225 Milligrams of Madness
by M
Citation:   M. "225 Milligrams of Madness: An Experience with Venlafaxine (exp89067)". Erowid.org. Jan 20, 2014. erowid.org/exp/89067

225 mg oral Pharms - Venlafaxine (daily)
My experience with Effexor XR began in 2008 after promptly aborting treatment for depression using Prozac, which had made me homicidal after approximately a year of use. I cannot recall what dose of Prozac I was on but I was advised by my doctor to stop taking it immediately because of my impulses to harm others. I jumped off it with only a bit of lethargy and dizziness to complain about. I have jumped off 100mg of Zoloft in the past with no memorable withdrawal symptoms. Two weeks later I began on 75 mg of venlafaxine which was increased to 150 mg some six months later and again it was increased to 225 mg where it was left unmonitored until I stopped taking it successfully only a few days ago.

Venlafaxine withdrawal symptoms are not as easy to deal with as those SSRIs I've been on before. I only got through this mission with the help of atypical antipsychotic medications and marijuana. I experienced the whole gamut of withdrawal symptoms from Effexor with the exception of one that I really feared after reading about it: brain shocks or electric shocks through the body. I am so grateful I didn't have to endure any of that. I did however feel like the walking dead for two weeks. Vomiting, nausea, disossiation, lethargy, confusion, and diahrea were the worst for me. Two weeks it took before these symptoms disappeared and they began the moment I halved my dose from 225 to 150 mg. I hypothesise this was the worst period of withdrawals because at 225 mg venlafaxine is a noradrenaline inhibitor but at 150mg it is not nearly as effective at blocking noradrenaline receptors. I only halved from 150 mg to 75 mg for two days because the withdrawals had all but disappeared behind all the seroquel and THC so it seemed pointless to keep poisoning myself with one more drug. My marijuana intake halved as my year-long hypomanic episode ended in response to my cessation of pumping effexor into my system.

I have decided to share my story because I have been searching for others like mine online so I don't feel like such a freak after what has happened. I am not alone it seems. There are other stories like mine. Allow me to explain.

After responding well to 75mg of Effexor initially I was back to the doctor in six months time complaining that my mood swings were back to mainly depressed so he put me up to 150 mg. Essentially at this higher dose I noticed my mood swings had lessened. I felt good a lot of the time but about six months later the same problem with 75 mg was occurring at 150 mg too. I took up drinking coffee to try and make me feel more energy and thus less depressed. I hit upon a good combo with effexor and coffee. Effexor masked the anxiety that coffee usually gives me and so I could take full advantage of the caffeine buzz as well as the speedy effects of the effexor. In hindsight I can see that the combination of coffee and effexor was putting me in hypomanic states a lot of the time. One night I was driving my car, listening to dance music in a hypomanic state and drinking coca cola. I noticed after I began to drink the coke that I was getting a bit happy and into the music. I stayed out until three in the morning driving and drinking coke because it made me feel like I was peaking on ecstacy, nice pure clean ecstacy without a speedy rush and no comedown. Extraordinary. Extraordinarily stupid to go driving in that state!

A few months after that weird night I had a relationship fall apart which prompted a period of intense bipolar depression. Before I became depressed enough to seek help I went through a period of hypomania that sent me suicidal and homicidal again. It passed only after I shocked myself back to reality when I realised the gravity of my own violent thoughts. When I went for help I was too afraid to admit any of that but the psychiatrist told me I had either a personality or bipolar disorder and increased my dose to 225mg to gain access to venlafaxine's noradrenaline reuptake inhibiting effects. That was over 18 months ago. The result of 225 mg was a year long period of predominantly hypomania and a return to smoking marijuana to relax, which escalated into a full blown manic episode that ended by me being refused entry to a psych ward twice on the same night and me being thrown in a police cell instead. That was what prompted me to stop taking the effexor in case it was responsible for all my anger coming out uncontrollably. I believe it was. I feel 'normal' again. I don't have the uncontrollable urge to do things and say things that are totally out of character for me anymore. Effexor has definetly rewired my brain after the two and a half years I have taken it every day. It has helped greatly to make me a violent and aggressive person where once I was one of the shyest guys you had ever met. I can only hope that one day I go back to the way I used to be before all these psych drugs started to mess with my head.

I regret the day I ever started taking SNRIs and SSRIs like Effexor and Prozac. They have ruined my life. In place of depression they put aggression and chaos. I lost the love of my life and a steady job and my mind thanks to these drugs, not to mention I almost killed myself and numerous other people while under the influence. Think very seriously before taking Effexor.

Exp Year: 2010ExpID: 89067
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 27
Published: Jan 20, 2014Views: 15,244
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Pharms - Venlafaxine (191) : Retrospective / Summary (11), Medical Use (47), Depression (15), Various (28)

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