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BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of

29 Mar 05 - 04:43 PM (#1446198)
Subject: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: GUEST,Most of You Know Me

I guess what I'm seeking here are just assurances from others who've been through what I'm going through right now, and I'll understand if you reply as "guests" on this one.

I have been on 150 mgs/per day of Effexor for the past 2 years. For a while it worked - in the sense that when it works you feel completely normal, NOT medicated and all your normal "cope-ing" mechanisms seem to be in place. The only mildly annoying side effects were infrequent and mild bouts of nausea. Eating (and subsequent weight gain) will relieve the nausea, which is why a lot of people on anti-depressants gain weight. (I resisted the over-eating and weight gain.)

However I have also found that an aggressive exercise (4-5 times a week / 45 minutes per day of power walking, as well as working with abdominal and leg weights) regimen, does much more than these drugs, along with cutting out 95% of the shit I used to eat, from my diet. Meditation has also proven to be a very soothing escape.

So about 4 weeks ago, and feeling it was now a deal of diminishing returns, I decided I wanted off of this crap. I also researched it and found that doctors and scientists still do not know what the long terms effects are, nor how these newer anti-depressants work on the brain. They only know that they kind of work (better on some than others I guess.) I decided that it would be just as well to be done with this. I also know that you don't quit this stuff cold turkey and that it must be done with a doctor's supervision.

So, I went to see my doctor and she gave me several prescriptions.
Finished the 150 mgs caps, and then her advice and prescriptions were to gradually taper it out of my system. So it went like...2 weeks at 112.5 mgs/day, then 2 weeks of 75 mgs per day, then 37.5 mgs per day, and then finito.

I'm beginning week #2 of 37.5 milligrams a day. I seem to have mostly bad days (which were more infrequent till I got to this reduced dosage amount) and I'm intermittently experiencing the following :

- inability to focus or concentrate on anything for more than 3 minutes

- short mini panic attacks (where a "wave" just comes over me and I have to try very hard to resist the urge to fall proan to the floor and start crying)

- dizziness and light headedness much of the time when I get up and walk anywhere

- acute psychosis, where I get a very sudden urge to go postal, either towards anyone who looks at me the wrong way, or, on myself (I resist because I recognize the psychosis, but the rage element is a real pain in the ass)

- extreme hair trigger irritability and total impatience with everyone and everything (comes and goes, think.... Jeckle and Hyde)

- my blood pressure spiking, and my heart pounding (but not any kind of arithmia - beats are regular, just beats very hard.)

Now my doctor told me it might be a bit of bumpy ride, and it certainly has been. I cannot imagine what it would be like for anyone going off of this without doctor supervision and doing it cold turkey.

But the funny thing is many of these side effects that I'm experiencing, were largely the things the anti-depressants were supposed to alieviate ... so it feels like everything is just unravelling back to the way things were... But I have a feeling (and am hoping) this will all pass, and that the exercise, meditation and proper diet, will make me feel a lot better than any anti-depressant...

So I guess where I'm seeking some reassurance is for those of you who've been through this to ...


Thanks for listening.

29 Mar 05 - 04:47 PM (#1446204)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Once Famous

[bleep] (for antisocial behavior)If you hang around Mudcat and don't like what I post, I suggest that you stay on these drugs.

especially when my language gets a bit to colorful for you.

29 Mar 05 - 04:54 PM (#1446209)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Peace

29 Mar 05 - 04:55 PM (#1446210)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Peace

It will all pass. There are many message boards/forums for people who are having depression treated with various drugs, and it seems that no two people experience the same reactions to use or withdrawal. When I quit Paxil it damn near killed me. I didn't know one couldn't do that 'cold turkey'. All I can suggest is that you seek medical attention and get away from it over a lengthy period of time. The residual crap takes time to leach out of your system. Lotsa water and many months.

