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Fireworks or Brain Zaps?

What are brain zaps and are they harmful? Read More

What about a feeling of "fine

What about a feeling of "fine broken glass given a shake" inside my skull?
...that's the best way I can describe the sensation, it "feels" like that sound. It's a sensation I get when I've forgotten to take my daily citolopram, like an internal reminder.

It's kinda like my surface of

It's kinda like my surface of my brain "blinks" every know and again, and shakes up the "fine broken glass" on it... that's how I can describe the sensation of the sound of it... weird!!! [and not like glass is cutting me, not at all!]

Brain Zaps withdrawal from Lexapro

I experienced intense brain zaps when tapering off Lexapro. They don't hurt, it's a difficult feeling to describe. It feels like your brain powers off for a second and boots back up. Like a jostling feeling. And yes, moving my eyes from side to side triggered the sensation. I got through it, but it took a few weeks.

I'm back on the Lexapro and feel the sensation when drifting off to sleep sometimes. It's almost like a loud PA system interference sound in my head.

And it happens for how long,

And it happens for how long, the episodes... mine are link a blink or two, and a headache-y 'tightness'... if that makes any sense. They only began, now that I think about it, when I switched after five years on Celexa to Lexapro... occurring when I forgot a dose, within half a day, if I remember correctly. It bothered me enough that I talked to my doc and he swithced meback to Celexa/citolopram (a few years ago), and now it happens at day or so after I've forgotten a dose... my internal med. alarm!

? ...it happened for...?

correction: ...it happened for...?

I still have these after 8 years!!!!

I quit taking Lexapro 7 or 8 years ago. I still get these stupid things when I over-exert myself. It really makes me angry that doctors assume no harm when tampering with people's lives. The only thing I've ever had in this world is my brain, now it's adversely compromised.

No, I don't have the money to do the research. I'm telling you my experience. I have permanent brain damage because of these medications.

Brain Zaps (tremors)

Hi,

I had brain tremors. I took Propranolol 40 mg (twice a day) and I got cured.

You can try the same.

Regards
Nafiz

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms right now

Because of a prescription mixup between myself, my doctor, my pharmacy and my insurance, I have now missed 2-4 days completely of my Effexor. I had very similar reactions when I would miss a dose while on Zoloft. I already have chronic tinnitus (if that is indeed a diagnosable thing) that produces very high pitched background noise (kind of like white noise but with pronounced high pitches).

The first thing that I noticed as I started missing doses recently was the "brain zap" (just found that term today). If I move my eyes from side to side (not always but most of the time) I get three distinct sensations. Audible, tactile and balance. There is the sound... imagine standing at the side of a highway, you can hear the traffic (my tinnitus) but you hear the vehicles much louder as they speed by. Imagine white noise at a low volume, you press a momentary volume switch and the volume increases, instantly, drastically and then returns to normal. The tactile sensation (and forgive me if I am misusing that word) is like a "whoosh" (it is making me nauseous describing this, yet another fun withdrawal symptom) almost like the air pressure of the passing highway vehicle would feel. However, I also get a slight sensation in my feet that I could only describe as a sudden increase in blood pressure or a sudden inflation/ deflation as if my feet where made of balloon rubber. Balance... as I experience the previous two symptoms and if they are sustained (mainly due to eye movement) I will become quite disoriented and slightly dizzy.

I could add more detail but I am sure I have bored you enough and I haven't even touched on the emotional roller-coaster, confusion and epic dreaming I have experienced in the last two days.

I hope this is helpful for someone out there.

I realize you submitted this

I realize you submitted this comment over a year ago, but your description is 100% what I'm feeling nearly a week after taking my final Cymbalta pill. I hope it goes away soon, b/c it's *awful*. I've been calling it "micro-vertigo" -- it's like this insane whoosh of vertigo that happens, along w/ the white noise and pressure in the ears / head (and chest for me). So awful. Thanks for this description....I hope you got through it okay.

I feel EXACTLY the same way.

I feel EXACTLY the same way. I was worried that I was the only one who also felt the whoosh in my head as well as my chest! I'm only on day two of Cymbalta withdrawl but have eliminated Klonopin and Effexor over the last six weeks as well. At moments I have wanted to give in and take a pill but I remind myself about the side effects of these horrible drugs. And I really want to be done with them. Also pretty weepy too! Kerp me updated please.....kathy

I feel EXACTLY the same way.

