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Phenibut Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Phenibut (brand name “Noofen”) is a neuropsychiatric drug originally synthesized in St. Petersburg, Russia by a team of researchers at the Department of Organic Chemistry of the Herzen Pedagogic Institute.  By the 1960s, phenibut was introduced as a pharmaceutical agent in Russia for the treatment of various medical conditions including: anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD.  Since its initial approval, phenibut gained popularity as an adjunct: antidepressant, preoperative anesthetic, postoperative analgesic, and anti-stuttering agent.

These days, phenibut remains widely utilized throughout Russia as a pharmacological intervention to combat alcohol withdrawal, anxiety disorders, and other stress-related conditions.  Although its mechanism of action is principally GABAergic, it differs from benzodiazepines in that it bolsters cognitive performance (rather than impairs it); hence its labeling (by some) as a nootropic.  Due to the fact that it remains an unregulated substance in the United States, many biohackers, psychonauts, and individuals with refractory anxiety purchase phenibut online without a prescription.

Some users may find phenibut initially effective, but realize that similar to other GABAergics, tolerance onset is rapid.  With consistent phenibut usage, dosage increases are necessary to maintain anxiolytic, cognitive enhancing, and therapeutic efficacy – especially over a long-term.  As a result of tolerance and/or unwanted adverse effects, many users cease phenibut usage, vastly underestimating the severity of potential withdrawal symptoms.

Phenibut Withdrawal Symptoms (List)

Included below is a list of withdrawal symptoms that you may experience when discontinuing phenibut.  Keep in mind that the number and severity of discontinuation symptoms experienced is subject to individual variation; some users may report many severe symptoms, while others may not notice any.  The most common phenibut withdrawal symptoms include: anxiety, insomnia, rapid heartbeat, and poor sleep.

Agitation: For the first several days (or weeks) of stopping phenibut, you may notice extreme agitation.  It may feel as if your internal arousal has reached an all-time high and that no matter what you do, you cannot relax.  This agitation may prompt the urge to move around and/or compromise your ability to sit still.  To combat the internal agitation, you could exert energy via exercise (e.g. go for a walk) or tone down internal activation via relaxation (e.g. meditation).

Anxiety: The most commonly reported phenibut withdrawal symptom is anxiety.  While not everyone feels an increase in anxiety when stopping phenibut, most users do.  This anxiety may be extreme, especially if you were taking high dosages of phenibut and/or were using phenibut to treat an underlying anxiety disorder.  The cause of this anxiety is likely related to changes in GABAergic transmission.  It’ll take some time for your brain to restore normative, homeostatic GABA function.

Appetite reduction: After discontinuing phenibut, some individuals report appetite loss.  This loss of appetite may be indirectly related to dysfunctional GABAergic (and possibly even dopaminergic) activity following phenibut.  The GABAergic dysfunction may spike anxiety and stress hormones, thereby suppressing appetite.  Another theory of appetite suppression may be related to dopamine.  Since phenibut increases dopamine metabolism, discontinuation may slow dopamine metabolism in certain brain regions, leading to appetite reduction.

Cognitive deficits: Although phenibut may enhance cognition via its effects on GABA and dopamine, many users report difficulty focusing upon discontinuation.  Some report extreme cognitive deficits and “brain fog” that lasts for several weeks after their final phenibut dosage.  If you notice that your clarity of thought is poor, your quick-wit has slowed, and cognitive skills have declined – it’s likely a result of the withdrawal.  Markedly imbalanced neurotransmission may directly contribute to cognitive deficits and indirectly impair cognition as a result of increased anxiety/stress.

Depression: A less common, yet still reported discontinuation symptom of phenibut is depression.  If your mood suddenly plummets and you feel extremely depressed, it may be related to GABA and to a lesser extent, dopamine.  This depression is usually considered low-grade and/or mild and accompanied by negative thoughts.  Some users report feeling an anxious-depression stemming from increased anxiety upon phenibut cessation.  Assuming you weren’t depressed prior to taking phenibut, your mood should improve within several weeks of your last dose.

Depersonalization: Don’t be surprised if you feel depersonalized for a few days or weeks after your last phenibut dose.  Whenever discontinuing a potent pharmacologic agent (especially one that influences GABA), depersonalization may ensue.  Usually depersonalization is caused when an individual consciously reflects upon their current state and realizes that they feel “unlike” their normative self.  This can increase anxiety, which in turn can further exacerbate depersonalization.  Assuming you can minimize withdrawal-related anxiety, depersonalization should eventually subside.

Dizziness: Phenibut is sometimes used to treat vestibular conditions which may manifest as vertigo, inability to balance, and dizziness.  It mitigates dizziness likely by agonizing GABA receptors, but when discontinued, it may disrupt vestibular processes.  For this reason, you may notice severe dizziness when you stop taking phenibut.  The dizziness may be extreme for several days, but should improve significantly within 2-4 weeks.

