Does Venlafaxine make you high? (3+ facts)

In this article, we will discuss whether venlafaxine can make you high and explore its uses and potential side effects. Additionally, we will also talk about the drugs which can cause euphoria, a “high” like feeling. 

Does venlafaxine make you high? 

No, venlafaxine does not make you high. Venlafaxine is an antidepressant used to treat anxiety and depression by improving cognitive functions. It doesn’t have an effect like stimulants, which cause euphoria. 

Venlafaxine, at very high doses, can mimic an amphetamine-like “high” (1). The drug enhances your mood and creates a sense of overall well-being. While it may not provide a sudden rush of happiness, it can improve your emotional state and help you feel better over time.

Taking Effexor without a certified physician could cause you more damage than good, as Effexor causes withdrawal symptoms more easily than any other antidepressant. 

Taking Effexor for a long-term and a high dose can induce mania and suicidal ideation. Hence, it is important to take Effexor under a physician’s guidance. 

Why normal dose of venlafaxine does not make you high? 

Venlafaxine is an antidepressant that belongs to the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which increases the level of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine in the presynaptic receptors. (2)

The increase in the neurotransmitters is not in large amounts. Whereas drugs like stimulants (amphetamine) produce euphoria by increasing the neurotransmitter, especially dopamine, to a high level, giving a feeling of euphoria. (3)

Stimulants are substances that boost the production of dopamine in the brain, leading to a sensation of reward and reinforcement. When dopamine levels drop, the body craves more of the substance, creating a cycle that can lead to addiction. (4)

The addictive nature of stimulants is due to their ability to alter the brain’s chemistry and create a sense of pleasure and euphoria. (4)

What dose of venlafaxine can make you high?

A dose higher than 1,500 mg/day can cause amphetamine-like euphoria in patients with a history of substance abuse. Self-medication with antidepressants can be harmful as it can cause damage without proper management and evaluation. An overdose of venlafaxine causes sedation, sinus tachycardia, seizures, hypertension, hypotension, diaphoresis and hyponatremia. (1)

A case was reported in which a 53-year-old patient who was diagnosed with depression and a history of alcohol and amphetamine misuse was given venlafaxine to treat his recurrent depression.

However, he misused the drug and was used to take 50 tablets daily, which adds up to 3,750 mg of venlafaxine per day. This dose of venlafaxine produced an amphetamine-like effect. Since venlafaxine has an effect on dopamine levels, an increased dose of venlafaxine can alter the levels of dopamine and may cause amphetamine-like highs.

Which medication can make you high? 

Drugs classified under schedules 1, 2, or 3 are considered to be highly potent and have the ability to induce feelings of euphoria. The effects of these drugs can be intense and potentially addictive. (5)

Here are the drugs which cause euphoria. 

  • Opioids: Codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl are used to treat severe pain occurring after surgical procedures or in chronic pain. 
  • Stimulants: Amphetamines (Vyvanse, Adderall), methylphenidate (Ritalin), caffeine, modafinil, atomoxetine. Stimulants cause an increase in energy, alertness and euphoria. It is used to treat various mental illnesses such as ADHD, autism, etc. 
  • Cannabis: Cannabidiol (Epidiolex) and cannabidivarin (CBDV) are used in the management of neuropathic pain or pain caused by cancer. 
  • Hallucinogens: LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, and ketamine can cause altered perception and euphoria. 
  • Benzodiazepines: Xanax, valium and ativan. They provide the feeling of clam and euphoria. 

These drugs are addition-forming drugs and should be used only under the guidance of a certified physician. 

What are the side effects associated with venlafaxine use? 

The side effects of venlafaxine can range from mild to severe. Consuming higher doses of venlafaxine can cause suicidal thoughts and seizures and worsen depression and anxiety. Sudden discontinuation of venlafaxine can cause withdrawal symptoms. 

Side effects of venlafaxine: (2)

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Hypotension/Hypertension
  • Anorexia
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Impotence/decreased libido
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Seizure 
  • Serotonin syndrome 

Symptoms of overdose: 

  • Increased or decreased heart rate
  • Changes in the level of consciousness
  • Mydriasis
  • Seizures
  • vomiting 
  • ECG changes
  • Hypotension 
  • Rhabdomyolysis 
  • Vertigo
  • Liver necrosis 
  • Serotonin syndrome

Withdrawal symptoms: 

  • Dysphoric mood
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Sensory disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Lethargy
  • Emotional lability
  • Insomnia
  • Hypomania
  • Tinnitus
  • Seizure

What to do if you have overdosed on venlafaxine? 

If you suspect that you have taken an overdose of venlafaxine, seek medical help immediately. Provide information about the incident to the healthcare provider.

Tell them about the amount of tablets or capsules you have ingested, which will help the healthcare providers to determine your treatment. A mild overdose does not cause severe side effects and can be managed easily, whereas a higher dose greater than 1500mg/day can cause life-threatening effects and needs immediate medical attention. 

Look out for overdose symptoms. If you suspect that someone you know has consumed a large quantity of venlafaxine. It is possible that they may experience seizures, an elevated heart rate, or lose consciousness. Do not panic. Call your emergency helpline and wait till they get there. Do not try to treat it on your own. Seek medical help immediately. 


Based on my knowledge, venlafaxine is a medication that is not known to cause any euphoric or “high” sensation with a normal dose. However, venlafaxine may cause an amphetamine-like high and venlafaxine dependence if the dose exceeds 1,500 mg/day.

Hence, it is crucial to take venlafaxine only under the guidance of a qualified physician to prevent any potential harm that might arise from incorrect usage. 

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Song JH, Yu BH, Lee D, Yoon SC, Jeon HJ. Uncontrolled self-medication with venlafaxine in a patient with major depressive disorder. Psychiatry Investigation. 2011 Mar;8(1):74. Available from:



Singh D, Saadabadi A. Venlafaxine. [Updated 2022 Oct 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:



Calipari ES, Ferris MJ. Amphetamine mechanisms and actions at the dopamine terminal revisited. Journal of Neuroscience. 2013 May 22;33(21):8923-5. Available from:,DA%20by%20three%20major%20mechanisms.


Dackis CA, Gold MS. Addictiveness of central stimulants. Advances in alcohol & substance abuse. 1990 Sep 1;9(1-2):9-26. Available from:


DEA. . Drug Enforcement Agency on DEA website. 10 July, 2018. Accessed 17 November, 2023. Available from:

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