What Do Brain Zaps Feel Like
Brain zaps caused by anxiety, stress or medication can feel like a sudden buzz, shake, shiver, tremor, or electrical shock feeling in the head. For instance, it can feel like you touched your brain with an electric vibrator for one second.
Brain zaps can come out of nowhere or can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of anxiety or high stress. We explain brain zaps in more detail previously on this web page.
Preventing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, even painful to endure.
Researchers surveyed 250 individuals as their respondents. These people have been using antidepressants and psychiatric drugs to tackle alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
The survey concluded that more than half of the users experienced severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they decided to stop taking their medication.
The remaining individuals also concluded that they are not interested in controlling their medication with the threat of experiencing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
A lot of individuals are probably asking whether this severe alcohol withdrawal can be treated or prevented.
These days, professionals have stated that there are still no medications or medical interventions that medical enthusiasts may recommend to people experiencing brain zaps through alcohol withdrawal.
On the other hand, many people who indulge in drinking heavily found help in using natural methods to treat or prevent alcohol withdrawal.
These include taking medicines to improve the central nervous system, boost cognitive health, improve GABA naturally, effectively control anxiety and stress, and slowly cut off using drugs and alcohol.
Natural remedies for alcohol withdrawal and drug addiction are available at our Abbeycare clinic. If youre experiencing psychological symptoms due to your alcohol intake, dont hesitate to reach out to us.
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If a patient decides to stop taking antidepressants, their doctor will help them structure the best possible tapering schedule. Some of the factors that are used to determine a tapering schedule include the length of time a patient has been on a medication, the current dosage, any side effects experienced, and the general health profile of the patient.
Some general tapering tips for patients:
- Think about why you are stopping the medication. Talk to your doctor about your experience with side effects so that they can choose the best tapering schedule for you.
- Buy a pill cutter to help you quickly cut the pills into smaller doses, if instructed by your doctor.
- Follow the schedule through until the very end.
- Stay in touch with your doctor and report any side effects.
- Talk to a therapist. A therapist can help you cope with any side effects or returning symptoms of depression or anxiety while you are tapering the medication.
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How To Stop Brain Zaps
There are no known medical treatments that are prescribed specifically to stop the brain zaps. In most cases, people will have to put up with them and understand that with proper time, they will eventually subside. Below are some recommendations that may help you better deal with the zaps.
Brain Zaps And Other Withdrawal Symptoms
Quitting Cymbalta abruptly may bring on severe withdrawal symptoms that can last for weeks or even months. To avoid such symptoms, the drugs manufacturer recommends gradually reducing dosage when stopping the drug.
Symptoms of this phenomenon, known as Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome, include severe nausea, dizziness, and electric shock-like sensations in the head called brain zaps or brain shivers. Some patients who reported symptoms became so sick they were unable to go to work and some need to be treated in a hospital.
Other reported Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms include:
- Amy Keller, RNNovember 15, 2018
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Have Lots Of Patience
Some medications can cause bran zaps as one of the side effects. The good news is side effects tend to get weaker and weaker as the individuals body adjusts accordingly to the medication being taken. Its also a good idea for the person to let his or her doctor know about it to see if a different drug may be prescribed.
Keep Anxiety Under Control
The problem with anxiety is it can make anyone who suffers from it experience all sorts of bodily sensations in an exaggerated manner, such as the beating of the heart. Brain zaps can also feel a lot more intense and prolonged to someone who has anxiety, so it can help a lot if ones anxiety can be managed effectively.
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Nutrition Plays An Important Role
These observations may seem oversimplified, but indeed the analogy is intriguing enough to invite further study of the mechanics that may be connected to brain shivers and uncomfortable electrical jolts and how to best heal from and avoid them. Within this amazing symphony of electrical flow and organic chemical metabolization and action, the brain and CNS are designed to perform thousands of coordinated and health sustaining tasks. A big part of brain and CNS support is providing the right raw ingredients to fuel the machine, which is why we value the role of nutrition so highly, as one of the most important and fundamental parts of our program at Alternative to Meds Center.
Fireworks Or Brain Zaps
What are brain zaps and are they harmful?
A new client described brain zaps as an electrical buzz she felt in her head periodically. ”I thought I was going crazy, especially at night when it awakened me.” She noticed these symptoms while withdrawing slowly from an SSRI antidepressant medication that had been prescribed for her. Other clients report experiencing a sudden electric buzz sound in their brain especially when resting or sleeping at night. It is described as a wave-like pulse by some, but I never heard them referred to as “brain zaps” until recently, so I researched the term.
