Depression Community
10.6k Members
Avatar universal

effexor is addictive!

From what I have read, everyone is expereincing the same withdrawal symptoms from effexor as I get. Endless crying spells, shock sensations, nausea, confusion, me? after 3 days I get psychotic something that had never happened before. Major shakes, sweats. These symptoms make me run to the nearest pharmacy and get more. Generally the only reason I go off them is because I run out because of a dr reschedule, or some stupid insurance foul up, it is NEVER by choice. I take 350 ml daily and have for 7 yrs now, they do not work anymore, they cannot increase the dose too dangerous.  But the withdrawals  are so severe I just keep taking them.

This prompted me to ask my pharmacist if they were, in fact, addictive. I was told that technically they have recenty found out that yes,  it was, however since they were not the kind of drug that causes drug seeking behavoir  (in other words they do not get you high,) they do not fit the catagory under FDA standards for an addictive drug, even though they do cause severe withdrawal symptoms.

After that I called the FDA, they confirmed that they had gotten similar inquiries, but under their protocall for addictive drugs they do not fit.

I then called Wyth (the manufacturer) and they full addmitted that since thier initial trials they have found out that although they do not meet the criteria under FDA standards, in fact they do have severe withdrawal symptoms and could be considered addictive, that is if they got you high. They say they have added large warnings not to stop taking them all at once and to taper off, as well as some of the symptoms associated with stopping all at once.Indeed they have.

They quickl sent me tons of info, then wanted me to send permission to see my medical records (uh, I think not).

Personally I am so tired of being a human genuie pig that I have decided to taper off and try a holistic approch.

yeah I know my spelling is horrid no spell ck here, for those who go nuts about that sort of thing sorry, but I have always believed it is the content that counts, not the spelling in the long run.

For those of you that are having the same problems with this drug, get proactive and call Wyth. The more they hear from us about this problem, the more likely they will do something about it, like put a disclaimer on it telling us that it can be addictive. Especially in these litegeous days, how many times a day do the Larry Parkers of this world advertise about class actions regarding adverse effects of medications? I am sure they will do anything they can to avoid that. So make a call!!
14 Responses
242912 tn?1402543492
Wow!  Thanks for sharing this valuable and reliable information.  You should repost this every now and then because questions on effexor come up so much, in fact, could you copy and paste this onto the anxiety forum?  Effexor is talked about alot there too.  I would do the copy and pasting if I knew how : (

Thanks so much and good luck with the taper.  You know, I went off of Paxil and Remoran 4yrs ago and my depression only got better.  I don't know how old you are, but my theory is that for some people, they seem to grow out of their depression as they get older, especially if therapy is involved.  The best thing I ever did for myself was get off AD's

Take care....
Avatar universal
I am so glad to see this being shared here. I have my doubts as to whether or not this 'addictive' quality is intentional or not because of the big oxycotin issue a few years back where the manufacturer KNEW their pills were more addictive than anythingelse on the market because doctors were telling them so,, but they continued to sell it all the whle telling people it was LESS addictive than anything availble. Worse yet,, the FDA slapped them with a two million dollar fine,, which they GLADLY paid because the sale of their products up until that point were already well over several billion...

How come the pharms can get away with this?? Those who made crack certainly didnt get a fine they got JAIL TIME!

Everytime we take a brain chemical altering drug we are EXPERIMENTING with our bodies because every single person reacts to these meds differently.. and no pill will HEAL the mind,, they only cover up the pain and hopefully keep it under control as we try to work through the issues... but then to make them addictive so that the withdrawls are to painful to make getting off them possible... America should be horrified by this... type in SSRI psycosis into google... the results will SHOCK you if you havent seen how many violent crimes by previousely non-violent people have been committed.

