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Effexor XR Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Will They Last?

As someone who has taken Effexor XR (venlafaxine HCl), I know all too well what the withdrawal symptoms of this medication are like – they can be pure hell. I was fortunate to have only taken this medication for a couple months. However, there are people out there that have been on this powerful antidepressant for years. If you come off the medication cold turkey, you may send your body and mind into a state of total shock, depression, anxiety, and disarray. In other words, you may not be able to cope with what you are experiencing because the withdrawal is that powerful.

Obviously if you were taking Effexor XR, you know that it is an “extended release” SNRI medication. In other words it contributes to the re-uptake of the neurotransmitters Serotonin and Norepinephrine in the brain. This is supposed to help people with depression and anxiety function better in society and cope with their condition. This medication is considered among the toughest to withdraw from due to its potency as well as short half life of the drug.

Factors that influence Effexor XR withdrawal include:

1. Time Span

How long have you taken Effexor? Did you take it for a couple months? Years? Have you taken it for over a decade? The amount of time you have taken this medication means your body has become reliant on this medication for everyday functioning.

2. Dosage

What dosage did you take? The dosage of Effexor that is commonly prescribed is 75 mg/day. However, some people may start at 37.5 mg, while others may fall between the range of 75 mg and 150 mg. The higher the dosage of the drug you were taking, the more difficulty you will have withdrawing.

3. Individual Physiology

Individual factors play a huge role in withdrawal. If you naturally aren’t really affected from antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, you may not be hit as hard with Effexor. On the other hand if you are very sensitive to medication, you may have a tougher time coping with the withdrawal.

4. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

Do you plan on stopping Effexor XR cold turkey? Or have you set up a tapering protocol with your doctor? These are some questions to ask. Obviously cold turkey is much tougher on your body and brain’s readjustment compared to a gradual taper.

Effexor XR Withdrawal Symptoms

The symptoms of discontinuation from Venlafaxine XR typically are most severe upon complete cessation, but may start to emerge during a taper (i.e. dosage reduction).  Considering the fact that Effexor stays in your system for around 1.15 days and its metabolite O-desmethylvenlafaxine is excreted within 2.52 days of stopping, symptoms initially become most noticeable at around day 3 of the withdrawal process.

  • Anger – Do you feel like you are ready to rage? This is likely a result of stopping your medication. You aren’t able to feel as good as you did on the medication so your brain is trying to compensate. This may make you become increasingly hostile and a tough person to hang out with for awhile.
  • Anxiety – Since the brain will not have the surplus serotonin available that it was getting from the drug, it is highly likely that you will experience anxiety upon withdrawal from this medication.
  • Confusion – It may be tough to think and you may experience a degree of confusion when trying to stop Effexor. This is just your brain attempting to readjust to normalcy. It may take awhile, but eventually the confusion will stop.
  • Crying spells – If you have severe depression, you may cry for no reason or experience “crying spells.” This is basically uncontrollable crying because you feel so depressed. When coming off a medication that was helping treat your depression, it is natural to experience the opposite of happiness.
  • Depersonalization – Do you feel like a zombie or unlike yourself? Do you feel like your soul left your body and you have become someone else? This is natural and it’s called “depersonalization.” This is a very common symptom of withdrawal.
  • Depression – You may experience increased symptoms of depression or more severe depression while coming off of Effexor. Try to take a step back and realize that this is totally natural. Eventually you will recover from feeling so down in the dumps.
  • Dizziness – Antidepressants are extremely powerful and can really mess with your brain. Once your brain becomes accustomed to a chemical, and you take it away, it attempts to recalibrate itself. Therefore you may experience dizziness upon withdrawal.
  • Electric shocks – Some people experience what are commonly referred to as “brain zaps” or electrical shocks when they stop taking Effexor. This is most common with drugs like Effexor and Paxil that have short half lives and are extremely powerful.
  • Fatigue – Nearly everyone will experience fatigue, lethargy, and tiredness when stopping an antidepressant.
  • Headaches – Do you have a pounding headache or migraine? If you experienced this when you quit taking your Effexor, it could be a withdrawal symptom.
  • Insomnia – The inability to fall asleep at night is what people with naturally higher levels of anxiety may experience.
  • Irritability – Every little thing may get on your nerves or “set you off.” Try your best to relax and control yourself around others.
  • Loss of appetite – Some people may not feel like eating. It’s important to make sure that you are eating healthy and maintain a good diet even when stopping this medication.
  • Mood swings – You may be irritable, crabby, angry, etc. If your moods are all over the place when coming off this medication, just know that this is pretty common.
  • Nausea – Do you feel nauseated and somewhat sick? This may be an especially prevalent side effect in the first couple weeks of withdrawal from the medication.
  • Nightmares – Some individuals experience weird dreams and/or nightmares. These are no fun, but part of the process.
  • Pain – You may experience pain within your muscles and joints. Although this is less common, it is still what some individuals experience.
  • Panic attacks – Everything may send you into a major state of panic. Your work, your school project, etc. may make your anxiety skyrocket to the point where you experience panic attacks. This is because your brain doesn’t have sufficient stores of serotonin – they will eventually get replenished.
  • Vomiting – Do you keep throwing up? If you are constantly puking as a result of stopping Effexor, just know that it’s part of the withdrawal. If this is a big deal, you may want to taper more gradually.

When will Effexor XR withdrawal symptoms subside?

It may take weeks, it may take months, and it may take a year for you to completely recover to 100%. Everyone copes differently with their withdrawal period. If you are withdrawing and have a major panic attack or anxiety that won’t go away, you may think that you’ll never end up recovering. Just give it time and continue about your life the best you can.

As you probably already know, Effexor is one of the toughest medications to withdraw from if you have been on it for an extended period of time. These antidepressants are no joke and some would say that they are more extreme than hard drugs to withdraw from. Although your psychiatrist may consider withdrawal to be easy or a simple process, he or she did not take the medications so really has no idea what’s going on internally – within your mind and body.

Be sure to always communicate with friends and family during your withdrawal period. Try your best to get sunlight, stay outside, eat healthy, and exercise. Eventually you will recover. A lot of people think that they can get permanently damaged from taking antidepressants – this is pretty doubtful. However, it may be a couple years before you are completely recovered and feel completely “natural” again. Take things one day at a time. Gradually life will get easier. If you can make it through this drug withdrawal, you can do anything.

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637 thoughts on “Effexor XR Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Will They Last?”

  1. I’ve been on effexor for about 8 years now. I tried to getting off of it 3 years ago but after weaning off of it then being completely off of it for a month or so I became extremely angry. The littlest things would make my skin boil. I started to have feeling of not wanting to be around anymore. I made the decision to go back on it because my daughter has extreme OCD and I needed patience to parent her.

    I knew this wasn’t the right answer but at the time it was best for her. I went on these meds because I was crying all the time and was feeling like I was a failure of a mom. I was NEVER an angry person or had suicidal thoughts. This year I decided to try to get off them again. The reason being ever since I have been on this medicine I have been complaining to my doctor that I’m losing my mind.

