Mine saved my life without any medication. Having an awful time with these just as I drift off to sleep. I run a Facebook group called Lyrica Survivors and many members taking Lyrica and Gabapentin have reported brain zaps, either while taking it, when tapering too quickly, or if stopping cold turkey. The Causes of Brain Zaps. It doesn't hurt. As I started looking at the person i was before paxil i realized i had developed a talkativeness that was actually becoming obvious in my monthly reviews at work. Each time, I experienced the brain zaps. If you have any ideas based off my personal experiences with it, I'd love to hear them. Gabapentin was pretty much the only relief I could get from it. Hope that gives you a little something to hold on to. One of the most unbearable withdrawal symptoms reported are brain zaps (also sometimes called brain shivers, brain shocks, head shocks, and electrical shocks). So it seems a rare few of us get to enjoy the zaps while taking some meds. I have shocks most often in the morning when I first wake. Currently, I take nothing. To make matters worse, alcohol suppresses glutamate, which is an “excitatory” neurotransmitter. Our brains have an amazing capacity to heal! As I understand it from another article i read - the reason for brain zaps/ SDS is the disruption of "acetylcholine" levels in the brain (which can be maintained/ increased during withdrawal by taking the supplement). have you heard of this as far as the long term shocks? Effexor side effects (and this would include other antidepressants as well as Effexor) may cause permanent brain damage. Alcohol works like benzodiazepines in how upregulating GABA as far as I understand. So if you're still on Effexor, and ever plan on coming off of it, please be careful. The withdrawal from these two drugs can be very similar to benzo and SSRI withdrawal. But, my pharmacy is closed until Monday morning. It's rather strange that there is so little research and talk about this. I hope you are doing wel. "how-to-stop-taking-ssri-antidepressants-safely-378683" to read the article which explains it (about half way down the page (it should be the first link on verywellmind). thank you. This will happen over and over all night long. A number of different descriptions are in use for what appears to be a similar phenomenon. Does anyone have any suggestions for helping anxiety and panic attacks with something natural? I want to be free of xanax, even if that means I'm and insomniac....whatever it takes to stop the zaps. Surely a lot of valuable information can be learned from looking at this closer ? This article will introduce you to the concept of brain zaps; real phenomena that happen in an individual who is experiencing withdra… I have to disagree with the hypothesis about brain zaps being symptomatic of withdrawal as I was prescribed Buspar for menopausal anxiety and do not take any other meds at all. Although Paxil worked very well for me, I have started noticing that I am not quite myself anymore, am struggling with memories, feel like I am unable to feel deep emotions, etc. Discontinuing an SSRI or an SSNRI, however, can cause extremely severe withdrawal symptoms, which often are so bad that people prefer to continue taking the drug to avoid suffering through them. All those drugs in the photo gave me serotonin syndrome. They tend to be apparently uncaused sensations of electricity briefly passing through the brain. Consider herbal supplements. your description is perfect zap,zap,zap....oh man...sometimes with a bad hangover I can clinch my jaw and get a zap...weird. Wind from a fan suddenly hitting my face and anytime i touched water triggered this. I'm very new to this substance, even though I'm quite experienced with others, but when I drink I'm sometimes getting brain zaps very similar to those when withdrawing from SSRI antidepressants or doing too much of a serotonergic substance like MDMA. Tonight they are so bad that I could brain myself with a hammer - look left 'zap zap zap' look right'zap zap zap' the cat wants you to feed him, look down 'zap zap zap' I am almost done with my cymbalta tapering. The shocks eventually led to seizures. Good luck. I'm horrified that taking more xanax may be the only way I can sleep. Where I'm from we call those “zings”. I also heard anxiety can cause this, but the weird thing is I normally get them when my anxiety is not acting up and rarely when it is. From all the drugs I've ever tried, only the neurotoxic serotonergic substances caused brain zaps for me. Not looking forward to the next few days. There are good therapies out there to help you with these. I'm still curious why this might be happening. I was afraid to drive because the distraction it caused as well as not being able to control my own body for a good 5-789 seconds sometimes. Kalea, I hope you find/have found something that helps you, or at least makes it tolerable. I’m so glad I just found this page, too. Brain zaps also