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Barbarannamated

Oh, man! I thought I had a bad electronic vortex!!! Husband wont let me near his system. Hey, can you do that long distance? ;)

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Barbarannamated

Shanti! Our electric just went off. Was that you?!

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Shanti

Shanti! Our electric just went off. Was that you?!

 

LOL. I hope not! I think my puter is safe now with a wireless mouse. So that should mean your power is safe from me. :lol:

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Shanti

The zaps are a common symptom of SSRI withdrawal.

 

For what it's worth, brain zaps probably are related to a central nervous system symptom called Lhermitte's sign. (See https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Lhermitte%27s_sign.)

 

Lhermitte's sign is very low-level electrical signaling in the brain. It is a symptom that your nervous system has been destabilized by withdrawal. Like Lhermitte's, the zaps probably are a neurological hypersensitivity phenomenon. Many people who have the zaps say they are related to eye or head motion.

 

It is a cousin of epilepsy in that it is also abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Some people claim it can be treated with anti-seizure medications. Low-dose Lamictal (lamotrigine) may be a reasonable choice.

 

Lhermitte's is usually associated with electrical sensations in other places in the body but those who have bothered to look into the withdrawal zaps have called them a type of Lhermitte's.

 

Some people endure brain zaps for months; they tend to gradually decrease. I had them for 6 months in acute withdrawal and have not been troubled by them since. (My belief is they are not trivial and you should not put your brain through them if you can avoid it by slow tapering.)

 

----------

Abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12741444

Full text at http://www.mediafire.com/?05lths70n67kcsm

Pharmacotherapy. 2003;23(5)

Shock-Like Sensations During Venlafaxine Withdrawal.

Roy R. Reeves, D.O., Ph.D., James E. Mack, Ph.D., John J. Beddingfield, M.D.

 

e-mail: roy.reeves@med.va.gov

 

Abstract

 

Electric shock-like sensations may occur after cessation of treatment with serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors but are reported in the literature only rarely with discontinuation of venlafaxine. Two patients experienced severe shock-like sensations during venlafaxine withdrawal. For both patients symptoms occurred with lowering of the dosage and persisted for 5 days after complete discontinuation of the drug. These sensations may represent significant alteration of neuronal activity in the central nervous system.

 

----------

The Consultant Pharmacist

Skaehill, Penny A.; Welch, E.B. (October 1997).

Clinical Reviews: SSRI Withdrawal Syndrome.

(This had been at http://www.ascp.com/publications/tcp/1997/oct/ssri.html but the link is broken. It is cited on en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paroxetine and quoted many places on the Web.)

 

Here is one quote from http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16763:

 

"....The cause of withdrawal syndrome following discontinuation of SSRIs is unknown, but the electric shock sensations reported with neck flexion are identical to Lhermitte's sign, which appears with dysfunction of the posterior spinal cord. This suggests change at a neuronal level.

 

It has been proposed that inhibition of reuptake initially increases the synaptic concentration of serotonin. Exposure to high concentrations of 5-HT, even for as short as five weeks, may cause down-regulation of receptors. When the SSRI is discontinued the concentration of 5-HT falls. The lower level of 5-HT is insufficient to provide an adequate agonist stimulus for the down-regulated receptors, resulting in withdrawal syndrome. Inhibition of 5-HT and norepinephrine receptors may be involved in withdrawal symptoms from venlafaxine.

 

Paroxetine possesses muscarinic antichoninergic activity and may cause withdrawal symptoms via the same mechanism as the tricyclic antidepressants. Compared to other SSRIs, paroxetine is the most pharmacologically selective antagonist at the 5-HT reuptake site.

 

The withdrawal syndrome usually subsides within several weeks of discontinuation in most reports. Withdrawal syndrome is most likely to occur in patients who receive SSRIs with a short half-life. A long half-life of the parent compound and/or active metabolite leads to a more gradual withdrawal. The onset of symptoms following abrupt discontinuation or taper is within one to seven days.