BOTH the columbine boys were on brain chemical altering prescribed meds.. Andrea Yates was on Wellbutrin and anouther SSRI... the list goes on for days and we NEVER hear about that on the news.. at best we hear the person was on something for depression.. and its being hidden by the rich pharm corps who have their lobbiests hands in every congressmans pocket... makes me shake just thinking about it.

*bows with respect and apprication for the plight of everyone negatively effected by these medications*

Avatar universal
the latest news says the guy who did the high school shooting lastweek HAD BEEN on medication of some kind but supposedly had recently quit taking it... not sure if I believe that or not, but I find it ironic that every person was either on or supposed to be on psych meds...... that cant be a coinicendence.
Avatar universal
Jenn- I didn't know that about the Columbine boys. Hmm.. Interesting.

Anyway, I've read a lot about Effexor and withdrawl. Many people experience nausea and dizziness.

I also think it was on www.adverse-drug-reaction.net that I saw that many people experienced withdrawl effects. You can check that site for adverse reactions reported to the FDA- maybe you can find something about the drug being addictive.

Good luck =)
Avatar universal
When I was put on paxil I had a psychotic break (diagnosed at the mental hospital) that caused me to behave bizzarely.... I went into the basement of the apt. buildings I lived in and began flipping off everyones lights. They found me in the crawl space totally dillusional...and thats just the part Im wiling to share. Believe me,, psychosis from these meds is VERY real in some people.. so you believe what you want.. but I KNOW what I know. The way I behaved while on Paxil was COMPLETELY out of the norm for me before them or since...
Avatar universal
I actually did somthing while on paxil that caused the police an ambulance and two fire trucks to come and take me away... even then (this was 13 years ago) they knew it had something to do with the meds I was on and I was never charged for what happened BECAUSE of my mental state. So believe it or not, thats how badly some brains can react to the increase of seritonin that these meds cause.

Avatar universal
boy oh boy have you got that right!  I am begining to wonder if a lot of these horrific crimes that have occured by people who went off their meds are a result of withdrawals from the meds rather than the return of their initial illness. It would be very interesting to see a study done as to how long certain people who have brain disorders and have committed uncharacteristicly violent crimes, had been off those meds, epecially the anti depressants.

This is especially of interest to me since all stats and studes done over the years have shown that out of the way over 30 mill persons RECEIVING treatment (imagine how many others who have no access to, or are fearful of the stigma, or just do not know better have these disorders as well) only 2% when left untreated can become violent. The study also shows that persons with brain disorders are actually LESS prone to violence than the so called "reguar?" folks.

unfortuanately the majority of the general public is totally unaware of these facts, and here it is 2008. very little knowledge is being put out there as far as the stigmas vs the truth. as far as al lof us are concerned we are still the most misunderstood, discriminated against (did you know that in at least one state, if you have a conservador you are not allowed to vote!) they outright lie about us in the media and get away with it. Why? because WE LET THEM. What can we do? well if it is a news program, or the news itself, reporting adverse and untrue intormation about us, we can actually sue for defamation as well as liable. I worked in the entertainment industry for yrs, the only way to get them to get with the program is to hit em where it hurts. Bad publicity and taking their cash-or better yet making them use said cash for prime time public service educational ads to dispell stigma and educate the public as to who we really are.
All in all the treatment of persons with brain disorders has changed very little over the years. Instead of straight jackets and lobotimies we have drugs that doctors cannot even figure out, researchers cannot explain, why and how they work, gee they just seem to. For example, ask how the anti convulsants work that they give to manic depressives (like me), they have no clue. Why they switched to anti psychotics instead of anti convulsants and why those of us with no history of psychotic behavior should take them for manic depression. They term these as "mood stabalizers"when in fact they are simply anti mania drugs that they do not have clue one how, why, or even if they work. there is no definitive proof that anti depressants send us into major manic episodes, and many docs do believe in treating our deppresssion as well as mania. Lots and lots of us take them without going manic panic.

perhaps the lack of proper treatment of our depression s well as mania is the cause of us having the highest suicide rate of all other brain disorders. Perhaps it is because of the huge extremes of our highs and lows.

