Grateful. 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 have severe scoliosis and low lying cerebellar tonsils so he put me on cymbalta to help with the pain. These last 2 weeks have been such a challenge. One person may experience them for a significant duration (e.g. I took one 200mg pill along with one Super B Complex pill. I came off 60 mg cymbalta completely a week ago and the withdraws are terrible. I had been taking Effexor XR for about a year and my insurance stopped covering the specific kind I needed. Hey did the shocks stay away? It helped with anxiety, maybe too much- making me not react to serious problems or issues. The symptoms may include flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, nausea, poor balance, sensory changes, and anxiety. When a person quits an antidepressant, the person then may experience paresthesia or various sensations as a result of abnormal serotonin levels. I am on 130mg of Methadone. Brain shivers, or brain zaps, are described as mild shocks or tingling, electric sensations on your head which can cause discomfort, dizziness, and sometimes pain. Amitriptyline (Elavil) Withdrawal Symptoms + How Long Do They Last? It’s not clear why Benadryl would help, but it … 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. Finally stopped taking it 3 days ago and feel absolutely awful. I started those in Jan and stopped it in June. I can’t take suboxone to help treat my issues so I’ll have to wait until I’m ready to be off. While certain factors are suggested as causes, the specifics are unknown. First, I went from 40mg per day to 20mg per day with no withdrawal symptoms at all. At this time, more research is needed regarding the most effective antidepressant withdrawal treatments. They have been steadily getting more frequent and now are associated with tinnitus. Good luck to you. Good luck everyone, you’re not alone! 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. Bonnie. The zaps start in the morning and seem to get worse as the day goes by. I found this article yesterday while searching the internet desperately for some relief. I am so glad I found this article but also sad reading all these people victim of these medicines. Magnetic resonance imaging (… 5-HTP and B-vitamins. Those who have felt the zaps while sleeping may be able to provide more insight into this experience. I started melatonin last night and slept a little better (been having terrible insomnia). I AM 95% BETTER TODAY!!! I was on Effexor for hot flushes for 6 months, started to wean myself off them in the last month (1 very second day) as cooler weather was approaching & hot flushes are not as severe in winter. Brain zaps are ridiculously bad… diarrhea, flu like symptoms… very vivid dreams. The second treatment in a week should stop them all at once. This also occurs when trying to quit Ambien. It’s really unpleasant and has happened to me after napping in the day too. I also take 40mg Citalopram (for 20 years). About a week into not taking it, I started having dizziness when I moved my eyes, turned my head, and stood up. Had I known this was something I might deal with when first starting the Effexor, I never ever would’ve started it! I couldn’t understand why my body was going through this. What is discontinuation syndrome? Going to try some fish oil, B-vitamins and magnesium I think. There is no scientific evidence supporting any claims that these jolt-like sensations cause any brain damage or interfere with the health of neurons. 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. If not, I would consult with a neurologist. A couple of months ago, I didn’t take them for about 3 days, on the 3rd day, the ‘zaps’ started and have been happening on a daily basis now even though I am still taking the meds. 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. It is 2:00 PM. Going to buy some fish oil tomorrow. I know this article says they aren’t dangerous or will last forever but what if they don’t ever go away? Try 5-HTP!! I’ve been trying to get off this since Jan. 1. Talk to your doctor about alternatives to taking antidepressant medications. 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. Other common names for brain zaps include: brain shivers, electrical shocks, and brain shocks. Looking like that was a bad idea. I had no idea it was a thing until I read this! 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. 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. I appreciate knowing I am not the only one and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am experiencing the same after Tramadol was prescribed for a recent foot surgery. Brain zaps are literally the worst. I found that 5HTP will help significantly with the sleep and dreams issue. Definitely can be dangerous when driving or even walking sometimes. Then came the worst of all: Paxil. Wake up around 3 AM every night, weird dreams, hard to fall back to sleep. Effexor is not a medication you can’t take while pregnant so I have been slowly tapering myself off the med for the last 2 weeks. Kenny, I have felt things I never thought the body and mind were capable of feeling coming off drugs of all sorts. The brain zaps are the horrifying and very uncomfortable. 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. So good to hear. I was taking 2 30mg per day. You are so right about the opioid crisis being horribly exaggerated. I took 2 Benadryl before bed last night for allergies – this morning minimal zaps. Brain zaps galore. I found the only relief was to go back on the drug and within 48 hours the Shivers were gone. I feel like I need to shout it from the rooftops! No weaning or tapering. Also have anxiety, OCD, and ADD. 