Fatigue: Do not be surprised if you feel physically and mentally fatigued (or “burnt out”) during phenibut withdrawal.  Former users have reported extreme lethargy for the first week or two of withdrawal, but note that energy usually returns after several weeks.  This fatigue may be difficult to cope with, especially among those that need to be at their best (in terms of energy) for work, school, and/or athletic performance.  To combat fatigue, do your best to: keep stress low, get proper sleep, and rest when necessary to help your body/mind recover.

Hallucinations: In rare cases, phenibut users may experience hallucinations following abrupt discontinuation from high doses.  One clinical report has surfaced of a somatically healthy individual in his mid-20s who took phenibut for 2-months at elevated dosages (~20 grams per day).  On his third day of phenibut withdrawal, this individual reportedly experienced intermittent visual hallucinations of “patterns on the walls” and “people in the room.”  By the fifth and sixth days of phenibut cessation, this individual also experienced auditory hallucinations.  That said, hallucinations during phenibut withdrawal are unlikely unless you have a preexisting neuropsychiatric disorder, history of substance abuse, and/or were taking supratherapeutic dosages.

Heart palpitations: It is common to notice changes in the rhythm of your heartbeat upon discontinuation of phenibut.  Specifically, many individuals report experiencing palpitations or disconcerting flutters in their heartbeat during withdrawal.  For some individuals these palpitations may be perceived as loud, and when accompanied by anxiety, may lead a person to speculate that there may be something seriously wrong with their heart (e.g. a heart attack).  Palpitations may be exacerbated by anxiety and sympathetic pathways.  Engagement in relaxation and activation of parasympathetic pathways should decrease incidence of palpitations.

Insomnia: A symptom that a majority of phenibut users report during discontinuation is an inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep throughout the night.  You may notice that you feel physically tired, but realize that no matter how long you lie in bed, your brain just won’t “shut off” or transition from wakefulness to sleep.  This is likely a result of an imbalance in the neurotransmission of GABA, which could take awhile to correct.  Additionally, if you don’t actively take steps to combat this withdrawal-induced insomnia via reducing sympathetic arousal, it may persist for much longer than expected.  Strategic, temporary supplementation with an agent such as melatonin may prove helpful for sleep induction/maintenance, as could altering neuroelectrical activity to an alpha and/or theta state.

Irritability: Since you’re no longer getting the GABA(B) agonism from phenibut, you may find it difficult to stay calm or simply “chill out.”  You may notice that you feel more restless than usual and have accumulated a lot of internal angst.  As calm as the phenibut made you feel while taking it, you may feel irritable to an equal-opposite extent (or perhaps to a greater extent) upon discontinuation.  Be cognizant that this is a common discontinuation symptom that should improve within several weeks.  If you find yourself wanting to angrily lash out at a friend, co-worker, boss, etc. – realize that it’s withdrawal, take some deep breaths, go for a walk, and/or consider relaxation-inducing supplements to take the edge off.

Muscle tension: It is well-understood that the GABA system is responsible for inducing relaxation of musculature.  Hence, the reason many “muscle relaxants” function by enhancing endogenous neurotransmission of GABA.  Phenibut administration is conducive to muscle relaxation, but some individuals may notice that during discontinuation, their muscles become increasingly tense.  This tension may be exacerbated by psychological anxiety, but should gradually subside over a period of several weeks.  Consider getting a massage, doing some foam rolling, or engaging in progressive relaxation to combat this tension.

Nausea: Some users may notice an increase in nausea during the first week of phenibut discontinuation.  Usually this nausea isn’t extreme enough as to provoke vomiting, but may be disconcerting in that it could interfere with your appetite.  Realize that if you happen to be one of the unlucky ones that feel nauseated after stopping phenibut, it’ll likely subside within a week or two.  Nausea could also be a sign from your body that you tapered too quickly, essentially serving as a physiologic backlash, letting you know that it had expected another dose of phenibut.  If your nausea is extreme and has provoked vomiting, a slower taper should be considered.

Primal fear: A variety of phenibut users report an internal feeling of “primal fear,” almost as if they’re in nature and faced with a hungry Saber-toothed tiger.  Don’t be surprised if you notice an upregulation in unconscious threat-detection and defense responses within your brain.  In other words, you may notice that you become more sensitive to stimuli, are scanning your environment for things that may provoke anxiety, and you may feel physical surges of adrenaline (epinephrine).  As long as you don’t allow yourself to become preoccupied and obsess over this feeling, it should gradually dwindle over a period of days/weeks after your final dose.  Some users have reported that chamomile tea helps significantly.

Rapid heartbeat: A common physiologic response that occurs upon discontinuation of many CNS depressants is that of an increased heart-rate.  If you notice a rapid heartbeat, along with palpitations, and/or other irregularities, be conscious of it.  Obviously if you have a history of heart problems, you’ll want this monitored by a medical professional.  That said, noticing changes in heartbeat after stopping phenibut may provoke additional anxiety, which increases your stress response to make your heartbeat even more rapid.  Acknowledging your rapid heartbeat and taking proactive steps to lower your stress response should ameliorate this symptom.