 

The optimum tapering regimen for each agent has yet to be determined by comparative clinical trials...."

 

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Other references:

 

Citation at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20512281

Sao Paulo Med J. 2010 Jan;128(1):45; author reply 46.

Lhermitte's sign.

Wiwanitkit V.

 

Citation at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18633745

Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2008 Jul-Sep;20(3):175.

Shock-like sensations associated with duloxetine discontinuation.

Pitchot W, Ansseau M.

 

Citation at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18480703

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2008 Jun;28(3):359-60.

Emergence of electric shock-like sensations on escitalopram discontinuation.

Prakash O, Dhar V.

 

Abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8889917

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1996 Oct;16(5):411-2.

Lhermitte's sign in paroxetine withdrawal.

Reeves RR, Pinkofsky HB.

 

Citation at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7726327

Am J Psychiatry. 1995 May;152(5):810.

Shock-like sensations after discontinuation of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Frost L, Lal S.

 

Citation at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=ellison%20buzz

J Clin Psychiatry. 1994 Dec;55(12):544-5.

SSRI withdrawal buzz.

Ellison JM.

 

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If anyone has any of the above documents in electronic form, please e-mail them to me and I will upload them.

 

Funny I was just searching the internet for Lhermitte's sign/kundalini and this was one of the first pages to pop up in Google. I can attest to the fact that the brain zaps are very similar to the feeling of Lhermitte's Sign. I had Lhermitte's Sign when I was 22, and totally unrelated to any drugs as I wasn't on any at that age. Having had both Lhermitte's and Withdrawal Syndrome years later, I can tell it's similar. I also think that's why the brain zaps didn't scare me too much, because I'd already experienced electrical shocks that I knew didn't damage me. That I know of. Anyway, I know this is an old post but wanted to bring it up.

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Shanti

Naturally, my Google search for Kundalini and Lhermitte's Sign connection led me to one of my own posts lol.

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Altostrata

Thanks, Shanti. That adds to our understanding of the zaps.

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Altostrata

The explanation for brain zaps below, quoted by our member mrrgreene, has been posted on many Web forums.

 

The origin is http://forums.bettermedicine.com/showthread.php/20922-eye-movement-neuro-symptoms It was posted March 15th, 2009 by J Cottle, MD who describes himself elsewhere as a "retired neurologist." (How we miss him!!)

 

....While browsing the internet I found the below explanation of brain zaps. I've read studies suggesting that serotonin is heavily concentrated the part of the brain responsible for balance....

 

 

The sensation you are referring to is a latent sensory response between the eyes and the vestibular network. This phenomenon often occurs while under certain medications, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Paxil. In the absence of medications, the same sensation has been described in persons suffering from sleep deprivation.

 

The actual sensation is fairly difficult to describe initially because of its transience, lasting but a brief instant and feels to some like a pulsing sensation, a zap or electrical shock or jolt in the brain. To demonstrate that it is actually sensory in nature, you can temporarily extinguish the sensation by forcefully looking both extreme left and right until the sensation is no longer triggered. Waiting momentarily and then looking to extreme gaze once again will reconstitute the sensation.

 

It is not a clinical sign of neurological disease, but rather merely a latent sensory response that becomes amplified. The oculovestibular network is responsible for sending signals to the brain regarding balance and orientation in physical space, so any disturbance can induce sensations of nausea similar to that experienced in motion sickness. Realize that when you look on extreme gaze in either direction, the signal and coordinated response with the vestibular network is increased as it would be when the body is in motion.

 

Best regards,

 

J Cottle, MD

 

Also see http://forums.bettermedicine.com/showthread.php/62634-dr-cottle-please-help

Okay, the symptoms described sound like withdrawal and if she was taking either the librax, tranxene or both medications for a period longer than about 4 weeks, then it's likely contributing to her symptoms. Although tranxene is considered to be in the long-acting class of benzodiazapines, withdrawal can still occur with abrupt cessation.

