychologist for 6 months, my doctor was a fantastic in this process and managed to find a way for me to take advantage of a free Psychologist who was collecting data for government research on mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.   Once or twice a week for 6 months I went to visit my Psychologist who gave me an amazing amount of information and helped me learn of more natural ways to try and deal with depression and panic attacks.  She taught me how to recognise when an episode might be coming my way, and how to teach myself to think differently about the whole thing.  I was amazed at how much better I felt after my 6 months with her.  

Once this was up I went back to my doctor and we decided I was ready to start slowly tapering off the drugs.  I went from 150mg a day to 75mg per day and this lasted for 3 whole months.  After 3 months I spoke to my doctor again and we decided I was doing really well and that it was time to go down another step.  This time we went down to 37.5mg per day, and this lasted for another 3 months.  I took my last pill about a week and a half ago and I'm feeling great.  I did go through a few days of nausea, headaches and dizziness when the pills finally stopped but I was aware of the possible physical side effects and was ready to cope with them as they come forward.   I used ginger tea to deal with the nausea, paracetamol to help with the headaches and was just very kind to myself and made sure I had a few days off so that I wasn't doing anything too important because of the dizziness.  Getting out of the house for a bit of light exercise everyday was really important to me too.

I really hope this post helps some people out there... It really is a bad idea to stop cold turkey or even to taper down so quickly.  All the research I did and all the professionals I spoke to all recommended a very very slow tapering down phase.  I can sympathize with those people out there who stop suddenly and go through the brain zaps, panic attacks, depression and spacey perception as I was advised to stop taking my meds a while ago due to another medical problem I had at the time... after 2 days I was a complete mess and went straight back on my meds, regardless of my other issues - so I know how hard it must be.

Please try and taper down as slowly as you can.  And arm yourself with as much information as possible...
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Well I am on day 10 of withdrawl (withdrawal) from Effexor and it isn't going to badly now.  The brain zaps seem to have ceased but I still get that "swirly" feeling but very rare.  I have started taking LTryosine 1000mg a day and it seems to help.  I actually feel a sense of freedom the last few days.  I feel like there is hope for finally getting off this horrible medication.  So many times I tried and gave in because of these symptoms.  I remember my doctor telling me that I would probably have to be on it for the rest of my life. I actually bought into that but NO MORE!!!
.  My emotions seem to be ok too as I haven't biten anyone's head off for a week!!
Praise God!
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Hi,

I have a positive story. I was on Effexor 150 mg a day for three years. However, whenever I ran out of a script it was hell until I could get to the doctor and get that script full. Terrible dizziness, I felt like my brain was soggy and my face and body drooping. One attempt I had at getting off it nearly cost me my job and I'm still being punished at my work because of that emotional outburst.

However, I had read from other people trying to get off it that the dosage has to be increased over time until the drug no longer works anyway and then you have to get off it and onto something else. This made me determined to get off the drug as it wasn't really doing much for me and sometimes I felt manic and other times low so there was no balance in my mood.

Anyway, I took a four day weekend and took Valium Forte and a drug called Restavit at night to help me sleep. Restavit is only an antihistamine but it induces sleep. I went through hell those four days but tried to do very little. I managed to get through the week after that at my work and took every sedative herb I could find as my doctor would not prescribe me anything to help me and thought I was faking my symptoms to get drugs. The same one who prescribed the Effexor. This doctor thinks I am a nut case and a loser.

That was all 18 months ago. I am Effexor free. Still suffer from serious anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and depression. All of these symptoms have been lifelong from childhood. I know I need help but am frightened of taking new medications after the Effexor experience. You can get off the stuff but just don't be around people that count and will judge you and try not to be at work in the initial week as you could wreck your reputation for no good reason.

I wish all of you the best of luck. It's just awful the way we are victims of the medical profession and the pharmaceutical companies.


  
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I have been off the Effexor generic...I think is worse than the xr...for about 7 days now. Do you think i should start back on the effexor at 37.5 since that works for me, and wait 3 months to stop that? I really hate this venafexaline because it makes me spot everyday. I also do not need it anymore but the withdrawal is HELL. I dont know what is worse. The only side effects or withdrawal symptoms that I have left is the "brain zaps" and hot flashes or cold flashes i am really not sure just start to have body sweats that i have only had with a really bad flu. I have been taking the mecilizine that was recomended, that has not really helped. I found that some people have found that mecilizine, dramamine, benadryl allergy, or medivert helps with feeling sick and dizzy. That passed after about 3-4 days. I now just have those stupid "brain zaps" and i really hope that they dont last forever or for months. I really can not deal with that just want to go back to normal....whatever that is. I do know that this helps so much to know there are other people out there who are having the same problems. I started going back to the gym yesterday. I hope that will help to push this thorugh faster if I can make it that long. I have plenty of my perscription left to go at least a month or so on 37.5mg. I just would like to know if I should go back and try again or just wait it out. Really dont want what ever effects i am feeling to stay long term. If you can tell by my skipping around I am soooo not together. Will keep you all posted to my progress, since it seems that some others have just dropped off and we don't know what has happened to them.
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What a difference a week makes! I was down to 150 mg every other day then stopped cold turkey. Looking back here is my advice:

Don't do every other day - titrate to lower dose every day. Don't skip days. I have discovered that there are two sets of withdrawal symptoms. The physical vertigo/zaps everyone talks about and the emotional freak out crying irrational withdrawal symptoms. The latter I wasn't really all that aware I was having. I know now that I was emotionally hostile and really fragile. I didn't get the vertigo/zaps until the 2nd or 3rd day without the drug but I was plenty aggitated on day 1 and 2. Who knew!

The side effect for me on the drug was insomnia. Sleep medicines were unreliable so I would take the Effexor one day then wait 2 days to take it again so I could try to sleep. So I have been in a state of aggitation for about 2 years!

Here is what I have found a week into my cold turkey withdrawal.... the fog has lifted. I do not feel emotionally charged anymore. I feel calm, rational and in control. Someone posted that when you quit you should tell your friends/family they need to be in forgiveness mode. I would go a step further - you need to avoid being around anyone professionally or friends (even if you know the people really well). You might not say anything you regret but I guarantee that you will weep at the drop of a hat and any little thing will send you over the edge. Seriously, I should have talked to no one during the first week.

I ride horses and have been friends with my instructor for years. I figured I would be safe to be around her during the first week. I was wrong. I was such a wreak that now I can't even get her to call me to schedule riding lessons. I am worried that she has just had enough.
As much as that upsets me I feel completely in control of my emotions - something that seems utterly new to me. Hopefully I can get her to take 5 minutes and call me since I am no longer a basket case!

As for the physical withdrawal symptoms here is what helps LOTS!

Benadryl- thanks to whoever said this would help - it does.
Motion sickness drugs Scapalamine (the patch that goes behind your ear) or the over the counter pills.
Vicodin - does stop the symptoms - in their tracks - thanks to the person on this thread that suggested it.

NO Caffiene! Today I woke up without physical symptoms but after I drank one cup of coffee it felt like I had drunk 6. I don't know if that was because of the benadryl or because my body is just adjusting.

NO Alcohol - I didn't even try this - just believed what everyone here said.

As for cold turkey - last time it took me 8 months to come off of the drug and looking back I was aggitated the whole time. Is cold turkey the safest way to do it - probably not. Was it worth it - Absolutely!!!!

To all of you who are in this private hell with me I say - you can do it! I will continue to post things that help me so hopefully others can get through this too.

This drug worked for me at one point and I was really glad I was on it. When I no longer needed it I didn't withdraw because I knew what I was in for. I just wish I had realized what it was doing to me emotionally before now because the withdrawal symptoms are completely worth enduring in order to get off this drug,

My last bit of advice - Doctors have prescribed this drug to people for off label uses (hot flushes - PLEASE!) People need to be aware that this drug should be the LAST RESORT not the first drug to try. So tell your primary care provider what hell looks like and maybe that will help keep them from prescribing for conditions that can be helped with a different drug.

Here's hoping I am on the downhill side and that I haven't ruined a friendship in the process.
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I just wanted to update my status and after half of my day 3 with going cold turkey I gave in. Maybe if I wasn't working or had a week off, it would not have been so bad but I was getting to the point where I could not concentrate anymore. I will take the advice from some of the posts and talk to my psychiatrist before I decide to stop taking this medication.
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Do not stress its like trying to stop taking drugs or drinking, you don't always succed on the frist try. This was my first time trying to stop taking effexor, I caved in on day 7 I could not handle the mental "brain zaps". I did only take 37.5mg. I can tell you that i wish that I didn't and just delt with the "brain zaps" some other way. Those went away but now my body is in so much pain, upset stomach, body aches, my ears are plugged again, and I started my period again. All from taking 37.5mg of effexor. This drug is pure hell.
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Thank you for this thread....coming across it I now feel like I am human instead of the pathetic creature i was turning into with the bouts of crying, shakes, tremors, dizziness and everything else.  I am tapering off Effexor XR after being on 150mg for so long I can't even remember.  I was told it wasn't addictive...sure!  My doctor did tell me don't go cold turkey....after missing a couple of days while still on it, I can understand why.  I started going down from 150 to 112.5, no problem,  did that for three weeks and am now down to 75mg...that is the worst so far....God Awful in fact.  I just want to be off this dammed drug, and I'm impatient, but know that I have to take it slowly.  Have one more week of 75mg and then I go to 37.5mg I'm sure that will be so much fun I can hardly wait.  I started getting the dizziness on Monday two days after being on 75mg...thought I just got up too fast, however when it happened when i was still sitting, then I started to worry it was a brain tumor or something as evil...now I know it is the effexor.  I also had the night sweats and thought i was starting "the change" but now I realize that was due to the effexor as well...how lovely.  While on the drug it did help me with my panic / anxiety attacks.  I just want to be off the drug and I'll deal with the panic attacks in a natural way.  Thanks again to everyone for posting their stories, it helps so much
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After day 10 I have no emotional symptoms.  I still have the motion sickness but today I get to add two new symptoms (yeah!)

I have had flu like aches and pains today and some sweating like I had a fever.
The second, more disturbing symptom is blurred vision.  I can see distance fine and my reading vision is a little blurry.  The distance that is bugging me the most is the distance at which I keep my computer.  I am having to really concentrate to focus my eyes.

Has anyone had this withdrawal symptom?  Can you tell me if it goes away?
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Hello everyone, it is now day 9 on this trip...day 7 i took 37.5mg more that stopped the brain zaps so far. I still have a headache which I can so live with for now, I have been taking the otc motion sickness pills every other day because they last 24 hours. So far today I have had no caffiene, I think that plays a huge part too. I also stopped taking the other meds they had me on. Wellbutrin and Lamactal, I think they were causing side effects too. So I will keep you all posted as I move foward through this. I just love knowing that I am not alone, It helps me sooo much.
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To anyone who wants to know how I am kicking effexor, I have been keeping track in my journal which anyone can see if you click on my name.
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It is now day 14 and for the most part the physical symptoms are gone but I am now finding that I'm easily irritated.  I have snapped at some family but behaving myself at work.  It is like the emotions spin out of control.  Nothing like when  I was weaning or when I first was totally off Effexor.  I am continuing to take the Tryosine I think that it is helping.
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Oh my god I am so glad you said that - I am exactly the same...just had a episode where I got so angry about a stupid thing and wanted to chuck things around & cry.
I don't feel I can go on like this but don't want to take tablets again.
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I have a very good psychiatrist.  you just take some effexor, to top up and you go back to tapering.  It works i did it.  

You go back up and try again a week later to make the latest reduction, it works, dont beat yourselves up over it.
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Question:  Has anyone else experienced blurred vision? I went from needing reading glasses only in very dim light to needing them to see anything within 18 " of my face.  This change happened over the course of two days and within one week of quitting Effexor XR.
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Hi alanas:

Effexor was the very first antidepressant I was put on. That was 2000, I think. It worked great for about a year and then it crapped out and no matter what dosage my doctor tried me on, it did nothing, so she took me off of it.

I was placed on it a second time in 2005 by a different doctor because he wanted to see if maybe I would respond to it again since I had responded so well to it before. I had hoped that it would work, but it didn't. Was going off it easier? Maybe if I had weaned off of it, but I didn't. I stupidly quit it cold turkey. I, to this day, still cannot believe I ever made it through that period without ever attempting suicide. I contemplated it from morning till night. It was awful. I never felt so lousy in my life as quitting Effexor cold turkey. Oh, except for being put on Wellbutrin right after quitting Effexor cold turkey, which made my suicidal ideation even worse and turned me into a paranoid mess and believing I had MS to the point I actually started to have symptoms of it.
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I am on day two of cold turkey. I tapered down slowly from 75mg twice a day. I used a pill cutter to cut the tablets down until I was at 1/8 of a tablet once a day. I would go for a week on each new dose. I am mainly only experiencing the brain zaps. My mood has been OK. I have been a little irritable, but since I know the cause, I try hard not to lash out.
My depression was probably mostly caused by working on midnight shift for 14 years. I took Lexapro, then Effexor XR, then Effexor. I have started to run again. I will try the Benadryl. My sister warned me about Effexor. Should have listened. LOL
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I TRIED (notice I said tried) to quit Effexor XR "cold turkey" 3 days ago.  BIG MISTAKE!  I am so miserable that I finally broke down and took one of my husbands 75 mg. Effexor pills.  ( I was on 150 mg once per day)  I feel betrayed by my doctor as he did not inform me of these horrific side effects.  Brain "zaps" are unbearable and I don't trust myself to drive to work.  I have been a mess today- I have cried for the past 6 hours on and off.  I am soooo grateful to my husband for not letting our 6 and 5 year old children see their mother in such pain.  Emotionally and physically.  I am praying that this goes away fast!!!
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taper slowly and when you do take the step to zero do it on a week you schedule off from work.   Dont be around any friends or co-workers when quitting.  Read all the posts here about tips for managing withdrawal.  They say withdrawal is worse than heroin detox.  Although I can't speak to that I can say the only thing worse than coming off is staying on it.  I am 20 days off now and still have shivers mild zaps and blurred vision.  I feel much better each day.  I relly want to see  class action lawsuit!
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This is my first post as a new member.
I am not a Doctor and I am not advising anyone to take any supplements listed below, just passing on what worked for me.
I'm 15 months effexor free, it's been a long tough road making many mistakes along the way but also finding many things that helped a great deal with the withdrawal symptoms:
*For dizziness and nausea Ginger tablets worked right away, amazing !
*For brain zaps it was omega 3 fish oil that worked for me. I discovered in my research that fish oil high in EPA low in DHA was better for depression and seemed to work for withdrawal, some fish oil is higher in DHA(it was more expensive, but I found it worth it).
*For withdrawal symptoms of anger and anxiety I always carried with me Holy Basil and Gaba (chewable), both available at most health food stores, these were both vital in my recovery and all natural of course. They can be very relaxing and I was careful about making sure I was okay to drive.
*Greens seemed to make me feel better.
*Lots of water all day long.
*For sleep I still take Magnesium Citrate (no calcium) and Holy Basil.
**The best book I ever read on how to safely taper off antidepressants was:
The antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependance and "Addiction" by Joseph Glenmullen MD.  
I hope this post has been helpful, please feel free to contact me.
And yes it was worth it, it does get better !
I did not quit "cold turkey", I tapered off over a 1 year period, 150 mg effexor, 16 years on antidepressants. The book helped me come up with a careful plan, but it was still tough and I can totally relate to the extreme withdrawal symptoms that everyone here is suffering, probably the toughest  year of my life. In every post I felt like I was reading my own story (I tried "cold turkey" more than once).


