EFFEXOR - is it making me groggy/even more depressed?

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Mr Low
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/7/2007 8:22 AM (GMT -7)   

...or should I up the dose from 1 x 75 daily, as doc thinks?

can I bear the continuous brain zaps/scary dreams 3 days after I stop taking it???? How long will they last????


els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 6/7/2007 8:53 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Mr Low, welcome to healing well forum.  I am not too sure I understand what your asking here.  Are you trying to go off of Effexor or are you increasing your dosage?

I my opinion, you should refer to you physician on this matter.  Never stop an antidepressant on your own as it does and will cause serious side effects. 

People here have reported that Effexor has some of the worst withdrawal effects out of all the antid's.  So, if your trying to stop it then the question on how long will the effects last depends on how long you were on it and at what dosage.


Elisha
Co~Mod: Depression
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slowlygoingcrazy
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 6/7/2007 8:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Firstly welcome to Healingwell!

Okay, just a couple of questions. Are you actually experiencing the brain zaps/scary dreams or are you thinking of going off and asking in anticipation? As for your dosage level, that's between you and your doctor, but 75mg is pretty much as low a dose as you get. (There are 37.5 but they are usually used to help slowly work you up to the full 75, or to slowly wean off.) I personally found Effexor helpful for a long time, but I decided to go off it earlier this year because I felt it had reached the end of its usefulness and was zombying me out. Now I'd almost prefer the zombie state to the fluctuations of mood right now while we try to find something else that works, but that's another story... My feeling is if you choose to stay at the 75, any side effects of adjusting to it will pass (if you are experiencing them). Weaning off of 75 should be easier than a higher dose (I would think), but it may depend on how long you've been on it. I weaned off of 225mg after being on it for approx. 4 yrs., and it was not much fun... Thankfully I was replacing it with another one so that helped counter some of the symptoms but I had a couple of rough weeks. The bottom line is you have to do what you feel is right for you and talk to your doctor to get some further advice. I don't know how bad your depression is and all those details so it's hard to say much more.

Keep posting and let us know more.

slowlygoingcrazy
 It would be easier to tell people I have cancer than it is to tell them I am severely depressed.....


Mr Low
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/7/2007 9:49 AM (GMT -7)   
very many thanks Els and SGC for such a quick response (it makes me feel quite emotional that I can just type in my problem and almost instantly people from around the world are kind enough to respond - the Internet's not all bad!)

To try and clarify my situation:

I've been taking Effexor for about 6 months.

I feel it does reduce my anxiety, but by making me groggy I wonder if it actually increases my depression. but I may be wrong.

I've tried to come off it cold turkey, but get terrible brain zaps after 2/3 days (every time I move my head sideways).

I'm currently trying only taking a pill when the zaps come back - after 2/3 days cold turkey.

I don't honestly think my own doc can really advise too much as he doesn't know enough (anything) about the side effects (he'd never prescribed it before).

One possibility is asking him to go back on Prozac, which I took for about 2 years previous to Effexor (successfully at first, then I felt its effects gradually wore off) in order to lessen the side effects of coming off Effexor.

Or just cold turkey everything - but how long will the zaps last!!!!

destroyer
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 6/7/2007 5:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had the wild dreams and at times feel im drifting sideways im currently in process of reducing as it wore off and im feeling as bad as i had before i started on them good luck
 


slowlygoingcrazy
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 6/7/2007 9:03 PM (GMT -7)   
If you're really trying to wean off, see if your doctor will give you a prescription for the 37.5mg dose. Try titrating down that way. You're likely to still go through a few days (at least) of hell, but it will pass. The week I finished Effexor and started Wellbutrin, I lived on pain killers and gravol just to function normally. But within a couple of weeks the worst had passed. You are on a relatively low dose and it's only been 6 mths, so if your patient and accept the discomforts for a little while, it should all pass and then you can consider your next steps. All anti-depressants come with side effects that have to weighed against their effectiveness and positive side effects. If this doctor can't help you, maybe he can refer you to someone more knowledgeable in anti-depressants. Just a thought.

slowlygoingcrazy
 It would be easier to tell people I have cancer than it is to tell them I am severely depressed.....