There seems to be a neurochemical change when decreasing or stopping the medication, and the symptoms can occur when the brain is attempting to readjust. Brain zaps, brain shivers, brain shocks, head shocks, or electrical shocks are a common side effect and withdrawal symptom from antidepressants. These symptoms can also occur with benzodiazepines and sleeping pills. Clients tell me that this side effect is not mentioned when the medication is prescribed.
The symptoms are described as brief but repeated electric shock-like sensations in the brain and head, or originating in the brain but extending to other parts of the body. Sometimes moving one’s eyes quickly from side to side triggers brain zaps. Sometimes brain zaps are accompanied by disorientation, tinnitus, vertigo, and lightheadedness.
*Copyright Jean Pollack
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Taper Off Of Medications Slowly
During this time, professionals are conducting thorough studies about the possible ways to treat antidepressant withdrawals effectively.
One of the effective ways to minimize the effects or occurrence of various withdrawal symptoms, including brain zaps, detaching yourself from medications is essential instead of stopping it in a snap.
This applies to those individuals who are using high-dosage of drugs for several weeks or months.
A person is less susceptible to experience brain zaps if he will stop taking drugs slowly. But, professionals cannot guarantee that this approach will 100 per cent work.
Unfortunately, studies concluded that even a person slowly detaches himself from using the drug, most medications live in one’s body for a longer time.
This means that a person can still develop withdrawal symptoms. This is the reason a lot of people are retaking their drugs and stuck in them.
Can I Stop Taking Antidepressants
If you would like to stop or reduce the dosage of antidepressants you are taking, consult with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to help and guide you with a tapering schedule and discuss your ongoing treatment.
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Reliance on any information provided by the Active Recovery TMS website is solely at your own risk.
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Dont Mistake Hypnic Jerks For Brain Zaps
Hypnic jerks are a natural phenomenon many people experience when drifting off to sleep. In a 2016 study, researchers report that 60% to 70% of the general population experience hypnic jerks.
A hypnic jerk myoclonus – is an involuntary twitch of one or more of the bodys muscles that occur as you are transitioning from a wakeful state to a sleeping state. They can range in degree from barely noticeable to so dramatic that they startle you awake.
Other sensations associated with a hypnic jerk include:
- A feeling as though you are falling
- A sudden jump in heart rate
- A quickening of breathing
- A sudden hot flash or cold or hot sweat
- A dream that you are falling or are about to get into grave danger
Even though these sensations can be alarming, they are not an indication of an underlying medical or mental health problem. Hypnic jerks are common and a part of our human experience.
While there is no specific cause of hypnic jerks, stimulation seems to play a role. The more stimulated the body is when going to sleep, the more likely youll experience a hypnic jerk.
Reducing the bodys stimulation overall can reduce the incidences of hypnic jerks.
Detox And Tapering Down Use
Detoxing from antidepressants is the process of letting the drugs leave the body. Medical detox can help limit withdrawal symptoms. Antidepressant detox involves gradually stepping down doses until the user can safely stop taking them.
To be able to taper off an antidepressant medication successfully, we want to do it slowly. So, it can take a month or six weeks or two months. But we just simply step the dose down slowly over time.
– Psychiatrist Dr. Richard Shelton, NPR, 2010
There isnt an exact science to tapering someones antidepressant dose. Some people initially cut their dose in half and then reduce their dose by quarters. Some taper down in as little as a month while others taper down over several months. A doctor should track and adjust doses according to their patients specific needs.
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Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelors and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffreys desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffreys mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
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Side Effects Of Medication
Some popular anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications have been reported to cause brain zaps and head zaps both when taking the medication and when withdrawing. Examples of these medications include:
- SSRIs including Zoloft , Lexapro , and Celexa
- SNRIs such as Effexor , and
- benzodiazepine medications such as Ativan, Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin.
To name a few.
Other types of medications have also been linked to brain zaps. They include:
- ADHD medications such as Adderall
- MDMA , an illegal recreational drug
- Some sleep medications
- And some combinations of drugs
At this time, the reasons why medication can cause brain and head zaps are unknown. Popular hypotheses include:
Common Effects Of Brain Zaps:
- A person may lose his appetite and always feel nauseous.
- A person may experience difficulty while swallowing as if there is a hand gripping his throat.
