Citation: Effing Emo. "It Ruins Everything: An Experience with Venlafaxine (Effexor XR) & Various (exp48799)". Erowid.org. Aug 15, 2006. erowid.org/exp/48799
Some of you, I hope, have read Kit Bonson's article about the effects of SSRIs on serotonergic hallucinogens. The author proposes the theory that SSRIs lessen the impact of these drugs, and weaken the effects of drugs like LSD, shrooms, and MDMA. I've been on a regimen of 75 mg. Effexor XR for four months now, for depression and anxiety, and very much agree with her. I'd like to list the effect this drug has had on recreational drugs for the past few months.
Alcohol: I've always been a drinker, and in the past, it was the commonly noted euphoria and relaxation that had me drinking with friends every weekend. As soon as I first drank after starting the medication, I noticed something striking: the euphoria was gone. Where three beers used to have me grinning like a moron, I only felt hollow, and slightly relaxed. In addition, for the first month of treatment, my hangovers were much worse than they'd ever been, regardless of how little I'd had. This went away soon, and I actually haven't had a hangover since that first month. However, the lack of euphoria persisted; if I drank enough (7 or more drinks,) I'd start to feel happier, but it was nothing compared to the mindless bliss I used to get. What a gyp.
Marijuana: Pot has always made my anxiety worse. Specifically, I get paranoid about its effect on my body -- my heart rate ups, and I can feel it beating out of my chest. I smoke about twice a week, and the Effexor's had virtually no influence on it. I still get as paranoid as I used to, and occasionally worse. Consequently, I usually don't smoke unless I'm drunk, or plan on bringing myself down with benzos. (With the anxiety I get from drug use / stressful situations, Xanax is pretty much my silver bullet.)
Mescaline: I'd never used a phenethylamine before, so admittedly, I've got nothing to compare it to. However, 3 hours after downing 3/4 of a foot of San Pedro, I felt no effects. Given that this was my first time with the drug, and that it's a fairly high dose for a newbie, I'd expect to have felt something. At the 3 hour mark, I catalyzed it with a bowl of pot, and soon enough, I tripped some balls. It wasn't nearly as strong as I'd thought it should have been, and again, I blame this on the SSRI's interaction. Still, it was a really pleasant, insightful trip.
Opiates: These are pretty much my drug of choice, and it was a real letdown when I found that Effexor squashed all their euphoria. I still got a strong body high, a nod, tranquility, and amazing itching, but no happiness. Where a moderate dose used to have me in love with the world, I was completely numb. It took the euphoric effects out of:
-Codeine: 30 mgs, orally.
-Oxycodone: 10 mgs., insufflated.
-Opium: smoked (usually 2 bowls) and dried poppy tea (around 4 poppies in each dose.)
Needless to say, I found this heartbreaking.
Adderall: I binged during finals week at college, and it was my first time with any amphetamine. I got amazing concentration, and turned out some of the best essays and exams of my life in half the time it'd normally take; the difference was, where so many people report strong feelings of confidence, and a surge of euphoria, I had no such effects. Surprisingly enough, the headspace it put me in reminded me a lot of opiates: I wasn't either happy or sad, I was just complacent, and content to be doing my work. In this sense, both drugs gave me relief from a depression that, in my opinion, Effexor worsened. My average dose was 15 mgs., sometimes orally, sometimes insufflated.
Cocaine: This was possibly the nicest drug experience I'd ever had. I was absolutely wasted at a party, running on somewhere around ten drinks and about as many bowls of pot when I was offered coke for the first time. My inhibitions were completely gone, and I took a medium-sized line. Wow. Instantly, my perspective shifted, and I thought of the old adage: 'It makes you feel like a rockstar.' It's almost what I imagine MDMA to be like -- the most intense euphoria I've ever felt, empathy with everyone I met, and a great need to talk to others and feel loved. I haven't done it since, for fear I'll enjoy it too much, but this stands out as the one drug my antidepressant left unscathed. By the way, the crash was an amazing bitch.
Overall, I've been really disappointed with Effexor XR. It actually cured my irritable bowel syndrome, but the side effects far outweighed this benefit. I'm still anxious, I'm constantly tired, I haven't fallen asleep without OTC medicine in three months, and my depression has gotten much worse. It brought out some self-abusive tendencies that I know have always been latent in me, but for the first time, it had me acting on them. I've been waking up late every morning feeling worse than the last, wondering why I should even get out of bed. I, with my doctor, am soon tapering myself off this medicine. It's helped many people, but it's also hurt plenty, myself included. Also, I've tried to quit cold turkey before, and the withdrawals are pretty much soul-crushing depression. Take this, and all psychiatric drugs with a grain of salt. Thanks very much for reading.
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