trying2bhealthy
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/7/2007 10:08 PM (GMT -7)   
confused  Hi, I'm new here but not new to depression. I have some questions for slowlygoingcrazy. I like your name. The Effexor caught my eye. I have also been on it for about 4 or so years. Yesterday I went to my doc and we are changing my medicine. I have been wondering if I was still really getting a lot of benefit from it because I also had a rough year and thought that could be contributing to being more depressed. My son is a marine and was in Iraq, he has been home now a few weeks an my mom passed away in October and this was my daughter's senior year of high school. So it's been crazy and so have I. But back to my questions. Can you tell me some of what you went through while going off Effexor? I have been on 3 75's = 225mg.  My doc is switching me to Cymbalta. He gave me some samples of Effexor 37.5mgs. Below I will list the schedule he wants me to follow. But I do know from past mistakes that if I forget to take it in the morning by evening I start to feel shaky and my head all swimmy. I also have panic disorder (which I take a 2mg Xanax XR) among a bunch of other things. This is the second time I have been on Effexor. Several years ago my family doc put me on it but I don't remember to dose but not this much and it may have been when Effexor came out, not sure. But before I had been on an SSRI and if I missed a dose it was no biggie. But one Friday I didn't get a chance to go pick up my medicine and pretty much forgot about it until Sunday afternoon. All of a sudden I started having the worst panic attack ever. I called my doc and I had 2 .5 Xanax and he had me take one and see if that helped and if not take the other.  Well it didn't help and I was freaking out and ended up in the ER which I know a lot of people have with panic but somehow I never did until this. But they put an IV in and gave me valium and gave me phenergen because I was sick to my stomach. So after that we switched medicines and I also started going to a pyschiatrist. Anyway i would appreciate any help you can offer.  
Week 1--Effexor 2 75mg & 1 37.5mg with a 30mg Cymbalta
Week 2--Effexor 2 75mg with a 30mg Cymbalta
Week 3--Effexor 1 75mg & 1 37.5mg with a 60mg Cymbalta
Week 4--Effexor 1 75mg with a 60mg Cymbalta
Week 5--Effexor 1 37.5mg with a 60mg Cymbalta
Week 6--60mg Cymbalta
That's the plan for now. If I don't have any problems then I go back in one month to see him.
Thank you and sorry this is so long

Mr Low
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/7/2007 11:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, Destroyer, those Effexor-withdrawal dreams are pretty wild - SO real! and so long - like living in a feature film. When I wake up I can't believe I haven't actually lived through them. However, I must admit part of me misses them - as although extremely disturbing, they were also exciting.

Thanks for your advice SGC. Much appreciated.

I'm finding it difficult to decide whether to come off Effexor now or not, but I guess it's something only I can decide.

Half of me wants to try finding out what the 'normal' non-medicated me is like now, after having been on meds for some years.

And the horror/intensity of the continuous brain zap/wooziness withdrawal symptoms make me feel this drug is just too dangerous to be licensed at all.

I feel I'm taking it just to get rid of the unbearable withdrawal symptoms it causes!

The other half of me thinks I'd just fall back into deeper depression/hyper-emotionality if I stop taking it.

What I really feel is that I need a buzzier anti-depressant; a pick me up, not sedative like Effexor seems to be to me. Prozac had that effect initially on me. It was like magic. But after 2 years it had stopped working, I felt.

I thought effexor would be an alternative 'buzzy' 'pick me up' drug as it raises levels of noradrenaline as well as serotonin, but it just seems to make me groggy. When I stop taking it, I seem to lose the grogginess (but at the price of brain zaps).

I wonder if there's any other 'buzzy' 'pick me up' anti-depressants I could try?

slowlygoingcrazy
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 6/8/2007 6:10 AM (GMT -7)   

to trying2bhealthy:

It's a fast withdrawal from Effexor, I went fast too.  I dropped the first 75 all at once and ended up in bed for nearly 3 days!  After that I went down by 37.5mg.  I started the last week of February and finished just before Easter, and started Wellbutrin the next day.  Thankfully I was on sick leave so I wasn't trying to work and deal with the symptoms at the same time.  But some people take much longer and need several months to get through it, particularly if they are just going off it and not replacing it with anything.  There are some other old threads that deal with this.  You might want to search back a couple of months.  But the fact that you are replacing it with another should make it a little easier.  I've never been on Cymbalta so I can't speak to that.  But the chances of the withdrawal/change over process being without side effects is pretty slim - unfortunately.