    I know as you get older you become forgetful but I would find myself often forgetting where I was when driving, the same routine, forgetting how to open up or get to my computer programs at work, and the list goes on. I never associated the lose of my mind and my medicine until recently, but thought I wanted to get off the medicine just to see if this was causing my memory issues. After 13 years my daughters OCD is 80% better.

    It’s been an extremely long journey with her and I am so proud of her. A couple months we weaned her off of her Prozac (with the doctors help) because we honestly never seen any change with her being on it and I felt like I was just pumping meds in her for no reason. She was doing great for two and a half months. Then all of a sudden she became so angry got in two arguments at school…

    Her personality change reminded me of what I was going through on my withdrawal. All I can say is thank god I experienced that feeling first hand prior to her. Long story short we put her back on her Prozac. But will try again to wean her off at a later time. This year 2015 I decided I’m going to give it another try and get off my meds. I fully believe I don’t need them anymore.

    After weaning off them and being completely off them for a month and a half. I became extremely angry again. To the point that I almost left my husband of 14 years. My husband that I truly love. My husband and kids notice the extreme personality change with my anger issues. I’ve never felt so angry and so short tempered in my life.

    I truly believe this is a side effect of the medicine and can’t wait until this anger feeling goes away. In the morning I typically wake up with a headache in my front left temple that I also believe has something to do with this medicine. I get migraines but this headache is a very different feeling. I’ve increased my exercise to 5 days a week and am looking for natural solutions to help me get through this.

    I find myself doing little breathing techniques to help decrease my anger. Just wanted to share my story because after reading some articles, apparently I am not the only one experiencing these same extreme anger issues that I never had before.

  2. If you are researching right now to see if effexor is for you… DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER THIS DRUG, PLEASE!!! I have been on it for over a year, and three times I’ve had to go without the med for different reasons, it is just as everyone else has been saying and then some. Right now I’ve been without it for three days now.

    I’ve been doing not much more than sleeping and I feel helpless, I do not want to be sleeping or feeling so horrible. I have a husband and three kids. I go today for an appointment because I’ve been thinking of tapering off but truthfully at this point I’m thinking of being put on my last med then tapering off that because this effexor stuff is evil. I cannot believe this stuff has been ok to be out on the market as others have said.

    I am a firm believer of my Savior Jesus Christ, and I am going to continue to pray these symptoms gone, and not let it have me. I should have prayed and trusted Him to heal me from the beginning instead of getting on any sort of meds to begin with. I pray for each one of you finds relief and gets to be yourselves again. You guys stay strong and just try super hard not to let the symptoms control you… take care.

  3. I’m currently on day 5 of cold turkey from taking 300 mg for 5 months. Your article and the wrap up at the end has given warmth to my heart. Thank you for writing this! It truly is the worst experience I’ve ever dealt with and it is extremely confusing. I have experienced all of the above mentioned withdrawal symptoms and at this point.

    I’ll never accept medications again. It is a learning experience and I feel that it shows me how much more of a hell life can really be. I appreciate everything I’ve taken for granted when I was “normal”. I thought the depression and anxiety were terrible before, but never again… Never again will I ever feel that way after experiencing this.

  4. This drug is harder to get off of than opioids. The government is totally controlling our lives and well being with this drug. How many people in our society would be willing to do anything for this drug? This is worse than being addicted to opioids. I have tried to get off before and was unsuccessful. Hope this time it is easier. On a very low dose of 5mg ativan now for three months. Was able to do this with the Fisher Wallace device. Expensive but totally worth it. So far things are not too bad for me. Good luck everyone. May God be with us through our endeavor.

  5. Prior to taking Effexor I had small panic attacks and bouts of depression. Around November (I think) I went from 75mg to 37.5mg. Not too long ago I without educating myself decided to quit Effexor cold turkey. On days one and two I had some basic tension but not too overwhelming. On day three I suffered a panic attack like that of which I never would have imagined possible.

    It was really intense and emergency room worthy FEAR. I have never been that scared ever in my entire life. I eventually broke down and took the Effexor late that evening. It took me three days before I was back to normal on the drug. There was a difference though. I for the first time in my life began bouts with mini panic attacks that frightened me terribly.

    I attempted to taper but did it over a 7-day period and I started to have severe panic attacks starting on day three until the seventh. I went back on the drug and scheduled an appointment with my PCP. My PCP asked me to take 150mg of Wellbutrin and to taper my use of Effexor. I am 33-days of use with the Wellbutrin and I have yet to attempt to start the tapering process.

    I am scared sh#tless of that horrible panic attack. In addition to panic attacks I now have regularly I have an intense and frighteningly loud AF ringing in my left ear that is driving me bat-sh#t crazy. I finally made it to an appointment with a psychiatrist. I told him everything I just wrote to you and he prescribed me PAXIL.

    Holy Crap, this guy had no intention of listening to me and then prescribed me something horrible if not more awful than Effexor. Before Effexor I was on Lexapro. Before Lexapro I was taking Klonopin as needed and I had control over when and how much I would take. Sometimes I would only need a fourth of the pill. My PCP did not want to prescribe me Klonopin anymore so the Lexapro started.

    The Psychiatrist that I saw told me that due to my past drug abuse he would not feel comfortable prescribing me a controlled substance like Klonopin or Xanax. I tried marijuana like 19 years ago and foolishly tried Cocaine about 10 years ago. I will never make the mistake of telling any doctor that ever again! I don’t abuse drugs and I rarely if ever drink alcohol.

    Since I have been trying to quit Effexor I have not had any alcohol and do not plan to drink at all until this is conquered! For those of you whom have spoken to thoughts of suicide I can attest that if I had to deal with those panic attacks I suffered the times I tried to quit Effexor on my own I would have very little issue with taking myself out!

    Currently I have no intention of hanging with Robin Williams or going to the gun range with Kurt Cobain. My serious issue right now is finding a doctor that is not a complete moron and knows what horrors come from drugs like Paxil and Effexor! I am frightened and afraid that I am never going to get off this drug and that my life will always be crap!

  6. I recently discovered that the Effexor XR 150 mg could interact with Xarelto. I have been experiencing regular and significant nosebleeds. My life has changed considerably so my doctor and I decided to withdraw the Effexor. I am tapering down 37.5 mg every two weeks. So far I have not noticed any negative symptoms other than some increased sleepiness (assuming that could be a withdrawal symptom).

  7. I have been taking Prozac 20mg and Effexor Xr 37.5 mg for my panic disorder for 8 years. Then my neurologist took me off the Prozac and increased my effexor to 150mg about 6 months ago. I have a nerve disorder that causes severe pain in my ear and face. And causes problems coping with noises. I had very bad side effects to this medication or from withdrawal from Prozac.

    So we started decreasing by half every 2 weeks. And put me in Celexa 20mg at the same time. I’m currently down to 37.5 mg. I think I am going crazy. I told my husband today that I needed to be committed. I never had a problem with depression. And suddenly I’m having it really bad. I have every symptom on here. I thought I was dying.

