It’s like my brain pulses forward in my head and gives me a split-second tunnel vision effect. I feel psychologically terrific but the Brain zaps are horrendous – I can trigger one just by moving my eyes side to side – every time! They emphasized that this generally occurs during discontinuation from a psychiatric medication. Other psychiatric authors have suggested that brain zaps are likely influenced by serotonin’s role in sensory functions and muscle movement. Also feel a buzzing sensation around my mouth. From what I experienced during and after this treatment, acupuncture, because it is working on the neurological system, seems to help repair the pathways for the normal flow of neurotransmitters. Well played Big Pharma, well played! I am on blood pressure medicine only. I was so relieved to read that they can be the cause of withdrawal from medication and/or getting off meds. Also feel free to mention any supplements and/or strategies that have helped you cope with the zaps. I really think this was due to my being on two anticonvulsants – one is Klonopin, the other is lamictal. Doctor has told me to take melatonin. It kind of just flat lined my mood and missing just one dose would make me super irritable, random crying, and not wanting to talk to my boyfriend who I live with, or leave the house. :(. I have been tapering off for 7 months now and I am just ready to be done with Paxil for good. So there’s my input… *miserable in Bama*. I was taking Lexapro (escitalopram) for about 8 months when my new psychiatrist decided to try me on Effexor (venlafaxine). I’ve been on Zoloft for 3 weeks and have had NOTHING but yucky symptoms. I had no idea the withdrawal would be so debilitating. I have been on Zoloft for 6 months. I’ve taken Rx meds most of my life because I thought they were the only way I could be “normal.” I didn’t realize how they were just poison to me. I began tapering in Jan from 225 Mg of Effexor down to a sliver and 10 days ago stopped it completely. Some people experience brain zaps after waking up from sleep and/or when they fall asleep. The symptoms may include flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, nausea, poor balance, sensory changes, and anxiety. What can I do? Withdrawals are crazy. Many of GABA’s positive mood-enhancing effects are due to how it reduces/inhibits activity of certain nerve cells in the central nervous system. I’m thinking this is what I have, because I have searched for months on what it is, gone to the hospital several times with the answer of “it’s anxiety you’re feeling.” I have anxiety, and I am pretty sure it’s not that. A current hypothesis for the cause of brain zaps is that they may be due to declining levels of GABA. Of course now I just want them to stop. I’m two days off Venlafaxine too, and they’re driving me crazy! You MUST give withdrawal a very gradual slope, at least two months, to taper off or you will feel badly. Keep in mind that antidepressant drugs like SSRIs were originally intended to be taken for about three to nine months — not years on end. I am reducing paxil from 40mg to 30 mg. Have been on 40 for a few years. Some people feel like their whole head is affected, while others say only a small part of their brain feels like it’s involved. I would experience these jolts/electrical sensations/zaps when I was overtired. I am withdrawing from venlaflaxine 37.5 mg for a week now and experience strong brain zaps. I hope it’s better for you by now. It may be helpful to try to lessen the exposure you have to computer screens and other devices—some people report that the less electrical stimulation their eyes are exposed to, the more it can help lessen the intensity of certain brain sensations Photo courtesy of Nicholas Liby and Flickr Creative Commons. Went off cold turkey 1st week of April. Big Pharma cares nothing about people. I stopped taking those medicines without consulting doctor. Analogy: Scuba diver surfacing too quickly. I was not on any medicine. I absolutely love how Effexor helps manage my anxiety a great deal BUT I would rather go without than suffering anymore of these. Only other meds are for blood pressure and thyroid. I’m going to try the fish oil and B12 to see if I can cope with the zapping instead of taking another round of Paxil. Thank you, the comments have been helpful. Stick to a regular sleep-wake cycle, limit caffeine and alcohol intake and establish a calming “bedtime routine” to help you unwind at night. I got brain zaps when I didn’t take my Zoloft on time or if I missed a dose. This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by our trained editorial staff. Bonnie. Your situation sounds so much like my own, Effexor for a short period and these brain zaps they refer to are still just as bad after almost 20 years. Sudden brain shivers, jolts or buzzes in the brain. If you have a personal experience with “brain zaps” feel free to share it in the comments section below. I’m coming off Cymbalta 30 mg for my chronic lower back pain and these withdrawal effects are horrible! I had no idea coming off them would do this. Very frustrating! The short-lived buzz is usually mild and occurs without a known cause. After having my daughter almost 2 years ago I suffered with horrible anxiety attacks. I am becoming a bit worried though, I haven’t had an appetite and keep puking bile. I had been taking Effexor XR for about a year and my insurance stopped covering the specific kind I needed. The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Last night was the worst ever with bad dreams and heightened symptoms. Scroll down to read more. Good luck to you. It sucks because I can’t just start getting off of it. My psychiatrist did not warn me of this. You are so right about the opioid crisis being horribly exaggerated. You, as a reader of this website, are totally and completely responsible for your own health and healthcare. Has anyone tried anything that actually works to get them to stop? (1) For example, a 2017 survey of 250 people who were considered long-term users of psychiatric drugs (mostly antidepressants) found that nearly half of users experienced severe antidepressant withdrawal symptoms when attempting to discontinue use of their drug. I have the “buzzing” feeling in my head almost constantly, but I swear if you watched me (especially last night trying to fall asleep) I looked like I had tics. It’s really helpful reading everyone’s experiences and knowing that these aren’t dangerous. Supplements that can be supportive of mental/cognitive health include: One thing to point out is that it’s important to discuss supplements with your doctor if you’re currently taking medications, since interactions may occur. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Brain Zaps Home Remedy. Please please give this a try!!! That’s finally gone, thankfully. As with most things, the bottom line is money. While this was true, lack of sleep isn’t causing these symptoms. It’s unbelievable how real #3 sounds, it’s the most prevalent and probably going to drive me insane. Has anyone come off Zoloft only after 3 weeks and had extreme withdraws? The zaps get worse later in the day, and I do notice them when I shift my eyes to the side, or blink. THANK YOU! If I move my eyes side to side it feels as though I’m being tased in my face and head. Brain zaps are literally the worst. Over time I ended up on 150mg of Effexor and have been on that dosage close to 2 years. GABA appears to have additional benefits too, such as helping to fight inflammation, PMS, weight gain, muscle loss, heart disease and ADHD. About a month ago I decided enough was enough and tapered off the 600mg of Lyrica I was taking a day for GAD… the side effects over a year or so were not good. I didn’t want to rely on this to help me sleep, but I NEEDED a good nights sleep. FYI: I’ve tried antidepressants but it’s been a few years now, and I take klonopin here and there. Brain zaps, brain shocks, brain shivers, or brain flips are something many people on SSRIs experience, but little is known about them. For right now, my Doctor is just leaving everything alone. Over the years, I went from 10mg to 40mg per day as my stress increased (or as the dosage of Paxil became less effective over time.) Will try fish oil. I have severe scoliosis and low lying cerebellar tonsils so he put me on cymbalta to help with the pain. Within days I could tell a difference. What is discontinuation syndrome? I’m really struggling with it. I saw my Dr today & complained about an unusual feeling in my head when moving my eyes from side to side & felt very tired 5 days when I came off Effexor. I never made it off venlafaxine because of them – I tapered right down, but then went down with depression again, so they are back up. So good to hear. I’m taking fish oil. Then Saturday I started getting the brain zaps. My Dr suggested to do this. I’m now taking it throughout the day until I can get back to the doctor for a different blood pressure med. It feels like a little prick on your finger, followed by a very fuzzy sensation. Tapering off Effexor for months now. I started those in Jan and stopped it in June. I struggled with anxiety so badly. Brain zaps are commonly reported electrical shock sensations that are often experienced during discontinuation of antidepressant medications. I knew I would, but that thought doesn’t help! Effexor XR withdrawal was the absolute worst for me… and that was like 10 years ago. It is 2:00 PM. The brain zaps are the horrifying and very uncomfortable. It started off feeling like a twitch in my brain, now it feels like a shock, and more severe feeling ones seem to spread to other parts of my body. I’m hopeful. Lexapro did the job for most of those years but after a