Depression/Mental Health Forum
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Avatar universal


   Allmost Three weeks ago, I had elective cosmetic surgery. About 4-5 weeks prior I had  to gradually go off my 75mg.of Effexor because the surgeon said it could cause bleeding. I started back on the Effexor Jan. 19, and I was on 37.5 for a couple of days, and then just went back to 75mg. until February 3rd. because my doctor said I was raising up too fast, because I am very anxious,adjitated, and depressed. I feel horrible. He also has me take .o5 xanax am and pm ( I also take ambien ) Is there anything that would help me better. A friend told me to check to see if Klonapin would help me  instead of the xanax. How long does it take before the effexor starts to help again ? The xanax is only tempoary until the effexor kicks in, but can't xanax cause more depression ? I feel very alone even around people, and I don't even want to go anywhere, but i also don't want to be alone because I feel so scared. Is the normally the way this medication works, I been on it for about 7 years, after breast cancer. Please let me know, I need words of encouragement. When will I feel good again ?   Thank you for your quick response. Bonnie
35 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
If you did well before surgery, you should do just as well after surgery on Effexor. You might ask your doctor about klonopin because it is longer acting and less problematic than xanax.  The combination of klonopin and Effexor should do the job quickly, given the timetable you mentioned, you should be feeling much better within days going forward.
Avatar universal
Xanax is a type of benzodiazepine, I've never tried it though. It is an anti-anxiety. My doctor gave me Klonopin (also a benzo) when I switched antidepressants, I had to wait 2 weeks before starting the new antidepressant. Klonopin is also useful when starting Paxil, which causes really bad anxiety for the first 2 weeks. I remember asking the doctor about the merits of taking a tranquiliser (a downer!) when depressed, but he said it reduced the occurance of the depressive thoughts. I wasn't put on a high taking the tranquiliser, but I wasn't sad either. I'm sure your Effexor will kick in soon. (it does take a few weeks,  the SSRIs can take 3 months to reach there full effect)
Avatar universal
Thanks, I know I have to push myself through this as well, it's just very tough. I guess being patient, and trying to work through this is the hardest part. It's such an alone feeling when you go through this, and you just wat to feel better fast .   Tahanks again, Bonnie
Avatar universal
I've been taking Effexor and Xanax together for about a year. I take the Effexor every day and the Xanax only when needed (most of the time it's only maybe twice a week). I've been doing fine on this combination, and although everyone is different, I think with the stress of the surgery and the anxiety of just getting off the Effexor in the first place might be why you're feeling the way you are. Just keep doing as the doctor has instructed and hopefully you should be feeling good again soon. And yes, it will probably take the Effexor a good 2 weeks before you start feeling better again. Good luck.
Avatar universal
I was on anti depressants for 8 years but I felt like I got more mood swings, weight gain, and loss of sex drive on everyone of them. Finally I was on effexor for 3 years and I decided to come off because I felt like they were doing worse than better for me. I've been off of effexor for 23 days now and I wake up EVERY morning at the same exact time, sweating, nautious, anxious, and I run to the bathroom with loose bowels. I've been starting every morning like this every day since I came off. Is there any hope that things will get better? I feel like I'm stuck like this because I've been working on an anxiety/depression program, but I feel like something is physically wrong. I've learned how to prevent panic for the most part. I just don't know how to stop the mornings. I've been to 3 different hospitals in the past 6 months and I feel like the whole doctor thing just made me feel so much more under pressure. I can definitely feel the relief in that area of stress but I'm still sick physically every day. I could even talk to myself positively and keep myself occupied but I'm so anxious and I don't want to want to go back on this medicine. This is where all of my panic is coming from now. I can't stop crying and I'm not exercising. I don't know what to do. I've learned a lot about separating psychological and physiological and how they work in unison, but I feel like the only reason why this is so mentally stressful is because I don't know where it's coming from this time and I'm scared and stuck. Please, someone help me
Avatar universal
I'm wondering if most people on Effexor, have a problem with sleeping, when they first are taking it ? I've been on 75 mg. for over 4 weeks, and an ambien at night would help me sleep. My docter upped me to 150 mg about three days ago, and even with taking  with Klonapin ( temporarily ) and ambien, I'm still restless, especially my legs, and cannot sleep. Does this generally subside after a few weeks, or is this dose too much for me ? My depression is 100% better with the higher dose. Anyone have any comments or experience with this ? Thanks so much for your input. Bonnie
Avatar universal
I felt EXACTLY how you feel after having been off my Effexor 75mg for 5weeks. I had to be weaned off, and then completely off two weeks before a surgery. I'm with you, it was hell. The worst part was I've been back on it now since Jan. 19, after the docter doubled my dose, and am finally feeling better. All I did was cry, and felt so alone and scared. I have been on antidepressant most of my life, because I definitely suffer from clinical depression and anxiety. Maybe you dose is too high or too low. Check with your doctor, or find a new docter who understnads and can help you. Don't give up. I tried paxil, zoloft, prozac,serzone, and several others, and eventually the efffexor worked for me. After I'm on the 150 mg for several weeks, I'm cutting back a little more so I can determine the right dosage again that works for me with the least amount of side effects. Right now, I cannot sleep with this higher dose and am adjectated. Don't give up, Let me know how youre doing,    Bonnie
Avatar universal
I have read the closed forum headed "Withdrawal Symptons from Effexor XR" to see if other's are/have experiences when stopping Effexor.  