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Vision is returning to normal.  I no longer need reading glasses to type on the computer.  Closer vision is doing better too.  Yeah!!!   Thank you to everyone who has given suggestions and posted their experiences.  
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I have been on Effexor XR 225 mg. daily for 8 years and I am doing extremely well.
Paxil and Prozak worked good and then suddenly stopped working, resulting in a serious meltdown.  Why are so many of you trying to get off this drug?
Do you know something I don't know?
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I am glad that the Effexor is working well for you.  While I can't speak for others I can say that Effexor worked for me for several years but I had a side effect of insomnia.  Eventually the medication I was taking to counteract the insomnia stopped working.  It left me with the choice of not sleeping or not taking the Effexor.

The problem with Effexor is not if it is working for you, it is if you need to stop taking it for some reason.  The withdrawals are horrible.
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So I've read a LOT of these forums about Effexor side effects and withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. I had only been on Effexor for about eight months (transitioned from Zoloft after about 18 months on that one). My side effects and withdrawal symptoms haven't been nearly as debilitating as some of yours, but I wanted to get something out there for people who are "just coping" with this drug because the side effects aren't as severe.

My side effects were right off the label - fatigue, insomnia, reduced libido, sexual functioning, distraction, lethargy, et al. I was prescribed Zoloft, then Effexor, for anxiety, and was soon also prescribed Vyvanse for fatigue and distraction and Sonesta/Ambien/Lunesta for insomnia. I felt like I was on a pharmaceutical roller coaster as every pill seemed to be counteracting the effects of another.

I had missed a couple of doses of Effexor this week, so decided that it was as good a time as any to discontinue and see how things went. NOTE: I've been in psychotherapy for four years, and my therapist didn't see any need to continue medication. I just didn't have an appointment with my psychiatrist scheduled for another couple of months. I'm not a huge fan of patients self-regulating their prescriptions, but have already been talking with my psychiatrist and PCP about discontinuing. I was on Effexor XR 150mg, one capsule per day. My last capsule was Sunday, 6/27.

For me, it takes a couple of days for withdrawal symptoms to kick in. Monday was fine, and on Tuesday, I started getting dizzy. Nothing major, just felt a little light-headed. Sleep was really difficult on Tuesday night ... up three or four times over the course of the night.

Wednesday is when the symptoms really hit. Again, nothing that knocked me out of commission or made basic functioning impossible, but more than I had experienced before. The dizziness started feeling more like drunkeness than just being light-headed. This is the day I first experienced "brain-zaps." Mine aren't that bad. They're kind of like hearing the sound of a radio in need of tuning ... you know, the static that seems to be louder right before you dial in the station correctly. I didn't realize this was really a withdrawal symptom until I read the forums, and then started noticing that it only happened when I move my eyes from side-to-side. This is also the first day I got some really bad lethargy and fatigue. I took two naps and just didn't feel like doing ANYTHING. Sleep that night was bad, but could have been because I'd been napping all afternoon.

Thursday is when I really started to notice some emotional volatility. Mine was both "up" and "down," i.e. I found myself laughing out loud when reading a funny part in a book, and starting to tear up when watching a good TV show. Neither was unmanageable, but noticeable. My girlfriend told me that she noticed it a bit on Wednesday too. Lethargy and fatigue were significant on Thursday, and I ended up taking a long nap in the late afternoon. Sleep was expectedly bad Thursday night, too.

Thursday is also when I started taking some of the pharmaceutical/supplement advice on this forum. I started with hydrocodone, ginger and Omega. I don't know which was most effective, but I noticed a significant reduction in dizziness. I didn't really notice any impact on brain-zaps, lethargy, fatigue or emotion.

Friday morning, I decided to continue with hydrocodone, ginger and Omega. I just took them about 30 minutes ago, so will update everyone later today with any impact on my withdrawal symptoms. I'm at that "magical" fifth day everyone seems to talk about, so am hoping I'm cresting the hill here.
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I am on day two. My mood = mean as a snake. Why? My blood pressure and a wife (common law, though not for much longer) wife who is actually antagonizing me. She sent me a text from the next room saying something along the lines of 'you can't be that sick if you're on the internet. I didn't have the money to fill my script, I am a personal trainer and the commission cheques never came in for whatever reason. It kind of messed up my schedule. Anyway, long story short, I have been trying to explain, research, try and make her understand that this is not something that you can just quit. She told me to go and kill myself because she said that I was 'rude' to her. Maybe I was. But never to that extent. Ever. And if she is sick, which is often, she has got something called Angioedema that requires high doses of anti-histamine and Epi-pens,  and we happen to be arguing (which really isn't often) no matter how bothered or annoyed I am, I drop everything to make sure that she is OK.

I guess this wasn't really a question - but more of a vent.  I am usually extremely articulate but I can't even focus well enough to read this page. Sweating, nausea, zaps.

I am sorry if this isn't supposed to be here. I guess I am just looking for people to commiserate with.

Jason
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OK ... two more days of withdrawal later. No significant changes from Friday or Saturday. However, I can say that alchohol didn't really impact me much at a dinner party Friday night (two or three mixes drinks).

I've found that most of my "negative" symptoms are really only noticeable if I think about them. Brain zaps are still really only being seen when I move my eyes back and forth. Emotional volality is still there, but I've only seen it "magnify" my typical reaction. For examply, I saw the movie "Grown Ups" yesterday. I would have thought it was funny before, but I laughed (and cried) throughout the whole movie.

My most consistent symptom is still dizziness. I forgot to take my hydrocodone when I took my supplements, so I think it's safe to deduce (now) that the hydrocodone is what's helping to mitigate my symptoms the most.

It's been one week since my last Effexor XR capsule. I'll post as my symptoms (hopefully) subside.
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I am 3-4 weeks into the withdrawal.  Insomina still.  Still a little fuzzy. Mood is stable but little zaps still.  pretty disappointed that this is still going on.
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Hi! I had been on Effexor XR 75 mg for several months, and noticed I was having terrible memory problems and it was affecting my work. Other side effects too... lack of sexual desire. Anyway, I took a long time weaning off, based on an article I found on about.com. Not sure if I can link but it comes up when you google "how to wean off effexor xr." I took my last pill (37.5 mg)  on June 23. Have felt good, but today I feel sick to my stomach, my head feels weird, I'm really tired, etc. Almost a hangover feeling but I wasn't drinking yesterday, so it's probably just a virus.

I wanted to post to encourage some of you. Already I can feel my memory and thinking improving. My brain is naturally organizing thoughts better again. I'm still scared some memory loss may be permanent, but I wanted all of you to know there's hope.
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Ok so last week i started to wean of my effexor 75mg and i'm down to 37.5mg an i'm doing great just the odd bit of stomach pain and little headaches but nothing more. i'm going to start one every other day from today as i feel great and on top of the world loving my life and family at the moment and carn't wait for our holiday in september. so for anyone whos considering weaning off effexor do it like i have done coz its the best ever you may have a bad day but let it pass and carry on. Will update soon on my progress but for now i'm feeling amazing :o)
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I weaned off Effexor the generic brand about 4-5 days ago. It took me 3 months to wean off 225mg. The first couple of days were pure hell physically. I stated off taking benydrl for the dizziness, but found that Dramene works better for the dizziness and nausua. Why not kill two birds with one feather right? I have taken many naps during the day and that helped me get thru about 3-4 hrs being awake. I have a 7 and 8 year old, so this has been really difficult. I have snapped at them a couple of times but have been working really hard not to do worse. I apologize ahead of time for all the misspelled words and if some of this doesn't make sense, but I'm soo foggy all the time!! I decided to come off the effexor because I went through an amazing healing process called "The Journey" where I was able to heal a lot of childhood and adulthood trauma and felt I didn't need antidepressants anymore. Because I realized that the antidepressants helped me to keep everything shoved down so I wouldn't need to feel the raw emotions. And it was only in feeling the raw emotions and working thru the layers that I was able to truly heal myself. For anyone intersted in this visit weww.thejourney.com. Now back to me. So I am a Massage therapist and energy healer, so these withdrawel symptoms are severly effected my line of work! I can't honestly work on someone feeling like this..I don't want to pass on this gawd aweful feelings to anyone else. So after much hardhship I decided to stay home from work today. I commute an hour one way, and with the dizziness I felt wasn't a safe thing to do. And also I'm in such a fog, and emotinally I'm snapping at everyone, my ears feel clogged, I have an unrelenting headache that won't go away or get better. I cry at a moments notice, and I just don't feel "myself" So I called out of work, and luckily they found another massage therapist to work for me. BUT..little did I know that not going into work today COST ME MY JOB!!! So now I am just over the edge. Here I was trying to take care of myself and my health and apparently thats not allowed at the salon I was working at. So I got fired! I'm soo letdown, and can't even describe what I'm feeling. Lucky for me I have another massage friend who is a guy (guys just have a less emotional perspective when it comes to stuff like this), who is coming into my town and is going to talk to me. And another guy friend who was able to see the light out of this situtation and told me to see it as a new chapter in life. And i love these guys for their perspective and viewpoint on this. But b/C of what I'm going thru with these symptoms I just can't hear anyone and their wonderful advice. I'm soo not myself and I HATE IT! I am going to to to the natural foos store and try some of the suggestions posted on this forum. I'm soo glad there is a place like this to come to with people who understand firsthand, the hell of coming off this drug! So thank you everyone for being here and sharing with all of us!! Thanks for letting me vent and pour out my sorrows and frustrations. I can't wait till I can start functioning again and feeling like myself!! So now I must look for a new job..so I pray this fog and dizziness and all this other crap goes away soon!! Anyone intersted in approaching somone (lawyer, drug company, congress, etc) let me know. Because it is wrong that a drug is being used in humans that cause this much unrest when trying to get it out of our bodies. This is why drug companies make so much money...they make drugs that make it so aweful to stop taking, that people keep taking them to avoid the pain!! Wrong, wrong wrong!!! Anyone want to chat outside of forum feel free to contact me or add me as a friend. Peace and blessings to all! We will get thru this..so awesome to know I am not alone!!!
Lisa :)
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Feeling better.  Symptoms are mostly gone.  Discovered that stress will bring on the symptoms too - so working through being done with the people in my life who cause stress.  You know the kind - it isn't unintentional - more like a hobby for them.  Yeah, bye bye to them.  

Drinking lots of water, lots of fresh fruit and veggies and trying to cut myself some slack.
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OK ... 12 days since my last Effexor capsule. My withdrawal symptoms are all still there, but some are dramatically diminishing. Brain zaps are pretty much gone and emotional volatility is almost gone. Dizziness is still here, but reduced. I'm still taking hydrocodone daily, and will see how my dizziness is over the weekend to evaluate whether I want to continue with that as well.

Here's the upside. My side-effects from taking Effexor are gone. Anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, lethargy are all practically absent. No doubt in my mind that I will not be starting back on this drug!
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OK, last post for me. It's been three weeks since I took my last Effexor ER capsule. No more brian zaps, dizziness or other withdrawal side effects, including irritability or emotional volatility. I stopped taking hydrocodone after two weeks. It was helping with some of the withdrawal symptoms, but those were reducing, so I didn't see a need to keep taking the hydrocodone.

My side effects from being on the drug are also gone. No more fatigue/lethargy, insomnia, etc. I feel great, and have an appt today with my psychiatrist. We'll see what he says about my dropping the drug, but I'm not going back on Effexor ... that's for sure!
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I am still taking effexor or venafexaline for my depression. I had to stop the wellbutrun because it made me angry and gave me a major migraine. I still want to stop the Effexor. The side effects of stopping it is what is stopping me. I am only taking 17.25mg a day except monday, wednesday, and friday. that is as far as i can get it. still need help. looking for anyone to help me move further away from the effexor.
Thanks
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You are on a really low dose.  Sounds like you are ready to take the next step.  Does your doctor know? If not, be sure to tell him/her.    Benadryl helps, motion sickness pills help.  DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL!  Lots of water and fresh fruits and veggies.
If you have vicodin available to you it will cut the symptoms immediately.  Good luck.

Try to do it over a weeked.

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Avatar_m_tn
Aloha my fellow sufferers!  

After taking Effexor for about 18 months, I decided I wanted to quit taking them. I can't complain about Effexor's ability to control anxiety and depression as it helped me through a rough patch in life, but I was beyond that point in my life and didn't need it anymore.
After consulting with my PCP, he told me I shouldn't come off of them.  I don't know about any of you, but when someone doesn't given me a valid reason as to why I should be taking medications it invalidates their intellectual prowess.   I ended up getting a different PCP who would actually listen to me and he started weaning me from 75mg to 37.5mg for two weeks then 18.75 for two weeks and finally around 9.35mg for two weeks.  TAKE THE PROCESS SLOW!
Even taking the process extremely slow, I still have crazy withdrawal symptoms.   All I can say is that the symptoms are HELL.   After a day of brain zaps, vertigo, migraines, nausea, dizziness, irritability, mood swings (happy to throwing things in less than 5 mins), having a short fuse, body aches, teeth sensitivity, joint pain and gassiness, I decided to take some natural supplements to help with the withdrawal symptoms.   Personally, the brain zaps were the worst for me.  I felt like I had an electrical storm in my head.  