blood clot put me in the hospital for a few days the panic attacks came back with a vengeance. Hi. One thing that helped for a couple hours was minimal exercise. After 4 weeks of this, I woke up on day 3 with no zaps…but they started that evening and were worse on day 4. I couldn’t believe how much it helped me. There isn’t much info on the link between the two problems. weeks or months), while another may find that they go away in short order (e.g. & detox juicing guide. The occurrence of brain zaps is strongly associated with a discontinuation of several prescription medicationsused to treat anxiety, depression, and migraines, which are more common in women than in men. I’d never heard of brain zaps and have to admit I was relieved to find out it was a “normal” response. Sometimes brain zaps may also feel like blood rushing to the head. It affects my whole body, I’m constantly nauseas and it’s happening all the time. Nothing really helps for zaps, no remedies at all! Hey did the shocks stay away? Before I took paxil, I was experiencing strong anxiety and eventually paxil healed it, no doubt. Brain zaps and head shivers are common anxiety symptoms that feel like your brain or head was suddenly jolted, buzzed, zapped, electric shocked, or had a tremor. However, falling levels of serotonin are not believed to be the primary cause of brain zaps because it’s been found that people with low serotonin prior to taking these medications do not experience brain zaps. I mean I have never heard of such a thing until I experienced them myself and decided to look up my symptoms. I used this drug for advanced degenerative joint disease coupled with fibromyalgia and Sjogren’s syndrome. Wake up around 3 AM every night, weird dreams, hard to fall back to sleep. But as soon as I took my dose of Paxil the zaps would disappear until the morning of the next 3rd day. I started with the 10mg and gradually increased to 40mg per day. They are debilitating – I cannot bear to be anywhere except at home when I get them. Don’t know if it is coincidence, but I feel better today. I am 68 years old and have suffered from severe anxiety all my life. If stress remains elevated and becomes chronic, it’s not uncommon to experience brain zaps and other symptoms for years. Those aside I am so much luckier than others and will pray for all my brothers and sisters enduring this now as well. The zaps people experience are generally subject to individual variation. I’ve had brain zaps and dizziness and nausea for over 3 weeks now. Horrible nausea, dizziness, extreme anxiety, cold sweats, balance issues… you name it. Brain zap happens ringing is interrupted by static sound. It worked like magic for me. Thank you so very much for this information about “brain zaps.” It’s so good to know that I’m not alone with the zaps, dizziness, nausea, headaches, tinnitus… It has been so helpful to read other people’s experiences. An important part of your brain zap treatment plan should be managing stress and giving your body time to recover from any traumatic or exhausting events you’ve dealt with lately. I just thought the link with high BP might be part of the issue for you too. Thank you so much for posting this! There is no set “timeline” that says how long brain zaps will last. Are you withdrawing from anything? So in other words, brain zaps are withdrawal symptoms of antidepressants. Just moving my eyes causes them to start. Promised myself I’d never go on them again, till years later my first thought every morning was that I didn’t want to exist anymore. I may even file a lawsuit against the behavioral health department for negligence and allowing anyone to go through what I’ve been going through. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, also called antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, is a condition that can occur following the interruption, reduction, or discontinuation of antidepressant medication that was taken continuously for at least one month. Great to read all the comments here. Anyway, I woke up today sick, chest congestion, coughing and as my fever went higher, the zaps got worse and worse. Be assured – the zaps will decrease with time. That went away mostly and now in week 3 of not taking it, I am having tons of brain zaps. The zaps started the second day off meds , today is my third day and I have been in bed all day. Took another at 1:00 PM today – so far no zaps. Thank you for the tips I will add fatty acids and give them a whirl. The withdrawal also caused me to twitch, and that stuck around for months. Going to take some fish oil and ride the week out and make better decisions, these zaps are so uncomfortable. Had I known this was something I might deal with when first starting the Effexor, I never ever would’ve started it! I have started herbal capsules named depresol. The questionnaire results will be used to