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KansasTherapist
KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 565
Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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How do I knowwhen I can stop taking Effexor? I have tried weaning

Resolved Question:

How do I knowwhen I can stop taking Effexor? I have tried weaning myself by lowering my dosage to 50mg per day, but I cannot go lower or I start feeling weepy all the time?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  KansasTherapist replied 2 years ago.

KansasTherapist :

hello

KansasTherapist :

Effexor is not an easy medication to get off of.

KansasTherapist :

Many people experience some side effects no matter how slowly they wean themselves off of it.

KansasTherapist :

Perhaps it would be a little easier if you took 50 mg one day and 37.5 on alternate days.

KansasTherapist :

You may has some withdrawal effects on that dose but they, hopefully, would be minimal.

Customer:

I have been taking it for 17 years and I am just tired of taking it.

KansasTherapist :

I've taken effexor for many years as well.

KansasTherapist :

You should also be prepared to have depressive symptoms return without the medication.

KansasTherapist :

You might want to make a note of the symptoms you had before you started Effexor and check those to see how you're doing once you've been on less than 50 mg for 4 to 8 weeks.

Customer:

I can go without taking it for up to 36 hours without any problems-but more than 36 hours and I start to get weepy and sad for no reason and my head starts to hurt and I just wnat to curl up into a ball and die. Luckily I recognize this as I forgot to take my medicine---so I just take it and lie down and relax and pray and know that it is my brain chemicals to blame.

Customer:

How do I get my brain chemicals all in order again? I do not want to be on drugs forever.

KansasTherapist :

If you do okay for 36 hours, you could do the 50/37.5 for a few weeks and then 37.5 every day for a while.

KansasTherapist :

It is something that many people have to do very slowly to avoid being miserable.

Customer:

Ok----how do I naturally get my brain chemicals back on track and in order. I walk my dog everyday. I go to work everyday. I am eating healthy--fish 3 times a week, etc.

KansasTherapist :

It sounds like you're doing the right things to move off of the meds, it's just something that takes time.

Customer:

Can you tell me exactly waht is wrong with my brain chemicals? IS it that my brain does not make enough seratonin or what is it exactly? I am trying to study and learn online. What should I study?

Customer:

I joined ALANON 4 years ago and boy are they wonderful!!!

Customer:

Alanon has helped me tremendously

KansasTherapist :

The general belief is that depressed people don't make enough serotonin but no one knows absolutely for sure. It isn't a lack of serotonin though that causes the problem withdrawal.

Customer:

What is causing the withdrawal problem

Customer:

AM I addicted? the psych who prescribed it said it is not addictive

KansasTherapist :

The amount of serotonin in the brain doesn't change in 24 hrs or so. It takes at least a couple of weeks to see a real change. Effexor also effects norepenphrin. which may be why the withdrawal is a problems.

Customer:

I want to heal myself--I am an educated person. I have only tried Effexor and it worked so i have nenver taken anything. I was an anti-drug person up until Effexor---now I thank God for drugs to help!!!

KansasTherapist :

Psychiatrist don't consider Effexor or any other antidepressant to be addictive but the definition of addiction is having physical symptoms of withdrawal. I think it's a fine line to draw here.

Customer:

YEs----I feel the physical changes in myself. My brain hurts--I cry incessantly

Customer:

I gained 50 pounds in 3 months after I started on Effexor. The doctors kept insisting it was NOT the drug but I had never had a weight problem until I took that drug.

KansasTherapist :

There are pills that are 37.5 mg but you'll have to ask your doctor to prescribe them for you. I can't remember if there are 25 mg doses. If so that could be your next step down.

KansasTherapist :

Effexor is not consider to be a medication that causes weight gain, in most people. The truth is, it could be the meds even if you are the only one in the world it effects that way.

Customer:

SO my best course is to just slowly 50-then 37.5-then 25 then 0 wean off??? Is that all I can do????

KansasTherapist :

I'm afraid so. This is a problem for lots of people. Very frustrating.

Customer:

WHat exactly doesthe effexor do in my brain? How about the dopamine in my brain?

KansasTherapist :

Effexor is believed to keep the serotonin and norepenphrin from being reabsorbed in the space between the nerve cells.

KansasTherapist :

Because they aren't reabsorbed as quickly, the amount of the chemicals slowly builds up and the signal between the nerve cells improves.

Customer:

I am trying to study and learn about this as much as I can to be healthy. I have never had to take any drugs except antibiotics when I am sick. DO you know of good websites that can help me learn about my brain chemicals so that I can better understand my problem and help myself to be healthy?

KansasTherapist :

It doesn't effect the dopamine.

KansasTherapist :

I don't know of anything specifically. The field is called micro biology.

KansasTherapist :

If you google micro biology and depression you should come up with some sites that help.

Customer:

SO the signal between my nerve cells is damaged? Like from too much trauma or stress??? I used to havelots of flashback memories that would make me sooo sooo sad--I would ruminate and ruminate on them and be nmiserable. Now they seem to just go away quickly I do not ruminate anymore.

Customer:

Does that mena I am getting better/healthier? I hope so.

KansasTherapist :

A history of abuse can be the underlying cause of the problem. Abuse of all kinds definitely damage people's brain.

KansasTherapist :

Not ruminating on those thoughts is a strong sign of your brain healing.

Customer:

That's what I want to do--heal my brain. Any other signs that i am healing? What do I want to watch for? All of this abuse and trauma and getting help has made me a better teacher to be more compassionate and understanding to my students that have learning and behavior disorders because I just relate their actions and feelings to my situation and I can better help them.

KansasTherapist :

If you can be off of Effexor and not get depressed again, that would also be a good sign.

Customer:

I am researching online about emotional health.

Customer:

I know that is my problem---my emotions.

KansasTherapist :

Not having a strong emotional reaction to the memories any more is another sign of healing.

KansasTherapist :

I encourage people to think about having balance in their life and in their emotions. No emotions is bad, it's when it's out of balance with the rest of your feelilngs.

Customer:

Thank God--I am getting better. Thnaks for the information. Can you reccommend any books for me--I love to read. Yes--I was sooo overcome with anger and rage that I thought I was going insane.

KansasTherapist :

Claudia Black has written several good books about recovery from abuse. Marcia Linehan and others who write about Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), work on balance.

KansasTherapist :

There is a DBT workbook that teaches skills like distress tolerance that helps a lot.

KansasTherapist :

That was written by Linehan.

Customer:

Thank you sooooo much. I appreciate all your help.

KansasTherapist :

You're completely welcome.

KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 565
Experience: 17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
KansasTherapist and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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KansasTherapist
KansasTherapist
Clinical Social Worker
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17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.