I feel EXACTLY the same way. I was worried that I was the only one who also felt the whoosh in my head as well as my chest! I'm only on day two of Cymbalta withdrawl but have eliminated Klonopin and Effexor over the last six weeks as well. At moments I have wanted to give in and take a pill but I remind myself about the side effects of these horrible drugs. And I really want to be done with them. Also pretty weepy too! Kerp me updated please.....kathy

I realize you submitted this

I realize you submitted this comment over a year ago, but your description is 100% what I'm feeling nearly a week after taking my final Cymbalta pill. I hope it goes away soon, b/c it's *awful*. I've been calling it "micro-vertigo" -- it's like this insane whoosh of vertigo that happens, along w/ the white noise and pressure in the ears / head (and chest for me). So awful. Thanks for this description....I hope you got through it okay.

I realize you submitted this

I realize you submitted this comment over a year ago, but your description is 100% what I'm feeling nearly a week after taking my final Cymbalta pill. I hope it goes away soon, b/c it's *awful*. I've been calling it "micro-vertigo" -- it's like this insane whoosh of vertigo that happens, along w/ the white noise and pressure in the ears / head (and chest for me). So awful. Thanks for this description....I hope you got through it okay.

I am wondering if either the

I am wondering if either the withdrawal does some sort of permanent damage or the withdrawal is just hideously long.... I had to go completely off of my effexor because my doctor all the sudden decided they weren't going to prescribe it (along with a couple other meds) to me any longer, completely due to mix-ups on their side... Luckily I was able to ween myself off gradually over the course of a month. That was about three months ago and I still get the brain zaps, though they seem more prevalent when I am a little overtired. I truly hope yours goes away. Between the nasty tinnitus and the zaps it's starting to feel like my brain has reached the 1,000,000 mile mark.

effxor symptoms

I know this is an older comment but I have to say I feel exactly the same way. I went cold turkey off my effxor and the nightmare that is still going on is beyone words. You mention nightmares. The first symptom I had was a night terror. Brain zaps, tremors, insomnia, nausia, night sweats, and hunger are just a few of the withdrawl symptoms I have experianced. No one mentioned that I would suddenly develope Hypoglisemia and wake up every two hrs. and have to eat something or my heart beat would be so bad and I would shake like I was freezing. Doctors need to tell you these things. When these stmptoms first happened I thought I was having a heart attack without the pain. From now on when I get a prescription from any doctor I am doing my homework and finding out Everything I can before taking it. I feel for anyone out there having withdrawls from any drug or medication. Do your homework and investigate the medicine and go back to the doctor with it. Avoid the nightmare.

Your Description

You have described it better than I could have... its exactly to a T how I feel when it happens to me (except the feet part... mine just feel like they disappeared)

There are two things I've noticed that tend to make it worse, sudden noise and lights.

Exactly!

So, this is pretty much exactly how I feel but mine is slightly more body oriented. I used to describe the sensation as driving on a deserted road with your window cracked and a mack truck speeds by. A reflection of the whooshing sound and the "pressure change" within my head. But sometimes, and this is horrible, I feel like the mack truck hits my body. Along with the noise, my body experiences a "whoosh" of pressure. It's not painful, just alarming. It makes my whole body jump and it's disabling enough make me wonder how long that actually occurred. And what I looked like. It's especially worse when trying to go to sleep.

Lesser "brain shocks" can be triggered by rapid eye movement.

Along with this, I am experiencing insomnia, coupled by hypersomnia when I do sleep. (In excess of 14 hours, never hearing an alarm.) Incredibly vivid dreams. Awake, I am very spacy and distracted. I also experience short term memory problems. (For example, I want to ask someone something but I feel like I've asked it just a second before. More "real" feeling that deja vu.)

This is my flavor of Paroxotine withdrawal. It starts about a week in. Sometimes, depending on how stressed I am, these "brain shocks" can tell me that I've missed my pill the night before.

Taking Xanax seems to help with the "brain zaps", but not the other symptoms.

I've been on many different SSRI's, particularly the older ones, and I've never had this withdrawal symptom. However, I'm not sure if that has something to do with the medications themselves or the age that I took them, because I was a teenager/young adult then.

careful with xanax!!