 

The problem in your mother's case may well be the synergism with a component of the librax called chlordiazepoxide, also a benzodiazapine. It is not a good idea to abruptly cease use of any of the benzodiazapines if they've been used regularly for more than 2 weeks. This is particularly the case with elderly patients, who common respond poorly to cessation from both short and long-acting variants in this class of drug.

 

Diovan is an angiotensin II inhibitor and it can cause anxiety and insomnia in some patients. In the presence of benzodiazapine cessation, this may be demonstrating a compound effect.

 

The typical approach to cessation of extended benzodiazepine use is the administration of buspirone along with the long-term benzodiazepines already being taken and then gradually reduce the the long-term medications by about 25% per week to termination of the drugs altogether. This would, however, be a decision strictly to be made by her doctor.

 

The second issue is whether a more conventional anti-hypertensive may be more appropriate under the circumstances until the benzodiazepine issue has been resolved.

 

The "shock" sensations are common in certain medications which act on the central nervous system, particularly those that influence serotonin regulation or other neurotransmitter activity. Although not harmful, the sensations are quite dramatic in some instances.

 

Because of her age, her doctors simply need to re-evaluate her sensitivity to withdrawal potential and determine whether the present course is most appropriate. She does not need to be taking either the librax or the tranxene and my suggestion is to not try and reconstitute them unless the withdrawal is producing seizure-like activity. The use of an antihypertensive with less side-effect potential for anxiety and insomnia might also prove beneficial. Again, however, these are clinical decisions that must rest with her doctors.

 

Best regards,

 

J Cottle, MD

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jr1985

Fascinating, thanks for providing the info Alto.

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Altostrata

Here is a pharmacist reporting on brain zaps in her blog http://theblondepharmacist.com/2007/11/17/brain-shivers-brain-zaps-brain-shocks/ Note this post had 414 comments from when it was posted in late 2007 to April 2012.

 

Brain Shivers… Brain Zaps… Brain Shocks…

Posted on November 17, 2007 // 415 Comments

 

I do not know if many in the medical community are aware of this term that is thrown out there for such offenders as venlafaxine (Effexor), duloxetine (Cymbalta), paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), fluvoxamine (Luvox), citalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro), but it is a very real phenomenon.

 

Unfortunately, though many in the medical community have not had to rely on any of these meds in their own personal lives, I had a 2-3 year stint with venlafaxine from 2002-03. Basically, I presented with the inability to sleep due to anxiety of some personal issues (which we all have from time to time), and did not want a controlled substance. I tried paroxetine first and absolutely despised the drug. I quit cold turkey. Very smart for a pharmacist, right? (You can’t just stop cold turkey and expect to not endure some uncomfortable sensory disturbances.)

 

I found venlafaxine, at 75 mg extended release, to be a very good drug for its purpose of 9 to 12 months. However, what I didn’t expect was that weaning from the drug would be so uncomfortable. 75 mg in itself is not even a moderate dose, falling more into the lower dose category. I’ve seen higher doses much more than the lower doses.

 

To explain what I felt, I will do my best to try to break down into words the feelings. Initially, there was a sinking feeling in my brain. If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon or a very tall building and looked down, there is a falling feeling that your brain sometimes throws at you though you are not falling at all. That feeling would happen for very short bursts, 2-3 seconds, enough to disrupt my thoughts, my work, and my being. I would just think, “What was that?” If I tapered over the recommended taper schedule (usually a week at a time step down, but keep in mind there’s only one strength lower than the 75 mg XR – the 37.5 mg XR. Then where do I go? Literally it didn’t matter. The big divide between the 75 mg and the 37.5 mg was enough to cause the “shivers” in my brain – a disorientation, falling, weird, and uncomfortable feeling.