happen as a withdrawal symptom from antidepressants and these kinds of brain zaps are often worse and debilitating. But there are other supplements that appear to stabilize the GABA levels in the brain (e.g., magnesium). I nearly died last time. I feel it is essential to confirm these patients are not having seizures. When alcohol is removed from the system after it has become fine-tuned to function in its presence, the brain becomes overstimulated and must adjust back to its normal chemistry. I also have the triggers you have when you move your eyes in the way you described. Alcohol tends to modify serotonin activity throughout the brain in regards to both signaling and neurotransmission. Btw, I'm also a combat Veteran. However, I get how they could be “zaps” as well. I can now go to a doctor and show them that this condition actually exists. Breathing helps a lot. As soon as I have enough money to buy some pot I'm not gonna touch alcohol for a long time. Basically, withdrawl symptoms. It worked wonders and leveled me out, having a more noticeable positive effect on me than my SSRI antidepressant had. Any alcohol which cannot be metabolized is absorbed in the brain. Since then I’ve weened myself of all medications except Effexor, I no longer have these electrical discharges in my brain. Some people feel like their whole head is affected, while others say only a small part of their brain feels like it’s involved. God bless and thanks for your service! A massive electric sensation that shot from my brain stem through my body and "out" my finger and toe tips. My job was at a bank call center in credit card collections for high risk accounts. A seizure occurs when the hyper-excitement of a small group of nerve cells spreads to larger brain regions. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. So yes...this theory makes perfect sense. Doctor didn't warn me about this experience but I doubt he knew about it anyway (and I needed the anti-depressant anyway). could the rapid eye movement of sleep be causing the shocks while I sleep? I would awake immediately after feeling disoriented in time and space and then immediately drop into a very deep sleep almost like passing out. I take a beta blocker, so I'm not sure how that might factor into it. Brain zaps can cause some of the following symptoms and sensations: Sudden brain shivers, jolts or buzzes in the brain. SSRIs increase serotonin by blocking a serotonin transporter. Brain zaps are commonly reported electrical shock sensations that are often experienced during discontinuation of antidepressant medications. Other terms include: ‘watermelon head’ and ‘ electric brain thingies’ (Anonymous, 2004), ‘brain zaps’ (‘dde’, 2003) and ‘brain flips’ (Mangan, 2000). When alcohol is consumed while on an antidepressant, the breakdown of either the medication and/or the alcohol can be affected. If you need help getting safely of cymbalta..go to the facebook group cymbalta hurts worse. If you are on anykind of bloodthinners don't use fish oil.. Others report that they feel like "short bursts of white light mixed with dizziness." I read somewhere that someone suggested running to help with the zaps but I believe sitting perfectly still and avoiding head/eye movement helps the best. I just wish it would go away. It's rather unpleasant. 3 Unfortunately, there is no way … I've just weaned off recently. If you can try seeing a neurologist as all these symptoms are under their domain, same, I get them exactly before getting to sleep, do you get strange quick frights through the daytime. Benzodiazepines—a group of drugs that provide immediate relief of anxiety—work directly on GABA, increasing its availability in the brain. It feels like a little tingle in my head. Knowing … Just wanted to let you know you are not alone! Advice. Thanks for any further insights or comments. In between that I get these excruciating pains in my temple or my body just feels like I got hit by a bus. They felt zingy. as if to remind me to breathe. Hi Lindsay, I just wanted to share with you that I too had the same experience as you have been in regards to brain zaps. I would experience a weird, detached mood crash in the evening and would self-medicate with alcohol, and so my doctor prescribed me gabapentin to take in the evening instead of alcohol. Sometimes brain zaps may also feel like blood rushing to the head. Brain zaps isn't necessarily the technical name for this phenomenon, but it's the one that has stuck, Brian Barnett, MD, an addiction psychiatrist at Cleveland Clinic, tells Health. Randal, I don't have experience with Venafaxine, but I run a group called Lyrica Survivors and many members have had brain zaps. Idk what to do about this condition the doctors did not believe me, suggested it was an emotional problem and gave me more paxil and other similar drugs to treat it. And when I do start falling asleep, the "zap" will jolt me awake, but my body will still be paralyzed (for sleep, as it does) and I'll begin to have sleep paralysis with hallucinations. 