Jen, be really careful with the xanax. I have experienced the brain zaps with the anti-depressants. I'm now back on Lexapro after quitting Cymbalta AND xanax abruptly after 2 1/2 years (stupid, long story, but that's what happened). With the xanax withdrawal, I had the more physical symptoms you describe - that would be like a jolt and zap, kind of like when you're on the verge of sleep and something jolts you awake like a bug buzzing in your ear - or is that just me?? Anyway, the xanax ones were after about 10 hours of major illness that was detoxing. I can right now not really take anything for my anxiety other than essential oils or my beta blocker. The jolts from xanax made me feel it was not safe for me to drive while they were happening, and I felt really disoriented. My therapist is not comfortable with me having nothign for anxiety, but I am terrified of going back on anything in the same family as xanax, as the doctor that had me on it had def overprescribed, as we all know is common practice :( My therapist I think (and my regular MD) have a better handle on managing my meds than the psychiatrist did. My insurance had raised the price on cymbalta anyway, and my therapist recommended lexapro for dealing with anxiety and depression combined. I agree, there is not enough research on the side affects and what happens when people try to wean off - admittedly, my running out and quitting abruptly was stupid and dangerous, but ultimately, the clarity I gained was worth it. Xanax was a great help for me, but it was mismanaged I think, both by the doctor and by myself - he was prescribing it to me for both anxiety and sleep. My therapist was the one who pointed out that if I used it for sleep it was going to lose effectiveness for anxiety, and I think the doctor was in a way using it as a way to keep me as a patient, sad as that sounds. I think it's true in many cases tho. So just be careful, and hopefully you have a friend/spouse/family member who can keep an eye on your meds along with your doc. Me, I am going thru a divorce, and isolating is one of my issues, so it was like the perfect storm :( Best of luck to you and take care and be careful!!

Thank you for your concern

Thank you for your concern sweetie. I used to have major panic disorder, and that's why I've been on them. Now I just take the Xanax when I'm feeling like I want to crawl out of my skin, or have bouts of very bad RLS during the night and absolutely cannot sleep, and I'm aggravating the arthritis in my ankles from rubbing my legs on the sheets so aggressively. I usually break up my 1mg's into halves or quarters. On my worst days, I don't think I take any more than 2mg. I write down what I do take because I am on Vicodin as well for IBS and the arthritis. And I am only 28.

I am so sorry you are going through so much and my heart goes out to you. I hope that you can find good social support through this difficult time. I am leaving an emotionally abusive relationship, so I can sympathize.

Best of luck to you as well.

Good Reply Jen

Just reading the word "sweetie" is soothing in this sea of stressful (but necessary) comparisons.

The"Brain Zaps" used to get me when I had a fever in my youth. AS an adult I took SSRI's (Zoloft and Lexapro) without much trouble getting off of them - cold turkey. But that has changed and the "zaps" are directly attributed to SSRI discontinuation syndrome (look it up on wiki). After tapering off Lexapro for 3 weeks they are still around, especially when eyes shift, or sharp changes in light or even sound. I don't know if they have weakened or if I am getting used to them. Still uncomfortable enough for me to reach out. :)

I hope they don't last much longer but I have to see this through. No one ever comes back to report that they have passed? So there's no idea how long it should take. I read somewhere - normally 2-3 weeks, or 2-4 months...

What I've read helps:
1. Omega 3
2. Vitamin B (B12 specifically)
3. Hydration - did notice after cola or coffee they hit harder
4. Multivitamin - makes sense since vitamins depend on each other to absorb properly.
5. Sunglasses!

Budaproprion - Anyone on this have the "zap" sensitivity? I've started on this twice and both times these zaps so it might be a coincidence. Hope so.

Thanks.

*update*

Zaps finally went away - 4 months later. They were distractingly bad for about 8 weeks, then became less noticeable for the next 4 weeks until finally I cannot trigger them - 4 months later.

They were worse when I had little sleep, and nothing seemed to relieve them, though the vitamin B & multi vitamin seemed to help. Omega 3's - no noticeable difference for me.

Also - moving from SSRI to Wellbutrin might have prolonged the withdrawals - I don't know. They just seems to feel like small seizures so I attributed them to Wellbutrin.

Hang in there everyone, they fade and go away eventually.

Thanks so much for updating

Thanks so much for updating on your symptoms Dave! Many people share about the withdraw sytmptoms, but few report when they diminish. You have given me hope that my symptoms will go away in time. That is a wonderful gift you have given me - thank you!

