Lexapro "Brain Zaps"

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ediekristen
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 6/17/2008 2:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey everyone.. It's been awhile since I've posted, life has been crazy with moving back home to Florida. I'm glad to be back in the sunshine though even though it has been stressful.

I just had a question for those of you who have gone off antidepressants and experienced withdrawal symptoms...
I've been taking Lexapro for awhile now, I don't even remember how long, and when I moved back from Iowa my PCP gave me a month's worth free samples since I had lost my insurance after quitting my job to move. However, my new insurance doesn't kick in until July 1st and I've now run out.
 
I had started 'tapering' and not taking them every day because I knew I would run out eventually and hoped to extend it and maybe lessen the side effects, but now... I feel a little bit nauseous from time to time and slightly disoriented, and I've been getting these really uncomfortable brain zaps that people talk about... It's like someone is poking my brain with one of those nerve stimulator things, it doesn't hurt but it just feels weird and bothersome. The depression hasn't been much of an issue yet I'm really just wondering if there's any way to subvert these withdrawal symptoms just until I can see a new doctor after the first and get a new prescription!!
 
Hope everyone is doing okay!!

ediekristen
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 6/17/2008 3:45 PM (GMT -6)   
I found this on Wikipedia and it describes it pretty perfectly:

"Brain zaps" are said to defy description for whoever has not experienced them, but the most common themes are of a sudden "jolt," likened to an electric shock, apparently occurring or originating within the brain itself, with associated disorientation for a few seconds. The phenomenon is most often reported as a brief, wave-like electrical pulse that quickly travels across the surface of (or through) the brain. Some people experience these "waves" through the rest of their body, but the sensation dissipates quickly. They are sometimes accompanied by brief tinnitus and vertigo-like feelings. Immediately following this shock is a light-headedness that may last for up to ten seconds. The sensation has also been described by many as a flashbulb going off inside the head or brain. Moving one's eyes from side to side quickly while open has also been known to trigger these zaps and sometimes causing them to come in rapid succession. It is thought to be a form of neuro-epileptiform activity.
Female, 22, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in hip & lumbar region of the spine from long term prednisone use.

Current Meds:
10mg Lexapro (for depression/social anxiety)
Digestive Advantage: Crohn's and Colitis formula (2 pills per day, started 5/14/08)
125mg Azathioprine
4800mg Asacol (Four 400mg tablets, three times a day)
 
 
 


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 34964
   Posted 6/17/2008 4:30 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had that sensation when moving my eyes, didn't know what it was. It is like I can hear my eyes move, I wonder what is causing that. This is the first that I have read about it. Thank you for the information...

Good to see you back...

Hugs, Karen...
  Moderator-Depression
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


Shelter
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 155
   Posted 6/17/2008 4:56 PM (GMT -6)   
I had those zaps when I was on paxil.....
I could hear my brain zapping... maybe more correctly " not connecting" properly like
glitches...
a little bothersome..
and disorienting...

its my experience coming off Paxil.. with drawl was horrid to say the very least
i felt sick.... nauseated
I hurt to the very core of my bones.. and I felt as if " my body was screaming in twisting agony"??
some familiar ?
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their Strength, they shall mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run & not grow weary, they shall walk & not faint..."  Ish   40 v. 31 
~
Sjrogrens Syndrome, Asthema, Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Head aches, Migraines, Gastro Intestinal Problems , Esophegial Spasms;   Fibro Myalgia , Kidney Stones,  & CP (SI joint,   low mechanical back pain..L4 & L5 Vertebrae Misaligned,  Spinal Stenosis and Degenerative Disc Disease, Bulging Disc, anterolisthesis L4 L5L4 -- S1 pain  caused by osteoarthristis ,bone spurs, causing pinching or pressure on spinal chord)


ediekristen
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 6/17/2008 5:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, I wouldn't say it's so painful (yet) although when I took Paxil, briefly, I did definitely have some strange side effects and serious withdrawal problems. I think that might even be the reason I have TMJ now because I could not stop clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth while I was on it!! So I'll definitely never take Paxil again!

It does feel like glitches in the brain though, you're right. I get disoriented and zone out a lot, like I'll just be walking around like at the mall or something and completely not paying attention to where I'm going. Luckily I haven't had this problem while driving!!
Female, 22, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in hip & lumbar region of the spine from long term prednisone use.