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). These are nasty, just as I'm falling asleep it feels like I'm being electrocuted, I jump and wake up, hearts going mad and I don't want to go back to sleep brlecause as soon as I … Will try fish oil. And before I leave off – DO NOT – let your family doctor prescribe you any serotonin inhibiting medication unless that is their profession. I am currently reducing a small dose of steroid, prednisolone but have not had antidepressants. This leads many people to restart the drug and to stay stuck in a vicious cycle. Within days I could tell a difference. I was not on any medicine. I’m also taking about 4000-6000mg of Omega 3 daily, vitamin B, and started magnesium today as well. Hang in there all – Godspeed! If you have a personal experience with “brain zaps” feel free to share it in the comments section below. Although they may be highly-uncomfortable to experience, at least you don’t have to worry about them killing brain cells. I was able to stretch it out to every 5 days for a month. I was taking 50mg sertraline (Zoloft) for about a year for anxiety and stopped taking it cold turkey when I couldn’t get a refill from my doctor office. I’ve spread the word by telling my GP and psychiatrist. If there’s one thing to know about these brain zaps, it should be that they are not considered dangerous. Natural remedies that may help you avoid serious withdrawal symptoms, such as brain zaps, nausea and dizziness, include: tapering off from drugs slowly, managing stress/anxiety, increasing GABA naturally and taking supplements that support cognitive health. Just moving my eyes causes them to start. Well, it still hadn’t so I just stopped taking it altogether figuring the risk of organ damage from taking it, outweighed the benefits (which was absolutely nothing). Given that withdrawal treatment research still has a long way to go, when it comes to managing brain zaps, prevention is key. I’m trying to raise my grand daughter and take care of my 2 aging parents by myself. They always say there are no withdrawal symptoms and I always tell them they are very wrong. Great these medications save some lives, but who cares about those of us who want to die after coming off of the medication we were put on for wanting to die? 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 went from 60mg to 50 to 40 to 20 and eventually cutting the 20 mg in half taking 10 mg per day for a week at each dosage. I recently switched from an SSRI to an SNRI. Kept my mood very flat and stable, but definitely not worth what I am experiencing now. About 18 hours later the extreme fatigue and brain zaps were horrific. I left the house with a hat on and earbuds in to keep environmental factors from triggering the 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’m breaking my tablets up into tiny pieces – an eighth or smaller – but can’t seem to get completely off them. After seeking help my doctor changed me from Prozac to Effexor. If I move my eyes side to side it feels as though I’m being tased in my face and head. If you are on a particular drug for a long period of time, you will be more likely to experience brain zaps and other effects when stopping. I take 3 fish oil tablets and 1 vitamin B12 and the brain shocks stopped instantly! 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. If I miss or am late with a dose of my current antidepressants I get them. Tramadol for pain limited its effect to say the least – but side effects and brain zaps after stopping are bordering on ridiculous!! THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR POSTS! There are no known medical treatments that are prescribed specifically to stop the brain zaps. I am as well and I get them when my blood pressure is too high. 5-HTP is a serotonin precursor and B-6 and B-12 help the body turn it into serotonin. I stopped taking paxil about 10 years ago and I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. I’m only on day 4 of being off my SSRI though, so it’s hard to know what’s to come. Last night was the worst ever with bad dreams and heightened symptoms. Moving my eyes or head too quickly, loud noise and bright light also seems to trigger it. They are relatively difficult to describe because they affect each person differently. One thing that helped for a couple hours was minimal exercise. Hi, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with the zaps. Anybody else experience these without being on antidepressants or benzos? Took some, and they seem to be going. 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. I figured since I hadn’t been on it for very long, I’d be fine. I get my insurance back in the next few days so I will be starting back on the meds to stop these zaps! I was never a good sleeper to begin with, but anyone with children know how much sleep you lose when having a child. I just took a B12 vitamin and to my surprise the zaps have actually subsided after the last 30 minutes. It’s not something that can be fre my discussed with people due to the stigma on mental illness and medication. For most people, the brain zaps suck, but will eventually subside. (That’s my layperson description–search it online for more details.). Does a lot to raise serotonin levels and rebuilds receptors and membranes (the fish oil). Brain zap, also known as brain shiver, describes a sudden brain jolt similar to an electric shock sensation. I have 1 aging parent and several grandchildren that I babysit a lot, but I am not raising them. Many people have experience brain zaps upon discontinuation from an antidepressant medication. Since there is evidence that the noradrenergic system plays a role in seizure development, it would make sense that norepinephrine could influence brain zaps. Sometimes when I’m getting sick I can feel it creeping back in. Sometimes these were accompanied by nausea and tinnitus. Just weaning myself off of several months of Cymbalta 60 mg. Mine was unpleasant, but not unbearable. 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. I would experience these jolts/electrical sensations/zaps when I was overtired. I also have rheumatoid arthritis or a inflammatory arthritis & take immune suppressant drugs for it. Thanks a lot for this article. I have been tapering off for 7 months now and I am just ready to be done with Paxil for good. Below are some recommendations that may help you better deal with the zaps. If you suffer from depression or an anxiety disorder, it’s best to work with a trained counselor, coach or therapist who can help you learn how to manage your symptoms long-term. Then, I tapered off to every 3 days for a month…and that’s when the brain zaps and vertigo began. I am hopeful that the zaps will stop soon but I feel like maybe they won’t and I feel like crying. I was at my wits end last fall. Other psychiatric authors have suggested that brain zaps are likely influenced by serotonin’s role in sensory functions and muscle movement. The zaps may also be caused via discontinuation of other psychotropic medications including: antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, MAOIs, SNRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants. I was on paxil for almost 4 months. Note: These sensations are often accompanied by sensations of dizziness and/or vertigo. I have also been experiencing brain zaps associated w/tinnitus. For more details. ) change from one to another bad things? them it was my doctors to. 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