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Why Antidepressants Like Effexor Cause Insomnia

Effexor is a brand name for an antidepressant known medically as venlafaxine. Insomnia is one of the common side effects associated with this drug as well as nausea, headaches, sweating, dizziness and memory problems. Effexor is mainly used to treat depression and other psychological disorders.

Insomnia is not the only nighttime side effect of this drug. Many people taking it will also experience bad nightmares and hot flashes, which can both lead to, or aggravate, insomnia. If you are one of the many people taking Effexor and battling a lack of sleep, there are some simple steps you can take to help control the sleeplessness:

  • Ensure you sleep in a dark, quiet and comfortable bedroom;
  • Avoid napping during the day if you feel drowsy at any point;
  • Create a relaxing and peaceful environment for yourself before you go to sleep. Avoid taking part in any activities that extremely tiring. This might sound a little strange, as you might think being physically tired would be a good thing, but it is important that the mind is rested and not 'buzzing' when you go to bed;
  • Avoid any alcohol when taking Effexor. Insomnia could be made worse by drinking alcohol when taking this drug as it can increase the side effects;
  • Prepare yourself for sleep by switching off all electronics in the house about half an hour or more before you intend on going to bed.

These steps can improve sleep hygiene naturally for most people and should be carried out as part of a night time routine in general. Having said that, experiencing insomnia while on Effexor can quite often be unavoidable and is simply a frustrating and tiresome downside of the antidepressant. 

If you search through just a few online forums related to different types of medication, you will find that there are a large number of people who are taking venlafaxine and battling with restless nights.  

In the United States, it is a requirement that black box warnings are visibly printed on all antidepressants. This type of alert usually appears on the packet inside the medication container whether it be pills or medicine. This is the highest level of warning distributed and means that the medication can have serious side effects, some of which may be life threatening. 

effexor insomniaScientists believe that those taking Effexor are at more of a risk of suicide and self harm than with other antidepressants.

The withdrawal symptoms of venlafaxine can be quite harsh. Even missing one pill can have a very negative impact on the physical and mental condition of the user. The withdrawal symptoms associated with the pills range from dizziness to problems with vision

Some people have even claimed that they experience a sensation they refer to as 'brain shivers'. 

Medical experts have often dismissed this feeling claiming they are headaches or dizziness, but sufferers insist that these brain shivers, or tremors, are more than that and feel like inexplicable, bouncy movements in the head. All of these sensations and symptoms can further increase problems with insomnia. 


Therefore, as with any forms of strong medication, it is extremely important to follow instructions given to you by your doctor and it is strongly advised not to take yourself off of Effexor if you think you do not need it anymore.

Do Benefits of Effexor Outweigh Insomnia Symptoms?

effexor insomniaOverdosing on any antidepressant can be very dangerous. Drug companies recommend that the intake of Effexor be managed well to ensure that there is less of a risk of overdosing. 

The effects of taking the incorrect amount of pills are known to be seizures, nausea, vomiting, changes in heart rate, low blood pressure and a buildup of toxic chemicals in the body. Changes in consciousness can also occur and, in worse cases, lead to a coma or death. An overdose of Effexor is not usually linked with insomnia.

People who take Effexor often claim that they are highly addicted to the drug. This can be a common occurrence with many pills taken for depression as the mood lifting feeling is very comforting and addictive. This addiction is usually a psychological dependency but can become physical after time if a certain level of tolerance is developed. Addiction to this drug will have a negative impact on sleep patterns and can result in insomnia.

Depression can be a symptoms of suffering different severity levels of insomnia. People who suffer from acute or chronic insomnia often complain of depression symptoms. Each condition, and their medical treatments, can have an adverse reaction on each other. 

You can go to the doctor with a condition like anxiety, depression or panic attacks and be prescribed venlafaxine, which can cause side effects like insomnia that only add to, or worsen, your original conditions.

Doctors explain that the overall goal of Effexor is to help lessen or control the levels of depression, panic attacks, and anxiety attacks. Make sure that you are honest with your doctor when he asks if you have any existing medical conditions or heart problems that could be made drastically worse by any form of prescribed medication.  

effexor insomniaWith the huge amounts of known side effects and dangers related to Effexor, it is key that your doctor or specialist ascertains that the benefits to your condition outweigh the side effects and dangers. Most doctors should only prescribe enough tablets for a trial period of a month or six weeks and then ask that you come back and discuss if the medication has notably improved your condition. 

If your condition has worsened or if its side effects have had a detrimental effect on your quality of life, then your doctor should not hand you a new prescription, but should go on to explore other avenues of treatments that are available.

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