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This post is an extension of the

Reducing Effexor Withdrawal Symptoms thread.

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I too have decided that I will no longer medicate myself with this "drug."

After speaking to a medical professional and several others and lots of reading, I have been told this is EQUIVALENT (not similar) to coming off of Heroin. o.O

I am 31 and have been on Effexor for 6 years now. Started with 75mg and moved to 150mg just about 2 yrs ago. I decided myself I was quitting cold turkey 2 days ago and wow was that a bad choice.

I had most every symptom you all have mentioned. Vertigo, crazy pounding in my head, thinking I am hearing high-heels clanking on a floor, jitters, etc, etc. I feel as if my head is in one of those paint mixers.

So, I took my last 20 pills, and 20 little baggies. I numbered each bag 1-20 and starting with #1 I removed 10 pellets inside the capsule. #2 I removed 20, and so on. My last pill has almost nothing inside it. This is day 2 of this "method" i am using.

I am also drinking lost of water, taking fish oil (does anyone know WHY this is recommended?) And starting Vit B-12 in the morning.

Taking Effexor has made me into someone I hate. My house is a constant disaster and I am so "eh I could care less" about it. My car is the same way as well as I have let myself become a mess. I went from being a 5'8, fit 155 lbs, dressed up with make-up, hair, nails done, attractive woman to a "220 lb don't care what I wear, forget make up bc I could care less, put my hair in a pony tail, slob.

This will NOT do this to me any longer. Im glad to have found very similar experiences and that we are not all going crazy.
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I decided to take myself off of 75mg of Effexor "cold turkey" after I lost my medical insurance and could no longer pay for it. To be honest, it was a long time coming. While Effexor helped my anxiety/depression, it created other side effects that I did not like. By missing just one dose (Effexor has a half-life of 5 hours) I would feel horribly dizzy and start to have, what most Effexor users call, brain zaps. I am on my second week without Effexor, and I did not think I would ever get past how absolutely horrible I felt during the first week. My first day wasn't too bad; I had missed doses before and was familiar with the slight dizziness. The second day was worse, I was very, very dizzy and became nauseous. I didn't think it would get worse as the days went on. After the second day, I felt like an drug addict going through withdrawal (I know now that, essentially, I was) I had never felt anything like what I was feeling. The vertigo was unbelievable. I felt like a zombie, completely out of my own body. I was so nauseous that I could not keep a single meal down all week. I would feel hungry but the feeling would disappear when I realized that it was not worth the feeling of vomiting it right back up...the thought then made me sick! I am thankful that I am a college student and do not have to commit to a full time job. I was able to miss my classes with minimal consequence, which was a huge help. I spent hours in bed, on the couch, taking baths...anything that didn't require moving or thinking. The brain zaps are undoubtedly the most horrible part. I would never have understood what they were, had I not suffered them myself. You can literally hear the 'zzt' sound in your head, making you feel as your brain is constantly shutting on and off. They don't seem so bad when you realize that they are just signs of your brain beginning to wake up--your neurons beginning to make the connections that they used to! I read through pages and pages of Effexor withdrawal posts and cried for hours, thinking that I would never be able to successfully quit this drug. I followed some suggestions and am finally feeling better after my 15th day.

Here is what helped me:
1. Rest-try to remove yourself from activities that require too much thinking. This allows you to rid yourself of unnecessary stress
2.Hydration- Gatorade was a lifesaver! I bought the powder mix in bulk, and always kept a liter bottle in my hand. I got sick of it after a while, but the electrolytes were a miracle.
3. Vitamins- I purchased B complex (do not be surprised if this turns your pee neon yellow!) once a day with a meal as well as Omega3 (fish oil) three times a day with a large glass of water/gatorade
4.Nausea aids- Dramamine or in my case, cherry anti-nausea chewables were great when I needed to leave my apartment. They give you relief for a short time, but I found that I needed to take too many, too often to feel tha much better
5. Exercise- Although it was very, very hard to get myself off of the couch or out of bed, getting a small amount of exercise each day, even if it was a brisk walk outside, was a big help

These will not work for everyone; the above list is just what I believ helped me out personally. As I said before, I have not taken Effexor for 15 days and I am FINALLY feeling better. The symptoms did not disappear right away. I am still having the 'brain zaps' once in a while, and I am occasionally dizzy. I am so thankful for being able to feel again that I cannot be angry that I still have a few symptoms. The battle is long and tough, but don't give up! I believe that if I can do it, anyone can do it.
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hello there,