Current Meds:
10mg Lexapro (for depression/social anxiety)
Digestive Advantage: Crohn's and Colitis formula (2 pills per day, started 5/14/08)
125mg Azathioprine
4800mg Asacol (Four 400mg tablets, three times a day)
 
 
 


thirstyforchrist
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 416
   Posted 6/17/2008 6:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Been there, kindof still am. I do get these "Brain Zaps" everywhere, even while driving. I've never heard anyone really describe it before. I thought maybe I was crazy. I am on Paxil now and am going to see about changing to a different medication. Has anyone had withdrawl symptoms from Paxil even though they switched to a different AD?
"There is hope for every man, a solid place where we can stand, in this dry in weary land, there is hope for every man... Jesus is hope for every man"  -Casting Crowns


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 34964
   Posted 6/17/2008 7:31 PM (GMT -6)   
I switched from paxil to zoloft with no problem at all.

hugs, Karen...
  Moderator-Depression
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


soontobemomagain
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/21/2008 3:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I have been off the paxil for 2 weeks now, yes i did it cold turkey but I feel more like me off of it even with the withdrawals.  I have been getting the vivid dreams, which I can handle fine, I have a good grip on reality :-)
 
My problem is the brain zaps.  I started the Omega 3 1200 mg yesterday hoping that will help.  Any advice?  Any idea how long it will last or offer anything that may have worked for them? 

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/21/2008 3:31 PM (GMT -6)   

soontobemomagain

Hello and Welcome to the Depression forum and HealingWell.  I am so glad to see you found us. I have read that some of the meds may cause brain zaps for up to 3 months and other ADs don't last long at all.

It is entirely individual for each person.

Hope you stick with us as we love new members.

Hugs

Kitt


 

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
& GERD  Forums
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources


ediekristen
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 10/21/2008 4:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi,

I ended up going back on Lexapro after being off for almost a month and the brain zaps had never stopped in that time period.Some times they were light and barely noticeable, other times it was a very disturbing and annoying feeling. If I go more than three days without taking the Lexapro I start feeling them. I hope the Omega-3 helps you, I've never tried that though it's been recommended I take it for various reasons, maybe I will pick up a bottle.

Female, 23, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in femur head & lumbar spine from long term prednisone use...

Current Meds:
Lexapro 10mg, Sulfasalizine 3000mg/day, Azasan 100mg

 
 


soontobemomagain
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/22/2008 7:19 AM (GMT -6)   
I have only been on the Omega 3 for a few days now and started it because I heard it helped with the brain zaps which have been particularly bad the last couple days, having one as I type actually sad
 
I do not want to take anything else, I was only on paxil for about 5 months, 20mg up until about 6 weeks ago when they upped me to 40mg.  Never should have been on it to begin with. 
 
My fiancee and I plan on trying to get pregnant, and I want to be off the drugs, and clear of the symptoms before we do that so any advice anyone can share would be wonderful.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/22/2008 11:13 AM (GMT -6)   

soontobemomagain

I do not have the information you need but perhaps you physician is the best person to guide you at this point.  I do hope everything works out for you.

Take Care
Kitt


 

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
& GERD  Forums
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources


IHURT71
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 10/23/2008 8:44 AM (GMT -6)   

Hello- I'm a newbie.

My GP put me on Xanax -.5 for anxiety and Peroxitine 20mg (PAXIL) for depression.

It all started in July with anxiety while driving.(That was the reason for Xanax). I only took it when I needed it, never more than 2 pills a day. My symptoms changed and I started having chest discomfort/ pain. Had all the heart tests and blood work and everything checked out OK.  I even brought up Fibro and he said, I don't have that!!

My pain con't in chest & ribs & neck so he felt this was depression symptoms and that was when he put me on Peroxitine(PAXIL). I was on Perox. for 3 days and started having the shock symptoms. I called my GP and he told me its just another depression symptom so I went on taking it for 2 more weeks. I called him at the end of two weeks after having them wake me up during my sleep. It was very scarey!! He wanted me to stop the Perox. right away & change to Citolopram-20mg.I am now completely off Perox.!!

 I got the new med but am too afraid to start them. I read the side affects and the word "shock" is on the Rx sheet. I am weaning myself off the Xanax (with my GP knowledge)as well, since I am not anxious and am down to 1/2 a pill at the most before bedtime to help me sleep. I'm still having those wakeup shocks.He said they'll prob last a week or so.