develop guidelines for brain zap prevention, minimization, and/or treatment. I have the zaps while on the med and they are 100 times worse off of the med. There is no established brain zaps treatment that has been shown to work for everyone, since research is generally lacking when it comes to antidepressant drug withdrawal management. They say all good things will pass – so don’t bad things?! It make me even more depressed and miserable. Get sun exposure/spend time in nature to boost vitamin D levels. No weaning or tapering. I’m trying to raise my grand daughter and take care of my 2 aging parents by myself. I started taking my dose of Paxil every 4th day for a month. Of all my symptoms, brain zaps are the worst. FabianLamaestra June 19, 2019 05:25 PM I thought LipoFlavonoid's claimed to reduce inflammation and increase circulation, which helps less than 10% of … Switched me to Celexa and had the same results. It’s not clear why Benadryl would help, but it … © MentalHealthDaily.com 2013-2019 | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice | Affiliate Disclosure, Triple Reuptake Inhibitors For Depression: SNDRI Drugs Outlook. I have never heard of it so I think I am going to give it a try since it is only $19.99 for a bottle and sounds like it can help with depression in general along with a multitude of other issues. My tinnitus is insanely loud- I am trying to find a job because I just graduated high-school and am worried that it will be difficult to find a job and start working while feeling like this. My spouse says it will just take time, but time only increases the intensity of them making me less hopeful they will ever subside. Thanks a lot for this article. There are no known medical treatments that are prescribed specifically to stop the brain zaps. Thanks for posting. I’m going to buy supplements tomorrow and pray to every possible thing that these zaps subside. 3. The sensation can be triggered by moving your eyes and is often accompanied by disorientation, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo, and/or lightheadedness. Some experts believe that they are a result of the brain suddenly attempting to transition out of the drug-induced neurotransmission to which it had adapted. I feel terrible on them but I have no choice but to take them now. I am going to try the Fish Oil and B12 out of desperation. Last night I couldn’t get my feet to feel comfortable in bed and dreamt I could remove them like Lego pieces. – I took one more dose then they stopped, and today I have them, all I can think of is that I have not taken any paracetamol, as I usually do daily for headaches. Brain zaps might also be triggered by alcohol use, anxiety or stress. Antidepressants and Weight Gain: What Causes It? There are several theories in regards to what may cause them. What are the electric shock sensations known as brain zaps caused by? Stopping Cipralex is. These last 2 weeks have been such a challenge. I can’t take suboxone to help treat my issues so I’ll have to wait until I’m ready to be off. You can also discuss the option of taking a drug that has a longer half-life with your doctor, since some stay in your system longer than others, which may help prevent withdrawal as levels gradually decline. Discontinuing antidepressant intake Most cases of bran zaps are reported by individuals who have stopped taking antidepressants. I will let everyone know how it turns out. Authors have also suggested that both length of treatment and the dosage taken may influence the severity of brain zaps. I am going to try the fish oils and pray this ends. After seeking help my doctor changed me from Prozac to Effexor. Worked for me! Although we still need more research to confirm that declining GABA levels contribute to antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, there’s no downside in making the following types of lifestyle changes that support higher GABA production: GABA can also be taken in supplement form, typically in doses of about 250–650 milligrams, two to three times daily; however, supplementing with GABA is not safe for everyone, including pregnant or breast-feeding women or those taking a number of mood-altering medications. It’s really unpleasant and has happened to me after napping in the day too. Get quality sleep. People often describe them as feeling electrical current uncontrollably zapping their brains, which can be extremely frightening and uncomfortable. Zaps started about week after. Sure hope they find a treatment. Lexapro not longer worked even at a higher milligram. I felt as if I had a mental breakdown because I did not understand what was going on with my body. Until now. However, natural remedies have helped many people avoid serious antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, including: tapering off from drugs slowly, managing stress/anxiety, increasing GABA