Restlessness: Don’t be surprised if you feel extremely restless during your first week without phenibut.  Restlessness is likely associated with decreased transmission of GABA, as well as an increase in physiologic arousal and anxiety.  To cope with this restlessness, you can either put the extra internal energy to work such as via going for a run, hitting the gym, etc. – or you can decide to calm the restlessness with relaxation exercises.  Typically the restlessness should subside on its own after a week or two of functioning without phenibut.

Sleep disturbances: If you used phenibut to help treat insomnia, expect insomnia to return in full-force when discontinuing.  That said, even if you never had sleep disturbances prior to using phenibut, it is likely that you’ll experience some difficulties falling asleep and/or staying asleep upon cessation.  This is usually related to an increase in arousal, activation of the sympathetic nervous system, as well as insufficiencies in GABA activation.  Don’t expect normative sleep patterns until you’ve been phenibut-free for several weeks.

Tremors: Another very common GABAergic reaction that occurs when discontinuing phenibut is that people experience uncontrollable tremors or shakes.  If you notice that your body feels shaky and you’re unable to sit still, it’s a sign that you’re experiencing phenibut withdrawal.  In most cases these tremors are intermittent, but may be concerning.  To avoid excessive tremors, you may want to conduct a slower taper – tremors often become most severe when titrating/tapering down too quickly.

Vomiting: Only in extreme cases will an individual experience such severe nausea upon phenibut discontinuation that they vomit.  If you vomit after stopping phenibut, it’s likely because you quit cold turkey from a supratherapeutic dose.  For most users, vomiting can easily be avoided by tapering at a slower rate (e.g. 10% per month) and/or by using another supplement or pharmaceutical to aid in the neurophysiologic transition off of phenibut.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23717928
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20841974
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23391959

Note: It is important to recognize that the number and severity of aforestated symptoms is subject to individual variation.  Should you be concerned about any symptoms that emerge during your withdrawal, do not hesitate to conduct a medical professional.

Variables that influence Phenibut withdrawal symptoms

It is understood that severity and number of withdrawal symptoms that you’ll experience when quitting phenibut is subject to individual variation.  Variables that influence phenibut withdrawal symptoms include: term of administration, dosage, tapering speed, whether you’re still taking other drugs/supplements, and other personalized factors (e.g. stress level).  It is the combination of these variables that usually determines withdrawal difficulty, as well as how long symptoms last after your final dose.

  1. Term of Administration (Short vs. Long-Term)

Generally, the longer the duration over which you’ve regularly administered phenibut, the greater the severity your withdrawal symptoms are likely to be.  With consistent (daily) long-term usage, your neurophysiology, particularly your neurotransmission, becomes habituated to receiving the GABAergic boost derived from phenibut.  Over a long-term, it is of high likelihood that various receptors and neurotransmitters will become desensitized to the effects phenibut and may exhibit downregulation.

This means that once you’ve completely discontinued phenibut after a long-term, a greater number of neurological adjustments (e.g. resensitization and upregulation) will need to occur before homeostasis is restored.  If you had only taken phenibut for a short-term, less neurophysiologic habituation will have occurred and recovery time should be shorter.  Understand that if you’ve used phenibut for days or a few weeks (short-term) and discontinue, you’ll likely have milder symptoms than someone that’s been using for months or years (long-term).

  1. Dosage (Low vs. High)

In addition to the cumulative time over which you’ve consistently administered phenibut, it is necessary to consider how the dosage may impact withdrawal symptoms.  Those taking a low dose of phenibut (e.g. 100-500 mg) are unlikely to experience significant and/or long-lasting discontinuation effects when quitting.  However, individuals that were taking supratherapeutic level doses (e.g. 1-3 grams), withdrawal may be severe and potentially dangerous (if discontinuation is abrupt).

The higher the general dosage of phenibut that you were taking, the more severe (and possibly long-lasting) you should expect your discontinuation symptoms.  At lower dosages, less neurophysiologic changes will have been induced, making it easier to recover.  However, at high doses, more substantial neurophysiologic alterations will have occurred, making for a more debilitating withdrawal.

  1. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

Since phenibut is a GABA analogue that functions as a GABA(B) (and to a lesser extent GABA(A)) receptor agonist, abrupt discontinuation is never recommended.  All regular users of phenibut, especially those at high doses, should be aware of potentially deleterious implications associated with abrupt “cold turkey” discontinuation.  If you quit taking phenibut cold turkey, expect harsher withdrawal symptoms than if you had conducted a gradual taper.

A tapering rule followed by many long-term users is to decrease phenibut dosage by 10% each month.  This means that if a user were taking 1 gram, and wanted to quit, they’d drop to 900 mg the next month, and 810 mg the month thereafter.  If the 10% tapering speed is too slow or too quick, you can always make adjustments in tapering percentage and/or of intervals at which the tapering is conducted (e.g. 2 weeks rather than 4).