there is no such thing as a "mood stabalizer" which would be something that treats bth mania and depression. effexor was great in the begining for me a miracle in fact for a yeat and a half and then it just stopped working. Since it has the two major componants at play in manic depression norpinephrine and serotonn, it held hope for us as possibly being the answer to being a mood stabalizer. Yes, the disclaimer says it is not recomended for thetreatment of manic depression, as do all anti depressants. however the evidence is simply not there as far as the danger of us going overbaord manic.
Avatar universal
well you certainly are entittled to your opinion, however, given the huge nubers of people that do have, and have had verified psychosis as a result of withdrawals, especially from effexor, and the 50 page report wyeth sent to me about effexor, they even say that this is one of the bonafide side effects from suddenly stoping the med without tapering.

along with thremors, neausea, diarrea, exteme sweating, possible sezesures, mental confusion, possible psychosis, uncontrollable shaking, major changes in blood pressure, (up one minute, down the next) tacacaardia. All of these are withdrawal symptoms, not disimilar to those of many major controlled substances.

facts are facts. I am wondering what medication you are takng and for how long?  
Avatar universal
are you refering to attention defiect disorder meds?? still no clear answer to my question, age and how long you have been taking the meds, and actually what meds they are.

Yes it is true that for some these meds are very effective, however it is also true that for many others they are not. Now there are withdrawals and there are withdrawals.

withdrawals from diet coke, and nicotine differ vastly than those of effexor. I am not stating that all people get dangerous or homicidal, however i do get way more aggressive verbally as well as throwing things screaming ect, and my imagination goes wild as far as paranoia goes, as compared to my so called "normal" un treated self (which was for 47 yrs of my life during which I was diagnosed with everything from "aggitatated depression to some new and rare turrets syndrome, that just happened to have ll the same symptoms as manic depression, that was the 80's.

however the withdrawals that I so many others have had from effexor are very, very different than those of  most anti depressants. This was personally admitted to me over the phone by a rep from the manufacurer of effexor, Wyeth Pharmacuticals. The 50 page updated ducument they sent to me shows this to be so. everyone's brain chemistry is different this why we have to try so many meds until we hit on the "right combo" we all react in different ways to different doses of thes meds. after doing vast research on this subject I have discovered that although we have made huge steps in learning about the brain in so many ways, we still actually really know very, very little. much of what they think they have figured out is constantly being reevaluated and found to be wrong, thus prompting more research. obviously a very fasinating subject for we.

And feeling like killing yourself is and aggressive act, as well as feeling. My bro did it almost 20 yrs ago, he just could not help himself, to tender for this world and manic depressive as are the majority of my family. the result of the aftermath of his suiscide never leaves me and there is still a huge vacant space in my heart and soul that yaerns for him to still be here with us, especially me as he was my closest family member in a real messed up family.why do I say it is an aggressive act? because as bad as we feel, we never take the time to consider of care about the impact it will have on every single person we leave behind, Sure we believe no one really cares at these moments BUT the fact is they do, it's a trick of the mind, fixable and resolvable. I had many attempts over the years, thankfully none succeded and yeah that did **** me off at the time, not anymore. Since my Brother's suicide I now know and cannot put my friends and family thru the many years of sorrow and pain I suffered when My Bro went. This also pisses me off when I so want to be done with it all and yet I promised him I would never do it and in fact do every and anything for anyone about to. And so I have.

I honestly believed and was so gung ho about these little miraculous pills I full heartedlythought I had finally found the answer to my suffering, until the county clinic I attended had funds cut and decided to do away with therapy. I did well until then. however meds and no therapy is a disaster. all they do is put a band aid over the real issues that go on inside of us. a once a month check in for refills and ten mins of how ya doin? just is not working and what I consider downright dangerous. but thanks to both Bush and Arnold here in Calif budets were cut to pieces and the very first cuts are always, always have been: mental health services...so bye bye therapists. Therapy being the FIRST ave of treatmnet and considered the most important part of our treatment, secondary to the meds. besides with reg therapy we have someone monitoring on a reg basis how we are doing on our meds and at the first sign of trouble can act.