    I have pain everywhere. Every day is a different world. I work in a pharmacy so I knew I was going to have withdrawals but didn’t know it was going to be so bad. One minute something sets me off and I want to scream and throw things the next I’m crying because I took the time to really dress up for a day with my husband, and looked in the mirror and really expecting to see something different.

    Crazy???? Why would I look different. Cried for an hour. No one really understands how I feel. Now tonight I feel like my brain is swollen. ***I know it’s not*** but I move my head or body and I feel drunk. And I’ve had stomach cramps and diarrhea after the first three days. Don’t really know what to do. Just trying to survive and not lose my job.

  8. Hello, I just wanted to tell everyone/this site how grateful I am to have found this information and a network of support. I’ve been on Effexor for over 10 years and decided to quit since I’m pregnant with my first child. Here’s my experience:

    I was on 75mg ER and reduced to 37.5. Then, after a month my PC recommended taking the 37.5 every other day. My body in no form or fashion could literally stomach or combat the withdrawals for a full 24 hours (yes, the “hell” you all refer to is exactly how I would describe it; including a bunch of other obscenities). So I asked the PC to give me the pill form (25mg) and I would then cut up each pull in fourths to begin stepping down.

    This has seemed to be working. I still have symptoms but not as severe as skipping every other day. This is what I would recommend to anyone trying quit on the ER capsules (if your body is able to). You can better control your dosage with the tablets. But I don’t know the difference between the two forms. All I know if that both capsule and pull worked the exact same way as far as combating withdrawal symptoms go.

    I am now on 12.5mg/day and am (big deep breath) planning on going down to 6.25/day and then hopefully nothing. Never again will I return to this drug. I keep wondering though, is it just Effexor withdrawals or any type of similar drug?

    Good luck and know I am thinking about you all going through this. Yes, it sucks…but you will get through it. I promise! Surround yourself with lots of support and caring people!

    • Thank you!! I was prescribed 75 mg for side effects of menopause. I want to withdraw, and I am down to 37.5 mg, but couldn’t tolerate the every other day routine. Head zaps are horrible and I don’t feel safe driving. I will try your weaning method. Hope it works!!!!

  9. Hey all, I’m on 75 for about 5 years in addition to lot of similar meds which did not work for me for another 3 years earlier. I decided to stop and been 3 days but started to notice slight rapid anger and something not comfortable when moving eyes rapidly to look from side to another. I really got fed up of meds want to get rid of it, what worse can happen? BTW, I did not consult my doctor or anyone. I insist to hold up and get over it myself, thanks for any advice.

  10. Long story, I will try to summarize it. Took Effexor XR for about 4 years, after trying several others. Insurance decided I had to take a generic. Took that for about 3 years. Insurance decided I couldn’t have it anymore. Doctor prescribed duloxetine. Couldn’t even get through 1 month, got bad anxiety back.

    Fought for venlafaxine again, got that but it was a different manufacturer. Caused serious anxiety. Since I didn’t take it the whole month, they wouldn’t give me brand name Effexor. So Doctor put me on Celexa. But since I had already started weaning off of generic, I continued to wean off Celexa. Only weaned for about 6 weeks. Took last dosage on March 6th.

    I’m going through awful withdrawal symptoms, nausea, anxiety, sweats, cold, some light brain zaps, also lightheadedness. Today is April 14, about 6 weeks. I’ve only had about 4 or 5 half decent days. Have felt really bad yesterday and today. Does anyone know if this is still withdrawal or should I be going to the hospital? I have no energy and I’m taking .25 lorazepam to offset the symptoms about 3 times a day.

    • I was taken off for surgery because of bleeding for 6 weeks and it was pure hell. I was not given a substitute and I was back on it the minute I was allowed. Took a while to take effect again. Worst depression in my life, suicidal, stomach ache, could not eat or sleep. Cried every day. I’m stuck with this the rest of my life I guess. I am on 300 mg per day. I don’t know how you can get off unless you would be under medical care.

  11. My brain zaps are straight up body zaps now. Like the zap is strongest in the head but my whole body jolts. It’s annoying but nothing I can’t deal with.

  12. I am on day 7 of cold turkey from 300 mg a day. Been taking that for a couple years. Withdrawals suck. I broke down and bought some smoke. A couple 3 hits a day helps more than anything. My concern is in the past week I gained 15 lbs. No, it isn’t from the munchies.

  13. I started taking Effexor eight years ago, because I kept dreaming of work and was totally exhausted when I woke up. I started out taking 75 mg twice a day. I asked if could get a time release capsule. I was switched to 150 once a day. I have been wanting to get off for some time now. They say it’s not addictive, but that isn’t true.

    I have cut back to 37.5 and not I am wanting to go cold turkey. I have been without the med for four days now and I feel like sh*t one minute and normal the next. I want so bad to get off, but will this increase my blood pressure to where I could stroke. I will be sixty in December and I want to live forever LOL.

    I hope these side effects go away soon. Please pray for me. I am crying one minute and happy as a lark the next. I know this sounds like others’ conditions, but I was always happy in life till I started to get off. I hope this withdraw ends soon, because I may have to start taking this crap again :(

  14. Is there anywhere I can go for help? 30+ months since I went off it and still terrible withdrawal. The doctors here at the VA are not helping me, I will go anywhere.

  15. Keep reading down to see the secret to weaning off Effexor. If you miss a dose and start having withdrawal symptoms, eat something easy to digest, open a capsule, put some of the “pellets” in a banana (squish the banana so the pellets are spread out), eat the banana and then take your next dose. I think I usually only take 12-25 pellets. WARNING: taking the pellets by themselves can really cause stomach issues.

    I tell people that this has been very effective for me, but only use this if you really need to. I had agoraphobia and I suffer from bipolar disorder. This has been a great medication for me. I can now go into big box stores (my agoraphobia). BUT – doctors really should warn patients about tardive-dyskinesia. I was just looking at a site on tardive dykinesia. A NUMBER of drugs can lead to this problem so look it up.

    Any noticeable tremors should be reported to your doctor at once. That said, some people are death on a medication because of the pain it ended up causing them. Every single person is different. Anything out of the ordinary could be the way your body reacts to a medication. Yes, it is one of the most difficult antidepressants to come off of. It is also one that has a very short half life.

    This means it doesn’t last long in the body. Here is how to continue to gradually withdraw after you get to the lowest recommended dose (I have always used ER):
    – There are 150 tiny whitish “beads” in the 150 mg capsules
    – You can purchase empty time release capsules I believe. If not, just waste some of the beads (dispose of properly – there are already enough antidepressants in our water system). Open up a capsule and count out the amount you are going to try – I would go down very slowly. Put the number of beads in the capsule and take that amount for a few weeks, then go down again. Seriously – plan on months and go slowly. I read about this on a forum years ago and feel so lucky to know. Pass it on to your doctors.
    – You should ONLY start going off an antidepressant or any drug for that matter under a doctor’s supervision. I was reading about one person going cold turkey and he was all angry because of the horrible experience.
    – Often, a doctor will be slowly weaning you off one antidepressant while gradually adding another. If this med. was prescribed because of a temporary depression (outside causes), then getting off might be okay – or not.
    – If you have a serious mental health disorder, then really find out what your options are.