Here is my natural remedy for the withdrawal symptoms :

Morning:
1-500mg Chewable Vitamin C  (antioxidant for flu-like symptoms)
3-1250mg Magnesium Malate ( malic acid=antioxidant, Magnesium helps with nerve and muscle functions)
2-5 HTP (Makes you happy) (mood enhancer)
1-L-Tyrosine
2-Omega 3,6,9 Fish oil  LOOK for the ones with HIGHER DHA and EPA (most expensive, but worth it)

Mid Day

1-L-Theanine (Amino Acid)
1-L-Gluatmate (Amino Acid)
1-Ginger (for dizziness)


Afternoon

3-1250mg Magnesium Malate
2-5 HTP
1-500mg Chewable vitamin C

Nighttime

2-10mg Melatonin (for a peaceful night's sleep)

I know this sounds a bit excessive, but after two weeks of this regiment I no longer have any withdrawal effects.   For me, day FIVE was the absolute worst day of my life. From there is gets precipitously better.  

ABSOLUTELY NO CAFFEINE OR ALCOHOL DURING THIS WITHDRAWAL PHASES.  
Drinks plenty of water through out this process and eat plenty of foods containing acetylcholine.  Acetylcholine=brain food and is a neurotransmitter of the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.   Acetylcholine deficiency happens during the withdrawal effects of Effexor.    Check out this link for more information on Acetylcholine and how the brain works.   http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/proteins.html   Most often we, as humans, freak out when there's an unknown.  Simply educating yourself can do wonders for your peace of mind.   Next time you are feel anxiety or depression ask yourself WHY am I feeling anxious or depressed.  Read up on anxiety and depression and ways to alleviate it naturally.   Throughout this whole experience, I've learned that my personal anxiety was a result of the unknown and lack of confidence, and my depression was a result of feeling hopelessness.   Once you can figure out the root of the problem, natural remedies come to light.  

I wish you guys all the best!!  Just remember, perseverance is key.  Always tell yourself you CAN and WILL get off this drug.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I have taken effexor for only three weeks and could not stand the way it made me feel.  progressively worse with every day.  I asked my doctor to take me off and she suggested tapering but after only one day I decided to just do it cold turkey.  I have never felt so terrible before!  I have zero energy, weakness in my arms - really weakness all over.  The nausea is awful and the headache won't go away.  I felt so much better with "normal" depression that the way I feel now.  this was about my 4th try at antidepressants and I have finally reached the conclusion that all the supposed cures are much worse than the ailment itself.  They have all made me sick.
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Avatar_f_tn
Unfortunately you went cold turkey so the effects are magnified. See your doc or pharmacist to see if should go on a low dose and taper from there.
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checking in - it has been almost a month since I checked in.  Withdrawal symptoms are gone.  I feel better every day.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'll start with a success story. My sister was on Effexor 75 mg for about 5 years and now she is successfully off! She had neurofeedback during the process, which she said was very helpful!
Now I'm getting off of it. I have been on 75 mg for about 6 years. My psychiatrist reduced me to 37.5 non time release for about a month, and today is my second day of no Effexor at all. It's so great to read everyone else's comments and see that I'm not alone. The headaches are really bad, but the worst for me is crying spells. I just can't stop crying. I was lying on the bathroom floor just crying. But I'm staying very positive that I can and will get off of it...we all will!
Also, I know the best thing is to just have a huge chunk of time to get of off it without any important things to do, but that's SO HARD because life happens and there's always so much to do. There's never really a good time.
WE CAN DO IT! :)
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Hello everyone, I have been on some form of antidepressant for 13years(zoloft,paxil) and now effexor xr for the past ten years. I have been taking this medication along with some benzos for a quick fix from time to time for anxiety and depression. I originally started on these meds when i abused recreational drugs and affected my nervous system and state of mind. For the past few years i have been clean of any rec drugs and decided that i would like to see who i really am behind these pills and try to get off everything. Originally taking 300mg of effexor i dropped to 225mg in april and was to decline again to 150mg on June 1st. I decided to postpone the drop to 150mg as i received a new job and did not want to jeopordize my career.On Aug 1st 2010, i dropped to 150mg which was about four days ago, and felt fine with no dizziness or anything. I forgot i even dropped, until last night i had 4 beers with some friends and woke up this morning in a panic attack from hell. I am dizzy, equalibrium is off scared to drive or even walk for long distances. I am a avid gym go'r and cant even imagine lifting weights feeling like this. I have taken a lorazapam which helped with the anxiety for now but as i understand it the lesser mg drops.i.e 37.5-0 are much worse. The worst part is i dont need to be off it as i was fine being on it. I just wanted to take control of my life for once in 13yrs.Its almost like i truly dont even know the real me..just the puppet that is danced around by the hand of effexor.

As i am just starting out this AMAZING advanture i cannot find any posts of people who have been off for quite some time and how they are feeling.i.e if the old anxiety is back .i want to make sure feeling like this is worth it as i do not want to go through a war then feel how i did 13 yrs ago and start over..

ps..NO BOOZE OR MOOD DRUGS WHEN DOING THIS. it makses it worse
anything will help guys
thanks
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I have been on effexor for the last 10 years since i was 20.  I cant say its a terrible drug, as it has helped amazingly with my anxiety over that time.
I was never on a dose higher than 75mg and have been on 35mg for the last 12 months.  
4 Days ago my doctor and I decided it was time for me to come off them.  He said I was on such a low dose that if I wanted to, stopping cold turkey might be ok(but was up to me).  
Well it has been bearable until today, I have been crying, nauesious, head zaps, (feels like a really bad hang over) and it looks like im going to have to take more time off work.
If i wake up tomorrow feeling worse then I will take 1 pill and then maybe another in 2 days time and try and wean off more gradually.
To the people why say they ran out of pills and couldnt get more for different reasons or another.  Here in NZ I can call my dr and he faxes the prescription to my chemist and I go pick it up.  Its subserdised by the government so only costs $3 for 3 months supply.  If the dr isnt open (on a long weekend or something) then I go to the chemist and they give me an emergency supply for a few days. I didnt realise how lucky we obviously are here.
I sympathize will you all out there.  It the withdrawl (withdrawal) really is terrible, but we just have to be strong and push though it.  I'l keep you posted how im doing in a few days.

Nathan - New Zealand
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This is my first time writing.  I've been off Effexor for 2 weeks now and I am wondering if the crying spells are ever going to stop. Seriously, how much longer should I expect this to go on?  You people are the only ones who seem to understand.
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This is my 5th day not taking Effexor, and I feel SO SO SO SO much better than I felt on the first day! I felt SO horrible before..worst feeling I ever had in my life (see my post above) Now, My crying spells are MUCH better, my headaches are much better (thanks to Benadryl, vitamins, calcium everyone recommended). Basically, I think every day gets better and if we can just get through this, we will be okay. Also, I see a psychologist, which is VERY helpful. I was going once a week, but now I'm going twice. VERY helpful! And insurance covers it a lot of times, too. WE CAN DO IT! :)
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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement.  My husband is on day 4 and the dizzyness is really bothering him.  Told him to take benadryl and something like dramamine to help like in the early posts.  Hoping this helps! He was only on Effexor for a couple weeks and is going through this horrible experience.  He is also been put on Wellbutrin so i hope this isn't making the withdrawal symptoms worse.
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Im on day 6 now.  I went and got vitimin c, omega fish oil capsules, ginger beer and sleeping tablets as suggested above.  I guess I dont feel as bad as I did, still have the mind zaps & upset stomach.  Actually the upset stomach & nautious feeling have been the worst to deal with, if I didnt have that then I think I'd be able to go back to work.  The ginger beer definitely settled my stomach and I think the omega pills helped with brain zaps.  I didnt try benedryl as I dont want to put more chemicals into my body, hence I havent used the sleeping pills either, even though I think they are just hebal lol.
All and all I think i'm through the worst of it. I feel a bit spaced out, but from memory I felt like that before I took effexor 10 years ago, so thats probably just me lol.

Nathan NZ
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Hi All,

I've been on 112.5mg of Effexor for the past year and 75mg for the previous 4 years.  5 days ago, I had a massive fight with my fiancee (all is ok now!) and I decided that I was going to come off Effexor there and then.  I had been considering taking this action for about 2 years (during which time my doctor increased my dosage, "just like that").  This is my fifth day of cold turkey and the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms are getting worse, not better.  My first couple of days were awful.  I had to resort to a handful of Xanax to cope, which resulted in a couple of days in bed.  I have the much described brain zaps, I feel spontaneously sick and I feel like I'm floating in thin air, which is a most unpleasant experience.  I am having trouble sleeping, with really whacky dreams and nightmares.  I haven't told anyone what I'm doing as I don't think that my approach would receive any support.  I can't take one more of those pills, every morning when I took the pill a little bit of my soul was squished.  For those of you who want to try going Cold Turkey, good luck.  Who knows if it's a good or bad idea, I just know that if I don't continue with this, I'll never get off these meds.  That's the bad news.  

There is good news, however!!  Having gone five days without the meds, although I can barely see what I'm typing, I feel empowered!  I didn't think I'd make it this far, it's a real battle.  I've laughed joyously for the first time in years at the smallest things, what a great feeling.  I want to have sex again!  All the time, it's brilliant!  I've had five years of indifference and can't believe that I've wasted those years.  Effexor had numbed me in nearly ever way and now I feel like I'm getting my emotions back again.  I just hope that the bad feelings that led me to Effexor in the first place don't come back.  My head is spinning now, so I have to stop typing, but I'm going to keep this going, no matter what.  Those d@mn pills, I can't wait to get them out of my life.  If you're going through something similar, I really wish you the very best of luck.  Thank you to all of the posters here, you've really helped!


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Thank you so much for this thread and for being there.  I am 52yo and now on day 3 of going off cold turkey from 150mg Effexor XR and 60mg Cymbalta.  My doc wants me off these for three days before starting a new combo antidepressant that she gave me samples of, since I will be her first patient to use it.  I feel so off and so helpless that I don't know if I ever want to be on any of these meds ever again.  I am still reading through all of the posts but wanted to thank you all for sharing your experiences and for reminding me that this will end sometime and that I need to tough it out.  It's horrible. Was on the Effexor XR for five years and the Cymbalta for maybe a month.  The Cymbalta replaced longterm Zoloft, and I was actually doing worse, which made my doc pull me off of the Effexor/Cymbalta and try the new stuff.  Thanks so much for being there and helping.  Hope to do the same when I have something positive to report.  
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I can't tell you all how much your stories have just about saved my life.  I was released from our local mental health hospital three days ago, for severe depression and suicidal thoughts.  I learned a lot of wonderful coping techniques while in there, and was very optimistic about my future ability to handle my issues.  

Well, all this aside, I was floored when I was overcome with what I thought was reverting back to just where I was before I went in-hopelessness, helplessness, irritability, uncontrollable crying...then I felt the brain zaps from weaning off this before, and went here, to this forum.  Just reading your stories, and learning that the crying, etc were normal for the withdrawal was a life saver.

I had a terrible pdoc at the hospital who wouldn't listen to me when I told her that I had experience with Effexor before (can't remember why I went off then back on, actually.  There was a lot of med roulette going on at the time, trying to figure out what worked).  By the time I had someone who would listen to me, it had already been three days.  This pdoc gave me two days of the 37.5 mg, from my 150 mg/day, and called it good.  I figured screw it, I could ride out the brain zaps.

But, there is more to it than the zaps, and three days into it, as mentioned before, I'm gettin' emotional.  I do have a GREAT pdoc of my own, who decided with me to just take me off it from the 37.5.  I'm gonna call him tomorrow.  But in the meantime, it was great to at least know that I wasn't necessarily headed back to the hospital.  So, thanks to all of you who have shared.  You never know who is reading, but I for one am eternally grateful.

I'll post more as I go along, but hanging in there for now!    
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I've been reading all the horror stories of Effexor withdraw and I have to feel for all of you.  My primary care mistakenly put me on it (which fuels my debate that primary care doctors should not be allowed to try and diagnose mental disorders, that only people specialized in that area should) back in 2001 (I know it's been a while) and as the dose was steadily increased i was thrown into full blown manic attack.   With family intervention I stopped cold turkey and the only real struggle was get through the manic episode (since I'm biploar II and mania isn't something i had experienced yet).  I didn't have the headaches or any of that.  I wish you all the best of luck and hope the difficulty of withdrawl (withdrawal) doesn't last long and you find the strength to get through it.
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Just checking in......It's been 6 1/2 weeks since I have been off Effexor.    

Still having problems with vertigo/dizziness and migraines.   Other than that, all other withdrawal symptoms are gone.  

Went back to my PCP the other day and he suggested I take Bonine (active ingredient Meclizine) for the vertigo/dizziness and upset stomach.    I take Aleve for the migraines.  

In all honesty, I have days with no withdrawal symptoms at all and other days when the vertigo/dizziness/migraines/nausea are awful.    It's like a cruel joke.  

Tried having a couple of beers the other day and it made the symptoms worse.   Doc told me to lay off alcohol for 3 months.  
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I am on Day 27 free from Effexor. It has been the biggest battle I have ever gone through in my life.

I started tapering off in the beginning of April. Started on 75mg, did some altering with 35mg, etc. I wanted to get off of this before my wedding in July (we are trying to get pregnant now), but it was not working. I was too much of a mess before my wedding, so I went on 37.5 and ended up cutting back during the honeymoon (alternating with nothing) and stopped on July 21st.

At first, it was AWFUL! Brain zaps, nausea, dizziness, and especially the crying. At least then I knew it was withdrawal.

I did GREAT the week before last and almost thought I was in the clear... until this past week. Monday I got hit with some news from work (really nothing that bad) and LOST it. Uncontrollable crying. I have even been having anger issues, very little happiness, and no concentration whatsoever (mostly with work). Even felt ill this week with more nausea and not being able to eat anything.