 

“Brain zaps” are said to defy description for whomever has not experienced them, but the most common themes are of a sudden “jolt,” likened to an electric shock, apparently occurring or originating within the brain itself, with associated disorientation for a few seconds. The phenomenon is most often reported as a brief, wave-like electrical pulse that quickly travels across the surface of (or through) the brain. Some people experience these “waves” through the rest of their body, but the sensation dissipates quickly. They are sometimes accompanied by brief tinnitus and vertigo like feelings. Immediately following this shock is a light-headedness that may last for up to ten seconds. The sensation has also be described by many as a flashbulb going off inside the head or brain. Moving one’s eyes from side to side quickly while open has also been known to trigger these zaps and sometimes causing them to come in rapid succession. It is thought to be a form of neuro-epileptiform activity.

 

As withdrawal time increases, the frequency of the shocks decreases. At their peak, brain zaps have been associated with severe headaches. They may last for a period of several weeks after the last dose and usually resolve completely within a month or two. However, anecdotal reports of “zaps” during a protracted withdrawal are known to last a year or longer.

 

My remedy was to open the capsule and to count the tiny beads and literally make capsules with less and less tapering over a 6 week period rather than the usual 2 – 3 weeks at this dose. It did eliminate the feeling, but it definitely helped. One could go as far as asking the physician for a 37.5 mg immediate release tablet and maybe breaking it up into pieces and tapering at the very end that way. Any way you dice it, venlafaxine was a pain and taught me right away a bigger lesson in remembering the side effects than any package insert ever could.

 

....

 

A follow-up post http://theblondepharmacist.com/2011/01/03/shivers-zaps-and-shocks-part-two/

 

Shivers, Zaps, and Shocks… Part Two

Posted on January 3, 2011 // 5 Comments

 

I’ve had over 200 comments on a post I had three years ago. Back then, I was super frustrated with the side effect from withdrawing from commonly prescribed SSRIs, etc. Has much changed in tapering down these meds for the patients I am in contact with? No. But, I have been able to share the experience with others and in my own case have found that the shocks resolved on their own. I have never felt that way again, but at the same time you won’t see me jumping up and down for joy for venlafaxine or duloxetine. I have no respect for the drugs and when filling the medications will actually have some four letter words pass through my thoughts.

 

I would like to hear from those that commented all those years back. Are the zaps gone? Have you seen it with any other medication?

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JustineMiller

to Punar re brain zaps

I have thus far only had uncomfortable brain sensations which I am hypothesizing at present are related to having reached my personal tolerance limit for SSRI s several years ago while still trying said SSrIs, am currently at 3.75 mirtzazpine nightly; however i read your post with interest, as I also have sensitivities to the computer, cell phones, TV, etc.

these are my thoughts: our brains evolved thru tens of thousands of years being extremely physically active outside in nature most of the time. we have only been staring at computer screens nonstop for what? 20? 30? 40? years as a species.

If I were having this problem, I would go outside at night, or at least sit in front of an open window, and do something like counting leaves on a tree or some other visual exercise or mindfulness exercise, and see if that helps. i would do this for at least an hour for several nights before expecting results. most helpful, and I am basing this on experiences I had on marijuana brownies 30 years ago, I would actually get as far away as possible from any electrical technology at all, and sit in front of a tree for an hour. the older the better.

hope this helps.

JM

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JustineMiller

on second thought, reading over more posts about brain zaps, I have actually had brain zaps as described, but they have been very infrequent. if I recall correctly, they began when I was on 40mg Prozac, and they scared me, so I started my long slow unsupervised Prozac taper. i am realizing now that many of the problems I experienced in the year after Prozac were very likely caused by Prozac withdrawal. severe panic, severe depression, rapid weight loss, a persistent feeling

" i can't take care of myself" (of course not: I wasn't, i was overdosing on SSRIs!!!; duh!) confusion, headaches, etc. and a brain zap here & there, which only inspired me to withdraw rather than escalate whichever SSRI I was trying at the time. Because, really, in spite of all my dumb mistakes, I do have a lot of good solid common sense.

