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mrrgreene

MrrGreene: Brain Zaps Daily 1 Month After Discontinuation

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mrrgreene

I tapered off 60mg of Cymbalta over a year period. Near the end, I switched over to Prozac at 20mg. I cut down that dose over 3 months to 0 on Jan. 15 2013. The brain zaps first appeared about 7 days of no meds. I can create them by focusing on a point for a few seconds and then glancing left or right. 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. I was on a moderate dose of SNRI or SSRI's for 10 years. I tapered over a one year period. I understand there are many variables, but I would like to hear from someone with personal experience or someone who knows someone that was on a moderate dosage of SSRI's for a period of 5+ years that overcame brain zaps. Also I would like some idea of the duration for individuals. I need hope that if I stay off the meds this nightmare will end. A month of this has seemed like a lifetime. And the thought that this could go on forever would be soul crushing. Thanks in advance.

 

 

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


July 2003 - Started Effexor XR 150mg for GAD

July 2003 - July 2008 - Thrived; great job, finished Masters, studying for CPA

July 2008 - Experienced the first of many panic attacks

Dec 2009 - Lost job, housebound, uncontrollable panic and dizziness

July 2010 - Found new job, unbearable anxiety and panic attacks

Jan 2012 - After three years searching for clues to break-down figured out SNRI and benzos were to blame decided to quit

2012 - Tapered 30mg every 3 months.

Jan 2013 - Switched to low dose of prozac

Feb 2013 - Off all SSRI's only take .25 clonozopan for panic attacks

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Meimeiquest

Hi and welcome! I have not had that experience, but in coming off the antipsychotic Zyprexa I had the sensation of electrical shocks to my tongue. They happened going into and out of sleep. And I had two periods where I gave an electrical shock to everyone I touched. But more to your question, I haven't read of anyone having "permanent" brain zaps. Hopefully yours will end soon! Best, Meimeiquest


1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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mrrgreene

Thanks for the reassurance. I've been trying to combat the brain zaps with 4500 mg of fish oil a day. I also take a B vitamin supplement. Through my research I've come to the conclusion that the reason for withdrawal is two fold. First, the body slows down the process of making serotonin. Secondly, the serotonin receptors down regulate to compensate for higher levels of serotonin that accumulate in the synapses. Perhaps a third could be the brain increases the rate recycling of serotonin. Are there any drugs that upregulate serotonin receptors? Is there anyone in the scientific community that truly understands why discontinuation occurs? Is there anything I can do but wait this out?


July 2003 - Started Effexor XR 150mg for GAD

July 2003 - July 2008 - Thrived; great job, finished Masters, studying for CPA

July 2008 - Experienced the first of many panic attacks

Dec 2009 - Lost job, housebound, uncontrollable panic and dizziness

July 2010 - Found new job, unbearable anxiety and panic attacks

Jan 2012 - After three years searching for clues to break-down figured out SNRI and benzos were to blame decided to quit

2012 - Tapered 30mg every 3 months.

Jan 2013 - Switched to low dose of prozac

Feb 2013 - Off all SSRI's only take .25 clonozopan for panic attacks

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peggy

hi mr greene and welcome!

unfortunately there are not drugs that will assist - a slow taper is the best bet - now that you are off, fish oil will be helpful to assist your nervous system to recover. If you get a chance, post your info in the introductions and updates forum and update it for yours and ours benefit it is good to share what works and warn against what doesn't


Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Skyler

I cut down that dose over 3 months to 0 on Jan. 15 2013. The brain zaps first appeared about 7 days of no meds. I can create them by focusing on a point for a few seconds and then glancing left or right. While browsing the internet I found the below explanation of brain zaps. I need hope that if I stay off the meds this nightmare will end. A month of this has seemed like a lifetime. And the thought that this could go on forever would be soul crushing. Thanks in advance.

Hello .. Brain zaps are an all too common WD symptom. You have been off for a month and may still be in a window wherein a small reinstatement will help. It's not possible to know for sure but may be worth a try. The purpose of taking a small dose at this point is to taper off very slowly and minimize WD.

 

There is more traffic in the Introduction section. This is where people keep individual blogs to track their progress and you will get a quicker response as there is more traffic.. Alto, the admin is as good as you will find anywhere on the net, and she will be along to advise you shortly.

 

In the meantime, welcome to the forum.

 

Skyler


As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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Altostrata

Welcome, MrrGreene.