Going back to the doctor on Tuesday. I don't know if it is withdrawal still or if I am just having depression problems (been on antidepressants for about 13 years straight).

I will NEVER take Effexor again! It did help me for many years, but going off of it is worse than anything I have ever experienced in my entire life!!!
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I have been off of Effexor for 19 days, and I feel great! The hardest part wasdefinetely the first few days, so if that's where you are, just hang in there. It will get better! I'm definetely more irritable now, but that's life! I feel like a REAL PERSON again with REAL FEELINGS. I cry at movies again. I feel like Effexor was masking these feelings. Effexor definetely served its purpose, and I needed it at the time, but when I was first getting off of it, I was worried that I was still depressed and still needed it. This is part of withdrawal! It's important to remember that we were on Effexor for depression, so it's still important to treat the depression in on-Effexor ways. Go to a psychologist/therapist. Exercise (it releases endorphins!). Meditate. Do yoga. We can't just expect to get off of the Effexor and be fine. We will always have to work on ourselves. I know it's really hard and when we're depressed, it's hard to do anything. But one day at a time. Exercise for a few minutes. Do something! Anything! It really is possible!
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I am crying just reading everything on this post.  I feel like I will never feel better.  It has been a week totally off after weaning for 4 weeks from 75 mg.  I've seen so much of a variety of information regarding withdrawal symptoms, I don't know what to think.  Will it truly ever stop?  My doctor hasn't given me anything better than I have found on my own.  I am eating my way through most days.  Seems like eating settles my stomach some but it's only temporary.  I want off of this ride!  
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I am in the same boat.  I have been off effexor for about a month now.  Last week, I felt great--physically and mentally.  This week, I am unmotivated, queasy, dizzy, experiencing brain zaps again, and moody.  I worry this is not withdrawl (withdrawal), but I think it might be.  This crap does take a long time to get out of your system, so I am hopeful that in a day or so I will feel better.  To all going thru this crap---stick with it.  It does end, even though now, I am experiencing some of the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms again--btw: they are NOT nearly as bad as they were initially.  

ALSO:  for those of you just starting this process:  I HIGHLY recommend tappering down to almost nothing, then taking a prozac for a couple of days after getting off the effexor (the last dose).  I tried both ways, and the prozac route helped me more than anything.  Also, Dramamine helps!  Take it!!!    

I have found eating helps the stomach issues.  I feel compelled to eat high fat foods right now, so I do.  I try to eat veggies, fruits, etc., but ice cream and Edy's popsicles are great for the stomach and headaches!


Christa
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I'm so glad I found this thread.  I was on Effexor for about 8 weeks, starting a 37.5mg then soon to 75mg.  I stopped completely 6 days ago, after tapering the dose.

I've had all the symptoms listed here, the zaps, nasal stuffiness (which I didn't even realise was a symptom), aches, pains, hot sweats, chills, insomnia, a headache  which won't go away, and I feel like I've been whacked on the back of the neck with a brick ! anyone else got that ??
I'm also over emotional as if a dam has been burst ! but I don't want to be on auto pilot.  I've started having very lucid dreams, I was hardly dreaming at all (or not remembering them).  My appetite has increased a lot, I wasn't eating much while taking them.  
I was also having extreme problems with alcohol (yes, I know I shouldn't drink on a/d's). That doesn't feel such a problem now.

Since I stopped I feel I can think clearly, it's as if I've been away for months and have suddenly come home to my home and family.  

Luckily I never went higher than 75mg and it hasn't been too long, I pity those on really high doses.  I'm hoping the symptoms won't last too long.  Just glad I've found somewhere that people are going through the same, not that I want anyone to suffer of course ! but I'm not alone.

Before Effexor I spent a week or so with no meds, before that I was taking tricyclics (lofepramine) I didn't suffer any w/d coming off those.

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I am new to site. I just want to thank everyone else out there for sharing & knowing my symptoms are real! I am 4 days off Effexor XR 300mg. My PCP did not wean me down ( as she has also not in the past with Paxil 3 times). She told me day 3 & 4 were the worst. I sure hope so. I can't imagine going on like this for months! I am greatful for the new suggestions for helping the vertigo. I will continue to look for new posts & wish everyone the best since we're all going through it. And since some spouses don't understand how/what we're feeling it's nice to have others who are experiencing the same for encouragement & reasurrance.
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Quote.."And since some spouses don't understand how/what we're feeling it's nice to have others who are experiencing the same for encouragement & reasurrance."

Good luck going through this.  I was relieved to see your post (quote), I am getting very little support or sympathy from my OH, I suppose they just don't understand.  That's why forums like this are so helpful.
I'm on day 7 and I think my physical symptoms are lessening so I hope yours do too.
I came off paxil many years ago, and I remember the dizziness and the 'zaps' being much worse with that, my brain felt like it was in a washing machine on spin cycle !
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I STOPPED TAKING EFFEXOR 75 LAST WEDNESDAY (25TH) BY FRIDAY I THOUGHT I WAS SUFFERING FROM SINUS HEADACHES AND STARTED TAKING BENDRYL FOR THAT BUT NOW THAT IVE READ THIS I REALIZE THAT IT IS THE WITHDRAWING/BUT I MUST SAY THE BENDRYL DOES HELP I WAITED TO TAKE IT TILL I GOT TO WORK AND BUT I FEEL CLOUDED AND LIKE IN A TUNNEL AND SLIGHTLY DIZZY SINCE WEDNESDAY WILL BE A WEEK MAYBE IT WON'T GET ANY WORSE/BUT ALL THE SYMPTONS SOUND THE SAME AS MINE I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS SINUSES AND BENDRYL WORKED BUT I JUST FEEL JITTERLY
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I'm now on my 9th day off Effexor, the awful brain zaps seem to have stopped.  I'm sleeping some nights and not at all on others, I took a magnesium supplement last night and that helped with sleep.  I'm still getting the neck and back of head pain, like I've been coshed !  Still got the congestion but only in the mornings, also a lot of headaches.  No nausea.
Sex drive still absent.  
Mood okay but very noticably more extreme, I'm moved to tears very easily, very easy to be irritated but also laughing more.  In fact I giggled so much yesterday my kids were staring at me in amazement ! (I was laughing for a reason, or I'd be worried !).
Good luck all, hang on in there.  
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hey everyone.
i'm on day 7 with no effexor. went to the doctors today and all he wanted to do was put me back on effexor. I've been on 150mg for 3 years now, for depression and anxiety. i don't want to be on it anymore, it helped in the beggining but it numbs me way too much and i believe it does this to alot of other people.
i decided it was time to get back to the real me & be strong and not take this stuff anymore.
i've bee fairly sick, pretty much bed ridden. I've been doing it properly, went down to 75mg for a month then went to 37.5mg on and off every few days... to nothing. it's fair to say i've discovered what i always dreaded, WITHDRAWALS.... like a heroine junky! it's dreadful.
very up and down. very nauseous. went to the doctors to get some help with my symptoms and he just wanted to put me back on it straight away, like i just went thru a week of hell for NOTHING. no thank YOU. i asked for a scipt for motion sickness tablets.. only just got those so unsure if they will help yet.
when i got back from the doctors i flushed any left over efexor i had... GOOD RIDDANCE.
muscle aches, diareah... crying, losing the PLOT over tiny things... pretty sure i've lost a few kilos as well as the nausea makes it hard to head.
weed helps, im sorry but it does. makes me feel relaxed and HUMAN.

i'm sticking to my guns. it's the only way... to get thru the worste of it and one day wake up to know that everything IS getting better, one day at a time.

gotta stay positive guys... positive and strong :) its not gunna go away without a battle... and we all need to fight that battle :) the doctors sure as hell arent any help!

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I quit cold turkey because my doctors were not helpful at all. They just wanted to feed me a pill to get me out of their office. I only survived it because my family was there to support me through it. The withdrawals were horrible, but the side effects I felt when I was on EFFEXOR XR were so much worse.

Personally it took me about a week to get over the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. The first 3-4 days were a living heck. I barely slept, I didn't want to eat, and I didn't want to move. However, for me it was worth it because of the horrible side effects I had. I am truly worried if my G.I. track is damaged from using it.

Also I don't know if anyone else will have this problem, but most of my doctors want to blame EVERYTHING on the fact I am not on effexor anymore. I've been off the stuff for 2 months, I've stopped having any withdrawals, and I am controlling my depression on my own. Yet every doctor and nurse I talk to looks at me like I am crazy because I quit cold turkey. A couple wanted me to get back on it. I hope no one else is getting attacked by their doctors. Good luck to all or you guys. I am glad I am not the only victim.
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If you decide to come off a medication stick to your guns, do it slowly as advised but don't let the doctor persuade you to go back ! that is disgraceful ! I am luckily in the UK and our health service works differently, this just wouldn't happen here ! is there any financial gain to the doctor to keep pumping you full of effexor ?
I luckily was only on 75mg at the highest so my w/d probably hasn't been so extreme, but it's been pretty horrible !  It was like coming off heroin at first (or what I'd imagine anyway !).  Not being able to sleep but being too tired to walk, pain all over like flu, shivering then sweating, headaches every day.
It's worth it though, I'm only into my 10th day, but apart from the emotional feeling, I think I'm getting there !  and I think the emotional thing is simply  because I'm becoming me again, not a numb zombie version of me.  My partner thinks I'm acting oddly, I cry at sad stuff in the news or on tv, I laugh more, that's what I want, it's not mania it's just my brain waking up again.
Good luck.  Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss further, that goes for everyone here.
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Hi,
This is the first time I've posted on this forum, but I had to because man I am coming off effexor and it's a major drag.
I was at 37.5 and then My doctor said it was ok to stop because it was a small dose. I am having really horrible withdrawls still.
HEADACHE is super bad, all the time.
Dizziness is bad along with the brain zaps (they seem to be getting less)

This is DAY 8 without this poison. Someone tell me who has been thru this, that its going to end. My doc said it could be another week or more.

Considering starting prozac.

HELP!



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I'm on day 11, I went down to 37.5 too and stopped at that.

I'm not getting the zaps now, or if I do, very infrequent now.  Still got the headaches and stuffy head in the mornings but it improves with a coffee.

It IS getting better.  Hang on in there !

I've heard a lot of people find taking Prozac is a big help.  But I personally can't take SSRI's.

Good luck.
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I'm experiencing all of these things too! I thought there was something wrong with ME, but it's a relief to know it's the drug. BUT why was I not warned about this before being put on it!? How long is it going to last? I can't function on a daily basis. I can barely keep my eyes open long enough to do my job because it hurts my head so much (just as this is doing). I keep having meltdowns--last night I was even suicidal. That hasn't happened in YEARS. I want this pain to stop. I took a Benadryl tonight, as I've read that it may help, but so far, nada. I feel like I've been run over by a truck again and again and again.

My moron doctor told me to up the dosage again and start my new med simultaneously. But if I do that, how will I ever get off the Effexor? Has anyone done this successfully? Do these symptoms actually stop? Because it sure doesn't feel like they're going to :'(
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I agree, no-one should be given this medication without being told the truth about how hard it is to get off it.  Sorry to hear you're having such an awful time.  It's nearly 4 weeks since I stopped completely though I'm taking a tricylic now (since Monday) and I feel I'm more or less back to 'normal'. It's tough but try to stick it out, you've done well to get this far.
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Thanks, Irthiya. It's definitely miserable (it's 3:45 am here right now, naturally. Hello, insomnia!). Earlier tonight it was so bad I almost took myself to the ER.

Through all this though--with reading everyone's experiences and talking to some people I know personally--I've decided to do something about it. My objective is to write an in-depth piece on the subject and try to get it out through some media source, with the hope of causing at least some form of change, whether if be lowering the incidence of prescription of a particular drug, getting patients to think more fully about a drug before agreeing to take it, or even getting the FDA and/or pharmacies to list withdrawal information in their literature when distributing a drug. Some of these are very high hopes, I know, and maybe nothing will come of it at all, but I have to try. (I guess there was a reason I got all that investigative journalism training way back when after all!)

If anyone on the site here would be willing to go on the record with their experiences (whether with name included or anonymously by location), I've created a questionnaire to pool some first-hand accounts. Please private message me if you'd like to contribute. I, for one, would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

Ok. I've reached my looking at the computer screen limit. Now, where's that Benedryl? Sigh. :-/
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I was only taking 18.5 mg of Effexor and for 5 years I tried to get off and was unsuccessful.  I always got so dizzy and had severe depression and non-stop crying.  I finally got off using shelled hemp seed!  They are full of omega 3,6 and 9 and protein.  For some reason they were a miracle and halted the withdrawl (withdrawal) in it's tracks.  The zaps, headache, crying everything.   I spent money on fish oil and sooooo many supplements trying to get off and nothing worked.  Hemp seed was a miracle.  I buy the Manitoba Harvest brand at my local health food store but I see they are on ebay and Amazon.  I paid 9.00 a bag and took 1 tbs every eight hours.  Please give it a try.  I hope it is the same miracle for you that it was for me.  I hope that Karma comes back to the doctor who gave me Effexor and had no empathy whatsoever for the pure hell I had to go through.
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I took 75 mg of effexor for 4 years for back pain. I have weaned down to 1/2 of a 37.5 time release capsule. The first three days after decreasing to 37.5 mg dose, I did not sleep for 3 days. I have nausea and dizziness so bad I have all but vomited when I turn my head too fast. I have had a headache for days. Eating seems to help some with the nausea but I don't need to gain weight either. I have been hooked on peanut butter and ice cream the past 3 weeks. I have been unable to function normally and reach for my glasses when I have them on all ready. Hope this ends soon as we are suppose to go on vacation soon. I read the above posts and would like to thank all for posting. I will try the Benadryl.
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I am coming off exfor xr.  I was taking 150mg a day for about 8 years. I tapered down the way that is suggested. droping the dose by 37.5 mg a week for three weeks.  I had all of the withdrawal symptoms while tapering.  Then 3 days ago I took my last pill.  I must say the symptoms are much worse than while tapering.  The brain zaps are terrible and sooo frequent.  Like every couple of minutes.  They are much more intense now too.  It reminds me of the sound a freight train makes when it stops.  The loud snap and hiss.  I hear something similar when I feel the shocking sensation.  I also feel all sorts of random zaps tingles and jolts through out my head and face.  I am also about to start my period in a couple days so the added hormone fluctuation is just making it so much worse.  I am not working right now so hopefully if I am gentle with myself and relax I will make it through this.  I am an emotional basket case.  Crying a lot.  Short temper.  Irritable.  If I had to go to work I am sure I couldn't fuction.  My heart goes out to you all.  I pray I can get through this.
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I have been on Effexor for 10 years.  It saved my life.  I had been suicidal off and on all through my 20's.  In my 30's I finally admitted to myself that I needed help and went on the pills.  I still had ups and downs, but not as deep and for not as long, and I've been happy and functioning well these ten years.  I am now an avid exerciser, eating well, and so I thought it was a good time to wean off my Effexor.

