At Alternative to Meds Center we provide the best Effexor addiction help possible, making the process easier by greatly reducing withdrawal symptoms, as well as addressing original symptoms that led to taking antidepressant medication in the first place.
When a person develops an Effexor addiction, they can face some extremely challenging withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit. Our residential drug treatment center is aware of other, better answers than living your life medicated on antidepressants that you can’t stop taking, even though you very much want to.
15 Years Experience by Professionals Who Understand Your Journey.
Realizing the need for Effexor addiction treatment can take a person by surprise. Often, nothing is suspected until you forget a dose and suffer the cascade of withdrawals. This might be the point where a person realizes how Effexor-dependent they have become. At that moment you may realize how much you have come to rely on it to carry out life’s ordinary daily functions. This antidepressant addiction may develop over a short or long period of time. Pharmacists, some researchers, and non-psychiatric practitioners have reported extensively on the adverse effects of abruptly stopping antidepressants as seen in the Medscape Journal of Medicine and the US Pharmacist Journal of Clinical Excellence.2,4 Other prescribers cling to the notion that antidepressants are perfectly safe, effective, and not addictive, and do not seem to observe, or perhaps are not inclined to report on the adverse effects of withdrawal. Alternative to Meds strongly cautions against abruptly stopping these same medications because the evidence is clear on the matter.1,3
Where your own health is at stake, we highly recommend doing enough of your own research to conclude with confidence whether a treatment is safe and efficacious from your own perspective.
Is Effexor (venlafaxine) an SNRI?
Effexor is classed as an SNRI, or selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, that is FDA approved to treat MDD. The time-release version, Effexor XR is FDA approved for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Like all SNRIs, the drug is not FDA approved for persons under the age of 18 due to the increased risk of suicide.5
Holistic practitioners may observe that what’s wrong with this approach is that the drug is doing the “work,” not the person. Research published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies showed that positive results in patients’ depression were obtained from cognitive behavioral therapy, competitive memory training, problem-solving therapy, reminiscence group therapy, and other non-pharmacological treatments that the study reviewed.8
In contrast, in medication-based treatment, it is the medication that is artificially influencing mood — not the person. Proponents of SNRI medication therapy encourage that a person relies on this drug to control their depression, balance out their moods, improve their general happiness and quality of life.
But as Keks et al point out in an article published in the Australian Prescriber Journal, antidepressant drugs often lack adequate treatment response, and can even create unacceptable treatment outcomes.9 Even after multiple medication switching, with no other therapy, the person would soon return to their previous condition, or in some cases a worsened condition, due to the extremely harsh SNRI side effects and SNRI withdrawals.10-12
Since most people just want to be happy and may even be too fatigued or discouraged to seek out alternative treatments, they may opt to continue to rely on antidepressants to achieve their happiness. It can be scary to think about having to return to the previous state of depression or mania, and for many people, it may seem easier to continue taking Effexor to alleviate problems rather than dealing with them with the help of SNRI alternative therapeutic choices.
Is It Possible to Find Peace and Happiness Without Medication?
Given the effective tools, it has been our observation at Alternative to Meds Center that there are better methods than a prescription drug to maintain peace and happiness. But many doctors who are licensed to give out medication are never trained in alternative methods to improve mood and related symptoms. We have observed that natural mental health can be achieved without prescription drugs. For many, the fear of ending Effexor dependency is the fear of the potentially painful Effexor withdrawals and the possibility of returning symptoms. Patients have described antidepressant addiction as being just as bad as an addiction to heroin. Some patients who try to taper off of this medication simply find the challenge too great, and give up.11
Alternative to Meds Center specializes in providing supportive help for a successful outcome. Our treatment programs are built on the foundation of finding alternative pathways to peace and happiness without relying on prescription medication. More on alternative treatment success can be found below.
Effexor Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms
Some of the antidepressant addiction withdrawal symptoms that have been reported by the FDA 5 include brain zaps or shocks, irritability, flu-like symptoms, night terrors, anxiety, nausea, dizziness, sleepiness, insomnia, increased blood pressure, sweating, dry mouth, loss of appetite, and constipation. There are possibilities of more severe Effexor side effects that may have the potential of being dangerous to your health, rare withdrawal side effects include cardiac arrhythmia, increased cholesterol, stomach pain, changes in vision, Neuroleptic malignant syndrome, pancreatitis, seizure, external bleeding, and Tardive Dyskinesia discontinuation syndrome. Tardive Dyskinesia is an involuntary movement disorder and a rare side effect that can emerge during or after withdrawal from this and other SNRI medication. Effexor is known to produce more intense withdrawals than other SNRI medications.11,12
These withdrawal side effects should not discourage the decision to end antidepressant addiction. But suddenly discontinuing this medication should be discouraged. Without guidance and support, serious withdrawal symptoms can put your health at risk. Choosing to end antidepressant dependence under medical care in an Effexor rehab or cessation center will reduce the risk of experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms. If you have realized that you may be dependent upon this medication, you can find out more about alternative ways to treat depression that are not addictive. At Alternative to Meds Center, our clients can safely end addiction without suffering painful withdrawal symptoms, and they get the opportunity to address actual causes and contributors to their symptoms for authentic relief.