  16. When does the buzzing stop? My brain has been buzzing for 2 days now. Am on day 4 of withdrawal. I can handle all the other side effects. Can’t take the buzzing.

  17. I have been on this 225 mg daily of this drug for 15 plus years for anxiety and fibromyalgia. I had to stop taking it because I was unable to fill my prescription for a week. I’ve had a few headaches and what is described as brain zaps, and my fibromyalgia is rampant with pain, but nothing major. I’ve been off the meds for almost a week. Is this normal or is the worst yet to come?

  18. 3/25/16. I’ve been on a lot of different anti-depressants over 25 yrs now. I have never experienced a serotonin withdrawal like this before.. and I have only been on a low dose of Effexor for 6 months. Lots of weight gain when on it. Crying, depressed, and ANGER coming off. I can’t wait until this is over.

    To Cindy: Wellbutrin seems to be a safe one with no side effects. I’m on it now and in the past. This came as a big surprise because I’ve had side effects from anti-depressants and came off because I didn’t like the side effects — but this Effexor is different. Why don’t these doctors know about this?? Need to get the word out.

  19. Good morning, it is Monday and I took last 75 mg of Effexor on Friday night. I forgot to pick up meds at pharmacy on Friday. I seen dr last week and asked for half dose prescription, she looked at me like I was crazy and said to come back in 6 months if I still want to go off of them. I put on 50 pounds since I started pills… flipping inane amount of weight to put on!

    I brought this up to doctor and she said it would be very minimal weight gain from pills. Reading this site has confirmed my suspicions. Someone mentioned it’s a good drug when it works… I suffer with anxiety and this Effexor seemed to really help, however I think 50 pounds is a huge price to pay. Wondering if I should taper off and go on another antidepressant without such deadly side effects or go natural.

    Does anyone know of a mild anti depressant without brutal side effects but helps take the edge off. I am an extremely sensitive person, however on these meds I can barely cry! Makes me want to chuckle reading this… I have gone off Effexor before and felt wonderful, loved life. Then once I ventured off to a new job as a support worker I was a nervous wreck.

    At that time I was taking a natural antidepressant from health food store… along with calming remedies. I still couldn’t handle stress, so I am really unsure of what to do? Any positive suggestions would b grateful. I say positive… because I am experiencing heavy withdrawals right now. Thank you for any input… desperately seeking. Cindy

  20. Effexor: Brain Zaps when Med was not taken within a short time after waking up. ZAP… starting from the left side of my head by my ear shooting in a 45 degree angle through my brain + out above the ear on the right side. That is crazy. It feels like a seizure, probably is. I have been on two 150mg Caps for years.

    I travel with time zone changes and visit + stay at several other places then my home. I was starting to have a stash of pills at all of my regular places I spend time. Plus, I made sure I had 3 doses of my medication on me, just in case. That was my signal. Time to let Effexor go. I reduced to one 150 mg a day for ca 1 month. I had plans to go down bit by bit in mg with my Doc’s help.

    I slept in one day + you guessed it. ZAP, ZAP… a morning greeting from my brain. It has been 3 weeks now without Effexor. I still have Zaps, (manageable if that is possible ;) ). I can CRY again (seemed to be blocked under E) and I also get weepy for stupid reasons. Irritable yes, stomach, nausea, pooping, my body is all messed up. However, I feel good. I do. I smile. I am rediscovering me. My Aches + Pains will reduce + go away. My Guestimation 8 years of Effexor takes 8 month of damage repair. Caldonia

  21. I was on Effexor for about 8 months. My doc told me the sooner we get you off this the better. I had been on pristiq for years but due to insurance issues I had to switch. We took the tapering approach since he had seen many issues with patients coming off Effexor. Let me tell you, getting off this drug has been awful. From extreme vertigo to hot flashes and mood swings. I told my doc I was willing to go though this just one time and be done with it. I would not wish this on anyone. The newest symptom is brain electric shocks. OMG I can now understand how drug addicts feel when trying to quit.

  22. I have been on effexor XR since November 2015. Started out at 75mg then doctor upped to 150mg after started having depression and anxiety symptoms again. I was extremely tired but otherwise I felt functional. So to try to help the fatigue the doctor reduced from 150 back to 75 and I was sent into a severe depression and state of anxiety in only 2 days. Now I’m trying to recover taking 3x 37.5mg and added depakote 500mg at night. I’m also pretty upset that I wasn’t warned about the severity of withdrawal of the reduction of the medication. I’m supposed to have a wedding in May and it’s March. It’s so hard to picture that I’ll even be able to get through that one day.

  23. Only was taking Ven for a few months but not having it for a few days sent me to hospital with extreme withdrawal…BP severely high, dizziness making me hit the floor, severe headaches and painful eyes. I decided to one off it then and it after two months of slowly tapering I came off it…now I’m on BP meds, struggling with dizziness every day and ‘brain zaps’, my eyes feel like they’re burning and swollen (optician has given me the all clear) and I have body pain and crying a lot.

    However I do feel more alive than when I was on the Ven (150) and I have seen my symptoms diminish a LITTLE. It’s been about 6 weeks I think, since I stopped them entirely. I’ve been to A&E once with the dizziness and BP and low mood. There’s no help available and I’m angry that such a medication exists. I don’t know how long it will take but I’m pissed off that I’ve been harmed in this way.

    I don’t know what to do except wait and hope…it’s a very scary thing…been off work now for months trying to just cope with this drug and its side effects. Any tips on how to make this easier I would welcome with open arms!!

  24. Yowza y’all are scaring the crap out of me! I’ve been on Effexor for 12 years. Up to as much as 300mg day. My doc started tapering me off in November 2014. I took my last dose (1/2 of 37.5 pill) on Sunday. I expect to deal with the headaches, dizziness and nausea, but after reading all these posts, I’m afraid it’s going to be worse than expected!

    I’m not as worried about the psychological factors associated with withdrawal as I am about the physical ones. I haven’t seen anyone comment about how long it actually took for those nasty symptoms to go away. They will go away, right? Any ideas other than smoking pot? Can’t do that in my profession, although the idea is quite appealing.

    I do wish everyone the best of luck. My journey through depression has been long and hard. I am in a much, MUCH better place in life now, and don’t have any plans to sink back into that dark, deep hole of hell. Godspeed to you all!

  25. I was taking Effexor XR 150mg daily for 2 years and it stopped working have switched to Viibryd. Tapering off Effexor XR has taken me 6 months. I have been off it about a month now and have constant buzzing in left ear. Anyone else experience this side effect and how long might it last?

  26. I’ve been on Effexor for a couple of years. Just last week my doctor switched me to another medication and tapered me off of the Effexor. It’s been 2 days and I feel like death. The effects don’t kick in until the second or third day. Then you’re trying to figure out why you’re feeling like every bone in your body is going to break, or why you’re being zapped with electricity. It’s a horrible feeling and the question is, do you continue to take it or deal with the awful side effects of coming off of it? Who can live like this, work and take care of a family?