I have gone 'cold turkey" which I know I should not have after only taking a small dose of 75mg in the morning along with 2 Ritalin for about 2 years (before that taking 150mg).  I had forgotten to get my script and I thought I should try to see if I could do without the Effexor.  I have been diagnosed with Adult ADHD and depression which I probably have had all my life and am now going through menopause.  It did take me awhile to find the right medication mix as I did react to some until this combination seemed good for me.

This is my fifth day and after very little sleep I am very tired and like a zombie.  I have taken 2 Ritalin each morning for a couple of days which didn't do much for the weird withdrawal symptoms. I took a Zanax which has helped a bit during the day today. Earlier in the week I was experiencing dizziness, difficulty in concentrating and to focus on doing things, very strange in my head, teary, sweats etc etc. Not nice but after reading everyone's comments I am not alone.  The dizziness/light headedness is still there and especially when you try and read or do an email that needs your concentration like right now.

I would like to continue without the Efexor to see how I cope but it is a worry that this medication can be so difficult to stop.  I can't complain about it as it has helped me whilst I have been on it but I have got to the stage of wanting to know who I am again as other's see me now with very little motivation especially my husband who is against all these types of drugs. I know I am more disorganised than I ever used to be but at least I don't worry like I did.

I hope there is no long term damage. I suppose something that stablises the brain chemistry with each dose must have some reaction in the brain when you stop taking it.  It is interesting to read that Efexor is used for other conditions like migraines.

I thought anyone reading this maybe able to relate to it as well.  I wonder if the drug manafacturers take the time to read these medical forums as there seems to be a lot of unhappy people experiencing these withdrawal symptoms.

Regards, Lionness
Avatar universal
After a better night's sleep and probably more able to think properly I thought I would add these comments.

You must expect withdrawal symptoms if the SSRI's like Efexor can take up to 3 months to get the right dosage building up gradually and probably having to take something else like Zanax initially to help you cope to get you to that point.

When I got diagnosed, I do recall earlier (late 2002/2003) when trying to get the meds right how I hated the feeling of separatedness from everyone else and being very quiet and listening to everyone rather than joining in as I seemed to have to concentrate on what they were saying.  This was totally opposite to the person I was.  I took Solian for a short time to control the ruminating which is very unpleasant. Once I got to using just the 1 x 75mg Efexor and 2 Ritalin (a big difference to the 2 x 5 times a day prescribed dosage) I was good. This was my own choice not my doctor's. Of course, drinking lots of water, fish oil plus other natural supplements are to be taken.