I was prescribed Efexor XR 75 mg for treating depression.
I also went off Efexor cold turkey, god I wish I hadn't done that. I was on 75 mg Efexor XR for 4-5 months, and same way as smw0304 - I had to make a financial decision. I have insane appetite, my mood is below anything possible at all times, I cry myself to sleep every single night. I have brain zaps, my ears keep ringing, and first two weeks I also had dizziness and vertigo, it's my third week now and I'm experiencing leg pain, cramps and whatnot. At least after reading all this I feel I'm not alone. I just don't know what to do now, any more. Will this pass at all.
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Here is my story and withdrawal plan,

I was on Effexor XR 150 mg for approximately 11 months for a bout of situational anxiety that I couldn't get a handle on.
I must say that it did help me through a rough patch however after about 6 months on it I gained loads of weight ( almost 40 pounds - pretty quick weight gain considering my eating and exercise habits did not change) and started to sleep a lot - I felt Effexor XR helped me but it was time to get off.

I tapered every two weeks and experienced NO withdrawals in fact I felt awesome:
150 - 112.5mg
112.5 - 75 mg
75 - 37.5 mg
then no more pills after the final two weeks on 37.5mg.
I also started supplementing with Omega 3 and protein shakes( someone told me the amino acids help level serotonin levels)


Day 1- I was fine.
Day 2 - shivering, dizziness, muscle tension, brain felt like it was moving inside my head , going to the bathroom constantly, weepy, vivid nightmares, hot flashes, disrupted sleep and feelings of anxiety.
Day 3 - not feeling like myself at all - couldn't go to work. experiencing all similar physical symptoms from Day 2. Feeling anxious and irritable. Increase Omega 3 to approx. 5 -6 a day - forgot protein shake. Slept a bit better but still having those vivid terrible dreams.
Day 4 - weepy again, funny brain feeling, dizziness and shivering are going away. Started taking B complex, plus Omega 3s(6times a day) and protein shake, Vitamin C, Vitamin D ( I wanted to cover all my bases here lol)
Day 5 - woke up feeling more like myself finally. Still going to the bathroom constantly, some vivid dreams but starting to sleep through the night, a little shivering and not so anxious.

I find the Omega 3s and protein shakes really help. I noticed a significant difference of the severity of my withdrawal symptoms if I forgot or was late taking supplements.

I am trying to stay positive and know that the withdrawals will slowly disappear - it just sucks having to go through it!

Hang in there everybody!!!


pS Has anyone heard of or tried 5 - HTP?
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I stopped Effexor after tapering 10% a week over 8 weeks (was at 75mg).

Chills - lots of sweaters and socks
Nausea - ginger gravol, then regular gravol. Lost 15 lbs anyhow
Dizzy - Gravol
Mood - haven't found a good one for that. My mood swings all over the place

Three weeks into the withdrawal I was desperate enough to try a low dose (37.5 mg) and after two days I was in ER with high BP, high heart rate (130+), muscles contracting on their own and akathisia (I think that's how it's spelled)

Stopped Effexor right way and over the next four days the anxiety and insomnia were unbearable. Went back to ER (in my own car this time!) and PDoc prescribed clonazepam (.25mg x2 and .5mg at night). First few days were great! Now after two and half weeks the anxiety seems to be abating but I'm still having sleep issues. Trying to get fresh air everyday to help.

I just want everyone to keep hope and to those who haven't been taken seriously by doctors and nurses - I'm so sorry. I had a nurse tell me that maybe I just have to be on Effexor the rest of my life. I refuse to accept that - two years ago I was a very happy person. My sadness was due to severe anemia. I honestly think that the Effexor made my life much worse.

Best wishes to all
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Hi Everyone,