Those who gradually taper off of phenibut are less likely to experience severe, protracted discontinuation symptoms.  This is because a tapering process allows the brain to gradually recalibrate itself to functioning with less phenibut over a prolonged period.  Cold turkey discontinuation, on the other hand, doesn’t give the brain any time for adjustment – it’s akin to ripping a bandage off of an open-wound prior to the actual healing.

  1. Individual factors

Even if two individuals taking phenibut had administered the same dosage, for the same duration, and discontinued on the same day – withdrawal symptoms may differ between the two users.  Therefore, it is necessary to consider individual factors that may influence severity and number of phenibut discontinuation symptoms.  Individual factors to consider when contemplating phenibut withdrawal include: whether a person is taking other supplements/drugs, stress level, dietary intake, sleep quality, genetic expression, exercise, social support, etc.

One individual discontinuing phenibut may exercise regularly, manage stress (e.g. meditate), eat a healthy diet (to restore neurotransmitters), and may be taking supplements that promote neurophysiologic recovery.  The other individual may not exercise, fail to manage stress, eat junk food, and not know of any supplements to aid in restoration of homeostasis.  It’s a no-brainer that these factors – especially the usage of other drugs/supplements – have a major influence on phenibut withdrawal symptoms.

How long do Phenibut withdrawal symptoms last?

Everyone wants a clear-cut answer regarding the precise duration phenibut withdrawal symptoms will last.  The problem with giving an exact answer is that a particular timeline and/or checkpoint may be highly inaccurate for one person based on their physiology.  If they fail to recover by the normative recovery “checkpoint,” they may mistakenly perceive something more serious is wrong, when in reality, it’s likely their withdrawal symptoms.

In fact, since phenibut acts as a GABA(B) agonist, it is plausible to hypothesize that a post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) may be endured by some long-term, high dose users.  Some literature indicates that phenibut withdrawal symptoms are likely to persist for around 2 weeks after discontinuation.  That said, this “2 week” period of recovery is simply a hypothesis based off of available anecdotal reports.

Case studies of high-dose phenibut users have documented full-recovery as taking up to 24 weeks (for certain users).  This indicates that phenibut discontinuation could theoretically take up to 6 months, which makes sense based on the fact that recovery from benzodiazepines could take up to a full year (or longer) for certain users.  Realize that duration of severe discontinuation symptoms will likely be contingent upon the “factors” discussed above, as well as your coping strategies.

  • Source: https://books.google.com/books?id=ZYqoBgAAQBAJ

Strategies to reduce Phenibut withdrawal symptoms

Fortunately, even if you are a high dose long-term phenibut user, you’ll be able to mitigate the severity of discontinuation symptoms by taking a strategic approach to withdrawal.  Strategies to reduce the intensity of phenibut withdrawal include: gradually tapering, substituting phenibut with another medication, taking certain supplements, and most importantly – proactively reducing your stress.

  1. Taper: The easiest way to avoid severe discontinuation symptoms associated with phenibut is to conduct a gradual taper. This means gradually reducing your dosage by around 10% every 2-4 weeks. If you were taking 1000 mg, your first taper down should be to around 900 mg, then next taper to 810 mg, etc.  If this is too slow of a pace, you can speed things up, but beware that the faster you decrease phenibut dosing, the increased likelihood of unwanted withdrawal symptoms.  Tapering slowly gives your brain a chance to gradually adjust to changes in neurotransmission, guiding it in the right direction.
  2. Substitution: Another strategy that has been implemented for certain high-dose phenibut users is to substitute phenibut with a similar, yet less problematic substance. The theory of this strategy is to replace phenibut with another drug, stabilize on the new drug, and then taper off of the new drug. Although this can be effective, it is necessary to work with a medical professional and make sure that you’re not transitioning to an even more addictive and/or problematic substance; you don’t want to simply replace one drug for another of equal potency.
  3. Supplement: An effective withdrawal symptom mitigation strategy is to supplement. There are an array of supplements you may want to consider taking to help restore normative neurotransmission and/or to mitigate the withdrawal symptoms of phenibut. I’ve written an article about the best supplements for antidepressant withdrawal, some of which may prove beneficial for those discontinuing phenibut.  Examples of some supplements to consider include: chamomile tea, magnesium, taurine, L-theanine, melatonin, and rhodiola rosea.  Talk to your doctor about what’s safe to take based on your unique medical circumstances and be aware of contraindications.
  4. Stress reduction: The single most important step to take (besides a slow taper) is to reduce your stress. High stress can exacerbate many of the symptoms experienced during phenibut withdrawal. To combat the stress experienced during withdrawal, you could: take certain supplements, exercise regularly, practice deep breathing, use the emWave2, stay busy, etc. Keeping stress low will ensure the fastest possible recovery based on your unique circumstances.

Have you experienced Phenibut withdrawal symptoms?