I do wonder though whether I really needed any of all this - during my life when a crisis occurs is when I have the inability to cope.  Maybe I will be better now.

It is good to be able to comment like this. We have to expect withdrawal's unfortunately and we tend to forget that when you are desperate to find a quick fix for your depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts you will take anything.  When your brain/thoughts are not coping it is terrible and 'mental illness' still has that stigma to it and hard to explain and for your loved one's to understand and help you let alone try and hold down a job.  It is not like a sore that you can just put a bandaid on.  As my husband says, you just have to deal with it. It is just as well the drug companies develop the drugs they do as it would be terrible not having them at  desperate times.

Avatar universal
I agree with you whole heartily. I know  now though after being back on my Effexor, that I definitely need it. I realize how it really does help me, even though I don't like the side effects. Especially sleeplessness, but that has always been a problem for me anyway. I also take ambien every night. Oh well, you got to do what you think is best for you. Good Luck, I hope you're doing better. By the way, Effexor works wonders for hot flashes, I was initially put on Effexor after breast cancer, and all my doctors do agree it difinitely helps menopause symtoms. Let me know how your doing. Take care, BonnieJ
Avatar universal
Every night I can't sleep well with Effexor 150 and I dream a lot about the past and people I'd rather forget about and it seems like everything I fear comes up in my dreams. Man this is never ending..when I'm awake I'm in a bad mood 'cause I can't sleep and dream crappy dreams and it's a never ending cycle...I have to take Gravol to sleep at night 'cause it's less toxic and cheaper than the average sleeping pills but it's still doesn't get rid of my nightmares and obssesive dreams. Anyone experience this?
Avatar universal
I was able to withdraw off Effexor in January after taking 75 mg for over a year.  The withdrawal was difficult, with lots of extreme dizziness, irritability and general YUCK feeling.  It took over 3 weeks before I really felt better.  I did take dramamine to combat the dizziness, although I still felt like my brain was rattling around in my head for several weeks.

Never again will I take this poison.  

Now, I am totally detoxed and feeling better than ever!

Avatar universal
You are having a difficult time with those nightmares which aren't very pleasant.  When I was diagnosed with moderate depression and AADHD and a bit of a mess, I know initially I had a difficult time with dreams, ruminating, being a zombie etc until I got the tablets right.  Maybe Efexor is not for you.  It does seem to take awhile for the brain chemistry to get into balance again and you may need something else to help you until that is  right.  

It is amazing how things can change and how all of a sudden you feel like you can cope again - still early days though.

Good luck and be guided by your doctor and wean off any of these medications gradually as the withdrawals aren't very pleasant.

Cheers, Lionness
Avatar universal
Hi there.  It was great to read your comments.  I am better now in my brain.  On top of this I have been battling a dose of the flu the last couple of days so I really haven't been able to do very much at all especially with the hot weather.  I am not sure whether Efexor did help me with the hot flushes or not as I was still getting them on it and still do now I am not taking them. I know now when I get worried or something is bothering me my whole body gets hot and I get very sweaty - is this part of my now "uncontrolled" depression or the menopause??

I need now to see how I am feeling over the next week or so to really fully appreciate the me without my tablets and see if I can cope alright.  My like is very stressful right now with money woes so it will be a good test for me as security is a big issue for me and has made me "crumble" in the past.  I do know that I am very outspoken and not as tolerant right now which I am not sure is a good or bad thing yet.  Time will tell.