Has anyone change meds and the side effects are the same?? I  had this happen many years ago and got off everything and threw all my pills down the toilet. I worked through it and got back to feeling better on my own.

 

Any thoughts??

Gail

 


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/23/2008 8:58 AM (GMT -6)   

Hello Gail................

Welcome to HealingWell and we are happy to have you.

The sx you describe sound more like anxiety, however anxiety and depression like to hang together.

I have switched meds in the same categories and different categories and not had the brain zaps so far.

If you still feel strongly that you have a physical problem, perhaps you could get a second opinion.

Again Welcome

Kitt


 

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
& GERD  Forums
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 34964
   Posted 10/23/2008 11:31 AM (GMT -6)   
You might want a second opinion on the fibro. There is something called costrocronditis (sp). It affects the muscles in your chest back and shoulders. It is very painful. Check out the fibro forum and see if anything sounds familiar. Just my 2 cents worth.

Best wishes, Karen...
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


Mahaniac
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/30/2008 7:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Approximately two years ago, I started taking Lexapro for GAD. I started off at 10mg and built to 20mg within a few months. about one month ago, I began experiencing very light and almost unnoticable "zaps" brought on by head and eye movement. My anxiety symptoms started rearing their ugly little heads again and my doctor said that it sounded like the Lexapro was pooping out. He said that's unusual but not completely uncommon, although many of his patients have been on the Lexapro for 6 and 7 years and are still tolerating it with no problems.

His solution was to switch to a 40mg dose of Paxil. So...long story short...I took it for a couple of weeks and it literally did NOTHING for me. I was shaky, my heart was racing, and I was having nightmares on a nightly basis. I was not a happy camper. So then he cut the Paxil to a 20 mg dose. Nothing.

Now he's switched me back to 20mg of Lexapro to try to get me back to something a little more stable before he tries something else. Guess what? The brain zaps kick in about 30 minutes after I take the Lexapro and stay for about 5 or 6 hours...every time I move my eyes side to side. They are miserable because I can't move my head, so things get a little hairy at work.

This is a mess. Are the brain zaps from the Paxil withdrawl? Are they from starting back on the Lexapro at a 20mg dosage after being off for a month? Who knows? It's hard to say, isn't it? Obviously something's really out of whack.

The brain zaps are sheer misery.

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 34964
   Posted 11/30/2008 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mahaniac,

First of all, I would like to welcome you to HealingWell. You have come to a good place. Everybody here is so kind and compassionate and I have heard a lot about the brain zaps. ONce you described the eye movement, it made me think.

I always thought that it was my blood pressure or something. When I move my eyes from side to side, I hear a woosh sound. Is that the same thing? I take effexor, 375mg a day.

I don't know if I am experiencing the same thing as you are, but it is bothersome. Maybe it is my medication instead of my blood pressure. It is almost like I can hear my eyes move.

Let me know if it sounds like the same thing to you. I am sorry that I am not much help, but it seems like you are helping me with this information.

You really truly have come to a good place, I look forward to hearing more from you.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


soontobemomagain
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/2/2008 9:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Ok, this is weird.  Been withdrawal free for nearly a month now after going off the Paxil, however, this past weekend, and maybe it is just the holiday stress kicking in, idk.  I started having the same symptoms I did when I went off the Paxil.  Hands tingly, the brain zaps, not as bad as before but still back after a brief vacation from me.  Is this common?  Anyone else experience this?  I am also getting occasional fairly mild panic attacks, again, probably due to the approaching holidays.  I REALLY dont want to get hooked on anything again like I did on Paxil.  Is there anything out there I can ask my doc about that might not be as hard to get off of?

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 34964
   Posted 12/2/2008 11:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been having similar problems along with anxiety. I think it is due to the holidays and having so much on my mind. But you still should talk to your doctor and see what can be done to help you. Or if it is just situational.