I've been having these brain

I've been having these brain zaps since I started on a low dose (20mg daily) of citalopran about a year ago. I usually get them when I am either falling asleep or waking up. I am now tapering off citalopram and am getting them during the day also. Sometimes one but usually multiple in a row. They only occur in my head and don't cause any problems with other parts of my body. I also have tinnitus and they inturrupt the buzzing momentarily as they are zapping but the tinnitus returns thereafter. They don't hurt but they do bother me as I wonder what is going on. I'm hoping they go away after I've dicontinued the citalopram. Wishing someday ther will also be a cure for the tinnitus!!!

nice share

very useful information we got here, hope someday it can help me..thanks
http://tinnitusmiracleg.com/

Brain flickers

That's my term for them. It happens if I am going off a med or if I miss a dose. I call them flickers b/c they remind me of that visual - usually in a black and white artsy film, of a single naked light bulb flickering and buzzing. Another (and I thought ingenius) description from one of two people I know who experience them - 'it's like being a robot who's battery is running low, and you're about to power off...' They tend to drastically increase my anxiety, and it freaks me out to realize that my brain chemistry is being changed to such a degree. I've experienced this with Lexapro, Cymbalta, Strattera and Topomax. They also make me want to quit taking the meds :(

I sleep with earplugs and

I sleep with earplugs and never put the "brain zap" thing together with what I was experiencing until recently. We had heavy construction done for a long time where I live and always thought the noise I was hearing was the construction. Wrong. Long after that, I have the shaken broken glass thing going on in my head usually when sleeping and especially in the morning. I'm on 20mgs Paxil daily(7yrs.) and I feel like I'm part of a brain zap community. Yep, count me in as a member.LOL

P.S. Yes, I also have tinnitus which is constant, but hey, I'm not depressed anymore!

I sleep with earplugs and

I sleep with earplugs and never put the "brain zap" thing together with what I was experiencing until recently. We had heavy construction done for a long time where I live and always thought the noise I was hearing was the construction. Wrong. Long after that, I have the shaken broken glass thing going on in my head usually when sleeping and especially in the morning. I'm on 20mgs Paxil daily(7yrs.) and I feel like I'm part of a brain zap community. Yep, count me in as a member.LOL

P.S. Yes, I also have tinnitus which is constant, but hey, I'm not depressed anymore!

brain shivers or jolts

experienced the worse one by far last night and is now 11:30 pm and I am still feeling the pain from the severity of the "jar",..so hard that I felt my head snap back.,..Tonight as I type this my temples and entire skull are feeling like I have been in some sort of accident....I hate to think of coming off of my cymbalta 30 mg per day,..because of all the crying I used to do before cymbalta,..it has truly been a miracle drug for my depression and fibromyalgia....sometimes I forget to take my dosage or intentionally skip a couple days just not to feel so dumbfounded,.I had skipped 3 days straight before sunday nights major brain jolt....hope I'm not damaged in anyway because I have to wait a few days to go to the dr,...untill my insurance kicks in.

Ear & brain vibrations/shivers/zaps/etc.

Thought I could taper myself- WRONG! I describe the jolts as shivers in my ears- it is like the sensation of getting goosebumps in your head- they are quick, you can hear a whoosh, you can feel a vibration. Have been 3 days without any meds & cannot deal with the shivers any longer- headed out to pharmacy now! I also have the turning of the head thing where it feels like the brain takes a minute to physically move with the rest of you head when it turns. Not fun. Don't make the mistake of doing it on your own. Wish I had looked online first!

brain zaps

I am taking Cipralex (Lexapro) but only 5 mg. per day. Psychiatrist prescribed 10 mg., but I dont like meds, so I never went beyond the 5mg. Whenever i forget my half a pill, or when I try to taper off, I get the brain zaps, which feel more like the twings of a guitar string than anything else. it is not that bad, certainly not now that I know others have them too. What is worse is that without the Cipralex I get a sort of ïnner trembling"again that I had before I got the prescription, and I get bad dreams, nightmares. It is as if the SSRI keeps these anxieties away, but it doesnot solve them, and without cipralex they come back with a vengeance. I would like to stop totally, because i feel the Cipralex is affecting my memory, especially my short time memory. Does anybody else have that effect from Cipralex (Lexapro) or any other SSRI? I do believe sports, group therapy and support from friends are better agswinst depression, than pills. But has enoguh steadfast friends??

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Jean Pollack, Ph.D., is a psychologist, life coach, mediator, and author.

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