Goodluck

slowlygoingcrazy


 It would be easier to tell people I have cancer than it is to tell them I am severely depressed.....


trying2bhealthy
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/8/2007 7:32 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi slowlygoingcrazy,

Thanks for your help. I'm really hoping that since I'm on the Xanax for panic that it will lessen some of the withdrawl, keeping my fingers crossed.

I totally agree with your comment at the bottom that it would be easier to tell people that you have cancer as oppesed to being severly depressed. If someone hasn't been through this I don't think they can truely understand. My husband and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary next week and he tries, I think, although he gets frustrated with me. He really doesn't get how debilitating depression can be. He has come a long way though. He is an engineer and does tend to have the "just get over it" approach to a lot of things. Oh, if it were only that easy we would all be thrilled. But sometimes I don't even understand how I can be at home all day and hardly get anything done around the house. Most days I feel I've made accomplishments if I get the dishes in the dishwasher and the bed made and if I get a load of laundry in then it's been a productive day. Sorry, I don't mean to vent or plop all my troubles here. But it really doesn't help my depression when I think the man I have loved and devoted my life to seems to see me as a failure and burden. Even if he doesn't really see me that way that's the way his comments make me feel and believe me I'm hard enough on myself. I have always been a strong active do it myself woman and to see myself like this is very hard, especially since it has lasted for about 12 or so years now with sometimes being better than others. I can look back through my life and see patterns that I believe the depression has been there off and on to some degree even when I was a teen.

I feel the medical community doesn't help the matter in the way people who suffer these type illnesses are treated. Such as, I think it's quite unfair that my insurance seperates medical and mental and I have a whole different deductible and co-pays. This is a medical disease just like my diabetes or my husband's high blood pressure. If I say that I suffer from depression I can just see the little image in someone's head of me in a straight-jacket. At least that's how I believe socity treats those of us who struggle with these type illnesses, which is a sad reality in the 21st century.

Thank you for your help and sorry to ramble on.    


Mr Low
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/8/2007 11:21 AM (GMT -7)   
hi Trying2B
Reading your post, I couldn't help wondering if maybe your depression was at least partly due to boredom/unfulfillment at being at home all day. Maybe if you tried a part time job, just the need to get out of the house at the same time in the mornings, meeting new people, learning new skills, shoeing people what you can do, might improve your mood? (sorry if I'm interfering - i don't mean to, but my own experience is that having no job to go to/people to see every day makes me really depressed).

trying2bhealthy
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/8/2007 11:08 PM (GMT -7)   

You are not interfering. I appreciate all comments and suggestions. That's why I joined to see what others have to say and learn from them. I really have nobody to talk to. I need to try to find a good therapist. I have tried a couple over the years and can't get comfortable enough to keep going. The last one was last year and she was very nice but almost too nice if that makes sense. I just didn't feel a click, and when I was leaving her office and we were bidding our farewells she hugged me bye. Now I do live in a huggy-type area, but I've never had that from like a doctor type person so that was somewhat odd. But in this part of Tennessee you give a hug to people, when you say hello, when you say goodbye, just whenever. The part of TN I grew up in just 1.5hr away was not like that. It took a little getting used to when we moved here.

My daughter leaves for college in August and I had been thinking of trying to get a part-time job. The last time I did that I started working about ten hours a week and went full blast and ended up putting in 40 plus hours a week and put over three different departments. I was getting calls at home constantly from my staff and it was consuming me. I finally quit because it took so much time and energy from my family. I tend to go overboard with everything I do. It's all or nothing. So I told myself this time I would like a low stress job where I am not having to hire and fire because I hate that. I think I would enjoy working at the local library or a bookstore. I love books and that would put me in contact with people and even though I close myself off to the world when I can I have to admit I do tend to feel better if I just have a small chat with a nice salesperson while doing my shopping. But since I've been out of the work force for almost ten years I know I will crash if I try to take on too much. But thank you for your reply, I do appreciate them all.