Bruce M

29 Mar 05 - 04:57 PM (#1446213)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: robomatic

This is one time I am totally in favor of someone coming on as a GUEST, and of course you gave yourself a moniker to boot. I admire your courage and not being much of an expert on matters I will keep it short, but I wonder if the KNOWLEDGE you've gained both from the effects of the drugs and from the exercise and your gift for being able to tell what these treatments have done for you should allow you to be your own guide, together with a professional who is aware of the potential side effects both from going on and from coming off the drugs. I've run into a lot of folks of all ages who for one reason or another have been prescribed anti-depressants.

What I can do is relate your discovery of your own emotions to what happens with me when I'm dealing with a person who 'punches my buttons.' I prepare myelf for the encounter and decide in advance whether I'm capable of ignoring their effect on me, or should allow myself some retaliatory leeway.

I've also noticed that I use coffee to increase my tolerance level of humanity. There are people who won't talk to me until I've had mine. So to an extent I'm a drug user on a daily basis.

So I think your ability to evaluate yourself bodes real well for your future and I wish you good fortune.

29 Mar 05 - 04:59 PM (#1446215)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Chris Green

For what it's worth, a mate of mine went through pretty much the same thing as you about eighteen months ago. She's now back to 'normal' (however you define normal!) and a much healthier and happier person. She's started enjoying life again. So yes, it takes time, but stick with it - you'll be better off in the long run. Pills only suppress the symptoms of depression - they don't make them go away!

Look after yourself


29 Mar 05 - 05:06 PM (#1446220)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Once Famous

I didn't know there were so many doctors here!

Some people go off and on these drugs all of the time.

Before these type of drugs, people were thought to be crazy.

29 Mar 05 - 05:21 PM (#1446243)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: dianavan

duellingbouzoukis is absolutely right.

Anti-depressants do not cure depression but only mask the symptoms. They will work for you as long as you take them but if you quit, the problem is still there. The same can be said for many drugs, including Ritalin.

29 Mar 05 - 05:25 PM (#1446248)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Fibula Mattock

Hi initial poster. Yes, I had a lot of these symptoms when I came off my anti-d's, and they passed. So, while I can't comment if it will be the same for you, it worked out okay for me - they passed. Dizziness was a big factor, spaced out feelings, and huge amounts of rage. I came off them very slowly - I agree, cold turkey must be a nightmare.

I also recognise the feeling that the fear of everything returning and the depression coming back is as frightening as the depression itself. Hang in there. And good luck.

29 Mar 05 - 05:25 PM (#1446249)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Peace

Problem is, Martin, that doctors prescribe these drugs based on information from drug companies. Drug companies want profits, and how the drugs interact with various individuals differs greatly, especially in the area of those drugs used to treat depression.

A case in point is thalidomide. Doctors prescribed it based on information provided by a drug company. We know the results. Just because a medical doctor prescribes a drug does not make the drug necessarily safe for use.

29 Mar 05 - 05:29 PM (#1446256)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Fibula Mattock

By the way, I don't necessarily buy into the thought that drugs can't cure depression, only mask it. Depression is a chemical imbalance, sometimes triggered by something, and drugs can right that balance, so I wouldn't be so quick to disregard their effect. But there are other ways of dealing with things too, yes, and making adjustments to lifestyle is one other way. But drugs don't necessarily just mask problems, they can be the thing that gets you through.

29 Mar 05 - 05:42 PM (#1446275)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Fibula Mattock

BTW, I was on an SSRI (citalopram/celexa) but I'm not sure that Effexor is an SSRI, although I'm guessing it's something similar.

29 Mar 05 - 05:43 PM (#1446278)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Peace

Celexa worked for me for about five months. Then it stopped working. Had NO problem just quitting that.

29 Mar 05 - 05:44 PM (#1446279)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: LilyFestre

I agree with Fibula Mattock 100%.


