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Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

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Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

Postby CherryPies » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:54 am

Hi

I posted this originally in the medication and anxiety forums, but no-one has responded, so I am hoping someone in this forum can give me some advice. I'm figuring that, as Effexor is an anti-depressant, it is predominantly prescribed for depression:

Please could someone let me know how long Effexor withdrawal effects can last after tapering off completely?

I was prescribed Effexor (Venlafaxine) for Generalised Anxiety Disorder, but took my last 35mg tablet 4 weeks ago, after tapering down gradually from 150mg under my doctor's advice.

At first the effects were terrible. My head was all over the place, and I had physical symptoms too, such as an upset stomach, headache, fatigue etc.

One by one, the effects dropped off, and now, most of them have gone, but I'm still getting a lot of anger, and stress over the slightest thing. I'm blowing up at my husband and kids if they so much as breathe out of place, and this is followed by severe anxiety and panic, because it all gets too much and I feel like I can't cope.

I hope this is still withdrawal, and that someone can reassure me that it's normal to still have some effects, even after 4 weeks..?

If not, then I'm scared that this will be it now. I'll always be this way; that this is me now, which would mean I'd have to go back on Effexor, or another similar med, and feel dulled again.

Any advice / reassurance would be much appreciated.
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Re: Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

Postby ellahoward » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:21 pm

They can last over a year- They did for me- I have finally cured my depression- I take 10,000 to 14,000 iu vitamin d a day- Depression is 100% gone and replaced with happiness- This from a 50 year old woman who withdrew from Effexor and Pristiq- Research if finally learning, low levels of vitamin d cause many types of mental illness- New article for your to read:

sych Basics
Experts

The Breakthrough Depression Solution
Integrative medicine for mental health.
by James M. Greenblatt, M.D.
Psychological Consequences of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D supplementation may help depression.
Published on November 14, 2011 by James M. Greenblatt, M.D. in The Breakthrough Depression Solution

Chances are you are not getting enough vitamin D.

An estimated one billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Individuals at high risk for vitamin D deficiency, include those living far from the equator, those with medical conditions (such as obesity, liver disease, celiac and renal disease), the elderly, and those with darker skin.

Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which included more than 15,000 adults, indicated that individuals with darker skin have lower vitamin D levels. Dark-skinned individuals have high levels of melanin which impairs absorption of vitamin D, which is made when skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation found in natural sunlight.
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Regardless of cause, deficiency of vitamin D has significant medical and psychological consequences. Every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, muscles, and immune system, which means vitamin D is needed at every level for the body to function.

Vitamin D is also the only vitamin that is a hormone. After it is consumed in the diet or absorbed (synthesized) in the skin, vitamin D is then transported to the liver and kidneys where it is converted to its active hormone form. Vitamin D as a hormone assists with the absorption of calcium, helping to build strong bones, teeth and muscles.

In addition to its well-known role in calcium absorption, vitamin D activates genes that regulate the immune system and release neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin) that affect brain function and development. Researchers have found vitamin D receptors on a handful of cells located in regions in the brain-the same regions that are linked with depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder featuring depressive symptoms, occurs during the dark times of the year when there is relatively little sunshine, coinciding with the sudden drop in vitamin D levels in the body. Several studies have suggested that the symptoms of SAD may be due to changing levels of vitamin D3, which may affect serotonin levels in the brain.

Due to vitamin D's connection to depression and mood, I test vitamin D levels, specifically 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, of every new patient. For years, vitamin D blood levels of 20 ng/mL were accepted as normal. Many researchers and clinicians now consider this too low. More recently, the new normal level is anything greater than 30 ng/mL. I, however, prefer to see 25-hydroxy-vitamin D levels between 50 and 75 ng/mL. For those who are low I recommend a supplement that may range from 2,000 IU to 10,000 IU. It's important to note that vitamin D supplementation needs to be monitored by blood testing every few months.

Although vitamin D supplementation may improve mood, vitamin D is only a small, but critical, part of treatment as depression has myriad causes. However, I have found that in my experience, vitamin D deficiency impairs and prolongs recovery from depression.

There are various studies that confirm this link between low vitamin D and mental illness. These studies provide evidence that optimizing vitamin D levels may improve positive psychological well-being. Here is a look at a few studies:

A study in the Netherlands found that low levels of vitamin D correlated with symptoms of major and minor depression in 169 individuals ages 65 or older.
An English study that included 2070 people ages 65 and older concluded that vitamin D deficiency is associated with depression in northern countries although major depression was only seen in individuals with the most severe deficiencies.
In one study adults with vitamin D deficiency who received high doses of the vitamin saw an improvement in their depressive symptoms after two months.
A small study with 9 women, all of whom were vitamin D deficient or insufficient, found that a daily dose of 5,000 IU of vitamin D significantly improved their depression symptoms.

Although researchers are still unsure of how vitamin D is linked with depression, these findings and many others support the role of vitamin D in the pathophysiology of depression and as a potential treatment for depression.

Groups who are at risk for vitamin D deficiency-the elderly, adolescents, obese individuals, and those with chronic illnesses (e.g., diabetes)-are the same groups that are also reportedly at risk for depression.