naturally and taking supplements that support cognitive health. I’m now about 3 months in and haven’t had one in about 2 and a bit months. Whether this has any credibility is debatable. Tarryn – I’m going to the store today to get this. I’ve spread the word by telling my GP and psychiatrist. I came off 60 mg cymbalta completely a week ago and the withdraws are terrible. The second day I felt far better, but these brain zaps remain and today is day 3… with every zap, it’s like I’ve got this whooshing noise in my head, and it’s DEFINITELY affected by moving my eyes and/or head abruptly. Magnetic resonance imaging (… But the zaps, the zaps are the most frightening thing I have ever experienced!!! I get one about every 10 seconds. I have been taking Paxil – 30 – 60 mg daily for 4 straight years (doctor prescribed 1 or 2 daily as needed – I would only take 2 – 60 mg about once a week). Went back to doc and he put me on Remeron and I quit Paxil cold. Thankfully your article came across and now I am aware of those jolts. But it’s good to know that a month later you’re doing well. Sincerely, KQ. It did its job but again the side effects were just awful. I will admit – on the 4th I had some drinks but the alcohol is way out of my system and I’ve been experiencing the zaps for 3 days still. The first day after stopping the Effexor was torture. I came about it just by reading other people’s comments. I hope everyone that is dealing with these things doesn’t have to endure them too long. I can’t get in to see the neurologist for another month but I am going to call the psychiatrist Monday to see if he can switch me to something else. Over the last 4 days I have been getting these brain zaps/electric shocks as I'm falling asleep. Once again – thanks to you. I’ve tried to explain it to my wife and daughter but describe myself as a kitchen appliance peacefully running on 110V when suddenly I’m hit with a billion volts for a mili-second, then I flatline for a second!!! Going to buy some fish oil tomorrow. I was never a good sleeper to begin with, but anyone with children know how much sleep you lose when having a child. Because brain zaps are a legitimate [yet largely unacknowledged] phenomenon among psychiatric patients, a subset of professionals (and many patients) agree that it would be useful to develop guidelines for their prevention and/or treatment. The brain zap description fits me to a T. Experiencing one right now actually. This article will introduce you to the concept of brain zaps; real phenomena that happen in an individual who is experiencing withdra… If you’re going through a stressful period, make sure to work with a professional and don’t self-treat your condition by altering the amount/type of medication you take. The occurrence of brain zaps is strongly associated with a discontinuation of several prescription medications used to treat anxiety, depression, and migraines, which are more common in women than in men. I took 2 Benadryl before bed last night for allergies – this morning minimal zaps. I cannot function normally when I’m off the Escitalopram and have even considered suicide to solve the problem, but I know that’s not the answer. The presence of brain zaps was typically transitory, but in a small number of cases it caused significant disability lasting for months or years with no treatment available. After about 5 days I ended up at the emergency room not knowing that I was having withdrawal symptoms. I have not discerned any noticeable pattern, mine come at all times of the day. Brain zaps — also sometimes referred to as brain shivers, brain shocks or head shocks — are described as being one of the most unbearable withdrawal symptoms when stopping certain depression and anxiety medications. The brain zaps are miserable. I have struggled with these for so many years have Major Depressive Disorder and take venlaflaxine ER. I was feeling so bad before talking to my doctor, but she was confident that those are just part of the withdrawal process and will diminish. You can also subscribe without commenting. Learn how your comment data is processed. I personally remember quitting Paxil CR and wondering why it felt like my brain was being tortured in an electrocution chamber. It doesn’t. Thinking back over the past 6 months while on the drug I have to admit that it only minimally helped my pain and made my depression worse. Unfortunately, studies have found that even when someone slowly tapers from a drug, many of the drugs have relatively long half-lives and can still cause significant withdrawal symptoms. The brain zaps and nausea- with the odd intestinal cramping. Aside from SSRIs, brain zaps have been reported when discontinuing other drugs too, such as: There have not been many studies conducted that have investigated why brain zaps occur, although one theory is that they are due to changes in levels of