Finding and Addressing Root Causes for Depression & Effexor Addiction
Most individuals are put on antidepressant medications like Effexor before there have been any investigative efforts put into finding what is causing their depression. Despite the advertising claims, does the assumed neurotransmitter deficiency really exist? How about food allergies, slow metabolism, low thyroid or toxicity? These are just some of the documented causes and contributors to depression.16-20
A person may or may not have a deficit in serotonin to begin with, but taking the medication can develop an actual serotonin deficiency that may even make matters worse. Seissner et al’s study on mice demonstrates neurotransmitter deficiency after chronic use of antidepressant drugs in an article published in the 2013 Journal of ACS Chemical Neuroscience.16 Clearly, this drug-induced effect would leave a person disadvantaged, whether or not a deficiency was present before starting drug therapy.
Testing can directly reveal much that is pertinent when it comes to addressing root causes. For instance, a deficiency in folate was corrected with supplementation and was a successful treatment for depression according to a 2011 article published in the Journal of the Canadian Family Physician.13
To address symptoms such as depression, the pharmaceutical industry has been so diligent in their cause, that many alternative treatments have not received the attention and exposure that they deserve. According to the above-mentioned meta-analysis of studies, Canadian researcher Dr. Osmaan Sheikh found that St John’s Wort was as effective as antidepressant drugs in relieving depression, but without the side effects. Exercise was shown to be a highly effective treatment for depression. Similar results have been found regarding SAM-e, Omega-3 fatty acids, and the use of acupuncture treatments, light therapy, and many other depression therapies used in Complementary Medicine in both women and men.13,14,15
Does Effexor Raise Serotonin?
The SNRI antidepressants do not produce serotonin; they block the reuptake from occurring. Serotonin is designed for reuptake so that the nerve cells in the CNS are able to recycle it and use it again and again. This is a conservatory process. But if serotonin is forcibly kept suspended (outside the synapse, which is how antidepressants “work”), these molecules eventually degrade and become a waste product. It’s comparable to the way cocaine temporarily relieves depression. Cocaine uses up (wastes) all of the available dopamine and does not create more of it. Dopamine is the neurochemical that monitors reward, so when a person initially takes cocaine, there will appear to be an exceptional feeling of reward in everything. Eventually, all the dopamine will be gone. Now nothing in the world feels rewarding to a person in this condition. This is why it feels like drugs eventually “stop working”. It’s a bit like living off a credit card. Eventually, all resources become bankrupted. The human need for reward is hardwired. This is one of the harshest drivers of addiction because there is a craving and a drive for pleasure and reward, but it becomes less and less available as drug use continues.
Unlike dopamine, an excitatory neurochemical, serotonin is a “stabilizer.” We need serotonin for its ability to not only dampen unpleasant environmental stimuli but to create our sleep hormones. Serotonin quiets compulsive thoughts and behaviors. This is a major neurotransmitter with functions that we don’t entirely know yet. But it is clear to see when an individual is in antidepressant withdrawal, they suffer from sleeplessness, anxiety, overstimulation, and even Tourette’s and OCD, which can follow drug-induced serotonin deficiency.21
Can Nutrition Raise Serotonin?
Alternative to Meds Center identifies medical, biological, nutritional, and psychosocial contributors to depression and other unwanted symptoms. For example, to combat depression during withdrawal, we use targeted nutrient treatments and oral supplements that promote the creation of healthy neurotransmitters that positively support mood. Combined with testing for other potential contributors to unwanted symptoms, medical acupuncture, psychological counseling,neurotransmitter rehabilitation, IV + NAD treatments, nebulized glutathione, deep cleansing, exercise, and Equine therapy provide long-lasting relief. We have over 40 clinical physicians, nurses, and practitioners on board in our pristine and welcoming in-patient facility to provide the therapies that are needed for full, authentic, recovery. Each person’s program must be uniquely designed as no cookie-cutter approach will give the desired result.
We invite you to find out more about our Effexor addiction treatment program at Alternative to Meds Center and how it may help you or your loved one with getting life back on track without prescription medications.
1. Farah WH, Alsawas M, Mainou M, Alahdab F, Farah MH, Ahmed AT, Mohamed EA, Almasri J, Gionfriddo MR, Castaneda-Guarderas A, Mohammed K, Wang Z, Asi N, Sawchuk CN, Williams MD, Prokop LJ, Murad MH, LeBlanc A. Non-pharmacological treatment of depression: a systematic review and evidence map. Evid Based Med. 2016 Dec;21(6):214-221. doi: 10.1136/ebmed-2016-110522. Epub 2016 Nov 11. PMID: 27836921. [cited 2021 Aug 13]
This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.
Dr. Samuel Lee
Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente. He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Diane is an avid supporter and researcher of natural mental health strategies. Diane received her medical writing and science communication certification through Stanford University and has published over 3 million words on the topics of holistic health, addiction, recovery, and alternative medicine. She has proudly worked with the Alternative to Meds Center since its inception and is grateful for the opportunity to help the founding members develop this world-class center that has helped so many thousands regain natural mental health.
Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.