Best wishes,

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


CathyA
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1327
   Posted 12/4/2008 4:48 PM (GMT -6)   
I was only on Zoloft for about 4 months. I had to get off because of the horrible diarrhea. I also developed 24/7 palpitations and feared it was the Zoloft.
Anyhow......I never had brain zaps, but I did have what I would call single "ice pick" headaches. Would that be a brain zap?
When I started coming off the Zoloft, I had what I would call "body zaps". It would feel like all my nerves would just fire at the same time. It would only last a second, but was very disconcerting.
I think for alot of us, there is always a high price to pay for trying the antidepressants, unfortunately.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 12/4/2008 7:35 PM (GMT -6)   

Hello All,

You have all described brain zaps or body zaps.  Please do check with your physician, soontobemomagain.

Stay safe everyone and remember to slow down and enjoy the holidays.  You do not have to be Hallmark Mom's, just be yourself.

Hugs

Kitt


 

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
& GERD  Forums
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources


ymt
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/19/2009 10:08 PM (GMT -6)   
I am glad to FINALLY read what I have been trying to understand since I tapered off 10mg Lexapro about 1 month ago. I could not explain to anyone the feeling of the "brain zaps" in fact, I could not even describe these feelings except for a feeling of electriciity passing quickly through my vision.
I was taking 10mg of Lexapro for GAD and panic attacks and felt fine for the whole 7 months that I had been taking it. No anxiety attacks, no more panic attacks. Felt like I had my life back! I was recently overseas and was running out of the meds so I started breaking the tablets in half as to only take 5mgs daily for 2 weeks and then I started breaking that into halves and was down to 2.5mgs daily until I ran out a week later. I noticed by the time I started the 2.5mgs, that I was feeling anxiety again with the old familar feelings of nausea and depersonalisation. Being without the meds for over 2 weeks, I started getting teh brain zaps when I would turn my head quickly but I couldn't understand what was going on until I started reading these blogs. I thought I was going crazy or that I had a brain tumor when all of that craziness reappeared! I started feeling confused when out in public, sometimes having to leave to get back home, I was feeling like I was not hungry and I felt nausea until I would have to lay down and close my eyes to wait for it to pass. At night, I had been waking up like in the old days at 3 am with rapid heart beat and fear and anxiety and I kne w that I was going to have to go back to my Dc and get back on the meds. I am now back on 10mgs for 3 days now and the annoying brain zaps have stopped and I am not feeling afraid of myself anymore. I never realized that the odd symptoms that I was experiencing while off the meds, were all side effects/withdrawls of getting off the meds until I read thiese blogs. My doctor DID mention that this was a side effect but I had to read it for myself to belive it. Thanks to everyone on here for their support and encouragment. I would love to be med free someday but for now, I have to stay on Lexapro until I feel that the time is right to get off it again.

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 34964
   Posted 1/19/2009 10:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi ymt,

Welcome to the depression forum. I am so happy that you found some helpful information here. Feel free to stick around if you would like. We would love to have you.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


rob303
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/11/2009 3:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Everyone,

I came upon this site now that I'm going through Lexapro withdrawal and googling withdrawal symptoms. My story is that I basically have a history of panic attacks which started when I was about 26 which was triggered by a simultaneous job/relationship/housing change, I am 29 now. I only have a couple attacks per year, however late last year I was having bad panic attacks frequently, especially at the store or bank etc., so I finally went to the doctor. He took my blood pressure and asked me a few questions, and gave me Lexapro samples. I took the first months worth which was samples, then started on my second months worth at $100 for 30 pills.

A few days ago I quit taking it, as I heard from somebody that there weren't withdrawal symptoms and I just didn't feel I needed it anymore. Since then I've had the "brain zaps" which seem pretty common, and I have like major muscular jolts every time I get sleepy enough to fall asleep. The jolts basically feel like my whole body jumps while I'm laying in bed. The "brain zaps" feel more like random parts of either my head or my arms or legs feel like they're being "zapped" by a 9 volt battery, the same feeling as licking one. The brain zaps don't hurt or anything, they actually feel kind of good in a weird way, but they are disturbing nonetheless.

I mainly wanted to post here to warn people against taking Lexapro, as I've had way more many bad side effects even while still on Lexapro than compared to my anxiety I had before. If I could have never taken lexapro before I would never have taken it, it has had a significant negative impact on my quality of life and I feel more people should be aware of this.

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 34964
   Posted 2/11/2009 12:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rob,

Welcome to healing well. I think that you will like it here. I hope that you stay.

Thanks for the information on lexapro, though different people are effected by it differently. It is good to know the negative as well as the positive.

I hope that you stay with us. Feel free to post any time.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

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