serotonin in the brain. I already take 5HTP, fish oil, b12, magnesium, etc. I appreciate knowing I am not the only one and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I finally was able to retire and my stress level went down to zero, so I decided to taper off Paxil under my doctor’s supervision. I feel like I can’t think, speak clearly and my motor skills feel strained. For example, low levels of GABA can trigger seizures, so it’s been speculated that brain zaps may actually be a form of a mild, localized seizure. I’m 48 and have been prone to depressive episodes my whole life. If I miss or am late with a dose of my current antidepressants I get them. I’m to the point of quitting cold turkey because I’m extremely miserable. Lithium For Anxiety Disorders: An Unconventional, Underinvestigated Intervention, Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED): Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Effexor (Venlafaxine) For Hot Flashes: A Non-Hormonal Therapy, ADHD Medications List: Approved & Off-Label Treatments, Extensive List Of Nootropics: 130+ Smart Drugs, Pantoprazole (Protonix) vs. Omeprazole (Prilosec), Lexapro (Escitalopram) vs. Prozac (Fluoxetine), Pregabalin (Lyrica) vs. Gabapentin (Neurontin). I became very sick w/flu new years weekend associated with extremely high fever after which I noticed the noises. A low dose of Zoloft and low dose of Ambien has been working great. Remember, these affect neurotransmitters, the electro-chemical connection between nerves. Going to try some fish oil, B-vitamins and magnesium I think. Can’t put daily activities on hold much longer! If it's suspected that you have a brain tumor, your doctor may recommend a number of tests and procedures, including: 1. Half also reported they could not/would not stop taking the drug because of potential withdrawal symptoms. It’s finally getting better but I wish I had consulted my doctor and tapered off much slower. I couldn’t understand why I had this going on inside my head just because I was physically tired. Our team includes licensed nutritionists and dietitians, certified health education specialists, as well as certified strength and conditioning specialists, personal trainers and corrective exercise specialists. Some of the most common medications associated with brain zaps include: Antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressant drugs. I was super worried about it and looked up what they were. Have had GAD and panic attacks for 21 years now. PLEASE READ – THERE IS HOPE! And they are f’ing dangerous for some of us. My head is clear and I don’t feel anxious or sad at all. Try fish pills – omega 3 fatty acids (1g-2g a day) and L-tryptophan every night before bed. My patients over the years have expressed the same zap sensations, and I have assured them they are not alone. Brain zaps are a common side effect of SSRI antidepressants used to treat migraines, depression, and anxiety. Below is a list of various descriptions of the zaps based on first-hand experiences. There are several factors that are thought to influence both the severity and duration of the brain zaps. Yes, I know exactly how you are feeling! 5-HTP is a serotonin precursor and B-6 and B-12 help the body turn it into serotonin. (5). I also take 40mg Citalopram (for 20 years). I was ready to go back on 10mg but the next day seemed to be feeling a bit better so hung in there. The zaps start in the morning and seem to get worse as the day goes by. A pharmacist yesterday told me I just need to get some sleep. Brain zaps are head shocks that usually follow the discontinuation of antidepressant medications — which is why they are typically considered a withdrawal effect and associated with “antidepressant discontinuation syndrome.”. It’s very uncomfortable and frustrating. I have been having brain zaps for 30 years. A couple of British psychiatrists described brain zaps as, “sensory symptoms or symptoms of disequilibrium in brief bursts” when a person moves their head or eyes. Dangerous dreams seeing myself falling from heights and wake up shockingly. I am trying the B-12 and Omega 3 regimen today. These authors describe the fact that major changes to neuronal networks can occur during antidepressant treatment, thus leading to zaps when the brain attempts to function without the drug. And the brain and will pray for all my life want to be on the drugs and. ( HRT ), most commonly known as brain zaps puking bile one and there no. Of potential withdrawal symptoms brain zaps treatment stopping are bordering on ridiculous!!!... Formatting a questionnaire all these people victim of these Axe content is reviewed., people will have to put up with them and understand that with proper time, will! The next 3rd day about much along and hopefully that helps Effexor after tapering down for 3!. 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