29 Mar 05 - 05:49 PM (#1446288)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Fibula Mattock

Just one other thing - I know you might be happier posting as Guest, but I just wanted to say that it's absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. I mean, if you had a broken leg and you came on here saying you were having trouble getting back to walking properly, people would be unlikely to judge you. I realise it is different with mental health, and there's still a taboo element, but it's an illness, and I really hope you don't feel you have to hide it. I know the huge gulf between sympathy and empathy when it comes to this kind of thing, and I still hesitate to talk about the stuff I go through, but there are plenty of us out here who know exactly what it's like, and my heart goes out to anyone going through it. And I'm a cynical cow, so that's me being ultra-understanding. ;)

29 Mar 05 - 05:54 PM (#1446299)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Susan-Marie

GUEST - You must be very frightened. I went off Celexa two years ago, doing it gradually over 2 months, and I didn't suffer the way you are, so I feel very fortunate.

Have you asked your doc about short-term meds to deal with the rage and panic attacks? I took lorazapan to deal with panic attacks before the Celexa kicked in. Maybe it would be useful in the reverse situation. Then again, it might be a case of substituting one drug for another. Just a suggestion - talk to your doc.

ANd if it doesn't get better and you have to go back on Effexor - IT'S OK!!! I used to be very against taking drugs for mental health. I come from a long line of strong determined New ENglanders, and the thought of relying on drugs to get through the day made me feel so weak. But then I looked at it from a biological point of view. There are people who don't deal well with sugar and have to take insulin. There are people who don't deal well with stress (and make no mistake, we are ALL living lives our poor bodies and brains were not designed for) and have to take SSRIs. No shame in that (which is why I have no problem using my real name here). If my depression/anxiety ever comes back, it will be a relief to know that it can be treated effectively (something I didn't know the first time it hit).

Good luck. Do what is best for your mental health, and you'll be fine.

29 Mar 05 - 06:00 PM (#1446307)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Once Famous

That's true, Brucie

but I would trust a real doctor more than I would trust any advice by someone on a forum such as this with a lot of ego-driven pseudo doctors.

No one here is qualified and each case IS different. No one here should be giving any advice on this because they got their physicatric degree in a gumball machine.

Experience is irrelevantin this case. Each case is different. The initial poster should be talking to their doctor or getting a second opinion, or reading books of integrity on the subject, not getting advice from some who don't even know the words to the songs they sing.

29 Mar 05 - 06:02 PM (#1446310)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: LilyFestre

Hey Martin,

    I agree with you but it seems that this poster has talked to their Dr! Sometimes it's just nice to know that others have been through the same shit and there is an end in sight...even if the adventure is slightly different...kinda gives one hope.


29 Mar 05 - 06:04 PM (#1446311)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Metchosin

Something you might consider taking is salmon oil to replenish your levels of DHA? (if my recollection serves, I think that was the name of the chemical). There was a programme on the CBC here in Canada where they were discussing a recent study regarding post partum depression.

Apparently post partum depression is relatively rare in countries where diets are high in fish oils which contain DHA and it was found, when a female is pregnant, the fetus strips this chemical from the mother's brain in large quatities and if it is not replenished, depression occurs in the mother. It was a bit more complicated than what I recall here, but that is sort of the gist of the findings.

If low DHA? levels can cause post partum depression in mothers, perhaps it could figure in other depressions as well. It certainly shouldn't cause any harm to include it in your diet.

Regarding anxiety attacks, valerian is very useful, however, I would think you should run its use past your physician, to determine if there could be any adverse interreactions with what you are currently taking. Best wishes.

29 Mar 05 - 06:15 PM (#1446325)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Susan-Marie

Martin -

I do TOO know the words to the songs I sing!

29 Mar 05 - 06:21 PM (#1446330)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of

Has your brother in law been made aware, really aware, of the potential health risks to mother and baby of 'geriatric' mothers?
Awful name, but that is what she would already be classed as in UK by the medical profession. I know it sounds drastic, but it can't be ignored. Good luck.