So, I started slowly taking less and less, over a period of 3 months, until I was taking only a third of a 75 mg pill every 3 days, then every 4 days, etc. until a whole week went by and I hadn't felt any symptoms.  Doing it this way, I didn't have any of the 'zings' that I had expected to feel while tapering off.

I was so happy!  I was off the drug and feeling great.  Then....WHAM.  About 2 to 3 weeks later, I  noticed the first change.....I was more emotional...crying at commercials, puppies, etc. At least 5 or 6 times a day.  So I thought, well, perhaps I am just a more emotional person than I thought.  Then, after a few days of that, I noticed a super high level of irritability, wanting to punch the wall or someone, or scream and yell - and that is not me!  Then I noticed the spiraling thoughts, or repeating thoughts again.  I still wouldn't say I was feeling 'depressed' but I was having these symptoms.  Then, the repeating thoughts became NEGATIVE repeating thoughts which is when I really start to get in trouble, and then within a couple more weeks I was thinking about wanting to end it all or just go to bed and never wake up.  

So, that really scared me!  I thought, great - my depression has come back - I obviously need to go back on this medication.  So I have been taking it for a few weeks now and still not feeling 'myself' but definately better and happier and more functioning.

So my question is - is what I experienced what people are talking about when they talk about the symptoms of coming off?  Am I 'addicted' to this drug?  Why is it that we don't view diabetics as "addicted" to their insulin?  Why don't we view people with pace-makers as "addicted" to their pacemaker?  Because we recognize that those things are providing something that their body can't or isn't doing right now.  We also don't get upset when we realize that they will probably need those things for the rest of their life.  I don't understand why if an anti-depressant drug is helping someone not to be depressed, they say they are 'addicted' to it?

Or is it just my depression returning?

I am very confused.
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I quit Effexor 37.5 slowly over a 8-9 week trial I been off it now for more than 45 days but am having major issues and I think they are due to the lack of Effexor. I am very very emotional (we all know that this Rx  bascially takes away your emotions).  I am in my final semester of nursing school and am failing.  I cry all the time cannot concentrate even though I take Adderall (adderrall).  My family and my doc think if I go back on the low does maybe it would help me.  I don't know what to do bc I feel like I have gotten threw the worst of the worse and really do not want to have to do it again.  But then again I need to finish and graduate nursing school THIS SEMESTER bc I am getting married in June of 2011.  Please help try to make the decision whether to go back on the low does to get through school. D/t me being off it for less than 2 months by taking it again it will only take maybe 3 days to start to work again verse the few months.  I need advice~ Please help me!!!!
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I am just scared to death. I was only on 75mg for 4 months...if that. I decided I wanted OFF this crazy crap...because it made me too tired. I have a 4 and 6 year old...and a husband who works 2nd shift...so I don't have time to be tired. I also felt that this medication was not working for me anyway. My PCP put me on it for mild depression. If I could only go back and change things...

I am on day 5 of no effexor. I weaned myself for 4 weeks from 75 to 37.5...then I started breaking down the 75mg capsules to about 1/4 of the dose. I was ok the first couple of days...but the dizziness and zapping in my brain is making me nuts. After reading all these posts...I am worried that I will never get better...and this is the way my life is going to be. Emotionally...I feel fine. Maybe a little snippy with the kiddos because I am just so damn dizzy sometimes.

Please someone tell me that this will go away.

What is the benedryl for??? What else can I take to ease the dizziness and zapping??

Any help is much appreciated...
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Its been 3 months since going off effexor.....have been on welbutrin, abilify, seloquer and none of them worked, now trying celexa.  OMG  don't know what is going on and if it is still the effexor wd but now i feel like hiding in a hole and never coming out.  also crying for no reason.  try to go hunting and its taking all i have to drag myself out there. something i enjoyed so much!!  also taking everything i have to spend time with my hunting buddies, i know they are wondering what is going on.  could this be the effexor.....still????  i am so sick of nothing helping me!
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I have been hearing Benedryl has been helping with the withdrawl (withdrawal) of Effexor. Can someone tell me, is it the pink pill? And when do you take it?  
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Starting monday I'm going off of this drug cold turkey.  I've been on it since March and it was working great for a while.  Now it's not working at all.  I'm depressed more often then not.  Everytime I wake up I just want to go back to sleep.  When I get home from work I just want to go to bed.  I don't want to take meds if they are not going to help and I don't want to add more meds.  I tried to call my doc and discuss it so I could be weaned off instead of going cold turkey but the insisted I come in for an appointment and I told them I could not afford the copay right now and I only have enough meds to last me till Sunday.  Now not only did my doc not return my call but now he is away on a conference and I have no help.  I'm really scared.  I have felt all of the withdrawal symptoms mentioned here just from missing a day or two.  I'm so scared and depressed right now.....
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i have been on effexor 75 mg now for 11 yrs...and had to quit cold turkey 72 hours ago....due to no health insurance. are my withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms going to be worse than others? im already feeling out of my mind and due to not being able to stand...concentrate etc i lost my job this morning.. i am scared to death that im not going to make it through. please any advice would be great.


single mom of 2 in indiana.
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Hang in there hun!!  I too am a single mom and I know exactly what your going thru.  I don't think your withdrawal will be worse than ours only because people who are on higher doses seem to be having the same issues as the ones on lower doses and the same goes for the amount of time on the drug.  I took my last pill Sunday and I've been feeling horrible ever since.  Yesterday I had a full blown anxiety attack!!  I started taking this drug for depression.  I NEVER had an anxiety problem until after taking it.  Last night I had to literally lock myself in my room for the good of everyone!!  It calmed down after a while and a drink.  But this morning I woke up and after about 5 mins of being awake began crying hysterically!!  My poor son probably went to school traumatized!!  I cried this morning for 3 hours straight.  Now I'm at a point where every thing makes me cry especially reading what everyone is going thru!!  I feel like I can't do this but I have too!!  Who else is gonna take care of out kids if we can't??  Do you feel as alone as I do??
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too all of you going through this....please hang in there it will pass.  my husbands did finally pass and the withdrawal symptoms are gone.  but now we are on the never ending....lets find something that does work.  UGH!!!!!  i hate all these doctors any more.  we have decided he is going off all AD's and see if since he got his low testosterone issue in check we want to see if that is what was causing the symptoms of depression since he has never had any issues with this in his past.  crossing our fingers!!
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Good news this morning.  I'm now a full week off of the meds and the symptoms are calming down considerably!  I'm still having the heart palpitations the most.  But the brain shivers have almost stopped.  I have a few but not nearly as much as last week.  The emotional roller coaster is still there but not as bad.  I'm still depressed but I was still depressed on the meds and my reasons for being depressed are still present.  I don't think meds are going to help me for that anyways.  Anyhow, I just wanted to let you guys know that there is hope.  Physically i'm feeling way better and it's only been a week.  I look forward to next Monday just so I can see how I'm going to feel then.  But you don't realize how much the little things matter until you go thru this.  The fact that I'm looking forward to anything, much less a monday, is progress!!  It doesn't seem like much but I'm sure you all know that depression makes it so you don't look forward to anything!!!  Next weekend I'm going to see an herbalist.  I have a friend who also suffers from depression and other health issues that when.  Since then she's been feeling alive and looking alive.  She has been able to cut out almost all of the meds she takes for various illnesses and looks and feels AMAZING!!!  She took someone down there that suffered from anxiety and insomnia and after just a couple of days of drinking the tea they made especially for her needs she's sleeping again and not having anxiety attacks!!  I'm going to try it out.  I don't want to be a guinea pig for the pharmeceutical companies anymore!!!  I will keep you all posted!!  Keep your head up because hope is alive!!!
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Hi there,  my name is belinda and im 28yrs old, married and have 2 kids, i have been on effexor for 6years....currently on day 5 going cold turkey....started on the 75mg 6years ago, been on the 37.5mg for 2months, and like i said im on day 5 now of NOTHING.....man has it been hard...this site has for sure helped me, helped me belive these withdrawalls will go away......what i hate most is the fuzzy feeling in my head....so after ready everyones posts on here, im hoping this fuzzy feeling will be gone in another 8-10days....will keep u guys posted...
Belinda.....from Australia
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Hi,

I am beside myself with relief that i've found this forum!  My name is Shannon and I"ve been taking Effexor now for 4 years.  i started with small doses, and now I am up to 150mg since last year or so.  I was put on it for my 'night sweats' and 'hot flashes'! I'm 37!  This drug hasn't worked for at least a year.  I sweat more than ever, and i'm so tired i don't know how i've managed to make it through my classes!  I have two wonderful children and a very supportive husband who is behind me 100% when I came to them and said I wanted off this drug!
So here I am completely freaked out by the withdrawals. I started about 2 weeks ago.  I was taking out 3 less from the day before of the small beads.  Today i'm down 40 and it's the worst day as of yet.  The past few days I thought I had the flu, now i'm having the brain zaps and tingling.  I'm just about bedridden..  I hate not having control over my body.
But i'm going to do this and I just wanted you all to know that we can do this !  My question, i'm not emotionally on edge yet? And I'm a substitute teacher and going to night classes for my masters.  Am I ok to be outside of my house without causing any major scenes?  I hate these physical feelings, nausea, diarrhea, shakes, lightheadness...  I know these are normal withdrawals but I can't not go to classes or work?  Help??

Also, i tried to quit cold turkey 2 years ago.  I had a mock heartattack while driving to work!  One of the scarest experiences of my life. Before that, I was athletic and in shape!  Now, i'm 15 pounds heavier and can't get myself to do anything exercise wise...  

Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences!  YOu have no idea how you've helped me with this decision!  And i'm all for taking this to the media!!  

Shannon
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Great news!!  Today is officially 2 weeks off of Effexor and I feel great!!  I didn't think I would make it but I am both physically and emotionally!  Can't write too much cause I'm crazy busy at work but I wanted to make sure I updated this because this forum is amazing and I don't know what I would have done without being able to communicate with others going thru the same thing!!  This forum alone is VERY therapeutic!!  

Gotta go but remember guys...HOPE IS ALIVE!!
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Today is my 2nd day off Effexor..  Had a really rough day on Saturday, but yesterday was promising.  This morning I felt great!  Then, had to get ready for class and I thought the world was caving in on me!  Anxiety like you wouldn't believe, and I couldn't manage to stop crying.  I'm pretty sure it was a panic attack, but drove half way to class and had to pull over and collect myself and head home.  Physically i'm doing pretty good.  But I think I might be in for an emotional ride!  Thanks to the latest update from KKINPAIN, i feel there is a light at the end.. And if I can just make it through this week!  I can't keep missing class.  But the anxiety is almost unbearable.  Just getting dressed was overwhelming.. Any thoughts?  
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I love the drug; I've rotated onto it twice. I'm bipolar so I have to rotate my drugs or else they seem to "poop out" on me. I don't have trouble sleeping on it, my only complaint is that it makes me break out like a 13-year-old. I just switched to Wellbutrin and I don't tend to get enough sleep. But the crop rotation must be done I suppose.

I came down from 225mg over 4 weeks. My last bit (12.5 mg) was a week ago yesterday. The brain zaps are still there but are becoming fewer and fewer daily. Anyone have nausea this far out?
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Hi
I am still suffering with my gut because of withdrawals, this is six months and counting I was on this horrible stuff eight years. Our group say's roughly a month for every year of taking the stuff. Sometimes I wonder how i've got this far all I can say is I feel better off it than sleeping all the time and not being able to function.
So with God's help and my family and my private Dr I pray this will all be over soon.
I take abeta blocker and clonidone to help with the withdrawals that stops the palpitations.
Love
Lorraine x
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Well, i'm officially 5 days without...  Nausea is gone, but the zaps and tingling are miserable.  Everyday I wake I hope the zaps are fewer and fewer.  I can function, it's just really hard to focus when it feels like your mind is one big electrical tower!  I haven't taken anything for the withdrawals.  I do take B-12, B-6 and Beta Caratone.  And Lots of water and tea..  I'm just taking it one day at a time...  My best bet the past few days are putting my babes on the bus for school then sleeping most of my days away...  And hoping each day gets a little better...
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hey there, good to hear that u are coping.....im on day 11 today cold turkey, and still have very slight brain freezes, but i think im over the worst........i went completly cold turkey, didnt take anything for my side effects, didnt want to treat one thing with another, the only thing im on now is a multi vitamin......u can do it hun....be strong within urself........i feel so good to know im of this drug now.....i feel natural and ME again.....
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Hello everyone!   It's been almost 5 months since I've been off Effexor.   The GOOD NEWS is that most of the withdrawal symptoms are gone!   The bad news is that I am still suffering from a bouy/bobbing/tug/pulling abnormal movements.   This movements only happen when I am stationary or lying down.   The symptoms often get worse at night and seem to vary in intensity from day-to-day.   Some days I don't have any symptoms at all, while other days are awful.  

I was wondering if any one else if feeling the same kind of symptoms???   I went to the doctor for a series of appointments and I was finally diagnosed with MdDs Mal de debarquement Syndrome.   I didn't fit the profile of MdDs at all, but the symptoms are spot on.  

I've never had this condition prior to taking effexor or while taking effexor.  It was only when I stopped taking the medication that I noticed this bobbing effect.  

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!  
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Well, i'm day 6 and still having the brain zaps..  But so looking foward to next week..I figure by then i'll be feeling good.  I finally had to email my instructors about my lack of participation in class but they were so very understanding.  What a relief to have that taken care of.  So now I have about 2 weeks free to deal with this.

