Citation: BurnsXL. "How is This Chemical Legal?: An Experience with Venlafaxine (exp24166)". Erowid.org. Jun 2, 2003. erowid.org/exp/24166
Let me start with a little personal history, explaining why I was given this medication. I'm for the most part a normal guy, and have good days, bad days, and days that are somewhere in between. My parents were obsessive, controlling, and unfortunately delusional, and thus never wanted to accept any sort of bad behavior or poor performance from any of their children. From about age 14 (I'm almost 20 now) to the present, everything I do becomes the result of something medical in their eyes. I've never felt any more depressed or down than the average person, especially not to the point of clinical diagnosis. However, my parents (and therapist who gets kickbacks from pharm companies) have been trying to make me claim such a condition to explain some of my bad decisions and 'strange behaviors.' I've had drug problems (ended up in a 90 day in-patient program), and have done poorly in school (not because of ability, but through performance), but have never felt as though I was not able to think straight or make logical decisions because of a mood condition.
Halfway through my program, I finally gave consent to begin taking perscription anti-depressants, simply to please my therapist and family, despite knowing the horrible effects they can have. My therapist settled on Effexor, the one medicine I knew little about (thanks to this site I'm a walking encyclopedia on drugs and medicine), beginning at 37.5mg a day. Most people have one event or choice in their life they dwell on every day, wishing they could somehow go back and change their actions, and in my case this was it.
At first, I felt absolutely no effects from the Effexor at all. I even asked my friends and family if they noticed anything different about my behavior or speech, to which the answer was no. I thought that I had done exactly what I had set out to do, which was please my parents and therapist by pretending to accept my lifelong depression, while really doing nothing about it. If I remember right, this is about the point where my life went to absolute shit.
My therapist somehow convinced me to up my daily dosage to 75mg, which was twice the intake I started with. I figured that Effexor was one of those placebo meds that helped those who wanted it to help them, and who let themselves be convinced it was making a difference. Within a week at 75mg, I started to feel shitty and moody all the time. I lost interest in everything I did, both academically and socially. Even my own personal persuits, like percussion and writing seemed like annoying pains in my ass. I also started to lose sleep on a regular basis, and felt tweaky for most of the day. I learned after-the-fact that those were the signs that the meds were having an 'adverse reaction,' and that I should have stopped then and there.
If you've ever had a drug problem, you've probably gone through withdrawals of some sort that made you suffer for days at a time. I secretly attempted to stop taking the Effexor at this point, only to suffer withdrawals on par with the time I kicked heroin cold turkey. The Effexor withdrawals are quite different from opiate withdrawals, but are equally painful and agonizing. It didn't take long for me to start popping the pills again, which makes me understand how addictive these things can be. On I went to 150mg, spending a week at 112.5mg first to work my way up. I barely remember most of this period, so bare with me if the details are vague.
Within a few days on the high doses, I became a psychotic mess, peaking at a point where I could not leave my house. I started to focus on mistakes I'd made in life, and also things I wish I could have again (lost girlfriends, academic performance, baseball potential, etc.). I literally had to fight back full-blown tears for most of my day. I only made it to class for one day, and on that day I went home after two hours because I had broken down and cried in my Economics class. I was given 10 days of health-related sick leave, and spent the entire time crying in my bedroom.
My pills-fix-all-problems believing parents refused to accept the connection between the high dose of Effexor and my sudden psychotic nature. After two weeks of the worst misery I've ever experienced, I went on my own to see a different therapist at the same office as my perscribing one. After explaining what I've documented, he told me to ween off the Effexor immediately, and told me that I should have never advanced past 37.5mg, given the warning signs. It took almost 25 days to get off the meds without any withdrawals, and about 25 additional days to experience a feeling of mental clarity like that which I had before Effexor.
Forgive me if this seems like a long and annoying diatribe against Effexor, but this is the one drug, both legal and illegal, that I have strong feelings about. I almost lost my high school degree, my sanity, my friends, and my dignity because of this happy pill. How these medicines get perscribed so freely and legally is beyond me, but if you have the choice, DO NOT TAKE EFFEXOR!
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.