  27. So many posts I am not sure anyone will get to mine but here goes. I really feel for all those who have bad experiences lowering Effexor. I too have had troubles getting off this med. I tried a couple of years ago to wean off and then hit zero meds which was too awful to put up with. So I went back on it so I could function.

    So now have been on 112mg for a while and am lowering 12.5mg every month until I hit 75mg. I get terrible stomach issues but found a quick fix for this. I use a heartburn over the counter thing called Mylanta and it settles my tummy almost immediately. So try this if you get tummy issues. Once I reach 75mg I am going to get a compound chemist to lower dose by 5mg every month until I reach 12.5mg.

    I am then going to stay on 12.5mg for a year. Then I will lower 1mg every month for another year. The whole process should take up to three years, but I think this is the best way to go. Slow, slow, slow. Reducing too much or too quick is just too much hell. Anyway, hope mylanta helps those with stomach issues.

  28. Hi, I never actually participate in these sorts of discussions, rather I google my concerns and symptoms and hope for the best. I can relate to everyone here I believe. I experience almost every symptom all of which are extreme. If you need anything please contact me. This is hell ladies and gents. 30 years old. Been on this junk for about 7 years now.

    Started at 75mg and was on 300 for about 2 years. Subtle differences with each bump up. My stressors keep compounding, life happens and it wont stop. The crap doesnt do much anyhow except give me extreme withdrawal symptoms. This crap as i like to call it now is not worth it. I’m gladly going through these withdrawal symptoms…

    Days 1-5: Constant shakes, especially in cold weather. I’m talking like something you would see from those suffering from alcohol withdrawals. Wretched brain zaps. Look left with your eyes and ZAP, look right, ZA ZA ZAP. These will eventually lead to headaches and Nausea. Better keep looking straight… I dip and or smoke sometimes. I tried drinking alcohol to relieve symptoms. Everything makes me gag and or throw up. I thought for sure this would help. Don’t cry if it doesn’t… which leads me to…

    Crying Spells? Absolutely. I’m a strong male, a former veteran, I work so called manly jobs, but I watched SouthPaw the other day and probably cried 20 times at a 2 star movie like a little bitch. Ive never cried during a movie. I’m not exactly an emotional man. This symptom surprised me the most. It happens multiple times a day.

    Anger / Agitation. I’m feeling this inside myself but am not showing outward signs yet but I know it’s probably only a matter of time. When it does, ill take it as a sign I’m actually starting to feel better but for now I’m focused on my sickness related to this crap drug first. These are the most prominent symptoms now but there are more. My solution? Movement. Preferably gym related exercise. That and time.

    In moments of desperation, illicit drug use is an option to me personally and I know it would work, but have the potential to make life even more hellish. Take it with a grain of salt. I’ll never, ever… Ever take another antidepressant again. The drug didn’t do much for me even at therapeutic doses, it has extreme withdrawal symptoms, and I read it may take 2 years to totally be withdrawal free.

    I’d rather be an alcoholic or drug addict than have to deal with this shit. So what now? Its a big question mark, and I hope I make it through on top. I hope my decision to go natural again is the best one ive ever made. Its a risk, but its a risk worth taking. Please email or text me if you or anyone else may relate, need someone to just talk to or just ask questions or sound out concerns.

    Voicing our experiences is a major first step and I hope maybe someone reading this will never even consider taking this drug. Hang in there.

    • Rob, Thanks for making me laugh. Thinking about a manly man crying over Southpaw was just too good. Hope you were home, and not in a theatre. When you start crying over Folgers commercials, it might be time to look into group therapy. Best of luck to you. I believe this will work out for us all. And I agree: I will never, ever, EVER take another antidepressant again!!

  29. 2-17-16. I was taking Effexor for 13 years up until a year ago then was weaned off with Prozac till September 2015. I experienced everything that everyone has talked about. October and November seemed to be going well and then December developed SEVERE stomach pain and burning with GERD/GI issues.

    I went to the doctor and have since been on Prilosec 2x a day which isn’t doing shit for me. I am completely terrified. They ran the basic tests of ultrasounds and blood work and came back normal. I am terrified of having the scope although that is what’s next when I go for a follow up in a few weeks. I know that’s what’s needed to get a better look but I’ve never been put under and it sounds terrifying.

    Not sure if these are delayed withdrawals??? I was tapered with Prozac till 5 months ago and now this horrible stomach pain and acid. Has anyone experienced this? I noticed everyone posts but nobody really comments on people’s posts. :/

    • I tapered off of Effexor XR 150mg daily on 2 November 2015. Was on the drug for 8 years. No withdrawal symptoms until about two weeks ago. Now daily nausea and anxiety. Plan to stick it out unless it gets a whole lot worse. Good luck to you.

    • Could the stomach pain/acid be a side effect of anxiety? I know I have stomach issues now, nausea, sometimes vomiting. I’m trying to recognize if some of my old anxiety symptoms are returning…

  30. Had been self tapering doses until this week. Tomorrow will be day 3 of stopping cold turkey thanks to cancelled insurance, no $$$ to spare to see a doctor and/or get an Rx. Feeling terrified what tomorrow and the following days, weeks, months will be like even with my remaining Bupropion to hopefully offset some of the symptoms and/or intensity. A very big thanks to each and everyone of you for making me aware that I’m 1) not alone in this hell and 2) not crazy after all 3) and that there is an end to this nightmare eventually.

    Withdrawal has been the reason I’ve unsuccessfully tried so many times to get off this poison. It finally clicked for me tonight thanks to your posts. It’s not me but the drugs’ hold over me. Kudos to contributor o.w. for eloquently suggesting how to stop the Drs from prescribing this “worst than hell” drug. Doctors should be required to both take high doses and then experience withdrawal symptoms from stopping using Effexor XR . That would stop the vast majority from ever prescribing it ever again to patients.

    And leave it to Big Pharma to develop a drug that builds in its’ own captive patients/users for life. Kaching $$$ Kaching $$$ Kaching. And it’s all legitimate business for them. Talk about duping the masses. Makes me wonder how many other diseases and ailments are being manipulated for gain of Big Pharma.

    My withdrawal ride has just started ?. I will be trying all the suggestions I read about tonight: Omega 3 oil, Benadryl, Coffee etc. to assist with these wicked withdrawal effects. I pray God help every one of us struggling. Thank you all for enlightenment and encouragement.

    • First I reduced the larger amounts, then switched to the bead method… bead method is working for me. I have been on venlafaxine for years, ended up at 225mg then I realized I was turning into a zombie. No motivation. Horrible dreams. I forgot my medication a couple of times and the effects of that were horrible. I realized I had to get off this stuff.

      Thank goodness for the blogs on this medication. My doctor was never any help, always attributed my side effects to something else and then upped my dosage. I divided my dose first, 150 morning, 75 evening. Then dropped the evening dose of 75mg. Did 150mg for a month, then split the 150 dose, 75 morning, 75 evening for a couple weeks then began stretching the time between the 75mg doses, from 12 hrs apart, then 16hrs, finally 24 hrs.

