Effexor, also known as venlafaxine, is a commonly prescribed drug for those suffering from a wide variety of mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. When used correctly, Effexor can be a powerful tool that can help control a person’s symptoms of their mental disorder and allow them to live their life freely; however, like any drug, it has the potential to be abused to experience a high, despite the fact that many antidepressants cannot produce a high.
Effexor is prescribed to help control and ease the symptoms of mental disorders, and doctors typically start a patient off with doses ranging from 75 to 375 mg per day (https://www.rxlist.com/effexor-drug.htm#side_effects). Most Effexor users find that the medication helps them function, but like all drugs, Effexor has the potential for side effects. These side effects include:
- Loss of appetite
- Blurred vision
- Decreased libido
- High blood pressure
- Thoughts of suicide
- Serotonin syndrome
Luckily, the benefits of Effexor often outweigh the potential effects for many users, however, many may underuse or overuse it. Most who abuse Effexor were prescribed the drug by a counselor or doctor, but, it is crucial to maintain taking the prescribed amount. Missing a dose or overdosing can create a serious negative effect.
Currently, not enough studies have been conducted to reveal the true numbers, but in recent years, many users have been abusing the drug for highs. It appears that Effexor abuse is somewhat limited to those prescribed the medication, and only about 8.5% find themselves dependent on, misusing, or abusing the medication, though some may come across Effexor illegally. When it comes to abusing the drug, many users will take more than the recommended dosage of venlafaxine, however, an overdose of venlafaxine can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. That’s why it is crucial to understand the dangers and warning signs of Effexor abuse and reach out if you’ve noticed these signs in a loved one.
Signs of Effexor Abuse Can Include
- Increased thoughts or actions of suicide
- Panic attacks
- Memory problems
- Panic Attacks
- Increased thoughts or actions of suicide
- Memory problems
- Broken relationships
- Inability to perform tasks or maintain responsibility at work
- Financial issues
These serious effects of Effexor abuse can break a person down and affect their personal lives deeply. If you start to notice any of these signs in a loved one, such as they are isolating themselves or ruining relationships, reaching out to them can often be the first step towards recovery.
If you notice any of these signs, call a doctor immediately.
Is it Possible to Get High Off of Effexor?
Like with many other antidepressants, it is not possible to become high off Effexor, though many will often try. Effexor is supposed to be a non-addictive drug, but those attempting to achieve a high can become addicted to it through misuse and abuse. By taking more than the recommended dosage of Effexor, a person hopes to achieve a dissociative effect with the drug. Unlike a similar anti-depressant, bupropion, which is inhaled nasally, venlafaxine is most commonly taken orally.
Overdosing on Effexor
While it’s important to always take the dosage given to you by your doctor, many will attempt to consume more than is recommended. In the case of a loved one’s overdose, immediately call poison control (1-800-222-1222) or your doctor. If you suspect your loved has overdosed on Effexor and is no longer conscious or breathing, call 911 immediately.
If you notice the following:
- Simultaneous hot and cold sensations
- Muscle pain
Seek immediate medical attention, as these are all signs of overdosing. Other serious warning signs to look for are seizures and a coma. Every overdose is time-sensitive, so it is imperative that those affected immediately receive medical treatment to reduce the harmful effects overdosing can bring.
How Does One Become Addicted to Effexor?
Often, a person may have another disorder alongside the one being treated with Effexor. If that person experiences a major loss or tragedy, he may turn to Effexor to help him through it and begin taking more than his prescribed dosage. Alcohol abuse and eating disorders can also affect a person’s likelihood of abusing Effexor. Continuous overdosing can result in addiction.
Effects of Withdrawal of Effexor
Once an addiction has been confirmed, the next step is to help your loved one through the process of withdrawal.
Often, drug withdrawal can be difficult and hard on a person’s mind and body. This is no different when it comes to Effexor. When taking Effexor, it is important to only consume the prescribed amounts and continue to take regular doses to avoid the effects of withdrawal. With the abuse of the drug, the effects can be much harder to handle. The effects of Effexor withdrawal can include:
- A return of your mental disorder symptoms (i.e., symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety, symptoms of social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts)
- Mood swings
- Fatigue or feeling tired
Having supportive medical treatment needed to detox can help make the transition easier for users and their families. That’s why finding the right recovery center is important. At WeRecover, we can help you find the best facility to fit your loved one’s needs as they go through the difficult transition of withdrawal and healing.
Treatment of Effexor Addiction
Since Effexor is considered to be a non-addictive drug, there is a lack of information pertaining to the treatment protocols of Effexor addiction. However, since dependency can be established if it is abused, addiction is possible.
If your loved one has found himself dependent on Effexor, it is important to talk to a licensed therapist or doctor to help wean him off. The doctor may recommend taking lower doses overtime to help decrease the risk of any serious effects of withdrawal. Having a safe place to detoxify and heal after addiction can be extremely helpful, as well.
Finding a treatment facility that will help monitor and ease a person out of the grips of addiction can help increase the chances of success, especially if the reason for their addiction is related to another disorder or trauma. When seeking treatment for Effexor abuse through a treatment facility, there are many options to assist through recovery:
After an extended period, your body can develop a dependence on the medication, especially when taken heavily. When this happens, you are at a high risk of serious withdrawal symptoms. Going through medical detox can help your body slowly wean off Effexor, resulting in a smoother transition.
If your addiction to Effexor is severe or you are suffering from other mental health or medical issues, going to an inpatient treatment center will provide you with the intensive help that you need. Inpatient programs provide a patient with a high level of structure in a safe environment that will help to minimize the triggers that cause the abuse of Effexor. For medical professionals to create a treatment plan that is tailored to the patient’s particular needs, the doctor will first asses the patient’s situation.
When a patient is in a residential treatment program, he will be provided with a high-level care. He will receive 24/7 monitoring while he is being treated for his addiction. If a patient requires a longer stay, a residential facility is a great option.
You will be able to move to an outpatient program after completing detox and/or inpatient treatment. While the patient is in the outpatient program, he will stay in a residential treatment home.
Before, during, or after the treatment, a patient may go to different types of support groups. These groups may be 12-step meetings or AA/NA meetings. Going to a support group helps people feel accepted and knowing that others have been through what they are going through makes a huge difference in the recovery process.
While in rehab, you will start to prepare your aftercare plan. This will include moving to a sober living facility for some. It will also include locating a counselor or therapist who you will be able to confide in outside of treatment. You will also start attending support groups to help you stay involved and prevent relapse.
If you’re concerned that a friend or family member may have developed a dependency on Effexor and is exhibiting signs of addiction and/or abuse, it is important to reach out to a doctor. If you are currently taking Effexor and worry you may be becoming dependent, it is important for you to reach out to your doctor that prescribed the medication and talk through your concerns. Trying to wean off your Effexor doses on your own can be a difficult process, so it is important to seek professional medical help and support. Every addiction can result in a full recovery, and this is no different from Effexor. Contact our team at WeRecover. We are happy to help you find the right facility for your specific addiction needs, and you can begin the healing process.