Mr Low
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/14/2007 10:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi trying2b
Sorry for the delay replying - I only just read your mail - I totally forgot I'd created a new email address for this forum, so I didn't receive your reply. My memory is terrible recently - I don't know if it's effexor or depression/anxiety. Do you have the same problem?

I know what you mean about your overly nicety nice huggy therapist - I think I'd have felt like saying (pardon my langauge) 'cut the crap, tell me how to get better' :-)

From what you write, I think getting a part time job in your local library in August when your daughter leaves for college sounds perfect - not too stressful, but getting you out again. maybe you could ask casually next time you're there - if you tell them your position - 10 years out of the work force bringing up children, now you want to get back, but not to do too much too soon - I'm sure they'll understand.

I hate to think of you having no one to talk to. Feel free to mail me anytime - I'm lonely too, despite living with my long term partner - she just does not understand depression/anxiety at all - she just thinks I'm lazy. It's almost worse than living alone, being with someoen who you can't communicate with about how you feel.

Stay positive :-) (I know, it's hard!)

goddess0728
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 6/14/2007 12:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Mr. Low and trying2behealthy

I am sorry that you don't get a lot of support from your spouses/partners. I am very lucky in my depression that I have a great husband who is very supportive and understanding.

BUT I do come from a family that has the big "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" mentality. Quote from my mother "just don't think about it then"....big help!mad

I don't want to butt into your relationships, but I have said to people in the nicest way possible .."If it was my
heart/stomach/feet/whatever that didn't work correctly, would you think I could just "make it better"? If I had broken arm with a nice big cast, it would be easier for the world to understand that I can't just make it go away. I can't just will myself better. "

As far as Effexor my experience with that drug was awful, both on it and especially withdrawal. It took a few months, even with Prozac to help me off it, to feel physically normal again. Well as normal as you do when you are battling depression. I was put on it for my PMDD and for a long time I thought it wasn't working, because I was still having bad symptoms (emotional, dizziness, faintness, nausea, etc), then after doing some research I realized it was the Effexor that was causing the symptoms. Then I called the dr and was told by the nurse, "oh yes some people have horrible side effects and very very hard withdrawal"!skull

trying2behealthy, I agree that you should try to get out. Just a little, I totally isolate when I'm having an especially down day. It is so HARD to make that little effort to get out, but I think a little outside air and limited interaction with others might help you. And remember that you should feel proud of yourself for even taking a shower!

Try to hang in there. :-)

trying2bhealthy
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/14/2007 10:58 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank you both for your support. And I really felt that last part about the shower. People who have never dealt with depression just don't understand that it takes a lot of effort on some days just to wash my face and brush my teeth. And if I get a bath or shower then it's time to celebrate.

So far it's not been too bad coming off the Effexor although my husband says that I'm grinding my teeth more than usual. And I can tell because my jaws are sore in the mornings. I'm going to get one of those mouth guards. I use to use them but they don't tend to last very long with me. But I do think it's due to the meds.

I know what you mean about sometimes it's easier to be alone. My husband had a business trip out west last month and he was debating about staying longer and doing some sight seeing since his flight was would be paid for already. I told him he should because to be perfectly honest I don't give a rat's ass about going to the Grand Canyon. I have flown over it and saw it but I don't want to hike it. So I told him to call a friend that will sometimes do something with and see if he was interested in flying out there after the business part was over. So he did and they had a great time. And for ten days my daughter and I just took it easy. She was in school all day and then she likes to play Sims or Starwars computer games. She's probably the only girl in her school ever to be in the homecoming court and hate shopping and would rather talk about Lord of the Rings instead of make-up and shoes. I used to love to shop but now I don't even have to leave the house to do that. I have it at my fingertips. My daughter and I took it easy and ordered pizza and chinese food. Actually, it was nice not having to think about my husband coming home and there being no dinner and the house still cluttered.  The day before my husband got back we tried to straighten things up and ran the vacuum and dusted so it wasn't too horrible when he came in.

Thanks for your help and your ears. It really does help to get some things off my chest.

Saundra 

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