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Avatar universal

Effexor XR, there and back again...has this happened to you too?

Hello everyone!
I was first started on anti-depressants over five years ago because stress, anxiety and major depression were starting to ruin my life.
I was also prescribed Clonazepam to deal with panic attacks and I did not have to take it everyday.
They first tried me on Zoloft but it seemed to have no positive effect and was making me feel pretty lousy overall.
Then I was on Lexapro up until about almost a year ago, and that was going very well for me.
But they wanted to see what had the best effect so they even tried me on Effexor XR, I just switched overnight and actually was okay except for a few minor side-effects.
I then had the crazy idea, after five years I decided maybe I should quit this stuff all-toghether?
I had been on the Effexor for several months at this point, and felt okay for the most part but didn't want to be dependant on this type of stuff for the rest of my life.
I was worried about what the long term effects might be.
So little by little I lowered my dosage by taking apart the capsules and taking out a few of the little white balls, just a few at a time everyday.
The big mistake was not going to a doctor and doing this the correct way in the first place, I should not have been doing this on my own, but that's a mistake I am living with right at this moment.
Anyways, i had read about other people who quit it and had little to no problem doing so.
I figured, if they can do it, so can I and I did, for a short time.
I went through the withdrawal effects, dizzyness, light-headed, brain-shivers and insomnia.
Those effects gradually decreased over several months and then I felt good, like my normal self again.
But that only lasted for about two weeks and then all of a sudden I was hit all at once, like being hit by a mack-truck.
I was becoming very depressed again, worse than even before I took any type of anti-depressants.
I was/am crying all the time, feeling deeply depressed, not eating as much as I used to and my insomnia became even worse.
I also have pain in the right side of my chest and it feels tight and like a balled up knot, which I understand is related to anxiety.
Speaking of anxiety, I could not stand being off of the medicine and had no choice but to start taking it again.
But the thing is, I still feel like I have bottomed out and then some.
I have been taking it again for a few weeks now and I still feel depressed, panic, high amounts of anxiety, despair and my mind seems to be racing.
I keep having thoughts about death and people dying, thinking I am just going to die and I feel really sad about everything.
The only thing that calms me down is the Klonopin, and I don't want to take that everyday and become a spaced-out zombie.
Although that might be a better state than the one I am right now.
I actually feel like I am in the middle of a never-ending anxiety/panic attack.
When I can actually sleep, I wake up and there are those feelings again.
Also when I can sleep, I tend to oversleep by several hours.
I feel afraid, alone, helpless and sometimes hopeless.
I have no idea how long this is going to last and it's really starting to drive me crazy.
I have no intentions of hurting myself, I just want this emotional roller coaster to end.
When I go back to my doctor I am going to ask to be put back on Lexapro, unless anyone knows of something that works better?
I don't even really feel like myself half the time and things that I used to do for fun, I just don't care anymore.
I honestly feel like I was just dropped into a black pit and I cannot get out, that's how horrible this is for me.
I feel so much worse than before I quit it, and I am stuck in this major depressive episode.
How do I even know if the Lexapro will help me if I go back to that?
I am just really freaked out about all of this and during the holiday season, this has made things nearly  un-manageable, but I know I cannot be the only one to have gone through this.
Even as I write this I feel a sense of dread, anxiety and panic, for no reason that I know of.
Did quitting the Effexor the way I did, and the re-start taking it screw with my mind?
And if so, can this be reversed?
I have been like this for almost a month now and I can't stand it anymore, I am willing to try and medicine that will make this stop.
Also, as might be usual with this sort of thing, my sex drive is pretty much totally gone, and I feel afraid to even sit in a room by myself, which I never had a problem with before.
Alot of these things I am experiencing are things that I never dealt with before, or at least not at this magnitude.
I have tried St.John's Wort twice in my life, once before I ever started on anti-depressants and another time before I re-started the Effexor.
both times it did not help me and I could only take it for about a week because it caused me to have really bad headaches for some reason.
It is a comfort to know I can come here and talk with other people, but it's hard to distract myself from these thoughts in my head that loop over and over again.
I just want to know if anyone else has gone through this or a similar situation and if possible, explain to me how you got out of it.
As it so happens, both sides of my family have a history of major depression, lucky me.
Most of my relatives take care of their problems by drinking and smoking, which I don't want to do.
Anywho, thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read this, I appreciate it.
I am open to any reasonable advice.
39 Responses
1128565 tn?1316724743
Hi So sorry to hear how your suffereing but this is not you it's withdrawals even if you go
back on the medication because you had been off then quite a while. I am in a support
group and there is a lady like you there, the withdrawals mimic depression anxiety. Your brain does like sudden changes and going back on them has exaggerated the
withdrawals you are not going mad and you won't go mad !! I have been off effexor seven months now physical symptoms are subsiding but ive got the loneliness, fear, in the morning is the worst you will find that. If I get the anxiety I say to myself i'm not going there and tell myself it's withdrawals it really helps.
Effexor is a horrible drug to come off if I'd known that I would never have gone on them
I was on them eight years. I am on a beta blocker propananol 40 mg's and clonidine 100 mg's to help with the withdrawals. Your panic will be palpitations when you are on these tablets they shut down adrenaline and then when you come off them your body
over produces adrenaline.
In time they will go next time do it very gradually you could ask Cita my support group how to come down they are on the web.
Take care
Lorraine xx
Avatar universal
Ummm, just wanted to say sorry if my post is too long.
I wasn't trying to write a book, but was hoping that having added details would help if anyone had any advice or info for me.
What I am saying in basic terms is I quit Effexor, went through the withdrawal, felt fine for a week or two and then felt worse than ever before.
I started retaking the medication again and now I have symptoms that I never had when I took it the first time.
Namely, increased anxiety, worse insomnia and overall just feeling worse.
I don't know if maybe it's because I am taking a generic version of the drug?
Anyways, if anyone has anything to say/add please do so.
1546938 tn?1297123273
when you talk to your doc. you may have to start on a higher amount of Lexapo.  I know  they had to up mine do to the depression and  bipolar.  so i do  know how you are feeling.   may be a place to start, Also i know for a bit Abilfy  did help me  out  but   i had some odd side effects.  So i had to stop.
  I know it sounds bad  but keep talking about it. Write and jurnal it. do not be afraid of showing it to your Docs.  It will help them see what you are going through at the time.  
  It is scarry but you are not alone. Times it does feel that way. Just remember you are loved and  there is alwasy hope and light at the end of the long road.  
Avatar universal
Thanks for the kind words.
I never even thought about Abilify and I will look into that.
My main problem is dealing with the anxiety/panic aspect, it's driving me up a wall.
There are so many different drugs/meds out there it's hard to know what works best.
Anyways, thanks again!
Avatar universal
Thank you very much Lorraine for the information, it helps to know I am not going insane.
I was becoming afraid because even though I have been re-taking the meds, I still felt like I was going through the withdrawal.
I am going to look into the things you mentioned right away because I am still feeling some of the effects even now.
You have made it through seven months of this!?
You must have nerves of steel.
Oh, and I know what you mean about the morning being the worst time...it's the same for me pretty much everyday.
If I ever knew the Effexor was going to make me feel like this I never would have let them give it to me in the first place.
Anyways, thanks alot and I really appreciate the info.
It's nice to be able to have some peace of mind in these matters.
Thank You!
- Jason
Avatar universal
HI ,
Been on Effexor and my Doctor changed my medication to dilouxetine packed them in seven months ago am taking 5HTP still bit ropey and anxious but determined to stay off either of them and yes Morning is still bad now !
Hang in there and hopefully  you will be fine over time like I will be myself

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