I will keep you posted on my progress and thank you for your comments.  Cheers, Lionness
Avatar universal
Please visit the Effexor withdrawal forum to find out what a nightmare drug Effexor really is.  What the doctors don't like to tell you is that if you change your lifestyle and your diet and get off the medications, then you will be a healthy critter and not need them anymore.  That's the truth.  They had me on Effexor, Paxil, Welbutrin, Buspar, Xanax for 3 years and I am getting off and every day I thank God.  Because there is nothing wrong with us.   That is, until they start us on their "regimens", you take the heart drug and it affects your libido, so they give you Viagra.  But Viagra upsets your stomach and they give you Nexium.  But Nexium makes you gain weight and your blood pressure climbs and they start in on the Cartia, but all of this stuff causes depression and lethargy, so they start you in the psychotropic meds.  WHO DO THESE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE, GIVING US A DOZEN MEDICATIONS???  They certainly aren't healing anybody.  Read Kevin Trudeau's new book, The truth THEY don't want you to know about.  It will blow your mind.  I read it 2 weeks ago, and it just blew me away.  My mother and father were professionals in medicine and engineering.  I myself have a good education and have had several rewarding careers.  And you know what?  I have decided to take back my life from these folks in the white coats who live on the hill.  IN Fresno, all the doctors live on the bluff in huge houses, a place referred to as "pill hill"  They are making so much money writing these meds, can the honestly say they are being objective in treating ;you.  NOT!!!!

Good luck to all of you who think the meds are still the answer.  Right now, I may seem like a crazed idiot, but remember you heard it from me first as over the next few years you get sicker and sicker on their meds.  AND watch out for the obesity that is the price tag for all of this.  Which of course funds more and more doctors houses as they rush you to surgery because they made you too fat to survive without it.

Avatar universal
I did read the Efexor withdrawal forum and I don't know whether to agree with you or not.  

At the time I needed medication and at the time you are desperate for something to help you.  Now I am having a go without them and I think there does come a time that you decide for yourself that it is ok to go it alone and that is probably because your state of mind is right for you to do it.  However the withdrawals were not what I expected as I had missed a day here or there in the past without any side effects.

I was not on the long list of tablets that you were on (thank goodness) and I would have been alarmed if I was.  I know taking the recommended vitamin supplements for AADHD seems a bit over the top and I don't always stick to that BUT fish oil is essential I reckon for good brain activity.

What would desperate people do if these tablets were not available - what alternative is there for us/them?  I will try and get to read that book you recommend and thank you for suggesting it.  Cheers The Lionness
108944 tn?1222281078
i think that is so true . a couple of month ago iwas up to 9 different meds and 3 vitamins.now im only on -1mg klonipin,
                                             -2mg estrace,hormon
                                             -200mg topamax
                       and from 112.5mg effexor to 37.5mg this
                       friday i take my last pill. going off of this posin has been the worst thing ever, i have been so sick ,headaces,vomiting,brain shivers-zaps, sounds like bottle rockets shooting off in my head,i go from cold to hot just like that,and my family thinks im turning into a monster because of my mood swings.i cant understand how doctors are allowed to give this stuff out knowing what you will go threw when you go off of it .the name makes it sound like its going to fix something kinda funny.wait tell you go off.the adds dont say one thing about the awful withdrawal.david i will be reading the book you wrote about.
Avatar universal
I tried Effexor for a month ... it really had no effect, at least I didn;t see any. I just stopped taking it. Insomnia is a huge problem with or without the Effexor for me. I take Ambien every night and honestly rearely actually get a GOOD night sleep even with the Ambien. I think I've built a substantial toleration for it. Any of you have that problkem??? I've fought a number of anxiety attacks over the last year or so and find myself somewhant generally uneasy pretty often. I have some Xanax but rarely take it. I'm afraid to take the Xanax and then take Ambien at night. Do any of you have any experience with this or like this?
Avatar universal
Depression medications are a blessing and a curse.  They are a blessing (4 years ago I had post-partum depression) and a curse as right now as I am trying to wean myself off of them (with the help of a great psychologist).  The problem is that they are given out like candy without a lot of knowledge.  They do work and are extremely important, but then the real hard part begins when you are actually on them and that's, in my opinion, when the system breaks down.  Each person is so different and how they react to the drugs is so different that there really is no set path that is the same for everyone.  Unfortunately, it is trial and error.  I have gone through hell this past year thinking that I have had all sorts of weird diseases and in the end, I was simply overprescribed on Effexor.  The real kicker in this is that all of the doctors and specialists did not think it was the drugs and they sent me for a million tests to find the "real" culprit.  Finally, a neurologist told me--you aren't depressed--the drugs are giving you the fatigue.  Finally, someone who understood the drugs.  The only answer is education--these forums should be printed, laminated and hung in every medical practionners office.
108944 tn?1222281078