*My symptoms so far for those comparing notes~ My days vary in intesity.  This morning woke up feeling great until I stood up and had to move around.  That's when it seems to be the worse.  If i can just lay down and not move to much then my brain zaps aren't so bad.  I also noticed last night when the kids get home and my husband is home that there is so much more stimulation and that increases my zaps that much more.
I also have loose stool.  All week but without stomach pains and cramps.  So not too bad of a symptom.  I also feel like i need to keep eating to fix my uncomfortablness??  But doesn't help really.  However, i notice I only feel the need to eat when i'm stressing or there is too much stimulation like last night with everyone home.  If i'm home alone, then I feel great other than the tingling, zaps and twitches.  

*One thing that I have noticed is that the 'Brain Zaps" seem to be connected to my eyes too.. If i close my eyes and move around, then i can focus better and the zaps are few.  If I move my head too quickly, then i feel the electrical zaps quickly and intense.  

I hope this helps like all your comments helped me!  I can't wait to have this out of my system!!  
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I'm going into my 9th day without Effexor!  I can't believe the relief I've felt all day today.. However, I've had nothing to do for the past week, so i've been able to really just sleep, or lay around while this awful drug leaves my body!  This site has helped me tremendously!!  To know i'm not the only one...  But there is an end!!    Yesterday was my 8th day and my husband took my two kids up to our cabin for the night so I could just have time to be by myself.. It was amazing!  I didn't have the pressure of having to get anyone anything much less just put a flippin smile on my face so everyone thinks i'm doing ok and 'Mommy' isn't going to flip out!  I relaxed, read my magazines, and had a glass of wine!  

*My symptoms as of today are just about away.. Not sure how each day will look like.. I do know that today felt great.. Like a weight has been lifted!  I can't wait to see tomorrow and know that possibly it wil be better than today!  I even plan on starting up the treadmill again..  

I just want to thank you all that have been so honest about what 'we' are all going through!  It helps.  Even the littlest helps those of us who didn't see any help in the beginning!  You have helped me.. And if i can help in return, please feel free to email and write.. It helps to just talk sometimes and you WILL make it through this!  

Shannon

I will post as much of my progress as possible.  I know that day to day might change.... So any bit of information helps!
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Well, it's been some time since i've posted..  Wanted to catch up and see how everyone else was doing.  Today is my 22nd day being off of Effexor.  I'm not doing so bad.  The zaps are to a minimal. I notice when there is a severe weather change, just had a heavy snowfall, or such then i'll have a pretty noticeable zap.  Or if my eyes or stimulated quickly?  
I have been having horrible mood swings.  Almost to the point of making me sick to my stomach I can get so upset, or sad.?  It's like I have so much pent up anger?  I'm really working on it but notice that it takes so much of my energy  to check myself and know that this might just be a withdrawal?  Anyone else feeling similar?  I'm really really emotional over all spectrums, from sad to happy to angry?? Ugh!

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I quit cold turkey after 5 years of being on 100 mg Pristiq, same thing as Effexor. Starting on day two, nausea, chills, muscle aches, brain zaps, ears ringing, emotional outburst,  up every hour during the night, etc etc. Withdrawl (withdrawal) was a biotch. I'm on day 7 now and all my symptoms besides the ears ringing and wakeing up a time or two at night and loose stool are gone. I feel like a million bucks compared to how I felt just a few days ago. I am freaking pissed at my GP for giving me this poison. I mentioned to her that when I ran out of the meds I start to get physicaly sick, just got a blank look and a "realy". I am a very active person and going to the gym, running and sitting in the dry sauna and sweating it out of my system got me through the awful experience. I feel for everyone who is going through the withdrawls. I am a very strong willed person and things don't bother me but after day two I was crying, feeling worthless and thought about things like who would care if I died kind of B.S.  My mind was playing tricks on me because I just refilled my script and knew all I have to do is take another pill and I would be back to "normal". I didnt! It was tough but I did it, you can too
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I have been off of effexor for a little over a year now.  I had to quit cold turkey after trying to get a script from the doc for 3 weeks, I had taken Effexor 75 XR for 8 1/2 years.  I was miserable and had most all the symptoms that most have spoken about.  The brain zaps were the worst.  I will tell you what I took but will probably get flack from some on here, because its an herbal remedy.  I took St. John's Wort.  It didn't take the effects away but lessened them so I could function.  I wean myself off of that after a couple of months.  It does get better but I still have days where my emotions shift.  One day I can be happy and the next I am ready to stomp anything that gets in my way.  I also cry for stupid reasons.  But these things are manageable and I am Thankful for that.  I have slipped back into being paranoid in large crowds or when driving. I cannot drive in the snow because it scares me to much.  But these things were what plagued me before I started Effexor so I pretty much went back to what I was before starting it.  I wish everyone luck when trying to get off this drug.  Many have done it and even though it takes some time, it eventually gets better.
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After 1 1/2 years on 60mg or celexa, I decided to cut it down to 20 mg sIowly to get some feeling back in my life. I just felt flat with no emotion and was tired of not ever ever ever feeling any excitement. So my doctor put me on effexor and now after 30 days on it, I am now on day 5 of going cold turkey from this drug. I started taking 75mg on November 1st and bumped to 150mg on the 15th. About a week into the 150mg I started having strange dreams, increase in depression, lack of appetite, confusion, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. I played computer solitaire for 6-8 hours daily and about 20hrs straight one time to keep my mind from these thoughts. I was a zombie. A week of suicidal thoughts made me contact my PCP to find out how to get off this stuff. He told me to cut back to 75mg daily for one month but I was so afraid of those thoughts that I just stopped completely. He will find out next Monday (day 12) that I went cold turkey. However, I do have an appt with a psychologist on Wednesday to help me through the withdrawal symptoms I am having.
    I did not start getting symptoms until after dinner and 2 beers on day 2. I had nausea and dizziness, kind of like a beer buzz. Then came the brain shivers when moving my head and eyes, stomach cramps with 4-5 bowel movements daily, craving for fatty foods, insomnia, not able to get up in morning, paranoia of meeting with new people in my job as a Realtor, and intense emotions. Yesterday (day 4) I started crying while watching an episode of Hannah Montana with my 11 year old daughter and I am a 42 year old man!!! The crying has worsened today. Also, on day four, I started hearing things while moving my head back and forth. I was deer hunting (with bow) and kept hearing deer steps on my left side but each time I looked there was nothing. I finally closed my eyes and it stopped. Night driving seems to be better than day driving because I am not distracted by things in my peripheral vision. Day driving makes me want to throw up.   As long as I stare or concentrate on one thing, the brain shivers are not as bad. It is when I turn my head or eyes or blink quickly that the shivers occur. Focus on one thing is almost impossible right now. I find it easiest to just do nothing and watch TV.
   It is a good idea to let your family know what is happening each day so that they can monitor your behavior and keep an eye on you. My wife has been a blessing during these past 5 days and I hope things start to change for the better soon. I am glad that I figured this out after only 1 month rather than years down the road. My heart goes out to everyone who has been on this drug for a long time. I plan to have a few choice words with my doctor for not telling me side effects and withdrawal effects. I am really pissed at him after reading all these stories on this site.
    Hang in there everyone, it has to get better. I will post again in couple days.
CNC
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It is possible to do.  My doctor put me on effexor 37.5 10 years ago in order to get off of zanax.  It worked!!!  But due to several issues such as my head tremors, eye sight getting really bad, etc, I decided to get off of this drug.  Well it was a lot easier said than done.  I tried several times to get off of it.  I would try skipping a day, that didn't work.  After reading an article a couple of months ago from a lady who said the only way she was able to get off of this drug was by taking the granules out, I thought I would give it a try.  My boyfriend is a paramedic and he strongly urged me NOT TO take 2 granules out one day, then 4 the next, etc.  He said that would be too much of a shot of the body.  So he recommended that I take 7 capsules (1 weeks worth) and remove 3 granules from each capsule.  Then take 7 more capsules (another week's worth) and remove 6 granules.  In other words, remove 3 more granules each week than the prior week.  So one day I took about an hour and did that.  I had several tiny baggies and, with a marker, I put a "1" on the first one and placed the 7 capsules that were minus the 3 granules each in that baggy.  Then I took another baggy and wrote a 2 on it and placed the capsules that were minus the 6 granules in it.  I did this for a total of 24 weeks worth.  I am now on week number 18 and doing GREAT!!!  I have had absolutely NO WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS.  I highly recommend this method to anyone trying to get off this drug.  Is it a slow process?  Absolutely.  But it is well worth it and the time is really flying by.  So, to the lady who posted this idea, whoever she is, and to my best friend, I want to say Thank You with all my heart.  If anyone wants to talk to me about this, you can reach me at my mail address which is the same as my id I have posted here.  I use the y mail.  Good luck to all.
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Avatar_m_tn
i can't believe how big this topic is. When i was quitting effexor this would have helped me greatly! It's good (and sad) to know there's other people out there going through the same crap i am.

To anyone trying to quit effexor or cymbalta:  The best way i found was to self reduce the amount you take. I opened the capsule and poured out some of the little balls to reduce the amount in each capsule i was taking. I did this gradually by day until i was taking one capsule with almost no little balls in it. If you don't want to waste the medicine, you can buy empty pill capsules, or empty out some old meds of similar size - i used my old prescription of Zoloft, the capsules are the same size as cymbalta.

This was the only way i could quit taking effexor and cymbalta, the withdrawal was hardly noticeable using this method.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just got out of bed because the brain "pops and zaps" were keeping me awake, (and apparently my spouse) I wanted to see if anybody had any remission periods from the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms of Effexor. (That's how I found this post) I just stopped taking my effexor 37.5 last night, so just finished my first 24 hour period: NOT GOOD!
I have been on Effexor for about 8 years.
Started at 37.5 for about 2 years, then to 75mg for 3, went up to 150 3 years ago, and just started tapering this past summer. I dropped to 37.5 in late august, and have simply had enough of being on this stuff. My withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms started  about 10 ours after I was suppost to take my dose. Most of today was tolerable until I was about 18 hours after "skipping" my dose. All hell has broken loose and it's only been 24 hours! I had about 3 hours where things were pretty good, but the symptoms have come back.

-Crazy dreams last night.
-muscle aches
-light headed/dizzy/vertigo..felt like room was flipping over my head
-angry-sad-angry-sad. (fits of crying and heavy breathing)
-bad chest pains
-burning sensations on forehead (occassionally)
-the worst: the brains shocks..popping noises when I close my eyes.

I appreciate everybody who has posted their advice, comments and experiences; apparently I have a long way to go. I am keeping track of my experiences as best I can.

Thank-you all.
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Avatar_m_tn
I took Effexor for about eight months, was tapered off of them and had the "brain zaps" for over a year after I took them, albeit the frequency decreased as time went on. I can't remember the last time I had them.
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Avatar_m_tn
I was tapering down, counting the little white balls in the capsule.
Mind you, I was doing this on my own with no help from a doctor.
(not a good idea, obviously)
I tapered down to a point where I thought, hey I can just quit this right here and now!
Wrong!
I should have kept going but I didn't and now I am paying the price.
I hate to sound like another horror story but the lesson is, don't quit this without professional supervision.
Yes I had the brain-zaps, insomnia, dizzyness and chills.
That was just the first circle of hell, which for me lasted around three months or so.
Now, I am in the next level of hell.
Crying all the time, insomnia is even worse and I feel a deep sense of despair that I never felt in my whole life.
Basically I feel like I could just drop dead at any moment.
I am worse now than before I started taking it in the first place.
So what could I do?
I am not brave enough to see what further torments await me, so I have begun to take Effexor XR again until I can find something to replace it with.
I have been taking it again for just two days and I can now keep my emotions in check but I still have the anxiety and thoughts like I am going to die for no reason.
But the thing is, no matter what, as bad as things get there is going to be a time when I will look back and pat myself on the back for at least trying and for dealing with symptoms that some people cannot handle.
By then I will not be on any medication, but I will come off of it the correct way.
I will take back control of my life and so can anyone of you!
For me this is the worst time of my entire life so far but I just know that it cannot stay this way forever.
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Avatar_m_tn
Oh yeah, and I also tried taking St.John's Wort and it did nothing except give me a really terrible headache.
It might work for some people but not me.
The anxiety is so bad right now i am surprised I can even type this.
I hate to do it, but I need some Clonazepam to help me through this misery.
Even so, I still believe there is hope!
Good luck to anyone trying to quit this horrible drug.
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ok it is 3:30 in the morning and I am reading this forum because of course I am trying to quit effexor cold turkey, and  one of my symptoms is insomnia but  on a positive note I found this Blog and I am so thankful because I have found some comforting and useful info. I went to a neurologist for migraines and he was all to  greatful to put me on a bunch of meds including Effexor starting out at 37.5 and up to 300 in one month and I kept asking why it had to increase and my question just kept getting blown off and another med would be added as well. I should of been more careful and researched them more. It has been only 3 months but now I have  a heart arythmia that I think is linked to this med so thats why I am stopping cold turkey. I feel like my heart wants to thump out of my chest but I think it is anxiety more than anything. I keep checking my pulse a couple times a day to make sure its ok.  My worst symptom is dizziness. I sure hope I don't get brain zaps. my daily headache and migraines are bad enough. Wish me luck!
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Wow. And Ow!

I am on day 4.33 or is it 4.5, of a cold-turkey withdrawal from Effexor, daily dose of 375mg XR, having been on it at this level since 2008, approx. Woke up at 1:30am with a screamer of a headache and an accompanying mega-dry mouth - tongue stuck to roof of mouth type of dry, really. By 5:30am I crawled out of bed to get some water and that's when I noticed the foggy brain to the point where I was wondering what I'd done to cause it. Oh, and did I mention the brain zaps and the sea-sickness? Streuth.

My GP and my specialist conspired to move me from effexor to cymbalta; the idea, I guess, is to quit effexor and give it time to flush out, then switch across to cymbalta about a week after. I asked a number of searching questions including the "what side-effects during withdrawal should I expect?" and "why swap from one to the other when they have such similar profiles medically, and similar side-effects?" But hey, they had me bluffed.