 

Thank you for that interesting explanation of brain zaps. There are others, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/288-brain-zaps/ (and add yours, with a link, if you will).

 

Those of us who have had brain zaps have mostly see them fade with time. Mine went away after about 6 months.

 

Do you have withdrawal symptoms other than the brain zaps?

 

I tapered off 60mg of Cymbalta over a year period. Near the end, I switched over to Prozac at 20mg. I cut down that dose over 3 months to 0 on Jan. 15 2013.

Since you're so recently off Prozac, one thing you might be able to do is to reinstate a very small amount, 1mg for example, stabilize, and then taper off that very slowly. The liquid makes this possible. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/759-tips-for-tapering-off-prozac-fluoxetine/

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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Jemima

Mrrgreene, I moved your topic from Symptoms to Introductions and updates, since your post is about yourself and the difficulties you're having. When you feel up to it, please post your drug history in the signature area of your profile, like so:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

That will help us understand your background and give more on-target advice.

 

It seems to me that getting off of 60 mg. of an SSRI in a year was a fairly fast taper. Brain zaps are not at all uncommon under the circumstances. I'm not sure if reinstatement would help, but I've observed that most people who suffer with brain zaps only do so for a few months. I've never heard of this condition becoming chronic.

 

In any event, welcome to the forum. You'll find lots of solid information and friendly support here.


Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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mrrgreene

Thanks for all the great responses. I have made some strange observations with regards to brain zaps.

 

Brain zaps are worse immediately after getting out of the shower.

Brain zaps worsen in the twilight period between waking and falling asleep.

Brain zap healing is helped by vigorous exercise. Although exhaustion usually leads to more temporarily.

Brain zaps seem to emanate from behind the eyes and spread to tongue, or finger tips.

 

One of my fears about healing is that as the brain repairs the first symptoms to go away are physical the emotional ones linger. I've afraid if I keep having these physical symptoms it doesn't bode well for the emotional ones. The worst emotional problem I have is periods of panic.


July 2003 - Started Effexor XR 150mg for GAD

July 2003 - July 2008 - Thrived; great job, finished Masters, studying for CPA

July 2008 - Experienced the first of many panic attacks

Dec 2009 - Lost job, housebound, uncontrollable panic and dizziness

July 2010 - Found new job, unbearable anxiety and panic attacks

Jan 2012 - After three years searching for clues to break-down figured out SNRI and benzos were to blame decided to quit

2012 - Tapered 30mg every 3 months.

Jan 2013 - Switched to low dose of prozac

Feb 2013 - Off all SSRI's only take .25 clonozopan for panic attacks

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tezza

MrrGreene,

 

Hello and welcome to the forum,

 

Alto suggested you reinstate 1mg of Prozac because there is normally a short period of time in which reinstatements will help. The fears you mentioned in the above post are very possible. (In liquid form)

 

Please take some time to read through the site and you may find others who have tapered too quickly that now have been suffering many months or years.

 

I'm not trying to scare you, only warn you so that you can decide for yourself what course is best for you. If you decide to reinstate after the window of opportunity closes, it may not be well tolerated by your body.

 

Whatever you wish to do we are here to support you.

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Altostrata

....

Since you're so recently off Prozac, one thing you might be able to do is to reinstate a very small amount, 1mg for example, stabilize, and then taper off that very slowly. The liquid makes this possible. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/759-tips-for-tapering-off-prozac-fluoxetine/

 

I take the brain zaps, etc. as a sign the departure from Prozac was too fast. I strongly suggest cushioning the exit by taking a small amount of Prozac for a while.

 

Withdrawal symptoms can get worse over time, and may take months or years to resolve. A gradual exit makes this less likely.


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

All postings © copyrighted.

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mrrgreene

Thanks, I'll find a doctor and see if I can get some liquid prozac.


July 2003 - Started Effexor XR 150mg for GAD

July 2003 - July 2008 - Thrived; great job, finished Masters, studying for CPA

July 2008 - Experienced the first of many panic attacks

Dec 2009 - Lost job, housebound, uncontrollable panic and dizziness

July 2010 - Found new job, unbearable anxiety and panic attacks

Jan 2012 - After three years searching for clues to break-down figured out SNRI and benzos were to blame decided to quit

2012 - Tapered 30mg every 3 months.

Jan 2013 - Switched to low dose of prozac

Feb 2013 - Off all SSRI's only take .25 clonozopan for panic attacks

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