What is Effexor?
Venlafaxine is used to treat depression. It may improve your mood and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living. Venlafaxine is known as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain.
Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome is a well-known and accepted syndrome that can occur in people who abruptly discontinue Effexor (venlafaxine), a type of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) used to treat depression, anxiety, and panic disorder.
Within a matter of hours of missing a dose, some people begin to experience symptoms of Effexor withdrawal. Because of this, healthcare providers often recommend starting on the medication by building up from a low dose and decreasing the dosage when weaning from the drug. Still, symptoms of withdrawal can occur even if the medication is slowly tapered off. Effexor detox may be needed.
Some people report experiencing “brain shivers” or “brain zaps” when they are late taking their prescribed dose of Effexor. People often describe these sensations as a very brief, repetitive electric shock-like feeling that remains confined to the brain or head. Others report the sensation spreads out to other parts of the body. The sensation can be triggered by moving your eyes and is often accompanied by disorientation, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo, and/or lightheadedness.
Signs & Symptoms of Effexor Detox & Withdrawal
When decreasing or stopping an antidepressant, a neurochemical change takes place in the brain. As the brain readjusts to the new environment, symptoms of withdrawing from Effexor (or another antidepressant) may include:
- Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, muscle pain, nausea)
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal sensory disturbances
Psychiatric or cognitive symptoms:
- Nightmares or excessive dreams
- Problems with concentration
- Anxiety or worsening of depression
- Narcolepsy (short-lived)
- Cataplexy (loss of muscle tone triggered by strong emotion)
Medical Effexor Detox
Effexor Detox: Coping & Relief for Withdrawal
Effexor withdrawal symptoms develop quickly, so if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from missing a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is already close to the timing of your next scheduled dose, simply skip your missed dose and stick to your schedule. You can reduce your withdrawal symptoms by getting back on your prescribed dosing schedule as soon as possible.
While symptoms will typically go away in a few weeks, there are ways to make Effexor withdrawal more tolerable during that time. Here are a few steps to consider:
- Team up with your doctor. They are your best ally when it comes to preventing and coping with symptoms of withdrawal. Discuss the benefits and risks of stopping Effexor and work together to figure out how (and when) to slowly stop taking the drug.
- Ask about OTC medications. Consult your doctor about any over-the-counter medications that can help ease Effexor withdrawal; for example, sleep aids, anti-nausea medications, and pain relievers.
- Consider psychotherapy. According to investigators at Harvard Medical School, undergoing psychotherapy while discontinuing an antidepressant can decrease your risk of having a relapse.
- Seek support. Consider asking a close friend or family member for support and let them know what to expect as you work with your doctor to wean off the drug.
- Keep up with follow-ups. It’s important to keep in touch with your healthcare provider as you are weaning from the drug as well as after you’ve stopped altogether. Depending on how you feel, you may need to book ongoing monthly check-ins until discontinuation symptoms have eased and there are no signs of relapse.
- Practice self-care. As you are going through withdrawal, it’s more important than ever to exercise, eat healthfully, get regular sleep, and practice stress management. These acts of self-care can help keep your mood stable as you taper off Effexor.
How to Avoid Withdrawal Symptoms & Effexor Detox
- Stay on Schedule: If you forget to take your Effexor dose, take the dose as soon as you remember. If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up. If you are out of refills on your Effexor and have run out of medication, ask your pharmacy if they can give you an emergency supply to give you time to contact your doctor. Withdrawal symptoms of Effexor can be reduced by getting back on track with your usual dosing schedule as soon as possible. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have other questions about missing Effexor doses.
- Taper Schedule: The duration of withdrawal symptoms varies from person to person. To avoid this, you should work with your doctor to taper your Effexor dose over a month or more.
- For short-acting Effexor: a sample taper includes a 75 mg dose reduction every four days and a subsequent 25 mg dose reduction every 5 to 7 days for a final dose of 25–50 mg. Generally, the drug can be discontinued at that time.
- For long-acting Effexor: a sample taper is a decrease of 37.5–75 mg weekly for a final dose of 37.5 mg before stopping the drug.
3. Professional Effexor Detox Care: If you or someone you know is dependent on Effexor, it is important to make sure they take a safe Effexor detox. Safe Effexor detox includes assistance from a medical professional, either as part of a prescription plan or in a supervised detoxification setting. A doctor can gradually taper off and reduce the dosage to ease or eliminate the person’s withdrawal symptoms.
An Effexor detox program that works for one person may not be successful for the next. For this reason, finding a location and program suitable for you or your loved one’s needs is important to recover safely from Effexor.
Dangers of At-Home Effexor Detox
Some Effexor withdrawal symptoms can cause disorientation, which can be dangerous when driving or operating heavy machinery. Although rare, stopping Effexor on your own can result in severe and frightening reactions. If you or someone you love experiences any of the following symptoms, call 911 or seek medical help right away:
- Suicidal feelings
If you experience worsening anxiety or depression during withdrawal, and these symptoms last more than a month, it may mean you’re having a relapse and need ongoing mental health treatment. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Long-Term Treatment of Effexor Withdrawal
When you’ve decided to stop taking your antidepressant, it might be tempting to toss out your medication. Instead, take your time and work with your doctor to gradually decrease your dose over an extended period. How you’ll do this will depend on several factors, including:
- How long you’ve been taking the drug
- Your current dose (if you’re on a low dose, you’ll be able to taper off more quickly)
- Past experience with withdrawal symptoms
- Overall health
Sometimes, even if you are slow and deliberate when weaning off an antidepressant, you still may experience symptoms of discontinuation syndrome. In these cases, your doctor may prescribe fluoxetine, which has been found to help ease discontinuation symptoms.
Reclaim Your Life With Effexor Detox
Effexor addiction is a condition that can cause major health, social and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up California can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from addiction with professional and safe Effexor detox. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
 Sabljić V, Ružić K, Rakun R. Venlafaxine withdrawal syndrome. Psychiatr Danub. 2011;23(1):117-9.
 Campagne DM. Venlafaxine and serious withdrawal symptoms: a warning to drivers. MedGenMed. 2005;7(3):22.
 U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Medication Guide. Updated July 2012.