If you recently discontinued phenibut, mention whether you experienced any withdrawal symptoms in the comments section below.  Discuss when you first noticed the onset of these symptoms after discontinuation, the specific symptoms you experienced, as well as the respective severity of each symptom.  If you experienced a symptom that wasn’t mentioned in the article, be sure to report it in your comment.

To help others get a better understanding of your situation, mention how long you had used phenibut, your daily frequency of usage (e.g. 3 times per day), and whether you were taking other medications and/or supplements.  If you’ve successfully discontinued phenibut and no longer experience any withdrawal symptoms, document how long it took for them to subside.  Realize that for most regular phenibut users, symptoms are speculated to last between 2 to 4 weeks after a final dose.

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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Cindy April 24, 2018, 2:16 am

    Five days ago my 36 year old son told me thought he was sick because of Phenibut withdrawal. The next morning, when I walked outside, I found him lying in the snow in the back yard dead. He had blown his head away with a shot gun. I am so angry this drug exists! I want it gone!

  • Jane April 21, 2018, 11:32 pm

    The fact that Phenibut is an OTC supplement in the US is dumbfounding. I was having trouble sleeping so my doctor gave me a supplement called Kavinace Ultra PM. This supplement has 600mg of Phenibut in it combined with 50mg of 5-HTP and 3 mg of melatonin.

    I took it as directed–one capsule before bed for about 4 months. The company website and bottle do not mention any risks of dependency and they use the scientific name for Phenibut on the bottle which leads me to believe they do that on purpose so people aren’t fully aware of what is in the supplement.

    I stopped taking it while still under the care of the care of my doctor and all hell broke loose. I thought I was going crazy–insane panic and fear without any reason, burning sensations in my skin, intense tension headaches, nausea, neck stiffness, leg weakness, horrible dizziness and insomnia.

    I went to the ER at a top metropolitan because I was so terrified and brought the supplement bottle with me. The head ER doctor said it was nothing more than melatonin and some amino acids and dismissed my claim and said I was having general anxiety.

    It was beyond negligent of this ER to not research the ingredients. I finally found a psychiatrist who had seen patients take Phenibut at astronomical doses, so he recognized the symptoms of the withdrawal. It’s been three months and I still feel awful.

    The jury’s out on how long I will feel like this. I was on a lower dose, but I took it daily and didn’t taper because the provider was not aware of the risks.

  • vanessa February 6, 2018, 5:34 pm

    I’ve been taking around 800-1000 mg on the weekends. Fri-Sun. while on it I’m euphoric -probably even manic- but there is a big difference in effect when I take it on an empty stomach. I smoked a little weed with it this time. Usually I get very paranoid from weed but with phenibut I felt all the glory.

    Monday morning I woke up a mess. Hands twitching, internally shaking, afraid my brain was not going to get me through the day. My words were jumbled and I felt complete depersonalization. Total brain fog, and still a bit wobbly but honestly, still #worthit. I can only say it’s worth it because I snapped out of it by mid-day with the following supplements; 500mg L-theanine, 500mg L-tyrosine, 2,000 mg krill oil, b-complex, 4,000mg D3 (for the tremors).

    An hour later I took a fat (but proper dose) of coenzyme Q10 and honestly can say I felt right as rain. I use bulk supplements for everything because they are pure and contain no fillers. I’m looking into adding NAC because it has a lot of benefits that can help a range things-including the tendencies that will likely land me in that state again. :P

    I do take those supplements every day. I also took a half of a scoop of green vibrance which is great on its own but loaded me with the vitamins not specific to brain chemicals as the one’s in my daily stack. I should also add that I began that stack in October after coming off 50mg Zoloft daily for 11 years.

    I have had none of the classic side effects from coming off my meds. I’d say I’ve had no side effects but the content of this confession, er, testimony might make readers think otherwise. Cheers.

  • freebird March 14, 2017, 9:54 am

    Glad to see this covered, most who talk about this substance on youtube act like it’s harmless and non addictive. It can appear harmless at the start when you take it every now and again and have no ill effect when you don’t take it. But you can get sloppy then and not keep track. Personally I didn’t know what was going on, I was having a rough time and thought it was that.

    But I had also not taken any PB. Terrible depression, feeling totally hopeless and having to fight crying. I had reason to be upset in my life, but not to this degree and it felt like I had no control over it. Felt very hopeless. I hadn’t really had anxiety problems when I first encountered this substance, and they didn’t really feature in my withdrawal.

    Irritability, headaches, and unclear thinking… as mentioned in the article, I thought it could have even been something more serious, a brain condition or something. As another commenter said, just be aware this is withdrawal, that itself helps a lot. If you don’t realize this you will think you are simply falling apart and the problems that seem huge, but are not, will seem huge… but this will be because of the withdrawal, not the things you are worried about.

    A massive thing is recognizing it as withdrawal, if you don’t, you will feel much worse and get very down. Tapering seems good, be careful with replacement, especially benzos.

