Venlafaxine High: Dangers of Effexor Recreational Use

Last Updated: December 19, 2019

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Venlafaxine antidepressant is indicated in the treatment of depression and anxiety as well as their associated disorders. However, it can also be and has been abused, leading to several undesirable effects. In a large scale study that perused through the Europe Monitoring Agency database, it was found that 8.5 percent of the venlafaxine common side effects were associated with Effexor recreational use.

When people take the antidepressant Effexor, it inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. This causes these neurotransmitters to increase, creating a euphoric feeling due to the continued stimulation. The chase for this Effexor euphoria causes people to take venlafaxine without advice from a doctor which can be dangerous to health.

Is It Possible To Get High On Effexor?

Can venlafaxine get one high? Among the medical fraternity, there is a general understanding that venlafaxine is not physically addictive. However, one of the main uses for Effexor is to treat depression and anxiety – which it does by blocking the reabsorption of feel-good chemicals in the body. This inhibition of these neurotransmitters makes the feel-good effect last longer, creating a euphoric feeling that abusers can chase.

Effexor High Feelings

Different people experience the Effexor high feeling in different ways. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine focused on one subject who compared the venlafaxine ER high to the amphetamine high. Past the maximum dose of Effexor, venlafaxine weakly inhibits the reuptake of dopamine. This causes a euphoric feeling similar to what amphetamines create.

Other signs of the venlafaxine HCl high include:

  • everything seems to be working out fine
  • a state of happy excitement
  • an uplifted mood
  • a sense of deep relaxation

sense of deep relaxation under effexor high

With such feelings, it can be tempting to acquire more venlafaxine even if the Effexor street value is expensive, making it not worth the health and legal risk involved in chasing the high. Legally, when taking drug tests for street drugs like PCP and amphetamines, there can be an Effexor false-positive result.

However, after 3 or 4 days, the venlafaxine euphoria ceases, and subsequent recreational use does not elicit the sought-after feeling. This is because the body becomes used to the action of the venlafaxine, and the threshold for the euphoria is raised. With the wide-ranging feelings that come with the Effexor high, it is recommended to seek the advice of medical personnel to avoid significant harm to health.

Dangers Of Effexor Recreational Use

Using venlafaxine in a manner that is not approved by the doctor should not be attempted. Effexor recreational consumption results in several health consequences. These are further exacerbated when a person abuses Effexor with alcohol.

In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that abusing venlafaxine can make it harder to kick other drug habits. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine found it hard to kick the marijuana addiction when a person is on venlafaxine. Therefore, a combination of Effexor and marijuana is not advisable. Moreover, marijuana is still illegal in many states of the U.S., so its use may also cause legal problems.

Recreational usage of the venlafaxine goes beyond using the recommended oral route of administration. Abusers can crush the tablets and capsules, or take the powder form of medication and end up snorting Effexor to get high.

Side Effects Of Using Venlafaxine Recreationally

Regardless of how the drug is used, there are several dangers associated with using venlafaxine recreationally. These include:

  • blurred vision and tunnel vision
  • tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing
  • nosebleeds
  • frequent snorting leads to inflammation of the nasal and respiratory lining
  • uncontrollable shaking of some parts of the body
  • loss of appetite leading to Effexor XR weight loss
  • cardiac problems
  • increased pain and pressure in the eyes
  • loss of coordination
  • hallucinations

negative effects of effexor high

Addiction Development After Using Effexor Recreationally

If the medical recommendations are not heeded, excessive recreational usage of venlafaxine can lead to Effexor overdose death. As such, it is important to follow the doctor’s advice to maintain good health. While addiction might not be apparent during the active consumption of the drug, the signs and symptoms of Effexor withdrawals are clear when the drug is abruptly stopped.

Recreational consumption of venlafaxine to get high is never a good idea regardless of the dose taken or the route of administration. Various serious implications arising from drug abuse can negatively impact the health of an individual. It is, therefore, recommended to seek substance abuse treatment to beat the addiction. Centers for addiction treatment offer effective ways to stop chasing the high and stay clean.

Page Sources

  1. Schifano F, Chiappini S. Is There a Potential of Misuse for Venlafaxine and Bupropion?Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2018; 9: 239. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00239.
  2. Kelly MA, Pavlicova M, Glass A, Mariani JJ, Bisaga A, Sullivan MA, Nunes EV, Levin FR. Do withdrawal-like symptoms mediate increased marijuana smoking in individuals treated with venlafaxine-XR? Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2014; 144: 42-6. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.06.040.
  3. Venlafaxine. Mwdline Plus. 2017.

Published on: November 29th, 2019

Updated on: December 19th, 2019

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


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