29 Mar 05 - 06:23 PM (#1446332)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of

Damn sorry about that. Wrong thread.

29 Mar 05 - 06:25 PM (#1446337)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Susan-Marie

Uh, guest, you're posting to the wrong thread. A Joe Clone needs to move that to the BS thread on SOs of procratinators. But it's a good point.

And I thought being classified as "advaced maternal age" here in the USA sounded bad!

29 Mar 05 - 06:38 PM (#1446343)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Fibula Mattock

Yup, I agree with Martin. We're just trying to do the empathising thing here.

29 Mar 05 - 06:38 PM (#1446344)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Bobert

Ahhhhh, hope this is helpful but isn't about phamacology or dosages of this 'er that....

If you are physically able, are you excersizing?

Exercise is a natural way of fighting depression... The brain releases indorfins when you exercise and give you a feeling of welll being... Plus, while you are exercising you get to that point where the ordinary mind turns off and the universal mind turns on. This also helps in fighting with depression...

Hope this helps...

Been there...


29 Mar 05 - 07:01 PM (#1446368)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of

Bobert, (s)he is exercising, and realizes that exercise is working pretty well in combattting depression. Getting off the drugs is still an issue.

I was prescribed an antidepressant while undergoing cancer treatment. I wasn't especially depressed ~ I think it was just standard procedure. I dutifully took the medication for a day or two, but it nauseated me and (fortunately) I stopped before I got "hooked."

What I did use as "self-medication" ~ quite effectively ~ was pot. Not too many doctors would prescribe this, although there is some establishment recognition of "medical marijuana." Worked for me! I realize it's too late for "Most of You Know Me" to backtrack and start over, but someone else might be in a position to consider my experience.

I'm sure MG will have a field day with this anonymous message, but I don't give a shit!

29 Mar 05 - 07:05 PM (#1446371)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Jim Dixon

I take Zoloft, 50 mg/day, and I wouldn't dream of trying to go off it. I'll probably take it for the rest of my life and that's OK with me. No way would I want to go through what you're going through, or what I went through before I began taking Zoloft.

Regarding not knowing what the long-term effects are—let me tell you, I know something about the long-term effects of depression, and they aren't that great.

Regarding the belief that drugs don't solve the "real" problem but "only the symptom"—my opinion is this: The symptom IS the problem. What else is there?

In the case of, say, a brain tumor, which might cause paralysis, you can point to two different things, the tumor and the paralysis, and say THIS is the cause and THIS is the symptom. If you remove one, the other will go away. But what two things can you point to in the case of depression? There is only one thing: the depression itself. There is no x-ray, no chemical test, no physical examination, not even an autopsy, that can identify a depressed person. You can identify a depressed person only by his or her behavior.

Our bodies, including our brains, are made of chemicals. Why resist the idea that there might be a chemical solution to a problem?

Guest, I hope you get what you want, but if you don't and you decide to go back on the medication, there should be no shame in that whatever.

And, Guest, I want to point out that you've got one thing going for you—you know how to recognize your symptoms as symptoms. Some people never get that far. They get angry, they have the urge to "go postal," and they think, "It's all because of what those bastards are doing to me! If they weren't such assholes, I wouldn't have to feel this way!" Then they wonder why the world is so full of assholes.

I'm glad you're past that. Rationality is definitely an asset, and a thing to hold onto.

29 Mar 05 - 07:39 PM (#1446388)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of

I take Prozac and have for about 8 years. After several years of intensive therapy I went off of it under the supervision of a therapist and a psychiatrist. All was well for about a month. Then panic attacks, depression, lack of concentration, irritability all set in in spades. I could not control it. Apparently, once my seratonin levels drop, I am in trouble. I went back on Prozac.

My doctor would like me try newer medications but all require I go off Prozac and I am not willing to risk the side effects. Good luck with getting through this.