JM

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kwerk88

Brain zaps are also found to happen due to vitamin B deficiencies which are cause by SSRI use. In fact, SSRI use has quite a few overlapping symptoms with those who frequently use nitrous for recreational purposes. Such symptoms include headache, a buzzing sound in the ears, confusion, etc.

 

If the original poster still experiences these brain zaps, consider taking a vitamin B complex of sorts. In any case, I am interested to hear whether you still experience these (2+ years since your original post.)

 

I've recently started viibryd to treat my moderate GAD (primarily) and moderate/severe ADHD (as a secondary treatment).

 

I am on week 3 and experienced my first "zap" upon falling asleep. It was so uncomfortable (mainly psychologically) and worrisome that I subconsciously would wake myself up everytime I was about to "fall sleep" and heard that warning sign you had mentioned about.

 

It's 3AM, and I will have to miss work today due to this inability to sleep. I am very unsettled as I work full-time and am enrolled in a full-time graduate program as well. Translation: I don't have the time nor flexibility to lose any sleep. 

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Altostrata

Thanks, kwerk.

 

People with withdrawal symptoms are frequently hypersensitive to B vitamins. While B vitamins might help some, anyone with withdrawal symptoms should be very careful about taking a B vitamin supplement, perhaps starting with a fraction of a tablet and seeing how it works.

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Altostrata

There have been nearly 500 comments on this 2007 blog post by a pharmacist
 
http://theblondepharmacist.com/2007/11/17/brain-shivers-brain-zaps-brain-shocks/

Brain Shivers… Brain Zaps… Brain Shocks…

 

It's the top post on her blog. There was a part 2 on this blog somewhere with as many comments, but it got lost in the software. Oh, here's something http://theblondepharmacist.com/2011/01/03/shivers-zaps-and-shocks-part-two/

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btdt

I just read you post in brain zaps.  It appears we are much the same in respect to zaps.  I have had them go down my legs also...down my spine.  I was going to post that I had all the same experiences you did with zaps except the issue with purple but could not read all of your purple writing.. don't like it one bit.So now question that. One more thing I had was a spur of electrical ativity in my tongue like what I use to get in the had after it went down my arm... but with the tongue there was no path... like with the arm it just hit randomly in my tongue like a bee sting.   

 

I had zaps early on don't recall when they started exactly would have to have my history to see that... 

They continued for about 3 years. 

Lessening over time going away and coming back.

At there worst i had them every few seconds unless I laid still in a darkened room and I do mean still. Cold packs on the neck and neck support in this stage may help I used a lot of liniments during this stage too... still do.  Moving my head or eyes would start them as well as any sudden noises from outside myself car horns trains....eekk... best to stay inside in the dark till this passes if you have it this bad.  I foiled the windows of my room and wore head phones a lot... I could tolerate only the sound of the ocean at this stage.

 

They lessened over time and returned when I was ill.

 

Now it takes something big to get a brain zap like getting rear ended in a car accident like happened last year. I thought they were gone for good but it would seem they are still around. It is so much better than it was in the beginning I feel ok in saying they are gone.  Extreme physical or physiological strain my bring them back.  An example of extreme psychological strain would be sudden prolonged illness of a loved one where your soul support... sudden death of loved one and the fallout ... those two things have given me brain zaps when I thought they were gone. 

 

Stress is something you cannot afford in the critical stage of this if you in that stage you need to get to the most stress free place you know and I sure hope you have a good one.  

 

Stimuli must be controlled for you to heal.

I now wonder about the computer and light... I have been thru so many computers and every body jokes about it ... I am the computer killer.

I lose all my stuff and can't afford it I would have no computer now if it were not for the generosity of family.  

 

I don't think I can get my head around kundilini  can't even spell it and due to the purple text have to limit my time here today I really think it is the purple text... tho I know it sounds unlikely I think there is something to it. 