0 comments. Does this mean that taking GABA could help someone weaning off their SSRI or SNRI? Alcohol consumption suppresses certain parts of the brain, promoting relaxation and feelings of joy. I feel the same way about what you said, Tommy. has it gotten better? I'm so happy to have found this page and know that other people experience these brain zaps as well. Long-term and short-term effects can result in a range of physical and psychological changes. This is the way in which our brains respond to danger, preparing us to either fight or run away. They are horrible. Another things that would provoke them was walking through doorways. She had ringing in her ears. Although it has still not been empirically confirmed, the theoretical considerations considered above suggest that brain zaps following the discontinuation of SSRIs, SSNRIs, and benzodiazepines as well as the withdrawal from Adderall and MDMA may be minor localized seizures. Dreams have been described as dress rehearsals for real life, opportunities to gratify wishes, and a form of nocturnal therapy. The main serotonin receptor involved in the prevention of depression and anxiety is the 5-HT1 receptor. Have you ever been to a psychologist / in therapy for your anxiety and/or panic attacks? A person experiencing these zaps may get dizzy, feel minor pain, and high levels of discomfort. This all happened in 2017. It would be very interesting to have data on patients who have both been treated with benzodiazepines and SSRI/SNRI vs just SSRI/SNRI to look at the differences in reported brain zap occurence. GABA is an inhibitor that calms neural activity in the brain. I know you posted this nearly a year ago, but I was taking Effexor, and when I tried to ween off Effexor was when I experienced my horrible "brain zaps"... it was like an electric shock going from the base of my skull to my tailbone every time I moved my eyes even a little. 2  When a person drinks heavily, frequently, or for prolonged periods of time, their brain compensates for alcohol's depressant effects by releasing more stimulating chemicals (compared to when a person does not drink). Has anyone happened to them that alcohol alone caused them to have brain zaps? I'm back down to 75 mg now and still get some mild zaps, though I did not experience them at all when I first started Effexor at 75 mg before going up to 225, so that gives me hope that I can stay on my current dose. I am so happy the gabapentin has helped you. GBM, Of course neurontin would help as would lorazepam or similar meds for seizure control. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. I'm on day 4 and taking .25 mg of xanax, quite a few supplements and 900 mg gabapentin. I.have been speaking to everyone I can who has ever had to deal with these and have never heard of ANYONE having them after around the 2.5-3 month mark (after stopping the meds). Learn more here. This side-effect of SSRIs and SSNRIs is only rarely discussed in the medical literature. They are sometimes triggered by sudden movement of the eyes or the head. I'm very glad as of your posting your brain zaps went away, but just wanted to post a heads up and a just in case because Effexor is what actually caused mine. I am just now researching brain zaps, so other than experiencing them I don’t know much. One of the most unbearable withdrawal symptoms reported are brain zaps (also sometimes called brain shivers, brain shocks, head shocks, and electrical shocks). Knowledge is power when it comes to resolving stress and anxiety issues, including brain zaps. I don't take paxil anymore as of 6 years ago but the talkativeness is still there while the withdrawals I enjoyed are gone. I know that a "healthy gut" is key for keeping anxiety somewhat under control but what about something to help with panic attacks? Hi, your post really resonated with me. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as well as selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs)—the most commonly prescribed antidepressants—are popular choices of treatment for depression and anxiety, in part because they are not supposed to be addictive. Alcohol is a depressant that mimics GABA, which is the primary “inhibitory” or calming neurotransmitter in our brains. Recently there has been talk of Paxil causing dementia so my doctor wants me off of it and on Effexor. but sometimes that can become annoying. I haven’t been experiencing as many brain zaps as I had been and also helps my anxiety. Nurses and Doctors would look at me like “wtf” when I would say this. She also consulted psychiatry where she works, and they had no idea either, other than in withdrawal! Hi ladies, I am also coming off effexor. The bottom line is, you don't have to worry about these symptoms, but they do require action before they can be eliminated. Brain Zaps. No more head zaps.My anxiety was not very elevated so I meditate, or do light