← Return to Brain Zaps after tapering off anti-depression medication

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Hi @dablues, I am sorry that you are dealing with such discomfort. I know that @jh31251, @texasduchess, @sheffieldsmith, @rwinney, and @cp6401 have experienced tapering off of anti-depressants/anxiety medication.

One of the Connect members in the past mentioned weaning off of her medication (Effexor) for depression and suggested the following tips which I think might be helpful during your search for an answer.
1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

There are a lot of people that experience "brain zaps" when tapering of anti-depressants at a rapid rate. How long ago did you wean yourself off of the clonazapam and how long was the intermission before starting it back up?

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Replies to "Hi @dablues, I am sorry that you are dealing with such discomfort. I know that @jh31251,..."

I realize some people are able to stop medications much quicker than than others. But unless you’re one of those people I wouldn’t count on withdrawals being over in four weeks if you’re even having withdrawals. The majority of the time withdrawals are avoidable.
Wishing you the very best of luck,

I've haven't been on this site for a very long time. You mentioned a past member who weaned herself off of Effexor. I don't know who you were talking about, but I weaned myself down from Effexor.
I've been on Effexor for many years. Throughout the years and due to circumstances, I was up to 150mg in the morning and evening. I was having lots of memory issues as well as weight issues and keeping my moods even. When my psychiatrist left her practice, I decided it was time to reduce the amount of Effexor I was taking. I knew, after being in this group, that cold turkey was not an option.
Here is how I did it.
I started with my PM dose (and when I did my AM dose, I did it the same way).
1. I was taking 2 tablets. I removed 1/4 of 1 tablet. I took 1 3/4 tablet every other night for 3 weeks.
2. After 3 weeks, I took 1 3/4 tablets EVERY night for 3 weeks.
3. Then I removed 1/2 of 1 tablet. I took 1 1/2 tablet every other night for 3 weeks.
4. After 3 weeks, I took 1 1/2 tablets EVERY night for 3 weeks.
5. I continued the pattern until I was down to 1 tablet in the PM.
6. I remained on this dosage for about 3 months before I attempted my AM dose. I also wanted to make sure I didn't have anything planned away from home just in case.
7. After the 3 months, I started on my AM dose. I followed EXACTLY the same pattern.

NOTE: I had it planned that IF I had a bad reaction, even once in the 3 weeks, I would remain at that dosage for an additional 3 weeks. However, I must admit that with this plan I had NO reactions at all!

When I got a new psychiatrist (because I needed meds) he wanted me to not do anything without him. When I told him how I did it, I asked him how he suggests. Like most docs, IN MY EXPERIENCE, he weans much to quickly! I have managed to reduce my dosage 50%. It was never my intention to come off the Effexor. I know I need meds and Effexor has been the only med that has worked for me.

I have Clonazapam for emergencies ONLY. I was told by a previous doc that it is not a daily, long term drug.

Good luck!
GrandmaR (Ronnie)

I just got off Lexapro I tapered down very slowly .5mg at a time over a period of 4-5 months and now the brain zaps are starting to get very irritating, and wondering if there anything to do the alleviate them, they seem sit be worse at night.