We all deserve the best care possible, and be it a county clinic or the high rise beverly hills shrink, on this issue there should not be any difference in the care and treatment we need and deserve. but alas there is. why?? because WE do not act on our own behalf. We leave it to advocacy groups like NAMI, who are aliaghned with pharm Companies, i had the opportuniy to attend, on behalf of my clinic,one of their conventions several years ago, and there were more drug companies there than anything else.

We ourselves, messed up as we may be have to fight the good fight for ourselves, and only then we will be taken seriously. how? everytime you see a news report or news show (they are obligated to report facts and truth and if they are wrong and harm anyone in this are subject to both defamation of charactor as well as liable suits. having worked in that industry most of my life as both an artist as well as biz person, trust me, the two things they tremble in their guccie shoes over is very bad publicity, and losing money. Although money should not be the thing asked for, we need prime time constant airing of publice service educational and anti stigma spots, truth vs stigma, to have large numbers of people on a set with well known successful and recognizable celebs, financiers, polititions, artisits, and all that good stuff showing that this is not an illness that discriminates. also showing the correleation betweeen the arts, sciences and world leadership policies, and the greatest inovations that resulted from their ability to think outside the box, never give up their so called "delusions of grandeur". Monet, Van Gogh, Charlie PArker, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Colbain, Winston Churchill, Sir Issac Newton, Michealangelo, keats, mark twain, Beethoven and so, so many others.

We need not hang our heads in shame for were it not for us, where would the greatest inovations in so many importand fields have come from??? we are way more than some illness, or disease, for most of us have very high levels of intellegence and given the proper cercunstances can achieve the most amazing things known to man. there are many listings of "famous folks" who had or have manic depression. I hope eveyone here will check them out. we all need a good dose of self worth, comadary, and knowing that it is possable no matter how "sick" we may consider our selves to achieve great things. And also that we happen to be in some mighty awesome company.

this goes out to everyone here if ever you are seriously considering suicide, have the plan,  and are just about there PLEASE I BEG YOU TO GET IN TOUCH WITH ME no one can stop the enevitable however suicide is never really enevitable. everyone of you is valuable, has something to contribute to the world and one just never knows what that next day will bring. just Please either let me try and help you or get you to someone who can. Life is precious all of it, no matter what actions one may have taken, deeds done, you are all here for good reason and to lose anyone to suicide is a tragedy beyond the ability for anyone left behind to ever get over.

Avatar universal
quote,'Ted Bundy took Tri-cyclic medication. Do you think he would have still killed all those Women had he been free of medication? I know he would have because he was a killer and enjoyed what he was doing regardless of the meds he was taking.' end quote

Really? Thats sort of judgemental to say you KNOW someone enjoys killing and its just them... particularly without ever meeting that person. What Ted Bundy did was horrific,, but I was not aware he had been on a brain chemical altering medicine .... so now yes I do wonder if it didnt somehow play a roll. I never met the man, I only know what Iv read about him,, and he was clearly SICK in the mind.. whos to say that it was 'just his persnoality' or not, irregardless since my experince has shown me that these meds can make an already unhealth brain much worse,,, I wuoldnt doubt the meds played a roll in his homicidal behaviors.

I also wonder if Ted Bundy didnt have a drinking problem, or if his violence didnt appear when drinking.... thats where I think the research ought to be focused on, finding out what happens in the body when SSRI's and alchohol are combined, and how the thought process changes when these are mixed. You can 'blame' the psychosis on 'oh well they say dont drink while taking these meds' but thats not reality. Whether its a glass of wine with dinner or a few beers at the bar after work with the guys,, most people drink occasionally in rational amounts (Im not talking getting trashed) and from what I have read thats all it takes for SOME people on SSRI's to go from depressed to nutso.