exercise, or yoga, or write and my anxiety diminishes. The buzzing in both ears, the motion “waves” Ever been shocked by your outlet when youre going to plug in a charger? I personally hate it because I don't know how to regulate my talking to reduce it. Sometimes I wonder if they will go away or it's something new I have to live with. I hope you are better. I tried a slough of different antidepressants as well as a couple of mood stabilizers and adhd meds afterwards. Even stronger than opioids? Once he gave me a protocol exercise to do on a daily basis every hour, they drastically decreased 90% after seven days. I want to try having a drink or two to see if that helps, but aren't you supposed to avoid alcohol when taking SSRIs? I've been on Paxil for over ten years. It occurs to me that so many surveys and tests could help with this by just adding one or two more questions. Although the brain chemical GABA is an inhibitory (or "calming") chemical, low levels of this chemical have been implicated in a number of conditions, including anxiety, depression, movement disorders, and seizures. It is now the 10/01 and it is at its worst ever yet there isn't much information online regarding the severity of it. or is this my life now ? The way you describe you zaps are EXACTLY how I'd explain mine. Internal bleeding issues caused by the mixture of alcohol and Effexor may include s tomach bleeding, e asy bruising, n osebleeds and b leeding in the brain. However, it feels hard to believe it will get better ... can you perhaps enlighten me ? Still have depression and it hasn't gotten much better but medications have not been much of a help to me, instead they've only added to my depression unfortunately. I couldn't post the link here but you can google... The shock coming off Clozaril were far more traumatizing than the seizures. Thank you. The nurse came out to see me and seen how depressed I was, so the doctor put me back on it in June I believe. I'm very surprised that there is no research into these zaps. My doctor also did a full neuro exam on me, finding nothing obviously wrong, no weakness, no abnormal responses. Hi Niki, I am coming off effexor at the moment, I'm 7 days off and suffering non stop brain zaps and there very debilitating, could you tell me how long did it take for your brain zaps to stop? If anyone has any suggestions for helping with the brain zaps, please share! It would be good to share this info I think because I dont think its is widely known in the medical community. Effexor is a difficult one to discontinue because of the withdrawal effects. While people in early recovery may still suffer from these symptoms, as well as an inability to process large amounts of information, new cell growth will eventually begin to repair this damage as time passes. It would be so strong that I could actually hear and feel the electrical charge in my brain and feel it’s effect on my brain. I am currently weening myself off of paxil, besides the unfortunate weight gain (30 lbs) I am beginning after these 2 years to feel like my anxiety is getting bad again. People often describe them as feeling electrical current uncontrollably zapping their brains, which can be extremely frightening and uncomfortable. And unlike the rest of the population who gets these, when I decided enough was enough and started to taper off of them only then did the brain zaps decrease. Typically when I turn my head in either direction. Making Behavioral Adjustments Use calming activities to reduce your stress levels. So I endured them. Upon drinking, the liver metabolizes the alcohol intake. Your Doctors attitude regarding their reality reminds me of a person who can’t accept something unless they themself see or feel it, or until you can discover the correct medical terminology to explain it. Alcohol has many effects on the body and can potentially damage the brain. I want to come off of this cymbalta, but do not want to deal with this. This can result in severe convulsions and a loss of consciousness. The other thing I experienced was like an extremely sudden brain shut down that was just as fast turning my brain back on. Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it slows your brain. The Effects on Mental Disorders Along with the potentially harmful effects of mixing alcohol and Effexor, it is important to know that alcohol can worsen the symptoms of depressive disorders and anxiety disorders . Withdrawal-induced brain sensations/brain zaps: quick tips Reassure yourself that these kinds of strange, unpleasant, scary sensations in the brain are actually very common experiences in … Does anyone know what it could be? Hi Jason I have brain zaps and they turned out to be severe seizures undiagnosed and underlying brain cancer. Brain zaps might also be triggered by alcohol use, anxiety or stress. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. I cannot function anymore. The brain compensates for the prolonged presence of alcohol by adjusting its internal chemistry to overcome alcohol’s depressant effects. Brain zaps are one of the most obvious symptoms of this syndrome. I found supliments really helped, I found loads of info on the forams, I found very quick relief with the help of Evening Primrose and starflower oil combo, B complex, magnesium all help to reduce withdrawals. Sorry to sound so dramatic. I've never been on any of these kinds of medication, but I still occasionally get brain zaps, especially when I'm trying to sleep. I got "brain zaps" from neurological damage caused by an antibiotic called metronidazole (aka, Flagyl). So we cut my dosage in half and I am skipping a day or every other day beginning next week. I would assume since they appear to be caused from the withdrawals of SSRI's there is no money for the research. So, maybe if you're secretly having a GABA problem, something like this might help? 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. There is no consensus as to what causes brain zaps after withdrawal from SSRIs or SSNRIs. Also possibly a Orthomolecular Medicine doctor could help you balance the serotonin levels in your gut, that will eventually help your brain. I was taking clozapine and the doctor wanted to take me off for four months. It causes sudden and severe problems in your brain and nervous system. But it takes dedication. Years of alcohol abuse can damage this area of the brain extensively, leading to a wide variety of issues including memory loss and the inability to think rationally. Common withdrawals: electric shock-like feelings, dizziness, Once they started around 11am, they happened about every 5 minutes for several hours. I still have the shocks after stopping paxil more than 20 years ago. I started having brain zaps as I'm trying to fall asleep. In Feb. Was on and needed Venafaxine. She was literally down to taking such a teeny amount but the side effects were horrible. 30 mg almost 2.6 years...Many have found that fish oil is helping the brainzaps to stop and a very slow tapering as well. Serotonin levels: When a person drinks alcohol, serotonin levels in the brain significantly increase. I am replying to a post you made on Psych Today in regard to brain zaps. I'm reading that many anti-depressants as well as Buspar give people these 'zaps'. I hope everyone who previously posted on here is doing well. I believe it has helped me while I weaned from 40 mgs of Paxil to 5mg. I know exactly how you feel and what you mean. I had electric shocks coming only off Clozaril, after being wrongly prescribed it for 14 years. Have you had any weight gain problems on it? Besides brain zaps, patients can experience flu-like symptoms, sleep problems and mood disturbances. Cymbalta Brain Zaps. SSRIs and SSNRIs increase the active levels of serotonin in the brain by blocking the serotonin transporter. Not to mention, I have slowly but surely packed on about 50 pounds since first starting this medicine in 2010. These brain shocks go away once I start taking the Paxil again. Any time that I missed the meds, or during the process of slow reduction, I experienced a woozy dizzy fog. jim. I am currently weaning off Paxil for the third time (the first two times were due to pregnancy). This is the only reference I've been able to find to what I'm experiencing with venlafaxine! how are you doing? my brain zaps seem to be related to Serotonin. Glutamate has the opposite effect as GABA, making our brains … feel like I am getting weaker every day. I know exactly what you're talking about. I was able to slowly ween myself off SSRI's by taking choline supplements in the form of choline inositol for approx 4-6 weeks prior to slowly reducing the SSRI alongside the supplements. When I go off of it by the third day I start getting what I can only describe as a very high electrical shock in my brain that will immobilize me. Patients are rarely informed about his as well, and I assume some, who have never experienced this before, get rather upset and anxious about what's going on,- leading to unecessary doctors visits and time off work. Berit Brogaard, D.M.Sci., Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy and the Director of the Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research at the University of Miami. I started having shocks after being given paxil about 1996. However, I found out that it was even more helpful than that when I weaned off my SSRI and experienced HUGE brain zap problems. I'm very new to this substance, even though I'm quite experienced with others, but when I drink I'm sometimes getting brain zaps very similar to those when withdrawing from SSRI antidepressants or doing too much of a serotonergic substance like MDMA. I'm also cycling through other medications to help with depression. They’re called brain zaps because it triggers repeated electric shock like sensations in the brain, which may extend to other parts of the body. I've been getting a zap-like sensation that