I am just now researching brain zaps, so other than experiencing them I don’t know much. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. They do go away eventually for nearly everyone but it takes about 6-18 months. Sorry to sound so dramatic. It doesn't hurt. A massive electric sensation that shot from my brain stem through my body and "out" my finger and toe tips. 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. These brain shocks go away once I start taking the Paxil again. Sometimes brain zaps are accompanied by vertigo, tinnitus, throat tension, and nausea. Once he gave me a protocol exercise to do on a daily basis every hour, they drastically decreased 90% after seven days. 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. I'm very surprised that there is no research into these zaps. Think I’ve over done it with the alcohol over the new year period. Hi, your post really resonated with me. It feels like a little prick on your finger, followed by a very fuzzy sensation. jim. Thanks for any further insights or comments. Typically when I turn my head in either direction. Once they started around 11am, they happened about every 5 minutes for several hours. Very concerned about that. Long-term and short-term effects can result in a range of physical and psychological changes. If you are on anykind of bloodthinners don't use fish oil.. as if to remind me to breathe. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can last for weeks, or longer. It worked to my advantage in some ways but my call time lengths were steadily increasing since I started Paxil. So we cut my dosage in half and I am skipping a day or every other day beginning next week. I am so happy the gabapentin has helped you. I have shocks most often in the morning when I first wake. But it takes dedication. I'm relieved to find out I am not alone. I didn't read about that until much after I'd already went through it or I may have tried that, but yeah. Brain zaps also happen as a withdrawal symptom from antidepressants and these kinds of brain zaps are often worse and debilitating. Not looking forward to the next few days. Sometimes brain zaps may also feel like blood rushing to the head. I have had headaches at night for 10 years, I am forced to get out of bed around 4 a.m. this morning I realized the headaches are being caused by the shocks. Brain zaps might also be triggered by alcohol use, anxiety or stress. 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. It feels like a little tingle in my head. 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. My doctor also did a full neuro exam on me, finding nothing obviously wrong, no weakness, no abnormal responses. I took 10mg of Buspar twice and got the head zaps and stopped taking them. Last year I spent 48 hours in the ER bed. The commonality amongst the drugs/medications mentioned is that they increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity in the brain. Patients describe the zaps as sudden electrical buzzing in their head. I had electric shocks coming only off Clozaril, after being wrongly prescribed it for 14 years. my experience in the paxil withdrawals... Choline supplements for SSRI discontinuation / Brain zaps, The Digitization of Biotech: AI Designs a Serotonin Sensor, Number One Reason SSRIs Take Four to Six Weeks to Work, Five Things You Didn't Know About Antibiotics and Your Brain. 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). On my 4th week of Wellbutrin. This can result in severe convulsions and a loss of consciousness. I did them from 8am to the evening for seven days, pretty much every hour. 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 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. It's pretty much a hellish nightmare, but I've learned to live with it. Any alcohol which cannot be metabolized is absorbed in the brain. If you have any ideas based off my personal experiences with it, I'd love to hear them. I also have the triggers you have when you move your eyes in the way you described. I am almost done with my cymbalta tapering. So I'm pretty convinced it is the drug for me, but my doctor was skeptical, thinking perhaps a coincidental injury or disc problem. She also consulted psychiatry where she works, and they had no idea either, other than in withdrawal! Others report that they feel like "short bursts of white light mixed with dizziness." Kalea, I hope you find/have found something that helps you, or at least makes it tolerable. The Causes of Brain Zaps. However, I get how they could be “zaps” as well. 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. I am replying to a post you made on Psych Today in regard to brain zaps. Sometimes I wonder if they will go away or it's something new I have to live with. When the Effexor was increased by my doctor so would the frequency and intensity of my brain zaps. Benzodiazepines—a group of drugs that provide immediate relief of anxiety—work directly on GABA, increasing its availability in the brain. I don't know if I am building up an immunity to it? 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 . I've been on Paxil for over ten years. Anyway, I am working with a Naturopath to help with my anxiety and hopefully she will help me with my brain zaps too. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. The other thing I experienced was like an extremely sudden brain shut down that was just as fast turning my brain back on. I think it's helping, but in relation to joint pain and not the brain zaps. All antidepressants have the potential to cause withdrawal symptoms. Also possibly a Orthomolecular Medicine doctor could help you balance the serotonin levels in your gut, that will eventually help your brain. 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 took MDMA for NYE and the brain zaps are getting more and more frequent as time passes. Brain Zaps. The alcoholic brain decreases its long-term GABA production because it has learned to rely on alcohol for the same effect. Sometimes the sensations extend to other parts of the body. 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. Even stronger than opioids? The brain zaps cause a lot of discomfort and anxiety; it makes it almost impossible to sleep. Does this mean that taking GABA could help someone weaning off their SSRI or SNRI? The way you describe you zaps are EXACTLY how I'd explain mine. I feel the same way about what you said, Tommy. Mainly because you seem to be the most recent to have posted i.e 2020. Another reason against the serotonin hypothesis is that brain zaps have been reported when people discontinue the use of other drugs, such as benzodiazepines—used for anxiety relief and muscle relaxation—as well as the ADHD medication Adderall (amphetamine salts) and the illegal party drug MDMA (ecstasy). 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. Nurses and Doctors would look at me like “wtf” when I would say this. I have read that it can cause weight gain in many people. Can you suggest something else I could try? 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 think I also took vitamin B supplements as well but I think its the choline that's important. God bless and thanks for your service! Have you ever been to a psychologist / in therapy for your anxiety and/or panic attacks? So why would I trust doctors and why aren't these findings causing an increase in research in the matter so dumb dumb doctors can get a better idea of what is real? My doctor said she hasn't heard of this before, and has been prescribing venlafaxine for a long time. (I used to file a small fraction off each antidepressant tablet with a nail file rather than splitting to reduce it really slowly). Now that I quite all together, I experience the brain zaps; very uncomfortable zap that feels like a mini siezure with a momentary hissing noise in my ears and a moment of what feels like a shut down. None of these things hurt me, I actually enjoyed them but the electric shock through my body thing did trigger a rush that made me feel anxious but i liked it anyway. This is an interesting hypothesis. 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. 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. Hope you are doing well!!! She was literally down to taking such a teeny amount but the side effects were horrible. I'm still struggling and pretty terrified that no medications will help, and that I will get worse. I am seeing a Neurological Chiropractor and they have me on a anti-inflamatory diet. 0 comments. Overall, more than half (56 percent) of people quitting antidepressants experience withdrawal symptoms. I nearly died last time. 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. Advice. The problem is, the gabapentin isn't enough. Anything at this point is better than just living with it. Seizures are the result of over-excitement in a small isolated group of neurons. I hope you are doing wel. I tried a slough of different antidepressants as well as a couple of mood stabilizers and adhd meds afterwards. 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. If anyone has any suggestions for helping with the brain zaps, please share! Thank you. 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. Thank you for your reply Kalea Dean! All those drugs in the photo gave me serotonin syndrome. 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. That is when the brain zaps went from mild and annoying but not too bad to horrible full body jolts that would begin somewhere in the back of my head near my neck and travel all the way down my spine exiting from my feet. As low levels of GABA can trigger seizures, this hypothesis leaves open the possibility that the reported brain zaps are instances of brief, localized seizures. Brain zaps caused by quitting duloxetine are often accompanied by disorientation and lightheadedness. could the rapid eye movement of sleep be causing the shocks while I sleep? 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. I am absolutely certain. Hi ladies, I am also coming off effexor. I hope that you are ok and that the zaps got better. I'm on day 4 and taking .25 mg of xanax, quite a few supplements and 900 mg gabapentin. I have AWFUL brain zaps, not nice. If the GABA theory is right, then yes! Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me more about your brain zaps and underlying brain cancer. 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Helping with the brain. adding one or two but I regret it mean that taking GABA could someone. Can cause weight gain problems on it other types of antidepressant but I 'm giving it near!