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btdt

I tried looking at a sheet of purple paper and it had no effect think it was eye strain that caused the odd feeling due to my eyes being funky.  :) I have one last thing to say about this well two things to say. 

 

Fish oil some say it helps hard for me to know.  When I was still on Effexor and having symptoms of MS head drops and one foot dragging.  While I was waiting on specialists and tests I went to a health food store and was recommended fish oil a bought the best they had ( I still had money then) and took it for 2-3 years before and after cold turkey withdrawal.  All I can say is I still had a huge problem with brain zaps so for me fish oil did not stop them.  I stopped taking fish oil because I learned it affects the lipids in the blood and may increase bleeding ... since our brains have blood vessels thought it may not be a good idea for me mind you it took me a long time to figure this out.  Partly because I could not see to read early on when I was having the MS studies and this eye issue continued in withdrawal. 

 

I too thought zaps were like seizures.  I know seizures are treated with lorazepam due to previous work I have done with kids who had seizures I would give them this drug when they had seizures.  I took one lorazepam during withdrawal early stages when I had a friend die suddenly and had a paradoxical reaction to the drug Paradoxical reactions are the opposite effect the drug is expected to have... paced the floor and tromped around for a day or two from one low dose. I was told by a doctor this is not something they see with this drugs much especially in adults but it is known to happen is kids. 

 

Coffee when brain zaps were rampant I could not drink coffee at all I would become so dizzy I would fall down.  Dizziness was a huge issue for me.  I would treat it sometimes with low doses of gravol 1/4 of a child dose if I was away from home just enough so I could get back home. 

 

End of the story they end. It takes a very long time but they do end.  I think for a long time after they stop there is something like it that is like a shiver that is strong enough to redirect the thought process but it does not completely stop the brain from functioning which was my experience with severe brain zaps when they were several a minute... there was no thinking clearly in that state. 

 

My instincts say now that B vit and many other things can make them worse and my best advice it to stay away from anything stimulating till your body recovers it does not matter if the stimulation come from things that should not be stimulating even happy things are stimulating... any stimulation try to avoid it. 

 

I am still easily overly stimulated even by happy things.. like a hockey game I am into turning out well.  It is just not worth it. Makes for a slow and boring life but it is life and it is only thru life we have hope of healing

 

I think I was a lot better before this car accident and injury... and treatment have set me back.  I was much better before and have not regained the ground I had won previously... I am hoping to change that this year.  By staying away from stress and drugs... best I can. To me this is the real way to heal it is not something we do really it is something the body does.  We can support the body while it does its work or we can be the fly in the ointment. Consistent self care and diligent regulating our state of being that is out job to give our bodies the environment to support the work it is doing.  

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traumatized80

I have been off all antidepressants for 5 months and having terrible brain zaps that travel down my face and body... When this isn't occurring u have a loud buzzing sound. What is this and will it go awY!? Is it a seizure? Just had a eeg... waiting on results ... but this makes me dizzy and tired and out of it.

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Janie

I'm sorry to hear you are having such unpleasant sensations. That sounds quite disturbing.  I can only say that we all have many various weird and awful sensations including auditory symptoms. Each person may have a different set of symptoms.   I have had such things that seem like a type of seizure because it is orginating in the brain, comes and goes like a seizure and there is no known triggers.   It is good you are getting checked out, but it may very well be entirely from the withdrawal and the sensations are how your brain is trying to heal. I had tingly spark like sensations going down my body and legs for a hours at a time on some days for a while and then that stopped. My symptoms have gone through stages and been quite varied.  I have had a very rough 18 months but will say that I am recovering and am glad I stuck it out. Finally I have had many good days in a row and am feeling more and more normal.  The brain can heal.   I hope your symptoms subside soon or that you get some answers from the eeg.  Hang in there. It should get better! 