29 Mar 05 - 07:46 PM (#1446390)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: GUEST,Most of You Know Me

Thank you and I appreciate all the comments here and have read them all.

Marty, I KNOW these people aren't doctors, but a number of people have been through what I'm dealing with right now, so I was seeking some empathy and encouragement. And I thank the rest of you for that.

I am relieved and encouraged to know these side effects of withdrawl will pass.

The best way I can describe all this to those of you who've never experienced it, is temporary intense mental illness - but being quite aware of all it but not having the wherewithal to "will" it all away...and being forced to kind of sit back and watch yourself experience it. Or another way? .......being on really bad drugs and not enjoying the high.

I am already and have been on an intensive exercise regimen for more than a year (and I believe it is because of this, that the withdrawl symptoms are not more severe nor more longer lasting than they are.)

I have a 2 year old, full bottle of Lorazepam (that I got before the Effexor) but I don't take tranqs unless I really need everything to go whooooooooooooooooooosh - and more often than not they put me to sleep, and, they have their own addictive properties. Who needs it? So I'm not using these. No need to feel dopey as well as shitty.)

Ironically I find marijuana so much better. In fact I think it should be mecdically allowed for depression, as well as for panic and anxiety attacks as well as for agoraphobia (another symptom I once had, but am cured from) and, for the withdrawl symptoms from anti-depressants.
Of course the big pharmaceutical companies would NOT like to see it legalized because it would kill the huge profits to be made off of their anti-depressants.

Anyway, thanks again, and I will stay the course, keep a stiff upper lip, take this on the chin, and will report back when I am symptom free.

I'll try not to kill anyone or myself in the meantime. [wink]

29 Mar 05 - 08:30 PM (#1446430)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of

Well, I'm qualified to give you my opinions on this issue. No one really knows the long term effects of use of these medicines since they are so new. Follow your doctor's advice. If she is a family practice physician you might want a psychiatrist to give you a second opinion. If you don't feel better after completely going off effexor according to her instructions after several weeks of being completely drug free, including marijuana, then you might need to stay on some anti-depressant for a longer period or maybe indefinitely. But longitudinal studies on the effects of these drugs are only beginning.
Do not dose yourself with lorazepam. Do talk to your doctor about this.

You may get over your symptoms or they might indicate you are a candidate for further medication. These are powerful medications and all of them come with some rebound effects when tapering off. But determining what is rebound and what is a long term need requires that you do what you are doing now.

29 Mar 05 - 08:42 PM (#1446446)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Once Famous

I used to use marijuana medically. Eat a big meal, feel like shit, smoke a joint, bump into a wall.

Most of it was just a pyschological form of well being, I suppose. Just like needing a joint for sex, music, help you sleep. help you move your bowels, etc. I'm glad I got off that crap and the false reasons for using it. I don't cough any more, either.

Looks like Mudcat has quite a few that keep the shrinks and pharmacys busy. Great. Mental Illness has come a long way. Why, we even have folk music forums that serve as group therapy.

Does any one know the words to "I've always been Crazy, but it's kept me from Going Insane."

29 Mar 05 - 08:50 PM (#1446458)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of

Martin, why not share your knowledge of foreign music? You can't be grand fromage until you get much older....Our dominant males are still dominant. You are not an alpha, try as you might....

29 Mar 05 - 09:23 PM (#1446488)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Once Famous

What foreign music? Like Irish drinking music or English folk music?


