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Seelix's avatar

SSRIs +/- nicotine: Has anyone on SSRIs quit smoking?

Asked by Seelix (14757 points ) July 17th, 2012

Okay, first of all: I am going to see my doctor. I will discuss this issue with a trained medical professional in the near future. I’m just wondering whether anyone’s been through a similar situation and has any insight to offer.

So I take 225 mg of Effexor (venlafaxine) daily. I’ve been taking it for 6 years; originally for depression and now just for anxiety.

Until 5 months ago, I was smoking 20–25 cigarettes a day. I’ve now quit, and have become a HUGE bitch. Mr. Fiance and I are having the same stupid arguments we used to have before I went on the meds; my self-esteem is hurtin’; I’m irritable… The time correlation is just too strong for me to ignore. I’m thinking my dosage needs to be adjusted.

Has anyone dealt with a similar situation, or does anyone have anything to add? I’m feeling like I’m going crazy all over again :(

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8 Answers

DigitalBlue's avatar

I have never quit. In fact, I kind of want to quit, but I’ve been in a terrible emotional place for a while now, and I have read that quitting smoking can trigger or exacerbate depression, especially in people who have a history. Nicotine is considered to be a mood altering substance, and quitting can have a very real effect on your emotions. Definitely talk to your doctor about it, it is likely that there is a link. He may be able to adjust your medication, or find an alternative that would be beneficial to you.

Hope that you feel more like yourself, asap.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I quit smoking while on SSRIs and had a similar experience. I was overly emotional and irritable. It passed after some time though. I don’t remember how long it took.

I hope you can get more help from your doctor and start feeling better soon.

Seelix's avatar

Thanks so much to both of you. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to adjust my meds and get through this relatively easily. I’m under a crazy amount of stress right now (I’m studying for my PhD comprehensive exam, which basically means “read all the things and know everything about everything”) so I’m sure that’s not helping the matter at all.

Just knowing that it’s not unheard of to feel depressed/irritable/whatever makes me feel so much better. I mean, it makes sense, right? I took a drug, 20 times a day, for more than half my life. It only makes sense that stopping would change the way my other drugs work, at least a little.

Anyway, thanks and hugs to you both <3

keobooks's avatar

I waited until I was really sick and I knew I was going to feel crappy anyway. Sounds weird but it worked – it’s been six or seven years. I know the SSRIs made it harder to quit, but I did manage. Probably most people wouldn’t do it the way I did, but I figured that I was going to be off my feet and out of commission, I might as well use that time to detox. The fact that it was bronchitis probably helped too.

I still get cravings but I think that will probably last forever.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@keobooks why do you think the SSRIs made it more difficult?

augustlan's avatar

I take the same drug, in the same dose and for the same reasons as you. I’ve never seriously tried to quit smoking while on the venlafaxine, but when I tried when I wasn’t on any anti-anxiety meds at all, I became a murderous/suicidal bitch. I feel your pain.

It sounds like you’ve got a lot of stress going on all at the same time, so it’s no wonder you’re having trouble right now. Increasing your dose or using mild sedatives (Xanax in a low dose) probably will help. Best of luck to you, girlie.

Seelix's avatar

Thanks, jellyfriends :)

I just wanted to clarify that I’m not having any problems with nicotine cravings; the idea of smoking is so foreign to me now (even after only 5 months!) that I don’t even think about it.

Gonna go see the doc and see what she has to say; I only wish I were back in my hometown so I could visit my old doctor who prescribed the venlafaxine to begin with, just because he knows me better. Oh, well. I’ll let y’all know how things go.

Smsbean's avatar

Hi seelix, going through issues with smoking cessation and am on effexor Xr 75 daily. Did u end up adjusting up or down?

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