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trouper

i'm on month 15 post a too-fast taper of zoloft and am still experiencing daily brain zaps. they mostly happen when I'm waking up in the middle of the night or morning, but sometimes happen when I'm awake in the middle of the day too. it looks like they lightened up and even ceased for a few weeks at a time but since i had a bad relapse in january, I've had them almost every day.

i'm glad they lightened up for you, btdt. :) has anyone else had them for over a year and seem them go away?

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Altostrata

Yes, we've seen people whose brain zaps finally went away. I had them for 6 months.

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trouper

thank you for the reassurance. :)

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Pregnog

Hi everyone. I'm relatively new here, and experiencing severe zaps for a few days since abruptly stopping 10mg escitalopram after discovering I am pregnant (last Wednesday). I've read most of the thread, hoping to find some information about how to manage these zaps.

 

What I've read so far, that seems to work for some, is: avoiding computer use / screens at night; possibly taking B vitamins; waiting it out. 

 

Have I missed anything?  :)

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WiggleIt

I am 4.5 months after stopping TCA and benzo, still having brain zaps and not really encouraged by this thread of this person saying they disappeared for so long and then came back.

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felin

I'm not sure if I've ever experienced a brain zap (in yrs past when trying to go off anti-d's). I'm planning to begin tapering off of Cymbalta, but haven't yet started. To be honest, I think the biggest obstacle is actually opening up one of the capsules in order to count out the gagillion beads. Feel like I'll make a mess and they'll fall all over the place, etc.

 

Anyhow, sounds like most, if not all, "taperers" have brain zaps. Please don't refrain from full details. I want to hear the truth.

 

Thanks all!

 

I am so deeply grateful to have found this site!!!

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Serenity23

I've been on and off many antidepressants (see signature) but it was only when weaning off Effexor (following my psychiatrist's schedule) that I experienced brain zaps. They mostly occurred whenever I turned my head. They are really hard to describe, but you'll know what it is when you have it. It's been almost 10 years since I weaned off Effexor so I don't recall exactly what it felt like, but it was sort of like a sudden pain in a small part of my head out of nowhere and then it'd be gone. Don't worry, they weren't excruciating, it was more the surprise factor because I didn't know what they were. Hopefully someone else who had them more recently can explain it. My psychiatrist said nothing when I told him about them so I don't know how common they are or not, or why they actually happen.

 

I was on Cymbalta which if I remember correctly is chemically similar to Effexor in that they are both SSNRIs and not SSRIs. I was only on it for a very short time (had rare extremely annoying side effect) and I didn't experience the brain zaps when going off of that. I was on Effexor for quite some time, about 2 or 3 years. I think my highest dose was 150mg.

 

Weaning off Zoloft gave me one-sided migraine like headaches, different than the "brain zaps".

 

I encourage you that if you do experience these, to tell your doctor, and to also try not to let it feed into anxiety. I wish I had used mindfulness techniques whenever weaning off of meds in the past, because I think my anxiety over the weird withdrawal side effects just made them that much worse. Then again, it would have been nice to know what to expect.

 

I don't have experience opening capsules, but I'm sure if you open them slowly, over a bowl in case they spill, you will be ok. Hopefully someone else with more experience can chime in here.

 

I also should note that I seem to be sensitive to meds., on them and when coming off of them.

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brassmonkey

Brain zaps are a very interesting phenomena.  Not everyone gets them. I can only recall three during my 22 years on paxil.  One after I updosed from 20mg to 30mg, one when I was in severe poopout at 40 mg and the last a few months after I started my taper.  They are hard to describe, but there is no mistaking them when one happens. For me they are like an electric bolt/shock from the front of my head to the back.  Complete with zzzzeettt!!! sound and flash of light.  They all lasted less than a second, if that long.  My reaction to the first one was "what the h*** was that".  The second one I was pretty sure was the drugs and I had learned about them by the third one.  No one really know what is going on in the brain when it happens.  I have read accounts of people having them while having brain scans and  nothing showed up as abnormal.  One thing we do know is that they are much more likely to happen to people who have fast tapered or CTed.  People who have done slow tapers seem to have them a lot less often.  They don't appear to cause any damage, just scare the heck out of you the first time it happens.  After that it is just the same old same old, it happens , it's over, you go on with what ever you were doing.  Worrying about it will just increase your anxiety levels, and increased anxiety can cause a lot more trouble than a little old zap.