      Stayed at 75mg a day for a month. Then began the bead method. Starting on a Sunday, took 5 beads out of each capsule. The next Sunday, 12 beads out of each capsule. The following week, 24 beads and so on. I’m now at 36 beads out each day. I find it easier to function if I take the capsule in the morning so the side effects aren’t as bad at work.

      On the bright side, I’m more motivated, have more energy each day, and I am dealing with my anxiety by focusing on goals, getting outside, etc. This stuff is terrible, I at least wish my doc would have given me some clue how powerful it is, all he said was, “don’t worry, it’s non-narcotic, non-addictive”. Yea, right!

  31. Today is 2-12-16. I have been on Venlafaxine XR 150 mg for about a year. The reason I started was to get out of a slumped feeling, my pcp suggested it. Well the first 7 days was pure HELL I couldn’t move. Then it all went away like nothing ever happened. Well now I have lost my insurance and decided I could just take my life back. I’m on day 2 with no meds and I feel the storm coming. I’m out of my head, nauseous, and can’t sleep. I’m going to just do it and try not to strangle anyone.

  32. In another thread, some people have sworn that Benadryl has helped them minimize or totally eliminate the withdrawal symptoms from Effexor withdrawal – especially the “brain zaps.” In the UK, they named Acrivastine as the primary drug in their OTC formulation of Benadryl. Here in the US, OTC Benadryl contains diphenhydramine, and Acrivastine is only available by prescription. They’re different drugs (though both antihistamines) but both are reported to work.

    I’d personally hesitate to take more pharmaceuticals, but after getting a taste of moderate Effexor withdrawals, I just wanted to share a possible solution (in addition to fish oil and vitamins that others recommend.) If you’ve stopped the Effexor permanently and are finding the withdrawals unbearable, it sounds like an option worth investigating.

  33. Best wishes to my brothers and sisters who have been made addicts to EXR by the medical establishment and Big Pharma. Whether or not it was worth taking is something each of us has to decide for ourselves. I am still deciding for myself. I was on 150 mg ER daily for over 10 years. Finally the daytime fatigue got so bad I decided to taper and went down to 75 mg ER without any issues.

    But below that is when the fun started. Now, after about a week taking 25 mg on an “as-needed” basis, I guess I’m going through the toughest part – coping with the irritability and fatigue (which is what I was trying to eliminate). It helps a lot, however, to hear I’m not alone and these things can be endured and will eventually pass. To everyone: keep the faith!

  34. This thread is amazing and scary! After dealing with some issues and problematic heavy drinking, I started taking Fluoxetine. Neither it, nor Citalopram improved my mood. On the contrary, they made it worse and I was tired and disconnected all the time. A family member told me that Effexor was the only anti-depressant they’d ever felt actually worked, so I asked for it and received a script.

    I quickly realized that, yes, Effexor does indeed work! I felt noticeable improvement, with no real side effects other than severe xerostomia, occasional somnolence, and a frequent inability to orgasm. I’ve been taking Effexor ER, intermittently and at doses from 75 to 300 mg. since around 2004. I’d spend a year on it (300 mg./day) and I’d forget to take my dose every now and again. No problems.

    Likewise, prescriptions would run out and I’d simply forget to fill them for weeks or months. I noticed no withdrawal symptoms, whatsoever! Maybe my brain chemistry is different, or perhaps I was so damned depressed that it couldn’t get any worse? I never really felt that way, but who knows? To that end, I sometimes felt like after a few months that the high dose of Effexor wasn’t doing anything at all.

    Anyway, I had no idea this was a problem, and from the misery some of you describe (which I fully believe) it sounds like I really ducked a bullet! I’ve read that around 45% of people have serious, dreadful withdrawals from this drug. Fast-forward to the present, and I started taking Effexor again for a month. This time, I was not so lucky! A few days after stopping it, I’ve been experiencing insomnia and, when I finally get to sleep, terrifyingly vivid nightmares – the worst I’ve ever had!

    So real and morbid, it’s incomprehensible. My appetite is also somewhat diminished, and I have xerostomia and a strange taste of salt in my mouth. No ‘brain-zaps’ or other cognitive deficit, or anything else to speak of (ate some turkey that may have been expired and tore my GI tract up, but I’m pretty certain it’s not the Effexor.) Otherwise, judging from these posts, it could be a hell of a lot worse! For all you suffering out there, good luck in slowly tapering this drug! Things will turn around positively for you, and soon, I’m sure!

  35. I went off of this medication 3 days ago after being on it for 6 months. I was prescribed this for menopause symptoms of hot flashes and crying at the drop of a hat and outburst of anger. If I had known then what I know know I would have never put this poison in my body. Immediately after I started the drug I felt better the hot flashes went away the crying stopped and I was no longer angry.

    I was my old self again but this didn’t last long and my dr would up my dosage time and time again. I was up to 187.5 mg a day for 3 months before I decided it’s time to get off of this. Let me add that after I started taking the medication I went from a normal blood pressure to stage 4 high blood pressure, I started throwing up without any warning whatsoever. I would go 7-10 days without having a bowel movement.

    I would be in so much pain from bowel obstruction that I was forced to give myself enemas to just get the waste out of my body. It was building up in my intestines and poisoning my body. I have gained 35 lbs from this. Now as I am going throw the withdrawals I have the brain zaps my ears are ringing like crazy I can barely hear over the ringing and zapping in my head. I am of balance. I cannot walk, cannot drive, cannot function.

    I go from from hot-sweats to freezing cold. Can’t eat or drink. Have to eat and when I do I immediately throw up. Can’t even make it to the bathroom to throw up. I don’t feel like I am going to survive this because this pain in my head is just so unbearable I want to just get my gun and put myself out of this misery!

    • Jerri, I too have stopped taking Effexor 150/day for 15 years or so. It is really awful but you can do this! Just remember that it will get better day by day. I had to tell myself that over & over last week & I am feeling better this week. I haven’t had the bad headaches, muscle aches & the brain zaps have lessened. That crap we put into our brain is wicked! Imagine being able to really feel again when this is all over :) Hang in there!

  36. Hey guys :) I’ve read some pretty bad posts on here and man do I feel for you. DAY 3 of saying screw it. And not taking my 150mg. My doctor advised me to taper off but I’m so fed up with not feeling natural that I just am doing it my way. Yeah… Pretty wild. I’m only 19 and have been on this for about a year.

    First day didn’t really feel much and I was like oh this is a cake-walk I’m a medical marvel… HAHAHHAHA boy was I wrong. I’m not a doctor so I can’t give any real medical advice, but from what I read, nothing can really happen to you in terms of physical health so I’m just sticking it out. I really have my panic disorder under control so I’m not worrying about that. THE “BRAIN ZAPS” ARE GETTING PRETTY WILD THOUGH. Lol. Every time I move my eyes I get like a shock throughout my body. Other than that it’s not that bad.

    Maybe I’m just lucky. I’m going on a trip next Thursday so hopefully I’ll be 100% by then. LOL. But really I’m so happy to know I’m gonna be all me again that I’m going through the withdrawal. My liver was inflamed… most likely because of the drug and I was always tired. So I said THAT’S IT. My Dr said my panic disorder would come back stronger than ever but I disagree.

