Effexor is a popular medication used to combat depression. Because it is such a powerful medication in the SNRI family, it’s also used to treat alcoholism, binge-eating, anxiety, panic disorders, and OCD.
SNRI medications stand for serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. This family of medications alters the chemistry of the brain to stop the symptoms of several disorders. Treatments in this family of drugs are quite strong. As such, if someone taking effexor wants to quit, it could lead to effexor withdrawal.
Symptoms of Effexor Withdrawal
Effexor is a serious drug. It should never be quit “cold turkey” and if someone wishes to get themselves off the drug, it should be done with proper medical treatment and supervision.
Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Brain Shivers
- Impaired Coordination
- Night Tremors
- Sensory Disturbances
- Feelings of electric shock
- Dry mouth
- Involuntary muscle twitches
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Vision problems
If stopping your Effexor treatments is on your mind at all, please consult your doctor or physician immediately. If you stop taking the medication suddenly, the withdrawal symptoms could result in hospitalization, permanent disabilities, and may even wind up being fatal in some cases.
How Long Does Withdrawal Last
As we said earlier, the medication should never be quit “cold turkey”. When done properly, it can take 7-10 days to be properly tapered off of the medication.
Effexor has a very short half-life of about 5 hours. This means that the drug decays in your system at a fast rate. What does that mean for you? Effexor withdrawal symptoms can come on quick. Often, a patient will experience them after missing just one dose. Normally, Effexor withdrawal can start within 5-12 hours of missing one dose of medicine.
Can Symptoms Be Managed
The best way to manage Effexor withdrawal symptoms is to stick to your prescribed dosage schedule. If you happen to miss a dose. Do not double your dosage to make up for the missed medication.
If you missed a pill, and are very close to the time when you’re supposed to take another pill, just skip the missed dosage and get back on your normal schedule. That is the best way to manage the withdrawal symptoms.
Methods of Dealing With Withdrawal
Certain techniques and medications can help you manage withdrawal, and get through this tough time. Consult with your doctor beforehand, but there may be several over-the-counter medications that can help you to deal with effexor withdrawal. Sleep aids, anti-nausea medications, and pain relievers are all good options to help with this.
In addition to medication, you may also want to pursue psychotherapy. Like all medications that alter the chemicals of the brain, withdrawal symptoms can be both mental and physical. Excessive dreaming, nightmares, and suicidal thoughts are just a few of the mental withdrawal symptoms.
Left unchecked, these symptoms can grow into a problem. That’s why it’s always a good idea to incorporate some type of psychotherapy into your recovery plan when stopping a medication like effexor.
While over-the-counter medications and psychotherapy are helpful, also living a healthy lifestyle in general can go a long way toward recovery. Eating right, exercising, getting a regular amount of sleep, and using techniques to practice stress management. Making sure to take care of yourself during this time will help to manage withdrawal as you come off of Effexor.
Several of the withdrawal symptoms for effexor can cause disorientation. This can become very serious if the disorientation strikes while a patient is driving or operating heavy machinery.
If someone you know is going through Effexor withdrawal and experiences: delirium, psychosis, or thoughts of suicide, call 911 immediately.
Persistent anxiety or depression, lasting over a month, may require special attention as well. Prolonged anxiety or depression while going through Effexor withdrawal may mean you are going into a relapse. This relapse will most-likely be met with on-going, long-term mental health treatment.
It’s tempting to throw out your medication as soon as you decide you want to get yourself off of it. Don’t do it. Talk with your doctor and come up with a plan to take gradually smaller doses over time.
Your plan to get off of Effexor is going to depend on several factors. Your doctor may want to review how long you’ve been taking the drug, as this can help determine the level of dependency.
The doctor will also want to check on your current dosage, your overall health, and if you’ve experienced withdrawal symptoms in the past. Even after all these things are monitored, and you are slowly being tapered off of Effexor, you may still experience mild withdrawal symptoms.
These mild symptoms are known as “discontinuation syndrome”. This can happen in other strong, brain-altering drugs as well, but in the case of Effexor, your doctor may prescribe you fluoxetine to help handle these symptoms.
Where Can You Turn
Working with a doctor who knows how to handle addiction and withdrawal is a great start to help you get weaned off of Effexor. Having the support of family and friends, in addition to your doctor and recovery team, will help you to get through these tough times.
Sometimes, however, it’s hard for those around us to understand exactly what we’re going through. Thankfully, the perils of mental illness are becoming more mainstream. If you, or a loved one, are really struggling with Effexor withdrawal, you can visit the National Association of Mental Illness website. You can visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website as well.
On both websites you will find discussion groups full of people going through exactly what you’re going through. They may offer a different, stronger type of support than even your family or friends can provide because they are living through the symptoms, day-to-day, just like you.
On The Mend
Dealing with addiction and withdrawal can be hard on everyone. Even the people around the patient going through it. It’s important to be available, open, and supportive as your loved one works through the process of Effexor leaving the body.
Contact us today for more resources, or to discuss the details of a recovery plan. We would love to help in any way we can.