- Tinnitus or the feeling that something is ringing inside his head
- A person may experience either vertigo or dizziness, or both.
- Uncontrollable movements of the head or the eyes
- A person may experience the sudden occurrence of buzzes, jolts, or shivers inside their brain. Some experience as if their whole head has been affected by the jolts. Others stated that only a portion of their brain is affected. There are times that brain zaps may cause a person to feel as if some blood is quickly running around in his head.
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Wait What Are Brain Zaps
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. “People used to call them electrical shocks brain shivers, but it seems like brain zaps have taken over the terminology,” he says.
Essentially, people get brain zapswhich reportedly feel like “an electrical sensation in the brain”after they stop the use of antidepressants, says Dr. Barnett, but the science on them is still a little fuzzy. That’s because brain zaps weren’t really recognized by the medical community until the late 1990s, says Dr. Barnett.
We dont know a lot about what causes this, admits Dr. Barnett. Its something that has not been studied extensively. However, he explains that theres some speculation that brain zaps might be triggered when a person moves their eyes from side to side. Research published in 2018 in the journal The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders backs up this claim, highlighting the apparent association of brain zaps with lateral eye movements.
Because brain zaps havent been extensively studied, we dont know how many people they affect. Its somewhat of an unclear picture: how common these things are, says Dr. Barnett. in 2017.)
Symptoms Of Antidepressant Withdrawal
Studies show that people who discontinue use of antidepressants are more likely to relapse and experience mental health issues once again, but its important to make sure that whatever path you choose is done with the input of a mental health professional.
People who want to come off their antidepressants are advised to do a gradual tapering off, never a sudden stop.
The patient should be advised of the potential benefits of taking long term antidepressants if appropriate rather than taking them for a while, stopping them, and suffering setbacks and restarting them.
If the medication makes you well when you are otherwise unwell, then why stop the treatment? Many treatments require long term medication.
Discuss the matter with your doctor, and dont simply take matters into your own hands as is commonly the case.
If youve experienced brain zaps, or have had difficulty coming off antidepressants, share your story with us by emailing .
You can also talk more about your experience or ask questions over on the , which is a judgment-free space where you can talk freely and openly about all things mental health.
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Are Brain Zaps Considered Dangerous
If theres one thing to know about these brain zaps, it should be that they are not considered dangerous. There is no scientific evidence supporting any claims that these jolt-like sensations cause any brain damage or interfere with the health of neurons. Although they may be highly-uncomfortable to experience, at least you dont have to worry about them killing brain cells.
Low Blood Pressure And Loss Of Consciousness
In 2014, the FDA required that a warning of orthostatic hypotension and the risk of falls be added to the drugs label. Orthostatic hypotension is a sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands up. It can cause a temporary loss of consciousness called syncope, and patients can suffer injuries from subsequent falls.
According to the drugs warning label, syncope and orthostatic hypotension tend to occur within the first week of therapy but can occur at any time during Cymbalta treatment, particularly after dose increases.
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How Long Can Brain Zaps Last
Brain zaps caused by anxiety and chronic stress typical last for a brief moment or two, and occur occasionally and not frequently. For example, you could have one or two brain zaps one day and then not have another one for days or weeks.
Brain shivers caused by medication or withdrawing from medication also last just a moment or two, but they can occur more frequently, such as several times a day and day after day.
Brain zaps will occur as long as the cause is left untreated.
Brain Zaps: An Underappreciated Symptom Of Antidepressant Discontinuation
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An Underappreciated Symptom of Antidepressant Discontinuation
Alexander Papp, MD,a,* and Julie A. Onton, PhDb
Objective: To describe the characteristics of the electrical phenomena of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome known as brain zaps and their effect on quality of life.
Methods: We examined 595 unsolicited posts made by individuals frequenting a popular lay mental health website. The site was accessed between December 13, 2014, and December 12, 2016, and its content was saved in a text document. The posts had been accumulating on the site since December 2014. These posts were analyzed and separated into 648 separate statements regarding antidepressant intake. Of the statements, 378 contained reference to symptoms experienced in the context of antidepressant discontinuation. These posts were further analyzed for specifics of the medications involved, temporal characteristics of the medication intake, associated symptoms, specifics of the zap experience itself, and effect of the zaps on quality of life. As this was a convenience sample, only qualitative analysis was performed.
Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2018 20:18m02311
To share: https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.18m02311
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