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The trick to starting an antidepressant (like effexor or zoloft or any of the others) is to "start low, go slow" - that is, dont take the full dose on the first day. Taking half the normal dose for a week (in the case of effexor that would be 37.5mg) then going up to 75mg, then after a few more weeks, upto 150mg if needed, reduces the side effects significantly.

Same with Zoloft, start on 25mg for a week, then up it to 50mg etc.

If you are worried about dependence on Xanax, it might be worth asking your doctor if you can try Zoloft, starting at a very low dose (say 12.5mg per day for a week, then 25mg per day for a week, then 50mg per day) and keep the Xanax for bad days

Re the Xanax, I am quite a big guy (6'4 and 110kg) and 1mg three times a day makes even me feel a bit doped, you might d better on half a tablet three times a day, enough to control your anxiety, but not enough to make you a zombie. You will get used to the groginess given time.

Whatever you and your doctor decide, very best of luck

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