No, not everyone will react this way, but for the people who do,,, the resulting memories of what happened are like a scar on the mind if they survive it at all. I think its a modern medical miralce that people like you can find life and light again with the help of these medicines,, but to discount a growing choir of voices who are finally getting over the embarassment and shame of a negative reaction simply because their experince isnt the same as yours is foolish and short sighted.

*with deep apprication to those who are trying to heal*               Jenn
Avatar universal
quote,"There is no such thing as a miracle drug. The biggist single reason that people have a Psycotic reaction to any SSRI medication is because they should not have been taking it in the first place. It's the sad truth that these medications are way over perscribed and given to people that DO NOT have a true Mentally Depressed Brain. The results from taking this kind of medication when your brain is not Depressed as a result of Serotonin and other neurotransmitter levels can be extreem to say the least. "

Upon that we will agree!

The problem I have is that the pharms are working very hard to keep the information that some people react badly to SSRI's and it would seem by what Iv seen in news articles and from personal experince, that if the SSRI isnt correct for the needs of the person taking them,,, any bad side effects will probably be made 10 times worse if alchohol is consumed... and when people FEEL bad , quite often a nice drink is the first thing they may reach for to help them relax. Its almost second nature for a large portion of modern population.

And WHY wouldnt they tell the public this?? Wellllll,, because it would without a doubt reduce the sale of these products. Im not saying DONT go to counciling,, to not seek help from a psychologist... but the FIRST visit should not include a prescription and a GP has ZERO buisness prescribing them due to a lack of training in watching for negative side effects. How often do we read,,"Im having terrible anxiety so the doc upped my dose of zoloft,, which for many people causes worse anxiety?"

Its such a guessing game with these pills, but people take them and they expect to feel better. When they dont they get pretty upset or worse yet they think its THEIR fault and the depression gets much worse... You know,, I understand you want to believe your life is improved and you've done the right thing taking meds to help you with your depression,, and Im absolutely sure your right about that... but Im also absolutely certain that some people with chemistry like mine, discovered hell in those pills and had I remained on them I am HIGHLY doubtful id be alive to talk about it today. I put myself into the mental ward five times in three months because while I knew what I was doing was crazy,,, the paxil seemed to have removed all my impulse controls, strange ideas and thoughts popped into my head, much like suicidal thoughts (which I had many of and many attempts during that time) and for reasons I absolutely can not explain to you, I found myself driven to react to them, in an obessive complusive manner.

As you said, these meds are way over prescribed because the pharm reps sell them to doctors,, ,I fired my own GP when she tried to feed me Celebrex when I came complaining about not being able to sleep. She attempted to push me into it by telling me SHE was taking it too and how wonderful it was.... considering she had just finished giving me a run down on what a pain in the rear anouther of her clients was in a very high pitched tone of voice because he wanted an antibiotic refill done over the phone,, and then I watched a sheriff walk in with a summons for court.. yeah I didnt go back. Was it the pills or just her? Dont know but I wasnt willing to risk it.

There are legitimate uses for the brain chemical enchancers and if you read my some of my other posts you will see I frequently encourage people to wait before asking to switch if they have been on the meds less than a week,, and so forth, so dont assume I discourage all uses of these pills. But people need to be aware that when their behavior doesnt improve or gets worse,, it CAN be caused in some instances by the drugs.. People also need to be aware that they really MUST avoid alchohol with these drugs and yeah folks dont want to hear that but if they are just feeling a bit blue from time to time they really need to think twice and make the choice to avoid all alchohol if they are going to take brain chemical altering medications because the risks are much greater than is being expressed. How often do we find out that some side effect has been seriousely underplayed? The risks of suicide can be greatly increased by SSRI's,, but it took the pharms HOW LONG to admit just to that??