29 Mar 05 - 09:27 PM (#1446493)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of

...and if you don't want to grieve for another pet, get a parrot and arrange in your will to leave it to a trusted friend. A young one you took good care of would outlive you and love your forever, as such...peace little bro

29 Mar 05 - 09:55 PM (#1446510)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: jaze

After my daughter died, I was on Effexor for almost a year. Yes, It did help, but I got to a point where I didn't want to be on meds. I went to the DR and began a weaning process. At the point when the meds were finished(Thanksgiving weekend) I went into withdrawal. Nausea, dizziness, and the worst feeling I can remember, I went to Dr's office and his partner put me back on it. I immediately felt better(withdrawal sx. gone) It took me quite a while to fully come off Effexor. I spent two dizzy weeks that I just tolerated until it was all out of my system. It did help. But I found getting off it difficult.Just hang in there. You can do it. Hope this helps. James

29 Mar 05 - 09:56 PM (#1446512)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: GUEST,anonymouse#24

I haven't been down your road Guest MOYKN, but my son did Paxil for a year and also found the ride more than a bit bumpy when getting off the meds. For him, as you are hoping, it did indeed eventually pass, although the time frame was longer than he wished. Exercising (running in his case) frequently and strenuously helped alot.

I gotta caution you on the self-medicating with Cannabis thing.
My son had been doing pot 24/7 for about 2 years. According to his MD, by doing that much, his natural seratonin levels became really low, which he realized all to well when he quit the pot cold turkey. Cranking them back up with the SSRI's was the one off the things that kept him from being a suicide statistic. My point is, don't do so much MJ that you find you've traded one devil for another.
I hope you can find a way to Stay Strong...

29 Mar 05 - 10:51 PM (#1446543)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Once Famous

[bleep] (for antisocial behavior)Too bad your son's lungs are turning to petrified rubber.

get him to quit.

30 Mar 05 - 03:35 AM (#1446648)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Liz the Squeak

I'm just going to echo what's already been said, from personal experience.

It does pass, it's not easy and it's quite often not pretty, but it does pass. The important thing is to take it in little steps. Don't set your sights on being independant of these drugs too soon. Do set your sights on attainable goals - I will get through this day without ripping the throat out of my co-worker no matter how much he chatters on inanely about his bloody mobile phone and the new one he can afford and the one he really wants to get instead of getting on with his work which invariably lands up on my desk because he doesn't finish it in time because he doesn't get in until nearly lunchtime and I've been here since because I couldn't sleep........

You recognise your sypmptoms, you can feel it when you are about to lose it.... that's the time to step away. Are you working? Talk to your boss so that they understand why your concentration is broken. Regrettably, many MANY people do not have any sympathy with mental health issues - fear of the unknown usually plays a part in this, they don't know what will trigger you to 'go postal', so you need to keep them informed. Be open about your condition if you can, tell those who need to know what is going on with you. One of my managers was very understanding and sympathetic to my needs - reassurance that I was doing things right, no pressure when I didn't meet deadlines, feeding me work that we knew I could cope with..... Her manager was also understanding... her colleague, the other manager, was not. It can take just one comment, one action, especially on a 'fragile' day to set you back. When that happens, don't resist. Go back to the place where you feel secure and reassured, and work forward again. I worked around the unsympathetic manager and always look to the other two for support and reassurance.

Look at it like a mountain, like Kilamanjaro. When you look up at it, it's insurmountable, huge, filling your eyeline, the top seems impossibly far. It isn't a race to be fastest, it's a feat of endurance. Time is not a factor. One step at a time will conquer the highest mountain. When you get to a plateau, your secure place; rest. Make your metaphorical 'base camp', and then step on again. You will always have your 'base camp' to come back to, but soon, you'll be able to move it on a little farther. I can't say that I've reached my mountain top, but I think I can see it from here. It's taken me exactly 3 years to get here. The last 8 months of my climb were without medication, but it took me 3 months to get off that. I still have an unopened packet of it somewhere, like that 'last cigarette' that reformed smokers carry with them as some sort of talisman.

It does get better, but you have to take it in small steps. PM me if you like.... having someone to talk to is always a good thing, and trusting someone else is another step.

Remember, small steps, attainable goals, keep a safe place and don't replace one 'prop' with another just as destructive.


