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Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3231
   Posted 10/12/2009 1:35 AM (GMT -7)   
I read that one of the side effects of tapering off of antidepressants is brain zaps. Does it matter how long one is on the medication for?
Joy - 47 yrs and counting; Dx Colitis Dec 06 (also had IBS); Currently in remission.

Figuring out how to reduce a flare or get into remission is a trial and error experience. Don't expect your GI to have all the answers. He was trained in making diagnoses, prescribing medications, and surgically removing the colon. He was not trained in alternative treatments. That's why they are called alternative treatments.

What works for me: Fecal transplantation, Probiotics, Anti-inflammatory foods, No HFCS, No foods high in fructose, No artificial sweeteners, No pro-inflammatory foods when flaring, Vitamins, Lexapro (for stress).

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2859
   Posted 10/12/2009 5:11 AM (GMT -7)   

I understand the dosage and the length of time on the drug plays a part in the withdrawal process.  I was on Lexapro for less than two of those years only 5mgs.  However I am experiencing severe brain zaps and an unrelenting headache daily and I have been totally off the drug for almost two weeks after a four month wean.

That being said, I have a friend who took three Cymbalta pills, couldn't stand the side effects so she stopped taking them and she is going through the same thing I am.

I guess the only answer is, know all the facts before starting these kinds of meds and understand you might suffer disturbing withdrawal symptoms if you don't want to, or can't take them forever.  I had to stop because it ruined my vision...permanently. This, however, is a rare side effect of the drug.


fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/12/2009 6:03 AM (GMT -7)   

Good Morning Joy,

I was on Cymbalta for over a year and did a slow wean off without any brain zaps.  I did feel nasty for a bit and had a headache with some dizziness but not brain zaps.

I agree it depends on each person and what other meds you may be on at the same time.

Take Care,


Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1683
   Posted 10/12/2009 4:15 PM (GMT -7)   

I get the brain zaps regularly and I am well medicated. I absolutely hate it and wish I knew how to make it stop-

Hang in there,

Maz XX

 Co-Moderator Anxiety & Panic- Depression
" Why does society view illness as weakness?" (Montell Jordan)
 'He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.' (Psalm 147:3)
-DX:Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, CFS, Seasonal Depression, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Sinusitis, TMJ, Endometriosis,PCOS, Reactive Arthritis, Anemia, Chemical/Noise/Light sensitivity, Trichotilomania,
-Meds: Zoloft 150mg. Xanax 4mg. Prescription pain meds/anti inflammatories.
-Multiple surgeries- I bear the scars of my poor physical health.
-Age:29. AP first DX @ 10. Fibro etc DX @14.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/12/2009 4:47 PM (GMT -7)   
I was on Lexapro for 8-9 months and weaned off. Had brain zaps bad for about a week. I have been taking fish oil and calcuim everyday and the zaps have gotten better in the last 2days. Not sure if it is the pills I am taking or just time that has made then less frequent. Good luck.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 229
   Posted 10/13/2009 1:36 PM (GMT -7)   
I had never heard of this. I looked it up and it said its electric shock type feelings, along with sweating, tremor, confusion...on and on.
I remember BEFORE I was on any meds, I was in bed and i felt like I was plugged into an electrical socket--lucky that the same thing? It was throughout my body tho.
What do brain zaps feel like?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 419
   Posted 10/13/2009 1:43 PM (GMT -7)   
I have experienced these. It is quite unsettling at first, but once I knew what it was I didn't freak out.

phixgrrrl-mine would feel like a jolt/shock to my brain. I would be driving and it would literally cause my head to move/jump. It's hard to explain but when it first happens you're like WTH was that??
Dee-39yrs old wife/mom of 3 boys UC since 04
Panic Attacks/Depression/fibromyalgia2009-750mg colozal/1,000mg canasa/Rowasa enema) .625mg clonazepam, 6.5mg Lexapro-/Fioricet/Prilosec OTC  Triple Strength Fish Oils/Colonoscopies-5

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