108944 tn?1222281078
hey ,the david how are are you ????
    just cheaking!!!
Avatar universal
36 years old/Male

I have been taking some meds for what I call situational depression---bankrupted business, new baby & no insurance, no job, marital problems...and to top it off my only brother was hit by a car and killed. I had to ID the body as my sis could not go in and my dad was killed in a plane crash while I was still young (so I guess I was the man).  Most of these things happened one after the other over a period of one year.  Sorry to rant.  About 6 months after the funeral I decide to go see a doctor about how I was feeling--depressed, weight loss, no motivation to do the things I loved etc.  So he gives me Welbutrin and it doesn't do much.  Then he says to quit taking it and prescribed Effexor XR and wanted me to work up to 300mg per day, which I did.  I felt better but ran into a problem--my company insurance changed in Jan. 06 and the cost of this medication with my new "insurance" was in orbit.  So, I say it was prescribed to help me through this difficult time and things are getting much better so I quit cold turkey.  BIG MISTAKE!!  I was O.K for a day or two and then the hammer came down--I started having these wah wah sensations in my ears, I was depressed and just wanted to sleep, nauseated, emotional--basically felt like I was dying or something.  I had no idea that this was going to happen so I just thought it was a really bad sinus infection.  I went back to the doctor and they said it was a chronic sinus infection and an ear infection.  That was like 6 or seven months ago.  Since that time I have been able to get some doses to taper down,then I run out of meds and the wah wah in my ears come back.  During this period of months of the on and off stuff--I have basically had one "Sinus/Ear Infection" after the other...basically a walking cold.  After seeing the things posted on this forum and the things I have experienced--It is definitely this darned medicine.  I finally tapered down to like 75mg./day and then ran out.  I am currently having these "brainzaps", the sensation that my brain is moving around in my skull, cold symptoms, irritability and I'm eating like a PIG.  Very bizarre.
Again, I apologize for ranting but I had to vent.  My advice to anyone thinking of this medication or any similar is--PLEASE analyze the PROS and CONS, and ask yourself "DO I REALLY NEED TO TAKE THIS ROUTE?"  I have found that the Effexor-Way is a damned tough road.  Thank You and good luck.
Avatar universal
Hi everyone,
I am new to this forum. I want to start off by saying how great it is to find people going through the same trauma (effexor withdrawal) though of course I wish NONE of us were in this boat!

It's been 4 days since I've been off the effexor and the brain zaps are driving me insane. Also nausea, diarrhea, dreams that I'm dying, weepiness. I am a graduate student and had to cut my class tonight because I felt too horrible.

Two questions: 1) How long can I expect these horrible feelings to last and 2) What can I do/take to feel better? Does Benadryl really work?

Bless you all - stay strong - and thanks for the support.

Avatar universal
TO DeBacker-  i just read your post about the "wah wah" sensations and that made me laugh b/c that is how i describe it too.  And, interestingly enough I have had sinus/cold trouble that will not go away, as well.  
As I sit here, I have a kleenex up my nose (though when i stand up, my nose will become clogged). I have to breathe out of my mouth at night b/c my nose is completely clogged- not with snot but its like the sides of it have grown together.
I'm basically a walking mess. my husband never liked the idea of me being on any meds, and now he is really worried since basically every day he comes home to a cluttered dark dungeon and me in bed. nice life, eh?
i did manage to make dinner last night, so thats something, right?
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