radiates down my face, arms, and sometimes down to my legs, and I was on 225 mg venlafaxine. save. When I lay down or get up my forehead feels pressure and my eye.I need to know what is happening. Very distracting and exhausting to deal with. Myelin is destroyed by drugs, alcohol, high sugar, poor sleep, vitamin and mineral imbalances and deficiencies, and other known factors. REM Sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) REM sleep (rapid eye movement) or eye movement, in general, is also suspect of causing brain zaps. Other common names for brain zaps include: brain shivers, electrical shocks, and brain shocks. I understand how you describe this. I took MDMA for NYE and the brain zaps are getting more and more frequent as time passes. It definitely concerns, because I would estimate I have spoken to.......probably around 1,500-2,000 people in the 17 years I have been trying to make heads or tails of this in my own life. Patients describe the zaps as sudden electrical buzzing in their head. The site may not work properly if you don't, If you do not update your browser, we suggest you visit, Press J to jump to the feed. Note, however, that GABA taking directly in that form may not be able cross the blood-brain barrier. (Along with 40mg of Viibryd and 450mg of Welbutrin, I also take a low dose of Valium, 3mg/day and 10mg of Baclofen). I've read stories of people who when trying to ween off of Effexor, went as far as counting individual "pellets" inside each capsule to slowly ween down and still had issues with severe withdrawal effects. When the Effexor was increased by my doctor so would the frequency and intensity of my brain zaps. They are very real and (ha) it is “all in your head.”. It's miserable. amitriptyline + fentanyl patches. Adderall, and MDMA too, can increase the activity of GABA in some parts of the brain, primarily owing to their increase of available serotonin in the brain. The problem is, the gabapentin isn't enough. I would suggest talking to a doctor that you trust (you know, those sometimes hard-to-find ones that listen to suggestions and are proactive in looking for new solutions to old problems) about possibly trying Gabapentin. my are close to gone after 10 years off of zoloft.....no bbn one gets it. 2 years later i finally forgot to take my one a day paxil and had to work 9 hours before i could get home and take one. Seizures are the result of over-excitement in a small isolated group of neurons. Has anyone happened to them that alcohol alone caused them to have brain zaps? I felt so stupid when I let my doctor convince me that paxil was not responsible for these withdrawal symptoms I read about online that worried me when I was first prescribed paxil. We have a support group and brain zaps are a fairly common symptom as well, and I had them. Overproduction becomes the brain's new normal. I would love to talk to you. Mainly because you seem to be the most recent to have posted i.e 2020. It's stronger the faster/harder I turn. Alcohol affects the area of the brain responsible for what’s known as the ‘fight or flight’ function. When you drink alcohol, the fight or flight response in your brain is suppressed, making you feel relaxed. I am currently getting off cymbalta and am getting the brain zaps. When most or all of the brain is over-excited, the brain's neurons send signals to the body in an uncontrolled way. As they were occurring, all normal brain activity was suspended. Can you take patients who aren't local to your area? I wish the doctor warned me of this in the beginning. It worked to my advantage in some ways but my call time lengths were steadily increasing since I started Paxil. Think I’ve over done it with the alcohol over the new year period. Interestingly, the zaps did seem to increase when tapering down. It's easily testable my simply moving your eyes back and fourth. Psychologist Gary Greenberg expressed his concern, citing studies that showed high doses of these drugs cause changes in neurons.The more dramatic side effects, such as violent impulses and agitation amazingly have not been confirmed or disproved in the psychiatric … Sometimes brain zaps are accompanied by vertigo, tinnitus, throat tension, and nausea. Anyway, I am working with a Naturopath to help with my anxiety and hopefully she will help me with my brain zaps too. One might then assume that supplements or drugs that increase the levels of GABA in the brain might help with brain zaps. I have AWFUL brain zaps, not nice. But there is some reason to think that low levels of serotonin in the bain is not the primary condition responsible for brain zaps. I could feel it happening. What Causes Brains Zaps? My doctor acted like I was insane when I mentioned them. A subreddit devoted to one of the most versatile organic compounds discovered by man. These zaps have made bedtime pretty scary. I'm still getting the zaps. I refuse to go back on any of the meds though and feel it is better to battle through.