Vitamin D's effect on mental health extends beyond depression. Schizophrenia has also been linked with abnormal levels of vitamin D. John McGrath of the University of Queensland in Australia studied 424 Danish newborns who developed schizophrenia. He concluded that infants born in winter or spring seasons, when birth mothers have decreased levels of vitamin D, are at an increased risk of developing schizophrenia.

Mental health is one of many types of ailments connected to vitamin D deficiency. For more information on vitamin D and its links to mental and physical health please visit the organization Vitamin D Council at www.vitamindcouncil.org founded by Executive Director John J. Cannell, M.D. Cannell, a trained psychiatrist, founded the Vitamin D Council in 2003 with a keen interest in clinical nutrition and a strong conviction that vitamin D deficiency, a highly preventable yet prevalent condition, contributes to many physical and psychological conditions affecting scores of people.
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Re: Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

Postby CherryPies » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:39 pm

Thanks very much for your reply. If it affected you for a year, then perhaps I am still experiencing the withdrawal effects.

That is an interesting article about vitamin D; thank you for posting that. I will give it a try.

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Re: Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

Postby PipBoy » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:40 pm

For me, it was maybe a few weeks. The withdrawl effects were pretty mild, so I didn't keep track of how long they lasted. I'm pretty sure they were purely physical, though. I don't remember have any anger/anxiety issues.
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Re: Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

Postby jilkens » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:17 am

I was on 450mg/day and quit cold turkey because I couldn't afford it anymore. The severe withdrawals stopped after 3 - 4 weeks but I still had some of the lesser effects for up to 6 months afterward. It did eventually go away completely.
Blame it on me, but know that I won't regret one iota.
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Re: Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

Postby JellyJean » Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:27 am

Withdrawaling from Effexor has proved to be very difficult for me. I have gone through this for a while now. So through my many attempts to withrawal from effexor I have learned one thing. Withdrawal over the longest period of time possible. Down to the beads in my opinion. Here is an article I just found on the subject. http://effexorwithdrawal.com/
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Re: Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

Postby Crow123 » Mon May 07, 2012 8:01 am

Oh god really depressed now I've read this! Just started taking
Venlafaxine day four, if withdrawal is that bad I might
Stop now whilst I still can!! They probably won't work
Anyway.....
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Re: Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

Postby cgw1 » Sat May 26, 2012 6:52 pm

OMG! A year of withdrawal is harsh. I've been tapering off Effexor slowly for a few years and it hasn't been too bad, mostly just anxiety and irritability that lasts for a few weeks and I eventually adjusted to the lower dosages. But I've been taking 37.5 mg. every other day for 3 and a half months and I'm depressed with bad anxiety, constant fear and apprehension, no appetite, rapid heartbeat, bad insomnia, as well, which is most troubling as I've never really had problems sleeping before.

I've been on anti-depressants for 20 years, first Prozac and when that "stopped working" about 10 year's ago, my Doc switched me to Effexor. After being on these drugs for so long, I guess coming off them won't be easy.

Any helpful suggestions would be most appreciated (and thanks to those who have already contributed).
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Re: Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

Postby Valerie D » Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:52 pm

I've been on anti depressants as well for 17 years. First Prozac and now Effexor likely for the last 10 years. My doctor started cutting me back (at my request) from 75 mg to 37.5. I did that quite easily by going from 75 to 37.5 one day the first week, two days the second week etc. Then I got down to 37.5 every day for a week. Next I cut 1 pill out of the first week and two out of the second week. But when I cut the 3rd pill out of the next week I started having withdrawal symptoms. I felt nauseated, fatigued and a little dizzy and weak feeling. I took a 37.5 pill and then after a few hours I started to feel better. Since then (Saturday last week) I have taken 37.5 every day. I'm still feeling a little off but I can still function.

After reading all the info on these forums I have decided to remove the little beads from the capsules slowl. So tomorrow I will start with the 7 pills where I removed 15 beads and see how that goes. The following week I removed 25 beads so will try that over the next two weeks. Wish me luck!

I'm determined to get off. I'm mentally in a good state of mind and have a positive attitude so I know I can do it. I've had a few little panick attacks this week but I can handle them.
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Re: Effexor withdrawal effects - how long after stopping?

Postby -TheDude- » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:55 pm

Hi CherryPies

sorry to hear you going through a rough patch withdrawing from Effexor. I've been on 300mg for the past 18 month and I was told to taper it down if I wish to stop. But I wanted it out of my system as fast as possible and I chose the 'bumpy ride' of cold withdrawal. The med had already bad effects on me taking it the way I was supposed to. I experienced those electro shock sensations, and a woosh sound accompanied with a distorted vision, only if I took the meds a few hours too late. I got very impatient with it so I just halved my dose for three days from 300mg to 150mg and then stopped altogether. I'm on day seven of being 'clean' now, the weird electric shock things are almost gone, but I am like you quite stressed out. I personally will give Effexor as much time to disappear from my system as I gave it to get used to it. I remember something like a couple of month until it 'worked'. Still, if I had the chance again, I would never take it again. I experienced alcohol and opiate withdrawals in my life, but compared to Effexor withdrawals, they seem like a walk in the park. I'm actually wondering why this stuff is legal.
Hope you'll feel better soon.
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