    I’m a champion. Ain’t nothing gonna happen to be but positive vibes. SO LET’S KEEP ON KEEPIN ON PEOPLE. WE CAN DO THIS. CAN I GET A WHOOP WHOOP.

  37. Everyone – I’m withdrawing from Effexor XR myself. It’s really hard and I can well appreciate everyone’s stories. One little tip I have found that works for me – when things have become really hard, having a mug of caffeinated coffee seems to help take the edge off. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it did work and I’d suggest it’s worth a try. Good luck and best wishes to all of you going through this.

  38. The pharmacist would not give refill for venlafaxine went cold turkey. I am in a VA facility with a lot of other people. I thought the dreams were bad until the homicidal thoughts started. These thoughts were Freddy Krueger/Jason type thoughts. Not rage or anger but cold calculated ways to kill people for no reason.

    I talked to other people who got of this stuff one person said he had thoughts of killing his wife by ripping off her arms and beating her to death with them. He said his children were next and he said he would not tell me how he planned to kill them. He left for two weeks to get off the med so he would not follow through. Mine didn’t start until withdrawals. If that would of happened twenty years ago I would probably be in prison for ever.

    I have all the other symptoms as the rest, electrical shocks, headaches, real bad problem swallowing. Can’t sit still or get proper sleep. All most every mass shooting in this country were from people on antidepressants. Most who came back from war were on antidepressants that committed suicide, killed their families and got domestic charges. This is bad stuff.

  39. For what it’s worth, I’ve found that taking over the counter motion sickness pills (dramamine or whatever) helps some with the dizziness part of Effexor withdrawal.

  40. I’m 4 weeks in to quitting this drug. I was on 450mg for 5-6 years. So, quite a significant dose. I dropped from 450mg (150, 150, 150) to 300. (150, 150) I did have some side affects but didn’t realize that’s what they were. I had really hot skin and you could feel waves of heat coming off my body. Despite this, my temp was normal. My bowels were looser than normal. Honestly, I thought I had a mild bout of gastro.

    I had crying spells that would flip into such intense rage that I was beating on my head with my fists. That certainly wasn’t me at all. The next drop was from 300 to 150mg. Again, a repeat of the gastro-like symptoms and added in for fun was a few nights of vivid, non-stop nightmares that ran all night. After this I woke up exhausted and had a headache. I slept most of the day. Nausea made an appearance too.

    Still, I didn’t put it all together as it only lasted a couple of days and then faded. The rage wasn’t so bad with this drop, but I was very depressed. With a new antidepressant in my system (not a SSRI) this eased. The next drop was from 150 to 75mg. This one was relatively easy. I still hadn’t realized all of the other things were side affects. I’d only heard of brain zaps, so figured I was getting off this drug relatively easy.

    I did have more loose bowels, but put it down to eating out and splurging on potato wedges after being mostly low carb. Then 3 days ago my doctor and I dropped from 75mg to 0mg. Last night I had nightmares all night and yesterday I started getting dizzy. Whenever I turned my head to one side or the other, I got a sensation of vertigo inside my head. Like a spinning or shaking sensation. Also, my hearing was muffled during the sensation, like when you have blocked ears or when you’re swimming underwater.

    This got steadily worse until I got the weird shivers in my brain if I just moved my eyes side to side or up and down. The only relief I could get from this was to keep my eyeballs still by placing my palms over them and pressing gently. The crying spells got worse. I’m not sure whether the crying was because of the unrelenting symptoms or because nobody seemed to be listening, or because my emotions were all topsy-turvy.

    When I wasn’t crying, I was raging so badly I was hitting my head with my fists, pulling out my hair and digging my nails into my face and eyes. It seemed all my thoughts were red and all I could think about was pounding the heck out of my brain to try and get some relief. I knew I was out of control and honestly it scared and horrified me. It was at that point the nursing staff rang the Doctor. He authorized a dose of 75mg.

    It took about an hour to start feeling better and be able to move my eyes without my brain shivering from the inside out. Most of this evening has been putting all the symptoms together and realizing they were all withdrawal side affects. I’m not sure what my Dr will prescribe tomorrow. I still want off this medication. I’ll update later.

  41. I was on 75mg’s for two years. Because these meds are stuffing up my medical aid and I don’t feel myself, I feel like I am drugged, I decided to stop. End of Nov 2015, I tapered down from 75 to 37. Got a bit irritated with an extremely short short fuse. But it was a holiday. Had lots of rest and a few drinks with friends and family.

    Worked a lot in the garden – lots of exercise behind the lawnmower and the spade. Within 14 days, I was over it. Monday I decided to stop completely. Monday morning, I did not take the drug. I got myself some sleeping pills from the pharmacy and some natural meds to keep me calm. Yesterday evening me and the kids took the dog for a long walk, got some good exercise. Last night I had a wonderful night rest, slept like a baby.

    This morning I started with a good breakfast, lots of B Vitamins. The natural meds to help me through traffic along with lots of water. At work I had more more water and three cups of coffe. I feel really good. I just hope that it goes on like this.

  42. I have been on effexor 150mg for over 6 months now. All was good until my insurance canceled. I am withdrawing something fierce from the room spinning to nausea brain zaps fatigue and a long list of other symptoms. I just got a script today for Valium 2mg. It is helping with nausea and has stopped the room from spinning. However I find that I am very irritable. Also I am having bouts of uncontrollable crying. This has got to be the worst drug besides heroin to detox from. This is like shock therapy to my brain and stomach. The only advice I can give is hold on and ride it out. Thanks, Florida Phil

  43. Looking for a little encouragement here… anyone out there in Hate Effexor Land (and believe me, I’m part of the tribe; read my post of a few days ago) who is kicking or has kicked Effexor and is experiencing at least a temporary shot of victory and good mental health? I’ve been completely off the stuff for a few days now and I’m going through a rough patch…

  44. I’ve read a lot here about people who ran out because of the prescription being cut off, lost in the mail, etc. I always got my dose in 90 day installments, then would go in a week or two early to get the next 90 pills. I went off them with still over a month of pills left, just in case the withdrawal symptoms were too much. I do this with my thyroid med as well.

    I have been on that one now for ten years and have a comfortable cushion in case I am unable to get to doctor, coverage runs out, or just out of the country for a while. It has definitely been beneficial to do this as I was without insurance for about six months this year. I still ended up going about three months with out but that was better than six months without. Hope this helps, keep with it those who are getting off Effexor. I am now almost two weeks without and feel great.

  45. Effexor is some pretty nasty stuff, as far as I’m concerned. My physician – who, parenthetically, is a ridiculous chucklehead whose advice never really helps me in the end; I’m on a waiting list to see someone else – prescribed it for depression-like symptoms of fatigue and joylessness, which I’ve experienced off and on (mostly on) for about five years. I’ve been taking it for six months, 150 mg.

    The worst side effect of taking it is I’m pretty much unable to function sexually or have an orgasm. The doctor confidently said that problem would go away a few weeks after I started taking it. Wrong. As long as I’m on Effexor, the sexual disfunction never goes away. I’ve tried several times to stop taking Effexor, starting with tapering, but always gone back, because the withdrawal is so dramatic and unpleasant.