I used this web-site to stay sane and promised myself I write in to do anything to help everyone else. First I am a 50 year old female who was on effexor 150 2x a day. I decided 5 months ago to start weening myself off. One month on 225 a day. I had a difficult time getting my insurance to approve 37.5mg, but my pharmacist was persistent and worked it out.2weeks on 75,75,37.5. 2weeks on 75,75. 2weeks on 37.5,37.5, 37.5.Then 37.5for 3 weeks.,then 37.5 every other day for 2 wks then 37.5 every third for one week then none.During this time I had no effects until last two wks.Okay...
Day1--fine
Day 2--fine
Day 3--fine until about 5pm then vertigo,nausea,shaking ,bathroom all the time--finally 8:30 took 3 omega 3's with ice on my head in dark quiet room. much better
Day 4--same absolutely felt horrible but continued with omega 3's,water,ice and healthy eating.ice chips helped me along with citrus fruit.
Day 5--went to mall forgot to add sweating and shaking. drive in car unbearable-also usually brain zap,shivers then sweating tried benedryl did not help me
Day6--not good no idea why continued same
day 7-seem to be getting better but taking a shower is still a chore
Day8 and nine same
Day10-took 5mg ambien at night to help sleep-worked
Day11-today
I took ambien again last night because before that I was up the entire night.Forgot to memtion EXTREMELY UNABLE TO FOCUS! also huge mood swings. Still on omega 2x day will probably stay on it. I am happy to be off and yes it was difficult remember if you go back you just have to start over again. I am fortunate to stay at home.Definately advise if you work --take last pill tues worst should be fri night to mon night -going to work will be hard so use sick days if possible. Stock up on ginger ale,juice chicken breast fruits and veggies before because you will not want to go out. Get omega in if you don't use it return it but better to have it available.
I still feel wierd constipation is over but things are not regular yet but I AM GLAD I DID IT!
I will check back for questions as this helped me and I am forever grateful to those before me. As they say pay it forward with your best information. Sunny days ahead hopefully...
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I've been on 150mg for a couple of years (at least) now and every time I've tried to quit, it's been hell. I was on something else before this and for the life of me, I can't remember the name, but when I forgot to get a refill, I got the brain zaps, confsusion, nausea,etc. When I asked my doc about it, she kinda chuckled and said that it must be from something else and then changed my prescription to effexor. WHAT A GREAT choice that was. I tried quitting about a year ago and a different doc told me to take the pack they use to taper you up and do it in reverse. Problem was that it would only cover two weeks and the first dose was half of my normal. After three days, my mood was horrible and at one point, someone walked in front of my car in a drive-thru and glanced at me (just making sure that I saw him), but I truly wanted to rip the guy's face off and started yelling "What the **** are you looking at you @!*#%*#$". At that point, I realized I had to continue using it and come up with a different plan.

I haven't tried since until this past week, mainly out of fear. This time I'm taking the same dose, but instead of daily, it is now: Day 1 - take first thing in AM, Day 2 - take in late evening - Day 3 - skip and then start again at Day 1. Right now, I'm on the day two (third or fourth time through the cycle) and I've got minor brain zaps, dizziness, a little queasy but it's all tolerable. Once my body gets accustomed to this, I'll try going every other day, or go to every day with a 75mg dose. Really ticks me off that you have to research this yourself with NO HINT of it from a doc. Then if you bring it up, they get mad at you...."I don't tell you how to do your job!" type of reaction. Granted, I'm no doctor, pharmacist or scientist, but I can predict with great accuracy, they types, times, severity of symptoms I will get should I stop taking the medication. I can also state affirmatively that these symptoms are not imaginary or brought on because I am "thinking" about them. I would also guarantee that if blindly given a placebo, I would know based off the effects. This c**p is garbage and hope that no one ever takes it.
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I stopped taking Effexor cold turkey on January 1, 2009. I know you are not supposed to do this, but I just felt like I had to. I have experienced all of the withdrawal symptoms that people on this site have named, plus one that I have not really heard much about. Has anyone else experienced hypersensitivity to touch? My skin literally hurts. Fabric, skin, etc... rubbing against my skin cause me extreme discomfort and at times even severe pain. I have had a bad sinus/bronchitis cold at the same time that I have been off of Effexor and thought I was experiencing these feeling due to the cold. However, now I am feeling better in terms of the cold but the sensitiity to touch is still occurring. I also feel like my body weighs a ton. Movement is very labored and difficult. Also, does anyone have a time frame for how long it takes Effexor to get completely out of your system?
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I stopped using effexor over a couple of weeks but i am feeling the symtoms that most people have described. The most annoying is the vibrations in the head!! How long will this last. It has been going on for abut 3 weeks and i dont know how to stop it?
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I posted on February 10th and listed all my withdrawal symptoms: Well, they have finally mostly gone away. I still get the "zaps" pretty much every day, but it's no where near as intense. Early on I would get zapped as many as 5 jolts in a row, just for turning my head! Now it's down to one or two times occasionally. I can live with it. My only other remaining symptom is that I get very emotional, and I can deal with that too. Effexor is evil. Anything that puts you through withdrawals like I went through cant be good for you, and should probably be illegal. If you're on it, you might want to think about getting off of it, if you are depressed and thinking of trying it, please try something else. This stuff is bad.
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I am also trying to get off Effexor. I am sorry that you are having a very difficult time. I did find a website that gave me help. It is theroadback.org. They do recommend taking their supplements, but I could not afford to. I am taking the Omega3/Fish Oil, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B12. All the symptoms you are having are the same ones I was having. I know it is difficult, but tapering off gradually is the best way to go. I went to my Dr also and he told me that I would be be with Effexor XR. I told him I would rather switch to Cymbalta. I had to be approved by my insurance first. So in the meen time he put me on samples of Prestiq XR. He told me I should not have withdrawal symptoms of the Effexor. I started taking it the very next day and started to have withdrawals that evening. I also started to do research and did not like what I found. Now I have decided that I do not want to take any Antidepressants. I have to see my Dr again about the Cymbalta. I think I will have him put me back on Welbutrin until I can fully wean off the Effexor. I did not have withdraws with the Wellbutrin. I only started to take the Effexor because I struggle with Chronic Fatigue and my Dr told me that Effexor would be better for my fatigue. It was better but I do not like the side affects. I hope that this was helpful. Do not give up take it one day at a time. Remember you were on it for two years. Give yourself a chance to heal and recover.
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Most important tip: PLEASE TAPER OFF.

