Well I am now almost off the dreaded Venlafaxine! Overall, the withdrawal has gone well. I did a lot of reading online, as my GP isn't particularly clued up. If you're coming off it, switch to the short-release form, the long-release makes withdrawal even more difficult.
I was on four 37.5mg pills in the morning, and four again at night. We reduced my dose by half a tablet every five days, ie. my first step down was four pills in the morning, three and a half at night for four days, then I went to three and a half morning and night. And so on. This very slow withdrawal did not cause any adverse effects, I just continued to suffer from the side-effects I already had.
Once I dropped to 2 tablets am and pm, we introduced Citalopram (aka Celexa, an SSRI) at 10mg per day. I am increasing this dose by 10mg a week until I am back up to 40mg. The theory is, this drug worked once before, so it might work again now my brain's had a break from it.
My mood dropped noticeably in the past two weeks, which makes sense as the venlafaxine dose is now really quite low, and I've been back on citalopram for only two weeks. Hopefully the SSRI will kick in any day now, and be more effective as the dose increases. I will be free of venlafaxine next Thursday, I can't wait!!
The next few weeks will be critical - if I respond, then I can begin to plan a return to work. If I don't then who knows what will happen, think I will get referred back to the psychiatrist, and perhaps we will have to try combining drugs, or tricyclics.
Thank you for all the posts, this thread will be useful to anyone who is starting venlafaxine or having problems.