30 Mar 05 - 04:02 AM (#1446656)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: John MacKenzie

I have no direct experience to pass on, but will say that there was a programme on the radio the other day where they recommended vigorous exercise in place of large drug doses in quite a few psychiatric cases. The other thing about the lack of vitamins contributing to depression in some cases. Cod liver oil is the richest source of vitamin D and is recommended for people who suffer from SAD, so there may be something in it.

30 Mar 05 - 04:24 AM (#1446662)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: mooman

Guest MOYKM,

Firstly, to answer a question earlier on this thread. Effexor is not an SSRI, it works in another way, modifying levels of two different neurotransmitters.

Actually, 150 mg/day is quite a high dose for Effexor (but not dangerously or atypically so), 75 mg via slow-release (Exel) formulation being a more typical dose. Because of your highish dose, coming off of it needs to be gradual and spread over a long period, as your doctor has certainly recognised. I would have tended to be even more gradual. A sudden reduction overnight from 75 to 37.5 could certainly spark symptoms like those you mention. You should discuss this with your doctor to see if a more gradual reduction might help. Coming of these types of drugs should always be done with caution, gradually and preferably under medical supervision.

I know something personally of this being an Effexor taker myself (+/-6 years) and having studied some pharmacology. If I'm substantally late in taking my daily 75 mg slow release dose I get tinnitus and a very swirly feeling in the head. One must never forget that these are very powerful and systemically-acting drugs and one's body becomes accustomed to them. I agree fully with Fibula above that, for some, the rebalancing of brain chemistry that these drugs provide is sometimes a real necessity and life-saver. Also that different people react very differently to the same drug. Prozac nearly killed me but I'm pretty tolerant to Effexor. Like you I'm beginning to wean myself off it, with lifestyle changes, more exercise, more music and daily meditation hopefully filling the gap...but I'm doing it (under advice from my doctor) very gradually indeed to allow my body the time to readjust.

All best regards and good luck...I'm sure that, with patience and persistence, the symptoms will pass...but do keep in close contact with your doctor on this.



30 Mar 05 - 04:43 AM (#1446674)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Fibula Mattock

Guest, your line ......being on really bad drugs and not enjoying the high above made me think of something else to add - recently my doctor tried putting me back onto my anti-d's - at a quarter of my original dosage - and it triggered a manic episode and I ended up having a mad time of it (a very enjoyable, high, but freaky mad time). Anyway, seeing that I was tripping my ass off on a rather low dose of prescription SSRI drugs, a friend dragged me back to the doctor who immediately took me off the medication (and straight onto diazepam, mind you).
Moral: talk to the doc. He reassured me that I was right to come back and talk to him. I hadn't wanted to bother him (especially since I was too busy bouncing off the walls and telling anyone who'd listen about the amazing things I was seeing).

There are a lot of people who have posted here who recognise what you're going through, and have phrased it all so well. Hang in there.

30 Mar 05 - 07:45 AM (#1446776)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: GUEST,ragdall

Guest MOYKM,
I quit Effexor, experienced nasty withdrawal symptoms and survived. You will survive too.

I agree with mooman's observations. I think that you are going down from a high dosage much too quickly.

It would be good for you to discuss this with your doctor soon, making her aware of all that you are experiencing as withdrawal. It's much more than "a bit of bumpy ride". Please do this, both for your own benefit, and for the benefit of any other patients she assists in quitting Effexor, or SSRI's. The patients need to educate their doctors.

Hang in there. Good luck!


30 Mar 05 - 11:26 AM (#1446936)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: GUEST,Been there... did it.

Sounds like your going too fast off the meds. Go see your doc again, ask for a review.

Some good examples in this thread, some good advise as well.

Dont change one lot of meds for another tho, dont need that mmonkey on your back.

