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Old 09-23-2004, 05:57 AM   #1
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emmajoy HB User
Question antidepressants & recovery

Im currently on 300mgs of effexor xr im also in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse i go to narcotics anonymous and alcoholics annonymous meetings and i have ten months clean time im just a bit worried about being able to stop taking the effexor cos everytime ive tried ive gotten sick dizzy shaky and pretty mentally messy im wondering how long the "detox" is or how long until i feel better after taking them. i also wanted to know if anyone may think that this drug is addictive. i dont get high off it but i get sick not taking it. it really reminds me of alcohol detox with the sweating ect. thanks if you can help

 
Old 09-23-2004, 06:43 AM   #2
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carly500 HB User
Re: antidepressants & recovery

Hi Emmajoy Nice to meet you. Please do not go cold turkey from this,or you may get really sick. You need to be weaned off it so talk to your doctor who will wean you the right way. You can become dependant on this med. I don't consider this addiction because it does not cause drug seeking behaviors. It also does not get you high. Others may have different opinions. Why do you want to come off it? Carly

 
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Old 09-23-2004, 07:15 AM   #3
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Twinlynn HB User
Re: antidepressants & recovery

Hi, Emmajoy,

While I am not familiar with Effuxor, and the chemical structure of it, I do know that as long as I slowly taper off antidepressants, I have not had withdrawal symptoms such as yours. (And antidepressants should not make you "high"--they just "repair" your brain chemistry.) BUT--these newer types, such as Effexor X may act completely differently.

When, years ago, I tapered off the antidepressant "Amitryptiline", I had no uncomfotable symptoms at all....and was not dependant on it physically. "Mentally" is a different matter, because in later years I had more depressive episodes and had to go back on antidepressants (this time Prozac and Wellbutrin--which are great for my system.) When I say "mentally", I just mean that if you have chronic depression, such as I have, there is a sense of "dependence" only in terms of that your antidepressants help end your depression--so you have no wish to even try to come off them.

As I mentioned above, the antidepressants I am familiar with are not "addictive" in the sense that opiates are. They provide the brain with what it lacks - norepenephron - to provide a sense of normal well-being.

However--again--I do NOT know the make-up of Effexor--so PLEASE call you doctor, explain your symptoms, and ask if this is the right drug for you! Each drug acts differently. And I have seen posts from people who found Effexor was not right for them...but drugs like Wellbutrin were wonderfully helpful. Ideally, the doctor prescribing your antidepressansts will be a psychiatrist familiar with all the specifics of each antidepressant.

I'm wondering, like Carly, why you are getting off the Effexor. Because it is not doing you any good? Because you are feeling better and feel you do not need an antidepressant? Or because the drug has had side-symptoms that have made you feel unwell, all along?

Congrats on 10 months clean! :-) Now...PLEASE call your psychiatrist...and review all these symptoms you are having. Do NOT just cold-turkey off ANY drug!

Also...try the Depression Board here and you will find more information about what Effexor X is---and people's responses to it.

Be sure to let us know how you are....what your doctor says, etc. We will want to know how you are doing!! Welcome to the Board! :-)

Lynn

 
Old 09-23-2004, 08:01 AM   #4
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windysan HB User
Re: antidepressants & recovery

You need to talk to the doc and taper any anti-depressant very slowly...if not your nervous system is going to take a beating.

 
Old 09-23-2004, 01:40 PM   #5
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mickey56 HB User
Re: antidepressants & recovery

I and others have found SSRI"S very easy to quickly taper from.Nothing remotely like getting off opiates or benzo's or any hard drugs.Go easy on yourself!

 
Old 09-24-2004, 04:11 AM   #6
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windysan HB User
Re: antidepressants & recovery

Read some of the new evidence regarding suicide and ssri's. If you quit them abruptly it can cause some serious problems.

 
Old 09-24-2004, 09:34 PM   #7
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Ellnyc HB User
Re: antidepressants & recovery

Hi Emmajoy,
Congratulations on your 10 months of recovery! I too have been in recovery (for 16 years now!) and have been on quite a few different antidepressants through the years looking for relief from my clinical depression. Meetings are our medicine for our alcoholism/addiction and seeing a pshyciatrist/therapist for depression (that does not go away) can also be indicated in addition to meetings. I was told to seek out a doctor who was knowledgeable in the field of addiction, which helped put my mind at ease.
As a rule, antidepressants are not-addicting, (not mood altering) in the same sense as other drugs which we used to get high. As Lynn said they work on the chemicals in our brain NOT through our CNS. (central nervous system)
Effexor (and Paxil) are considered 2 of the most difficult AD to come off of and should never be abruptly stopped (as with most SSRI's) I was on both meds and was tapered off of them VERY slowly to avoid the side effects of withdrawal which can be very nasty especially if done too quickly. Your doctor should be able to give you a tapering off schedule. That is very important! But please know that just because you may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a medication it is not from a medication which you used to get high.
It was also suggested to me to be selective "in the rooms" to whom I shared this info with as it remains controversal and you will be given more opinions (Pros and cons), then you need and which only served to totally confuse me and even had me questioning my sobriety. 16 years ago not as many people were readily taking antidepressants and it was even less accepted as it is today. I would imagine in NA even more than AA. The decision to be on medication is between you and your doctor and should be shared and discussed with a sponsor and trusted, non-judgemental friends in the program as well.
I have been where you are...You're not doing anything wrong!
Best of luck ... Hope this helps!
El

 
Old 09-26-2004, 11:37 AM   #8
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Jennita HB User
Re: antidepressants & recovery

Quote:
Originally Posted by emmajoy
Im currently on 300mgs of effexor xr im also in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse i go to narcotics anonymous and alcoholics annonymous meetings and i have ten months clean time im just a bit worried about being able to stop taking the effexor cos everytime ive tried ive gotten sick dizzy shaky and pretty mentally messy im wondering how long the "detox" is or how long until i feel better after taking them. i also wanted to know if anyone may think that this drug is addictive. i dont get high off it but i get sick not taking it. it really reminds me of alcohol detox with the sweating ect. thanks if you can help
These drugs are addictive but only in the physical sense, which is properly termed "dependancy", not actual "addicition ",which technically must include drug-seeking and compulsive behaviors.

The brain does becomes dependant on the drug. It also trys to defend itself, aka tolerance, which causes the antidepressant poop out and need for higher doses or additional drugs/switching later on.

The drug needs to be withdrawen slowly and even then some people may experience withdrawal type symptoms for awhile after as the brain tries to recover and function without drugs. This recovery period with symptoms is commonly mistaken as return of original or emergence of new conditon.

Getting high, or euphoria, is thought of as extreme, but "safe' prescription serotonin drugs can still cause a "high", or euphoria....only it's a mild form of euphoria compared to the extreme. In the actual definition of euphoria, happiness and feeling of well-being is used as examples.

So yes, you are addicted to Effexor.... just not in the drug-seeking, compulsive way. ...it's purely physical, not psychological.

You would get very sick if you just quit it cold turkey, so do not do that.

Best to taper off. Effexor has many health dangers such as to the liver and others. Effexor recycles both norepinephrine and serotonin. Serotonin is a powerful vasoconstrictor, which causes blood vessel narrowing and more stress on the heart to pump blood through if one has too much of it. Norepinephrine, if you follow the defintion trail, is basically adrenaline. Both vasoconstriction and adrenaline have their place, but I really doubt having them constantly in an artificial way (stimulated by drugs) in our systems is healthy at all.

 
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