  • Bill February 27, 2017, 1:57 pm

    My case: Been using 4-5g/day for 3+ years. Decided I didn’t want to have to go turkey if it was every banned so talked to Dr. Brought him the only medical journal article I could find describing Phenibut and how it works and how they used Baclofen to treat the withdrawal symptoms. He said, “We can do better than that.”

    Started on Wellbutrin and tapered Phenibut 500mg per week until down to zero. That took 2 months. Finished on 300mg Wellbutrin and Buspar as needed for anxiety. These two drugs helped immensely with depression and anxiety. I’m on week 2 without any Phenibut and have random nights of no sleep and have had a number of panic attacks.

    I’ve never had them before. All in all, though, the withdrawal isn’t that bad. Just discuss it with your doctor when you are ready to stop taking this stuff. When you do experience anxiety or panic or insomnia or nausea, just know that it is the Phenibut leaving your system and it will pass.

  • Kyle February 11, 2017, 3:17 am

    Really good article. I have been trying to taper the phenibut and it is just so hard. I have gotten myself to such a high dose and it just needs to stop. I would caution anyone to not even touch it. There is really no need to. You may end up in a situation where you are trying to live a normal life while getting off this stuff, creating many problems.

  • Ty February 8, 2017, 1:08 pm

    Hey, so I started taking phenibut last year towards the end of my school year as I had more and more projects and then eventually finals coming up (I was a second semester freshman in college) and it really helped me to focus and helped with the stress. I was taking around 600-1000 mg every morning in coffee. After the semester ended I stopped taking it, and didn’t notice any withdrawal until about 2 weeks later.

    Because of that I didn’t really connect that it was the withdrawal effects. I felt more anxiety, slightly depressed, and depersonalization to an extent. Honestly the depersonalization is horrible. I would always feel that something was really off about me and that I didn’t really know myself because of how much I changed (I lost 66 pounds in about 5 months).

    I just started school again and for some of my initial projects I took the phenibut again and felt completely refreshed and back to normal for the first time in awhile. That’s what led me to doing more research about the withdrawal effects (not that I didn’t in the first place but still) and came across this article.

    This has been the absolute best article that I’ve found. I appreciate all the info and I’m hoping that I’ll be back to normal now that I have all of this information and know how to get myself off of phenibut correctly.

  • Cookieroms January 16, 2017, 11:23 am

    I’ve been taking Phenibut for 9 months and 7 days. My dosages started at 500mg twice daily, and graduated to 1000mg twice a day. When I finally decided I had to stop I was taking 2 grams twice a day. That day I took 2 mg of Klonopin and 2 grams of Phenibut and experienced an almost instantaneous rebound. I cold turkey’d and this lasted for about a week. Upon which I gave up and ordered more.

    I’ve only successfully stopped taking Phenibut once with the help of lyrica but that was in the first 2 months of use. I am now trying lyrica again to help me withdraw. The only problem is lyrica is too short acting, and I get sudden and fierce itching and panic after 5-6 hours. (Of course I don’t scratch because it’s likely a tactile hallucination, or simply over sensitivity).

    And I can only take 100mgs every 12 hours. The 6 hours can feel like hell on earth. I always end up fearing I will have a heart attack. I tried taking Klonopin but it only works for about 30minutes to one hour. (Normally it lasts well into the next day). I have been off of it since Tuesday January 3rd. Yesterday I felt like taking a gram.

    So… I ended up taking 1 gram of Phenibut and I noticed that the effects were stronger than what I had become used to. I can only hope this means that these withdrawals will only last a week or 2 more. Although since I do have an underlying panic disorder, it may be longer. I also noticed that 1000mg of Phenibut is a hell of a lot weaker than lyrica.

    On top of that I’m prescribed 15mg Dextroamphetamine for my ADD. This has proven to be my weakness since I usually end up taking one or half of one and making my withdrawals worse. Honestly o just want this mental fog of withdrawing gone. I’m getting my ambien tomorrow, I also have a lot of mirtazapine. So I am planning to ride it out asleep.

    My actual wish is that once the withdrawals end the lyrica will be able to take manage my anxiety without the need of a benzo. The Klonopin I have been on for almost 10 years at 0.5 mgs once daily. Raised to 0.5mgs twice daily about 6 months ago. I was able to kick the Klonopin habit using Phenibut without noticing any withdrawals even with months of not taking it.

    I truly hate this search for an anti-anxiety drug that will not cause powerful withdrawals. :(

  • Pb September 3, 2016, 12:17 am

    I want to get some meds to help with withdraw. What would be better muscle relaxers, or benzos?

    • The Dark Lord January 18, 2017, 4:03 pm

      Benzodiazepines are prescribed to relieve the insomnia and mental side effects, while muscle relaxers may be prescribed to relieve the physical side effects, although benzos work as muscle relaxers themselves to an extent.

      A doctor will know what’s best and prescribe what’s needed. Don’t ask for a particular drug, just ask for relief from the withdrawal and they will probably prescribe Valium or something of that nature.