    Basically it consists of exhausting, obsessive, feverish dreams that seem to go on all night; dizziness and a feeling of mental disconnection, as if I’m a remote control gadget on the blink, and this weird “tightening” sound in my head, something like Roink! Roink! Roink! I’m experiencing all these symptoms at the moment, except for the crazed dreams – since I’m awake, supposedly – and have been for about five days, but I am going to see it through this time.

    It would be different if Effexor made me feel great when I’m taking it, but it doesn’t. For me, it’s like a drug with no upside, only the downside of withdrawal suffering. I think the correct term for a drug like that is… poison. Any physician who prescribes this stuff ought to first take it himself/herself for about four months, just to experience what insanity they are pushing.

  46. My dr put me on Venlaxafine 300 mg at the end of May 2015. Today is Jan 1, 2016. I missed 2 doses and now I am so dizzy and tired it’s just awful. I took my regular dose just now. How long will I feel like this? I would like to taper off this medication, but I’m reading about how awful this drug is. Any advice? Also, I’m really afraid of my recurrent major depression returning again. This last bout was the worst one I’ve experienced and almost took my life. By the way, my doctor is not much help.

  47. Hi everyone, I’ve been on this drug for just a year. Started at 37.5 mg then up to 75mg a month in. It helped for sure, but I have been really looking forward to getting off them. I have gained about 30lbs, especially in the last few months, so about 8 months or so into the prescription. My doctor reduced my dose back to 37.5.

    I did one 37.5 then a 75mg for a week followed by 37.5 every day for 3-4 days then 1 37.5 every other day. It was in the every other day stage I felt the brain zaps, nausea, and dizziness. Luckily it happened when I caught a bad cold and just wanted to sit on the couch any way. The brain zaps do lesson and I am now about 5 days free of the pill. I can’t wait to be totally free of the symptoms!

    I have found keeping. Good attitude really helps and looking forward as a goal to be free of these pills as a huge motivator and help in dealing with withdrawal symptoms. So stick with it folks and look on the bright side!

  48. I regret not keeping a daily diary of my withdrawal from effexor because it would help others like me, trying to get off this horrid drug. It would now be week 13 and wracking brain as to how to get well physically and mentally because I can see I am only at the beginning of the long road. After being on effexor for about 8 years, without enough medical assistance, I then reduced followed by getting off effexor entirely.

    This slow taper was done over a year – no medical supervision unfortunately. I broke capsules down to about ten mg and took a week off work for the first week free of drug. I should have taken a month as noise , welling anger and resentments made me close to violence at times – if anyone had really known. I think what makes me so disappointed about being abandoned on effexor for years is that, if the withdrawal is an indication of the power of the drug, why would a doctor leave someone on it long term?

    Someone without a major medical illness long term and throw away the key? Having an episode of anxiety and depression does not justify leaving someone on this horrid drug long term because after reducing and finally getting off effexor, a definite side effect is anxiety and depression after the anger and crazy mixed up emotions. The brain zaps are nothing compared to the turmoil of this drug messing with bits of the brain.

    Surely ongoing CTB therapy or other ways of addressing the problems is the answer!!! Perhaps a short period on the drug with therapy then of with therapy. The people who write on these forums are always laypeople. It is good to hear how others handle withdrawal, but why aren’t doctors writing medically sound advice? I am desperate to hear from them. Surely doctors, as members of the general public, suffer same mental illnesses as do the general public?

    I would feel more confident with information in forums if scientific objectivity was included. I am bamboozled by we average Joe’s struggling with our own experiments giving up this horrendous medication. How about medical guidelines beyond week two. I am week 13 and still experiencing times of general anxiety, depression, self-pity and times when I am free from all that – but this can all occur within two days.

    Therefore, until I notice emotional stability, I blame effexor withdrawal and whatever it has done to serotonin and receptors. What is at stake – relationships with my 15 year old son for whom I am sole carer, family, friends, work. All the support groups that we need for an active balanced, mentally healthy life, become subjected to oversensitive unbalanced behavior that they don’t need to put up with.

    At this stage of recovery, I am fragile and I can see the strain I have caused to all around me so I lose the support networks around me. How could those people ever understand the psychological impact giving up effexor has on outward communications? People I valued as friends have been put off by my insecurities. Why wouldn’t they connect you giving up your antidepressant with behavior 3 months past?

    I will persevere for at least a year. I may have to make new friends, but I am sure I don’t want to be on effexor for the rest of my life. I beg science based information to be included in these forums. Thanks for your ears.

    • Rachel, You are one of the few I see that understand the effectiveness on a very long w/draw period. I tried cold turkey and do not recommend. I was on 300/day off-label use for ADD and am down to 75/day after 5 months of tapering. From here I will go to every other day, then every two days, etc. Cannot believe the fatigue at this point. I could sleep for a week! I hope life is better for you and for your son.

  49. Ugh I am on week 3 of a cold turkey withdrawal from Effexor XR 150mg I am having what I would describe as a constant headache every afternoon. I suppose it feels like a million little people inside my head pushing against my brain and it won’t go away. Everything else has stopped, but how long does this hang around for? :-(

  50. For eight years I was on a regiment of happy pills that included Venlafaxine (Effexor) 75mg, mood stabilizers (Lamictagin) and benzodiazepam, plus I was a heavy duty pot-head. I dropped the full load (150mg) about a year back and continued taking the 75mg with the other pills. It has been a week since I went cold turkey on Effexor and the mood stabilizer, I am taking 12mg of benzodiazepam (Lexotanil) to help me sleep. I have also completely quit Mary Jane since it seems to increase the panic pangs.

    My ears are ringing, I have spidey-sense (in an awful way). I stopped throwing up, just last night but the stomach is on full revolt, my legs are rubbery, the recalibration of the brain is making me spin like a top every time I move my head. There’s plenty morbid thoughts, my face seems to be shedding skin and my lips are inflated (in my head, of course), heat flashes followed by lying naked in an igloo, Hulkian rage, ugly dreaming and a right arm that feels detached from the rest of the body.

    I don’t even know and I’m bawling like a hungry infant, plus my senses are super sore; the insomnia is the worst when the withdrawal makes you feel like the only person left behind on an abandoned space colony filled with Xenomorphs. I lost too much in the past five years, including a high profile job with an oil company, my marriage, custody, sanity, reason, friends, small odd jobs, the will to live to have continued taking Effexor.

    It’s day six now and I’m writing this from my workplace, where I make calls and send emails for half a day. I don’t blame the doctors (my ex-wife prescribed my first antidepressant, Sertaline during my recovery from GBS in 2008), I don’t blame anyone but myself and now I must move forward or I’ll simply fade away, this time for good. Gotta hold on to the thought of seeing my daughter again and also to see my parents retire happily, they’re both senior citizens.

    Here’s to everyone on this forum and the fight being put up against the super-villain that is Effexor. Ok, fatigue is settling in now and I must go smoke a Marlboro before my thoughts take me down and out. All the best.


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