During Tapering off and before reaching 0 medication: Vitamins and minerals

Multivitamins (as a base, any brand is good, normal dosis)
Super B-Complex (energy, mental wellbeing)
Omega 3 1200 (either fish oil or flax seed oil, note fish oil has cholesterol, that’s Omega 3-6 and 9)

Selenium (mood improvement)
Potassium (liver function, nervous system)
Magnesium (avoid headaches, mood improvement)
Lecithin (brain food)
Biotin (mental wellbeing)
Calcium citrate (better than carbonate) (nervous system)
Folic Acid (body is depleted because of depression and medication)
coQ10 (mental fatigue)

Once you reach 0:

Double the dosage of vitamins (all of them). The body is smart: what is not needed will be discarded.
Start with protein shakes (Amino acids in protein are the source for the body to produce serotonin)
5-HTP (natural antidepressant, anti-anxiety)

When the brain shivers: More Fish oil.

With all this, the brain almost won’t shiver. Minimal brain zaps.

I’m 33, I was on FXR 112 for 9 month, I tapered off to 75 in a week, to 37 in another week and then went off completely.
It’s my 3rd day clean, my brain does not shiver, I get dizzy sometimes thou. But it’s not that bad.
I don’t have nausea, my levels of energy are fine. Life is still good and thank god is Friday so I’m taking my weekly night out!

Research the internet for amino acids (whey protein) and depression, vitamins and depression, withdrawal systems and depression, etc.
This is my learning from hours of searching the internet for answers. And so far… way good! 
Good luck for you all!
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Hello everyone. It is UNBELIEVABLE to me how many posts there are on this subject. So many posts that they have to keep making new threads. This tells me that this drug should NOT be on the market. It is unconscionable that doctor's prescribe this drug. My previous doctor prescribed Effexor to me for SAD. She NEVER told me of the awful withdrawal I would go through if I ever wanted to get off of this drug. I have been tapering off EXR for a little more than a month. My mood has been out of control. I have had zero energy. My bones have hurt. I have felt like I have the flu. My skin has even hurt! I have had the "brain zaps." My ears ring. I cry often. I have trouble focusing. When I was in the shower about a week ago I thought I heard people talking downstairs. I got out of the shower and no one was home. I have literally felt like I was going insane!!!!!!! I am a NORMAL person who needed some help with mild depression. How can this be happening to me??
My family has suffered so much because of this d**n drug. I am truly angry that I was ever put on this evil thing. I am doing all that I can to get through the pain of the withdrawal. I am taking high doses of Omega 3, B-12, Multi-vitamin that has folic acid, drinking LOTS of green tea. I will try the protien shake.

Is there anyone out there that has finally gotten off the medication that has NO MORE side effects from it?? I am scared that this is going to continue forever. Have I changed my brain function forever??? Please let me know.

God Bless,
Tammy
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Hello to all. I am new here but have been reading posts a couple of days. Have been on 75mg six years and due to all the side effects of which many relate to me I am ready to get this drug out of my life. Reading many of the helpful posts will prepare me in tapering off praying I can get off and stay off.
So glad I found this discussion board.
Edie
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