Upon reading 50 or so of the posts on this topic here, it is patently clear that some serious truth-bending has been going on by pharma companies and doctors together. Perhaps not intentionally to the detriment of the patient but that's the net effect. Like many posts here, I was certainly not given the kind of information that allows me to figure out why this medication instead of that one, or what if it doesn't work out - what is plan B?

I'm going to grit my teeth and try to make it to day 7, then switch to cymbalta. Aarrgghh, another big brain zap.

Good luck to anyone else trying to buck this effexor malarky.
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Avatar_f_tn
Why choose cold turkey after reading all the woes of the others here who did that?
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Avatar_m_tn
why can't you swap or gradually reduce the effexor with introducing the new anti-depressant as that's what i've done previously and many others before me as I've never gone through a "wash out period".

This would be less hard on yourself with respect to the discontinuation syndrome pleasures that your going to go through significantly with undertaking your current course of action. As well as that get yourself some high EPA fish oil omega 3 tablets as these are mean't to help as well with the up to 12 week period. I'll possibly have the pleasures of this again as much as certain as that night follows day, as effexor gets a lot of bad press but through expanding my knowledge upon meds prior to actually starting venlaxine earlier this year and from reading varying people's experiences of others on this "drug" on the net, it appears that the withdrawal's maybe not as as severe as paroxetine- seroxat, which for me  I find particularly encouraging owing to having been there. There maybe no knowledge better than experience on this matter i'd like to also stress on this matter as saying this something that we know all too well with these medications is that they affect us all differently in terms of how and whether they work, as well as in terms of our particular sensitivities & thresholds to their withdrawals. Having gone through the "roundabout" myself short courses of lorazepam helped also as with you being on the max dose and for a few years i'd say that you need to re-align your planned withdrawal plan as from that level to nothing is going to be very debilating and extremely difficult indeed.

Speak to those involved with your care to explore your options i'd strongly suggest as cross tapering should be possible as i'm doing it right now with lepraxo and the califionia rocket fuel combo.                        
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Avatar_f_tn
have you guys tried the prozac bridging technique? i'm trying it right now. went from 37.5 mg effexor every other day to prozac 5 mg for 3 days and then quit both. its been a week since i've stopped taking both meds. i still have nausea but less than before when i tried quitting effexor cold turkey a few times. i have a few brain zaps every day, specially at bed time. way less than what i experienced during my previous attempts to quit effexor. i have insomnia (first time i've ever got it in my life) i see nightmares every night, and wake up atleast twice every night. can't sleep more than 5 or 6 hrs a night when i previously slept for 10+ hrs a night. overall, withdrawals are way less than cold turkey attempts. anyone wanna try prozac bridging, talk to you doc about it.best of luck to everyone trying to quit.
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has anyone else wondered, if effexor has such a short half life (i.e, 6 hrs) and if it washes out of the system within a day, why does the withdrawal last so long?? does it mean, effexor is physically addictive like street drugs? Is there no set period of time when withdrawals stop? Its so frustrating and demoralizing. even heroin withdrawals stop in 7- 14 days then what kind of a drug is effexor that its withdrawals can last for months and according to some posts they can even last for YEARS! why haven't ppl protested outside wyeth company's head quarters yet?
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I have been coming of Effexor er for just over three weeks down from 150 to zero for two days.  Brain zaps, nausea, flu feeling body, yucky stuff.  I found this post and went out and purchased regular Bendrayl - a god send this stuff has been - no brains zaps, no nausea but tired.  So how ever found this stuff works - you are an Angel!  I hate this drug Effexor and I hate what it has done to me - the ups and downs over the last three weeks are enough to make anyone crazie!!!  My body is feeling like I have been hit by a very large truck.  I will keep ya all posted to the progress.  
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Happy New Year to Everyone coping with this drug!  It does get better!! I've been effexor free now for 7 weeks. I went cold turkey and glad to finally be here.  I never thought i'd lose the feeling of being run over by a Mack Truck!  I still have a few brain zaps but nothing like it was.  I still take Benedryl every so often to help with the sleep deprivation.  Seems to really help.  I've found that my mood swings are lessening. I'm not as terribly irritable anymore..  My body aches are just about gone.  It's such a relief!  
Here's to you all trying to cope with the withdrawals too!  It will leave your system in time, and it will get better!  
Here's to a new year!!
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Hi, I hope you are doing fine and still effexor free. you asked a very good question that " Why is it that we don't view diabetics as "addicted" to their insulin?"

for me the answer is that I'm pregnant and a close friend of mine is pregnant too. I have anxiety issues, and she has diabetes. when i went to the doc, and i told her that i take effexor she told me right away that it is a category C medicine which can cause serious complications for new borns. I later researched and found out about babies born to effexor moms, and the withdrawals those babies went through right after birth were even worse than we adults go through. many of them don't survive. on the other hand, my friend is not very regular in taking diabetes meds. her doctor told her to be very regular on the meds specially during pregnancy. her meds have no negative effects on the baby, those to me are life saving drugs. i can't say the same about antidepressants since they can be deadly for babies, for young kids and no one knows yet what they do to adults who take them because they haven't been researched enough. thats my reason for trying to quit taking effexor. but if you have no such concerns then of course you can take it without worrying about serious implications on kids etc. but i won't put diabetes drugs, pace makers, and anti depressants in the same category
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Well I have been on Effexor for 11 years now and I have tried to get off of it before with no luck because of the symptoms of course, but, after my doctor told me I would be on it "for the rest of my life" I decided after reading so much on the internet about it, to start slowly tapering off of it.  I was up to 300mg a day after 2 1/2 years i weaned myself off with my doctors help to 37.5 i have been on that dosage for approx. a year now I saw my doctor 2 days ago told him I want to get off of this stuff so he prescribed me Trazadone I took one last nite,  I know the brain shivers are going to take over but I didnt know about the nausea.  I drive for a living and I am kinda scared to drive tommorow.  I am trying not to pay attention to the symptoms but that is impossible even typing this now is hard.  I will prevail,  I have to be drug free.  I know after 2 weeks things will be better symptom wise I wish I could just sleep for the next 2 weeks.   I have to lie down now I cant concentrate anymore, wish me luck.
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Hi, I am on day 19 of quitting effexor and wellbutron cold turkey. I decided to go cold turkey because lots of people have the same symptoms of withdrawal when tapering down.  I had 10 days off of work back to work for 4(plus weekends off) it seemed like as good time as any.
I have taken effexor for 8 yrs and wellbutron for 3yrs. I went to my doctor originally complaining of feeling angry all the time. He said I was depressed and prescribed the meds, upping the dose and finally adding wellbutron as I explained it wasn't working.  I am not sure why I gave up telling him that it wasn't working but I did.
A few summers ago I only had tunnel vision and after many tests and doctor appointments they couldn't figure out what was wrong. One eye doctor did suggest going off of effexor but didn't push or explain it could be the cause, He asked why I was on it, I said I was depressed, he said to throw the pills out. I left and suffered for another 6 weeks with vision problems. I couldn't go into any place with over head lights, stores, library, kids school or even friends.
I was tired of the headaches and eye problems and decided to stop the meds.
I found lots of fruit(frozen grapes), eating small meals often, or anything that I craved helped with the nausea. I dealt with 9 months of all day morning sickness so am good at talking myself out of throwing up.
I ate whatever I felt like eating, comfort food, junk food, whatever my husband prepared when I was sleeping.
Drinking lots of water
I used a nausea bracelet for sea sickness~ not sure if it helped but it was only $2 so worth the chance. lol
I took an allergy pill every day, I found it help the zaps! I read here other's people found the same, unsure why it helped but it did.
I wore an eye mask, for sleeping, off and on during the day, let my eyes rest, didn't use the computer much or watch tv, just listened. I found it made me dizzier to watch.
I tried to go out for a short walk everyday, even just around the block, I was tired after but it helped me sleep better and I felt better after the walk and fresh air.
I was so tired, body tired. I felt like I was just recovering from an illness. Walking upstairs made me so tired and winded. After taking my daughter to the bus, I would come home and nap.
I was crabby, and still can be! But each day is getting better. I am off work now again for 10 days(including weekends) and hope to be "back closer to my old self" when I go back.
I can concentrate longer, sleeping better, sex life has improved, no longer constipated. I cleaned my house, shoveled the sidewalk and took the dog for a walk.
Today I actually did laundry, took my daughter to the bus stop and painted 2 walls! It is almost 12pm and I am still awake!
Life is improving every day and I look forward to getting up and feeling better each morning.
It was hard to quit the meds so quickly but for me it was the only option.
The only doctor who should be able to prescribe these meds are ones who have taken them and went through the withdrawal symptoms(my opinion of course)
I wasn't told about all the side effects and yes I should have looked them up on the net sooner. I only found out because I was "googling" vision problems.
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Avatar_f_tn
I wondered the same thing about effexor, if we notice the difference after missing a single dose, why does it take so long to get out of our system???
Side note, I didn't take the allergy pills to help me sleep. I do have allergies but also found they helped me with the brain zaps.
I hope I am not still having them after 7 weeks........
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Avatar_f_tn
"I decided to go cold turkey because lots of people have the same symptoms of withdrawal when tapering down."
Far more people avoid symptoms by tapering. You are not on a narcotic so should not self medicate your withdrawal.
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Avatar_m_tn
If you are attempting withdrawal, this pranayam will help to reduce the side effects.Start the pranayam a few weeks before withdrawal. During withdrawal, do the pranayam twice a day,at the maximum timing, and then continue once a day, for life.Your experience of trying this, will help others, so please come back with your feedback.
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Kapalbhati pranayam -(Do it before eating) Push air forcefully out through the nose about once per second. Stomach will itself go in(contract in). The breathing in(through the nose) will happen automatically. Establish a rhythm and do for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
Not for pregnant women. Seriously ill people do it gently.
Anulom Vilom pranayam –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 15 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.

Bhramri Pranayam -Close eyes. Close ears with thumb, index finger on forehead, and rest three fingers on base of nose touching eyes. Breathe in through nose. And now breathe out through nose while humming like a bee.
Duration : 5 to 21  times.
January 14, 2011
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Avatar_f_tn
I am on day 3 of being free from Effexor. I have been reading this entire page this morning and drank 32 oz of coke before reading that Caffine makes the symptoms worse. It really does.... i am going to try the benedryl and keep plugging at it. I have been on a dose of 15o for about 2 years, so we'll see how this goes.
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Avatar_m_tn
I must be one of the odd balls that had no withdrawal symptoms at all when I quit Effexor XR 75mg a day cold turkey.  The first time I was on it for two years for anxienty induced depression I quit cold turkey because I felt better.  The second time was 1 year - for stress and I stopped cold turkey again and had no withdrawal symptoms. I had different doctors each time and they never really told me about tapering off or withdrawal and I never even thought about it.  I didn't have access to the internet the first time so I never looked it up and the second time I just did as the first without even asking my doctor.  I never had a brain shock or anything like that. The last time I took it was 5 or 6 years ago.  I wouldn't suggest that anybody do what I did but I can at least give some positive input for those fearful of getting of it and having problems.  I know the drug helped me so much during the time I was on it and I feel bad for all those that have had such horrible experiences.
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Avatar_f_tn
I gave it up without any trouble.

But i got depression back in time.
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Avatar_f_tn
CNN article below. Note most of the problem withdrawals are from people going cold turkey, for no valid reason.

http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/specialists/depression-drug-withdrawal-is-a-nightmare.aspx?xid=ob_qa_depression

Effexor (venlafaxine) is a very strong antidepressant and, because it has a short “half-life” in your body, it tends to be eliminated very quickly when it is stopped. Many people experience a flulike syndrome when they stop taking this drug or other antidepressants too quickly. The higher the dose and the longer the duration of therapy, the more likely this is to be a problem.

Talk to your doctor about slowing down the pace of tapering off, including using smaller reductions (for example, 37.5 mg reductions instead of 75 mg). On occasion, it helps to switch to another medication with a longer elimination half-life, such as fluoxetine (Prozac) or even the ultra-long-acting Prozac Weekly formulation, to finish the job.
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I've been on Effexor 150 mg for 8 years after a few suicide attempts when I was 15 years old. The last 5 months I've been traveling and have been running out of the stuff and no longer have health insurance. I started tapering off a few months ago when I realized my limited supply and have now been cold turkey for 4-5 days. Today was the first day that I thought about googling the symptoms about withdrawal since I've been feeling the "brain shivers" and have been waking up in cold sweats the last couple nights. I also feel nauseous and dizzy to the extent that I wouldn't drive a car. I've only become worried about this now because I am set to leave traveling again in a couple weeks and would never want to leave in this condition but don't see another option besides prolonging the situation. I've also had a very short temper lately with my family and feel like crying at the drop of a hat but these postings have made me feel like I'm not losing my mind and that I can get off it with perseverance - though it does suck in the meantime. A possible tip - I've heard that eating two handfuls of cashews is a natural way to get the vitamin B complex. Best of luck to everyone and I'll keep rereading these posts in the meantime.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been on effexor 37.5mg for 2 years for hot flashes!  To have to go through this for something so stupid is ridiculous!  I was never told about withdrawal symptoms. Started with motion sickness where I could not move my eyes.  I am now 2 weeks in and the nausea, vomiting and stomach pains are unbearable. I have had to smoke marijuana just to get through the stomach problems!  I have not smoked marijuana in over 30 years!  DO NOT TAKE THIS MEDICINE FOR ANY REASON, EVER!
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been taking effecter 225mg daily for 7 years.  I recently found out half the people I work with are on it.  In the beginning I was the spokesman for the crap.  I pushed that dirty drug to all I know singing its praises.  All of this changed when I switched jobs and could not get meds for a couple weeks.  I had every symptom that is stated in this forum, except the gaping mouth open symptom (get to neurologist asap), and was in shock about the withdraws.  I was ignorant to think that this med did not this kind of power over my life.  I am two weeks into a forced cold turkey.  I have another 2 weeks until insurance kicks in and to be honest I don't think I was to return to this med.  I realize it is not normal to go from sudden crying to wanting to punch out my iMAC because I get scroll through this forum fast enough.  I think that I am going to stay out after putting in a month of hell.  I am a nurse and got into this med the proper way.  I went to a psychiatrist and got his diagnosis.  A treatment plans was set up and I followed.  A set of meds was suggested and I choose certain one's based on my comfort level with them.  I even see an additional therapist to help me with my issues.  Now let me tell you I went through 4 Dr's and 3 therapists to find ones I am comfortable with.  My goal was to achieve or work towards a point that I did not feel like a powerless victim to my depression and anxiety.  I eventually wanted off meds and wanted the tools in therapy be my cooping mechanisms. I am not going back on effecter.  There is no way I want to deal with these withdraw symptoms ever again due to some unforeseen reason.  I read people journaling and giving tips and none of them do it for any long period.  Being 2 weeks into withdraw I could snap with such great anger that the information I seek is not in this damn forum.  I am going to attempt to present the answer that I am seeking even if I have to do it myself.  Over two weeks my insomnia, irritability, crying fits, and the wind swoosh sound I hear when I move my eyes are all getting worse with time.    I hope this will change with time.  I can confirm that alcohol makes it worse.  benadryl is a multi-taker drug.  It works as many things a sedative is one of them.  It helped with the irritability and anxiety when I needed it to. I had Ambien CR for times of insomnia.  Ambien worked awesome for me when I had insomnia until the effexor cold turkey days.  The only thing that helps right now is excersize until exhaustion and then hopes of getting 1-3 hours sleep sometime afterword.  I'll let you know what goes down in the future.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have described how to cope in my post of January 14, 2011. You are showing so much determination, that I think the pranayam will definitely help you and you will be able to it for the maximum duration suggested. The first benefit will be better sleep. Your regular progress report will help others.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