  • Designation3of4 July 14, 2016, 4:47 am

    I enjoyed this article very much and it sounds fairly accurate, with the little information available to the West. I’ve suffered Major Depression and crippling anxiety for around 25 years. It’s hard to recall when I first started taking Phenibut but it was probably early 2013. I stayed under 5g a day for a long time. I’d read that it was addictive but I told myself “I’d worry about that later” because I’d never felt such a wonderful relief from my anxiety.

    It improved my cognition, I was happy, fun, likable, relaxed and energised. Music was more interesting and beautiful, comedy was funnier, colours were brighter and the wind on my face felt amazing. Taken as directed it’s a wonder drug and I was foolish to abuse it. Please do not abuse it as the difficulty in come off it outweighs the short term joy of abuse.

    After a few months I decided to take myself off it abruptly with nothing to ease the discomfort but I made it. My withdrawals symptoms then were feelings of dread and hand tremors for 2 weeks and then it stopped. I soon stupidly went straight back on it and let it creep up to 7g for about a year. At one point I couldn’t get any for 2 weeks but I didn’t seem to have any problems so I questioned whether I was actually addicted.

    During a difficult period where my antidepressants weren’t working, my depression relapsed and I doubled my Phenibut daily dose to 14g for 8 months which alleviated the depression. I reasoned it out by telling myself that being addicted to Phenibut was necessary in order to feel ‘normal’ during the day, that it was no different to taking an antidepressant only that it worked. But recently I noticed I needed to bump the dose up again so I decided to stop it there and try and come off it.

    I tapered it too dramatically, dropping to 8mg a day. This dose wasn’t enough (although strangely, some days it was enough) and I began experiencing many of the symptoms outlined above without the agitation. Because of this I simply thought that I wasn’t addicted otherwise I’d have hand tremors, but I didn’t realise that fear, panic, remorse, anxiety, brain fog (this is the so difficult for me as I’m normally sharp and witty), fatigue and aggression were also Phenibut withdrawal symptoms.

    I assumed they were simply symptoms of my primary mood and anxiety disorders and it was difficult for me to know the difference. Now I’m confused: I don’t know whether to taper or go cold turkey. I went back up to 12g for a few weeks and am now on 11g but that usually isn’t enough either (although some days it is) and I still experience lessened anxiety, fatigue and cognitive deficits. It’s not as bad as full blown withdrawals but it’s still a bad day.

    Tapering will take such a long time which means almost a year of bad days instead of a few weeks of terrible days. As I have access to clonidine, melatonin and Xanax I wonder if I should try to tough it out ‘cold turkey’ and hope that these things will minimise most withdrawal symptoms. Would it be counterintuitive to go Phenibut-free for several days then take an occasional lower dose of Phenibut? Or will that only undo the “phenibut-free” days?

    • freebird March 14, 2017, 10:00 am

      Yeah, knowing it’s withdrawal is a big one. Take your time coming off, this is normal with antidepressants as well. I’d say taper, and try to have a few “free” days if you can… on a day when you will be able to avoid other stresses and take it very easy. Going to the gym or other exercise could help as well.

      Taking benzo drugs might not even really be cold turkey, as they work with similar brain chemicals. While tapering some herbal stuff like damiana and passion flower, in tea or capsule, could give a bit of help.

  • Jsf July 4, 2016, 3:05 am

    I can say that I naively took Phenibut daily for approx. 3 months in Ever increasing doses up to around 5g a day. At first it seemed like a miracle drug, it removed anxiety let me sleep and feel refreshed and relaxed my muscles very well. However tolerance built extremely rapidly and after experiencing a lack of effect from ever increasing doses I foolishly decided to Cold Turkey from it.

    What I experienced was in all ways absolutely horrendous and most of the symptoms listed above were present at first especially the Anxiety, Irritability and Restlessness as well as crippling Insomnia that left me with no sleep whatsoever for 7 days. By the 7th day I was experiencing extreme Depersonalization, Mania and the ‘Primal Fear’ mentioned above that is I was afraid of being in a dark room by myself and started to contemplate suicide (never before had I done this).

    This led to 3 consecutive ER visits where eventually they concluded I just needed sleep which was achieved by Mirtazapine 15mg and Diazepam 20mg. After 12 days or so and some sleep I felt 90% better but it still took around a month to feel ‘normal’. The moral of this story is please do not Cold Turkey Phenibut and treat it with respect as this was an experience I would not wish on anybody. J.

  • Daredevil June 26, 2016, 4:12 am

    Phenibut withdrawal wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected, not as bad as others say it was for them. I stopped taking phenibut abruptly – no tapering – after 4 months of daily use at 4000/mg. per day.

    Here’s what I DID experience:

    – Annoying tremors & shakes, mostly in the hands when holding something, especially during the morning hours and after my usual A.M. coffee.
    – A general feeling of being ‘;wound up’.
    – Very early morning awakenings (say, 3 A.M.) where I could not get back to sleep unless I took some kratom or valerian.
    – A near constant tinnitus.
    – A clear head and quick thinking (clearer & quicker than when i was on the phenibut).
    – The ability to go to work every day and do a great job.