31 Mar 05 - 04:20 AM (#1447649)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: hilda fish

When my first-born son died I HAD to go onto anti-depressants because, obviously, of not only grief, but also searching for reasons to live and more reasons came up to die. So grief stricken I was dangerous and crazy. When I started taking them I experienced dopiness, inability to concentrate etc. etc. for about six weeks and then things got, not okay, but not this terrible awful feeling every day. But I didn't want to take anti-depressants because I had things about drugs and drug companies and so on that were big social issues for me. So I just stopped taking them after about three months. Bad move! Had to go on them again and took them for about 18 months and when I went off them I took it at a much slower rate than you're doing - cut down a sixth each time and the changeover period was six weeks for each one extending to eight weeks for the last sections. So overall it was quite a while before I 'came down'. I had no side effects and all went well. I'm 'drug free' as I say now and so glad they were available to me. They helped me to live and to 'live for others'. Talking to many others, where there are any side effects, see your doctor and organise to do it very much more slowly as a number of members have already advised. Exercise, eating right, and stuff like bush-walking, swimming, team sport or whatever is a good natural anti-depressant. Releases serotonin and fitness and social life are good natural anti-depressants. Lifes tough and lifes good and life changes. Go for it!

31 Mar 05 - 09:50 AM (#1447867)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Jim Dixon

There are different kinds of depression. Some people get depressed only when it is triggered by a tragic or intensely stressful event, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, etc. Other people are chronically or intermittently depressed their whole lives.

I'm in the latter category, which is why I expect to take drugs the rest of my life. I can certainly see why people in the former category would be more motivated to get off them, and would have a better chance of success.

Maybe this goes without saying, but I should have made it clear before I made a statement that could be interpreted as pessimistic and discouraging.

31 Mar 05 - 10:19 AM (#1447896)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Fibula Mattock

I don't think your post was pessimistic Jim. I'm facing a similar prospect, having discovered that what I thought was a single major depressive episode is actually likely a part of manic depression, which I'm hoping to get sorted (i.e. medicated!) soon, because it's affecting my work and my life - my brain won't slow down. I already take an inhaler for asthma when I need it, so I'm used to having medication as part of my life. It's just now I need some for my mind as well as for my lungs.

31 Mar 05 - 08:11 PM (#1448479)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: hilda fish

Drug dependency is always a difficult discussion - so many complex issues - overall I'm glad that they are available and can make your lives work for you. Having experienced short-term depression for a very specific reason I can only sympathise with your illness, but once again am so glad drugs are available to alleviate things. My family has Type 1 diabetes and am so glad for insulin also congenital heart birth defect and so glad for drugs that have allowed many of my family members to live a quality life. These are all tough ones of the 21st Century so long may we all live.

31 Mar 05 - 09:42 PM (#1448539)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: goodbar

just smoke a little herb, man.

31 Mar 05 - 10:41 PM (#1448557)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Once Famous

goodbar, smoking herb is against the law and the act of a criminal.

Joe, this is anti-social behavior that i find offensive.

Does Mudcat endorse the use of illegal drugs by it's memeber?

Double standard Joe?

31 Mar 05 - 10:47 PM (#1448561)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: goodbar

lighten up.

31 Mar 05 - 11:23 PM (#1448585)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: Once Famous

Goodbar, pot is illegal. Your lungs are like petrified rubber, also. Don't you care?

Besides it's anti-social.

31 Mar 05 - 11:32 PM (#1448589)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: goodbar

i'll reply once i'm done with my popcorn....

31 Mar 05 - 11:35 PM (#1448591)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: harpgirl

"Martin", the antisocial behavior which is being referred to... is how you interact with other people. If it were prosocial it would reflect empathy.

You specifically need to develop some empathy. Rage and primitive envy and schadenfreude are only the most elemental of emotions. Concern for other people and their feelings will make you reasonably likeable in the world.

It is imperative that you study empathy and begin to attain some.

31 Mar 05 - 11:47 PM (#1448595)
Subject: RE: BS: Anti-Depressants / Getting off of
From: goodbar

nevermind that reply i promised. after reading some of your posts i can see that you're just pissed your posts got edited and are trying to find something to bitch about.