Sophia I did the exact same thing you did; Effexor is hell, and I learned that you do have to taper slowly, I went from 225, to 150, to 125, etc..but I read a great system, which was taper this way: 2 days on regular dosage, 1 day lower, for two weeks; then one day regular dose, one day lower, and this is how I did it. Presently, I am taking 25 mlg and previously was at 37.6 and when I tried  to half the 37.5, it wasn't good. Neither was taking 25 for days, so am back to 37.5 for one day, 25 on day 2, and am seeing how it goes. Within two hours of the 25 mg dose, the brain zap begin but it's been tolerable although I am not working and I think if I were, I wouldn't be able to function. Hope this helps. And I think the anger is just the meds playing havoc with your body, and depression/anxiety about the withdrawal and life in general. Hope this helps.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm on day 5 of cold turkey quitting of Effexor (thanks to an insurance issue). Previous to this I was on 225mg (with an extra 37.5 the week before my period) for about 3 years. I appreciated all that Effexor helped me with but now that I am in hardcore WD's I don't think I want to continue my medication therapy. I'm wondering in addition to all the brain zaps if anyone has the sensation of falling, as in your insides are dropping like you jumped off something. I guess I would classify this as a sensory disturbance, but I haven't heard of anyone else having this particular complaint. Also my eyes swelled up really big for about 3 days, (urgent care doc said it wasn't related to the WD's but NOTHING else is different- no new products, etc.)

Other symptoms I am tolerating are; diarrhea, vertigo, confusion, inability to concentrate, brain zaps, fatigue.

Thank you all so much for sharing your experience. Misery loves company, right?
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1590362_tn?1297490468
Per Kaplan & Saddock's Synopsis of Psychiatry antidepressants should be tapered off for a 1-2 week period. There is also little mention in the PDR of withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. Keep in mind that as you stop an antidepressant your symptoms can return and overwhelm you.
I have stopped many antidepressants but also started another one immediately and have never experienced withdrawls.  I read oodles of people complaining of feeling terrible when discontinuing these meds but the medical community does not respond.
What to do? Write complaints to the FDA?
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi, this is day two of tapering my effexor xr 75mg bid dose.  My doctor put me on 37.5mg xr tid.  I have body aches, can't sit still, back of my neck is killing me, brain shocks, a fever of 100.4, and a pounding headache that is not relieved with tylenol or motrin, and a feeling that someone is watching me in my house!!  I am so afraid!!  I am a stay at home momma to 3 kids ages 5.5, 2.5, and 5 months old.  I breast feed full time and am concerned my baby girl will feel the effects as well.  General she is a happy baby, but today she screamed like she was so angry for 1.5 hours.  I am educated with a nursing degree, but right now feel so out of control like I am not really in my body at times.  Hard to describe.  I can't focus, can't think clearly.  I am alone with my children for 14 hours out of the day since my husband works for the government.  We have no family here.  Want off the meds because I am finally content inside and happy (been on it for 6 yrs).  Ready to begin my life with the love of my life and our 3 precious children.  

I see all these scary posts and want someone to talk to via email please.
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Avatar_m_tn
See my post of January 14, 2011, and follow the pranayam to help you cope.
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Avatar_f_tn
i have been off it for a week now..... i have headaches , body aches and hunger pangs......im eating non stop and my stomach is a mess. im scared i will start gaining weight.......
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been taking effexor for the past year and it was working very well. Other than the small side effects like night sweats, and lack of disire for sex. I started taking it because my Doctor had told me it will help with my mood swings. I am a 24 year old female who only gets her period every 2nd to third month and it makes my hormones go up and down driving me crazy and most importantly my fiancee. Plus, I was working for a crazy Doctor who was very anal retentive which put alot of stress on me and I felt bad because I felt like I took it all out on the patients. So I thought maybe a medication will help.

Only recently I had found myself more depressed than usual. Not wanting to go out, sleeping all the time, some times 24 hours only waking up to have a bite to eat, shower and go back to bed. I really wasn't liking who I was becoming.

I have now been off effexor for about 2 weeks and I have been getting severe migranes (migraines), it feels as if I have my head in a vice grip. I work an 8:30 to 4:30 job and by 2:30, 3 I have to turn the lights off and work with my desk lamp. I no longer have night sweats but I find that I sweating more on the palm of my hands than usual. I find myself very cold all the time but sweating... I also find myself shaking alot. My moods were really bad at the begining of the week to where I was yelling at everyone and everything thing even my poor cats :( My moods are better today, I just wish I could get rid of the headakes and tieredness. When I was told by my Doctor to get off cold turkey and to visit her in a month I was happy, she did give me another Rx for effexor if I couldn't deal with the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. I did fill the Rx but refuse to take one. I just wish these damn headakes would go away!!! Any suggestions other than Tylonol and Advil that does not work at all!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Pranayam will help you naturally, to cope with the side effects you are facing. It is described in my earlier post. Do it and let me know how you feel after 21 days.
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i was PETRIFIED to start effexor/pristiq as my psychiatrist insisted that this would be the best med(s) for me. i knew all about the withdrawl (withdrawal) and yes it happens ,but a little secret weapon you can talk to your doc about is being put on prozac while withdrwing from effexor, my psych explained that it negates the withdrawl (withdrawal) effects of the effexor/pristiq (essentially the same med) becuase it stays in your system for so long.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm on week 7 of tapering down from 150mg of effexor XR.

One thing I noticed immediately was my desire for alcohol was diminished.  I no longer felt the urge to drink (in moderation) ever day.

This week marked the first week off of effexor completely.  My lady complained that I was less light and sedate and that she missed my docile self--

My first day effexor free felt great, but the following days were rough, although the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms were no where near as strong as when i had previously forgotten to dose.  Seems like tapering was the trick.  I'm feeling a bit claustrophobic and paniced which had gotten me started on celexa and effexor in the first place.

What really pushed me to want to quit was fear over long term withdrawl (withdrawal) syndrome and on going sexual dysfunction.

Will keep ya'll posted but I think I will be successful.  Good to know that hydration, abstaining from coffee and alcohol, and B12/ O3/6/9 seem to help people so much.

Does benadryl only seem to help with the insomnia ? (which I haven't experienced yet)
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Avatar_f_tn
I thought I was the only one! My doctor put me on the Effexor in September of 2008. At first, I thought it was the best thing that has ever happened to me and I was able to manage my day to day stresses with much more ease. I even blogged about the progress and recommended it to others. Eight months later, I had a nervous breakdown that caused me to lose my job,my apartment, and throw my life into thin air, which I am still to this day-trying to crawl out of. It seemed I cared less about important factors in my life which caused me a lot of termoil!!! I felt less,cared less,loved less and it turned me into a person I DID NOT RECOGNIZE!!
               Obviously, unaware of the withdrawl (withdrawal) my doctor failed to mention, I decided on my own to slowly ween myself from them(very unwise)....with no success.After several attempts,  unmanagable withdrawl (withdrawal) HELL and worsening depression, my dose was increased from 75mg to 150mg. I am sure it did not help to become an alcoholic during this transition,(apparently strongly discouraged while on anti depressants) but considering my situation...blah blah blah.....
                        So, one day I decided to go about the weening process in the smart way and went to my doctor to do so. She slowly dropped me from 150 back down to 75  in which I was sopposed to continue for two months. During this time, I also kicked my drinking habit as well. That being said, can you IMAGINE the time I had????? Luckily I did have a support system in one person in my life. My fiance was so patient with me during this "transition" and was a God send! But that did not make it any easier! Poor guy went through HELL!
                 About one month into taking the 75mg again, I found out I was pregnant! Called my doctor and had my dose dropped prematurally to 37.5 mg. Way to soon!! Pregnancy hormones + with drawl = Crazy woman! Needless to say, we lost our child.
During my recovery, I finished off the last of my bottle. I have since been free from Effexor for approx. 4 weeks and feel relieved. However, that is not all I feel..........
                       I am angry! I am moody! I am worse off with my depression than I have ever been in the past! I am having crying spells, bitching spells, 80% of the time I am aggervated beyond comprehension!! Where is the relief?? If anybody has any answers for me at all....let me know because I am at a loss and will not ever trust another anti depressant again!!!
                    
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Avatar_m_tn
I have posted on January 14, 2011, some relaxing techniques, and this will help you very much. Follow the pranayam and let me know how you feel after 9 days. Your feedback will help others.
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Avatar_m_tn
Do you have any personal experience?  I know first hand that meditative exercises can help overall mood but you've posted multiple times asking people to take an esoteric path to recovery without a firsthand account...
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Avatar_m_tn
I encourage everyone still reading this post to report your experience with effexor withdrawl (withdrawal) to the FDA---

They haven't issued any statements about effexor since 2004, and only then it was on the subject of suicide & SSRI/SNRI consumption!!!

They should oversee a medical study!!

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for your comment. I am sharing pranayam knowledge and techniques because it works. People need to get used to the idea, that there is a natural method to help them. It is the duration of the pranayam session, which really helps the body.Benefits are gradual over a period of weeks. The choice is there - doing something yourself, will be very satisfying.
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Avatar_f_tn
My method for tapering off Effexor that I thought up myself is to open up the capsules remove 10 little white dots, did this for 10 days, then removed 20 for 10 days and so on. I was down to just taking 15 dots with little to no side effects, so I decided that was low enough to stop. This is day 2 of nothing,I'm alittle dizzy at times but no big deal. After reading other peoples issues I think this is the only way to go! Good Luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
I took my last Effexor on the 23rd. I felt fine until yesterday! My head keeps getting the "zaps" going through it! I am very queasy also! I was placed on this drug in November of 2008. I was suffering from depression after the sudden death of my beloved mother. I had no idea it would feel this way, getting off... I do have an appointment with my doctor who took me off this mess. She's not the one who placed me on it however, she should have given me a heads up on these side effects. I wasn't able to fall asleep until about 6:45 a.m. this morning. I hope this med. will pass through my system fairly quickly. I hate being irritable and just sick feeling. I'll see what my doctor has to say tomorrow. I just want all my fellow "withdrawerers," to know that I feel your "PAIN!" Hope some one can help us. I would warn anyone who is considering getting on any medication, to ask a lot of questions first! Peace!
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Avatar_f_tn
Today is my seventh day off effexor completely (after tapering). My doctor never warned me about the withdrawal effects of tapering off this medication. I read several posts like this one and ultimately assumed that most people who actually get online to post about their experiences with medications like this do so only when their particular experience was a negative one. I mean, who gets online to say what an easy time they're having, right? Oh, I was very wrong. Tapering off effexor was horrible. Day one and two completely off of it were just fine for me. Days three and four were the WORST. I had to stay home from work with flu-like symptoms - fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, insane dizziness, "brain zaps", debilitating vertigo...and much more. On day 5, when I could actually keep food down, I decided to go back to work, but I couldn't actually DO any work because of the vertigo & other brain symptoms. On day four I had started to take meclizine, which my doctor had prescribed me awhile ago for motion sickness. It rendered my nausea non-existent. It really helped. The only downside was that it made me even sleepier than I already was, but it got me through the nausea symptoms (for now, I hope they don't come back). I've heard that dramamine has helped as well.

I read the comments mentioning Pranayam as a possible helpful solution. I regularly do pilates and sometimes light yoga, but I hadn't been exercising since the withdrawal symptoms began. On day 5, when the nausea subsided, I decided that I'd start with some seated breathing exercises and light pilates stretching (any stretches that did not involve standing, of course) exercises. The breathing really helped relax my brain symptoms for a short period of time, so I repeated them throughout the day. On day 6, I did the same and added some simple yoga to the mix. The stretches helped IMMENSELY with all the body aches I was having. Since then, I've just been trying to keep that up, eat simply and healthy, and listen to my body. It has been less of a hellish experience this way, for me. I still have some vertigo and brain symptoms, but I'm starting to sleep better and overall have felt a progression, which is what I think we're all aiming for in this awful experience of getting off this drug. I hope this works for someone else.
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Avatar_f_tn
Help! I had no idea it would be this difficult to stop taking effexxor. I was only on 75 mg.... I have been slowly weaning myself off, but I am still having awful problems. My stomach is upset, I feel like I have the flu, I am extrememly irritable, my head feels very funny when I move it in any direction. I took 37.5 mg for 2 weeks, then 37.5 every other day, and now every 2 days. What can I do to help? I had to stay home from work today, because I felt so bad!
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463897_tn?1342704822
Hi,

Here's a link to our Depression Community where you may want to repost your question on a newer thread:  
http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Depression/show/57

and

Here's a link to a new user group - Side Effects from Medication:
http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Side-Effects-From-Medications/show/1118

We hope you find support in any of our communities or areas at MedHelp

Best,

Cheryl
MH Community Mgr
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