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monetpop Brain zaps - after back on medication?


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Hi, I stumbled across this forum while googling information on brain zaps.  Hopefully I'm posting in the right place and you all have answers for me and I've just been looking in the wrong places this whole time! :)


I've been on Celexa for almost a year, 40mg.  I'm pretty brainwashed against medications (thanks Kevin Trudou (sp?) & "Things THEY don't want you to know about"!  LOL!) so this is the first medication I've ever really been on (besides the very occasional antibiotics which I fight getting prescribed!).  I did research on antidepressants before I filled this prescription and I had read about the brain zaps as a withdrawal symptom.  I know that I needed something to help balance my moods out and I was desperate enough to fight my med-fears and get it.


I'd never missed a dose for the first 8 or so months.  Celexa makes me super tired so I like to take it before bed.  I have an alarm that goes off on my phone at 11:20 to remind me to take it so I don't forget.  It's been a really busy past few months so I'd usually turn the alarm off and be up for another hour or two and then just take it before bed.


About a month ago I was working and started getting the brain zaps.  Of course I hadn't put together that that's what was happening for about 3 hours, after I'd experienced multiple zaps.  Then I remembered that I hadn't taken a dose in 3 days and I remembered reading about this symptom and I figured out what was going on.  I had missed the doses because I was so busy during the nights that after I turned the reminder alarm off I just didn't think to take the pill.  So I took it immediately after that and got back on schedule.


The thing is, I've been back on schedule for the past month (since it first happened), and I'm still getting the zaps.  Is this normal?  They are CRAZY, I've never experienced anything even close to this.  They always happen to me at work or when I'm physically moving.  It's really freaking me out.  And I'm terrified because Celexa isn't working for me anymore and I feel like I need to change to something else, but I don't want to experience this even more than I already am.  Then I'm horrified thinking, am I going to be on this forever?  


Is it normal to be experiencing these after you're back on track with the medication?  Are these going to stop soon?  Am I going to be able to try something else to treat my depression/mood disorder/whatever's wrong with me (if anything!), and am I ever going to be able to be off medication?  I'm sure I need to just quit worrying but it's really bothering me.  Thanks for any info, I appreciate you!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Monet and welcome to SA. You have finally found the right place to be and will get lots of help

and support. Brain zaps are one of the most distressing symptoms of withdrawal and most of us

have experienced them. I can't help with your questions about celexa but someone will be along who can.

Your post will most likely be moved to introductions, and will be your journal. We put our questions and

how we are on there so we can  support each other and see how we are all doing. It will help the staff

if you can post your med history in your sig line, so they can see any changes at a glance without having

to go back to the beginning. 

One thing I can tell you is that this WILL get better and you don't have to be on it for life.  :)

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.



Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014


Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 


My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33


Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible



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Dear Monet, I am so sorry. It is really terrible that you've got zaps from what it seems like 2, 3 days forgetting to take the pill. And that they continue, I'm really sorry.


I can't say that this will not be for ever, but it may not be...


There are success stories here, and there are other people telling their stories for months/years. All to say that it seems that things may get easier with time.


I'm in no way an expert. I hope this helps until the staff on this forum comes along.

Started citalopram May 12, from 10 to 40 mg/d over 2 months


Wanted to come off in May 13 and did it too quickly: decrease from 40 to 0 mg/d over 2 weeks; WD from then onwards, increasing in intensity to be unbearable at 4 weeks later;  reinstated 10 mg/d for 2 days (WD severity halved); reinstated 20 mg/d (initial WD symptoms decreased but not gone entirely until after 8 weeks)


Started 5--7% taper: Aug 13: 19 mg/d, mild WD on day 3; thereafter none notable; Nov 13: 18 mg/d, no WD; Dec 13: 17 mg/day, no WD for 3 weeks, then (at Christmas) tearfulness; Jan 14: 16.7 mg/d, Apr 14: 15.7 mg/d, Jun 14: 14.5 mg/d; Jul 14: 13.5 mg/d (6.9% reduction), Aug 14: 12.5 mg/d (7.4% reduction)


Sharing experience makes a difference

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  • Administrator

It may take a while for your nervous system to "normalize" on the drug. You may get waves of symptoms.


You might also be sensitized to the drug by withdrawal. This may aggravate side effects.


Once you trigger withdrawal symptoms, there's a lot of unpredictability.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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