 

Hope that helps.

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felin

Serenity and brassmonkey,

 

Thank you both so much for sharing your experiences with me and for your advice. The bowl is a good idea. And trying not to worry or be anxious is also good advice. I truly believe that the Cymbalta has caused anxiety within me so sometimes it's hard to avoid. However, it's not out of control, for which I am grateful.

 

Sounds like the brain zaps are a bit of a pain, but tolerable.

 

Thanks to you both!!

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btdt

I ct from effexor had been on celexa and effexor both I quit the celexa the year before 40 - 20 then 20 -0 

I had been shifted to trying many other drugs to try going off E basically ct and onto cymbalta it did not work tried going back on E that did not work.. tried a few other drugs but ended up sticking with ct as nothing helped not E either. 

 

For me brain zaps once they started came every time I moved my eyes.  In different part of my head and down my spine through my legs. I could hear a sound when I moved my eyes like a grinding or scraping sound. I know it sound odd.  Moving my head was worse then moving just my eyes caused stronger zaps. It very gradually lessened in intensity to happening mostly only when I moved my head or when I felt like I had moved when I hadn't. The very intense stage lessened the first year or two to the point I would have them only sometimes and a shock of any type would bring them on as well as any sort of illness.  With illness it could revert back to zaps with eye movement or head or both. Having them return when ill continued for years. 

 

I had surgery in 2013 I quit E in 2007 I had a brain zap when I was recovering from surgery in 2013 I had not had one in a couple of years and was surprised hoped they were not back and they were not it was just the one. 

 

I am hoping I am done with them for good. 

 

For me they were disorienting not a minor annoyance zaps kept me not only home bound but in my room in the dark with no sound for a long time... but there were many other things I experienced at that time sound and light were both painful and both caused zaps. When I was zapping all the time several times an hour in the beginning of wd I could not keep a thought in my head as there wasn't room .. it was just enduring not really surviving. One good reason not to go cold turkey.  I did not know any better and was told by a doctor I had to get off E and take something else but my body said no. 

 

Not to scare you but the truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. 

peace

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felin

Thank you so much for your honesty btdt! I totally believe you! I want the truth no matter how ugly it might be. Tired of "being in the dark" about this stuff.

 

What is ct?

 

Am I understanding you? Are you totally off of anti-d's now??

 

Awesome that you're not having the zaps anymore!!

 

Blessings to you!

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Altostrata

merged similar topics

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bluebalu86

When I wake up from sleep I feel several zaps in my brain and like my brain is spasming or something. It's my 8th week of withdrawal and it's not going away. I don't know how much longer I can take those symptoms. My other symptom is eye pressure and floaters,and also fatigue and sleepiness all day long. I'm really disheartened. I would appreciate some encouragement, I'm desperate :(

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bluebalu86

And I'm not even off the drug yet. I take 5 mg Cipralex. Had to reinstate. I wanted to stop this stupid drug because of severe hair loss and now look at me...I'm even worse off. 

 

Doctors don't believe what I'm going through and there's nowhere to turn for support. I'm so sad. Why is this not going away, it's been 2 months. 

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erer

And I'm not even off the drug yet. I take 5 mg Cipralex. Had to reinstate. I wanted to stop this stupid drug because of severe hair loss and now look at me...I'm even worse off. 

 

Doctors don't believe what I'm going through and there's nowhere to turn for support. I'm so sad. Why is this not going away, it's been 2 months. 

 

Have you tried using essential amino acids? I get the same symptoms you described, but they are much lesser on the day when I have taken amino acids the previous day.

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bluebalu86

No, I haven't tried that. I'll look into it.

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