    Here’s what I did NOT experience:

    – Feelings of impending doom.
    – Crushing depression,
    – Lethargy.
    – Excessive sweating.
    – Derealization.
    – Hallucinations, neither visual or aural.

    I write this report entering Day 5 after sudden cessation. So overall, nothing as devastating as benzo withdrawal or full-fledged alcohol withdrawal (DT’s). And I’d say that most of the opioids have more distressing withdrawals than this.

    Valerian root – in the form of capsules, purchased at the local Family Dollar Store – worked surprisingly well at stopping the tremors. I used the valerian on Days 2 & 3 only. Note: I took high doses of it. But it did work and it worked wonderfully. That was a pleasant surprise because previously I never thought much of valerian before.

  • Greg Stallworth April 9, 2016, 4:36 am

    I think I may be experiencing phenibut withdrawal while still using it. I worked my way up to (approx.) 5 G per day. The effects were a little too heavy, so I decided to cut back to 4 G per day. Just a 20% reduction. But since I did that slight cutback, I’m awakening super early, sometimes with drenching sweats and, oh man, the anxiety & panic.

    But I do have something major going in my life at the same time, but something just tells me that it’s the slight reduction in phenibut dosage that’s causing this. Anyone out there experience the same thing? When slightly cutting back or tapering?

    • Karen April 21, 2016, 8:20 pm

      I’ve been taking phenibut 1g per day for 3 months. Withdrawal down to 500mg has meant anger outbursts and paranoia. Insomnia has occurred since reducing to 450mg etc down 50mg each day. But, I feel better, the more it leaves my system, the less angry I feel.

      • Daredevil June 26, 2016, 4:17 am

        You said: “But, I feel better, the more it leaves my system, the less angry I feel.” Good point. Because the main thing I didn’t like about phenibut was that it caused me to feel emotions too intensely: anger and hurt especially. Otherwise I did like phenibut. But not the over-emotional aspect of it.

  • Tiedyedowl March 27, 2016, 10:24 pm

    I took Phenibut for a year, more or less, before I began trying to get off it. By then I was taking 5 grams a day. At first I tried to do it alone, and cut my dose in half. I did tell a friend what I was doing in case anything happened, b/c I’d heard of the possibility of hallucinations. I didn’t hallucinate, but I became delusional.

    Two days later, she called me to see how I was and warn me about storms coming, and I told her not to worry-it was aliens landing in the field nearby-not a storm-and they were coming to talk to me. Not her. She worried and convinced me to take the Phenibut at full dose again, and talk to my psychiatrist, (which for personal reasons, I had not wanted to do unless I had to).

    My psychiatrist told me to go down by 100 every week as much as I could stand it-and if I couldn’t to go to the hospital-and he also gave me 20mg of Baclofen to help with the withdrawal. There were lots of times I went down, only to have to end up having to go back up b/c I couldn’t take the anxiety and depression that went with the withdrawal.

    I’m still working on the last 200mg of Phenibut, and the last 5mg of Baclofen now. It’s been four months, I’ve been slowly withdrawing for four months. My case may not be usual for everyone else though, b/c I was already diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, Panic Disorder, and General Anxiety Disorder before I started Phenibut.

  • KurwaDziki March 18, 2016, 4:35 pm

    I take 3600-4000 Mg dose once a day. I’ve gotten to this dose gradually over the last year of taking it. Its pretty amazing stuff to treat anxiety for me and makes me feel normal. Not the best idea to take it everyday because you really do develop a tolerance for it gradually. If I don’t take it I feel off. It’s like a cure all for me and works better than anything I’ve ever had before. Be careful with it though.

  • Ben February 2, 2016, 9:55 pm

    Very nice article. Thank you. I have taken phenibut for consecutive two weekends now. During these weekends I would dose 1.5 gram on Saturday morning, dose another gram in the evening and dose 1-1.5 gram on Sunday. I would be calm and relaxed on monday but on thursday/wednesday I would experience short bursts (1 hour) of extreme anger and paranoia. About once or twice on a day. After reading this article I have a suspicion this has something to do with phenibut. Please be aware.

  • Anonymous January 28, 2016, 7:37 pm

    This is probably the most informative and highly accurate thing I’ve read on phenibut withdrawal. I was taking a low dose of .3-.5 grams once or twice a week for 5 months or so. I began experiencing extreme agitation/irritation that has continued since my last dose 8 days ago. Even though I didn’t experience “hardcore” withdrawal at any point, I had insomnia and mild anxiety in addition to the agitation/irritation. I did overdo it a couple years ago and experienced the harsher symptoms.

    Most places you read about this don’t speak beyond the immediate physical issues that regular or daily users experience when quitting. I’m hoping the agitation clears up soon. Excellent resource for anyone currently taking or thinking of taking phenibut. I was very responsible and still had to “pay the piper”.

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