Teen girl suicides are on the rise,,, guess whos being given more ssris than usual? Guess how medical journals say we should correct that problem? By putting more of them on SSRI's... except the girls who are kiling themselves already ARE on them. But its not the drugs right, it cant be,, the drugs just didnt work,, got in them to late,,,

Come on,,,, theres always some reason why it CANT be the meds even though that appears to be the common link, people NOT on these things killed themselves before so we know suicide happens and the number of people in the world has increased so of course the number of people who do so has gone up as well,,,

But the school and pubic group killings is putting everyone at risk,, and if there IS a link between the pills and these things happening then the public has a right to know that before putting themselves or their kids on these medicines even if it means they have to be less available to 'buyers' because the buyers have to see a psychologist instead of a doctor to get them then so be it, both are available in most towns in this country so why shouldnt it have to be that way?

Facts are facts, the pharm companies have been proven repeatedly to put money in front of the publics health and the FDA is stuck because it wants to put our health first but when the pharms say they have meds to help this or that, the public says it wants them,, so instead of 10 years of testing the drugs just get a few trials and out the door they go ,, so it really is just one big experiment which is exactly what people should know,, that HOPEFULLY the pills will make you better, but that it genuinely IS a coin flip because one mans cure is anouther mans poison.

*With much respect and apprication*  Jennifer
Avatar universal

Hi there

Honestly you cannot compare persons such as Ted Bundy to persons suffering from the kinds of brain disorders we are speaking of.

Ted Bundy was a psycopath, these people have no known cure. There are no such things as meds for them. The effect of any anti depressant would not even come close to entering into the alteration of his condition. Sociopaths and psycopaths are in a catagory that is just now being studied more and more, that is so far as what factors are involved in "creating them". Ted Bundy and his fellow Serial killers would have done what they did no matter how much therapy and medication they were on. They just do not function as we do. they do not have a conscience, none at all. More and more studies are being done to find a way to treat them, but so far the only thing they  have discovered is the symptoms in childhood, and are now attempting to to treat the kids and see if that has any effect.

Oh and Hensley, I was more speaking figurativly about the "mirical pill" Iin the begining I had GREAT therapy as well. You should understand that I had trieed every other anti dep they had and could not physically tolorate any of their side effects until effexor. That it was the first thing that worked for my depression, thus giving me 2 great years until it lost it's effectivemess.

I am not by any means attempting to discourage anyone from taking their meds, many. many of them do work for many folks. My issue is that we need to inform ourselves, by any means we can when we are given the med. We need to ask our docs:

how they work and why
what the sides are
and most important-should I expect any withdrawal symptoms if I should run out unexpctedly, and what are they.

We also should read the the full insert that comes with the med, if the pharmacist does not include it, ASK for it.

AS far as the remark that  the ssri's only can cause pshycosis in people taking them that do not need them????  You need to do some actual, factual research of this matter.
Avatar universal
I am still wondering and waiting for you to inform us all as to exactly what meds you are on and have been on, and wondering even more where you are getting your information. the comment you made

"I think a more realistic comment regarding these kind of medications would be to say, Be careful because if you do not require SSRI medication then it can "Rarly" cause side effects that mimic Psychosis"

Is completely false, and I have a 50 page report from Wyeth to prove it, give em a call and they will be happy to sent it to you as well-no where does it say that this side effect is rare, nor does it say it only happens when one does not require the meds.

You do much damage when you post false information. Many of your commnts, and reluctance to share the meds you take for AD make me wonder a bit if you are actually for real, sorry, but my gut says you're a plant from the pharm industry..at least that is how you are coming off
Avatar universal
props to you woman on that last post!! obviously you HAVE done a lot of research on this subject!
Have an Answer?
Top Mood Disorders Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
15 signs that it’s more than just the blues
Discover the common symptoms of and treatment options for depression.
We've got five strategies to foster happiness in your everyday life.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.