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SSRI withdrawal is like being electrocuted


It feels like I’m being electrocuted every time I blink. It’s horrible. It’s been going on for a while, but it’s a thousand times worse now that I’ve stopped amitriptyline completely. It is difficult to sleep, or concentrate on things. Oh well, hopefully it will be over soon.


I am sorry. I had exactly the same thing switching meds 2 years ago and it DOES go away gradually. So just rest when you can and take it easy and give it some time. HUGS


that’s unfortunate @ninjastar. things will get better though!


Do you remember how long it stuck around for?


yeah… it was around a month very intense… 2 months pretty mild and then just disappeared.


I was hoping you’d say a couple of weeks :pensive:


It was like that for me - for you it might be different.


Brain zaps! I’m so sorry, those suck. They do eventually go away.


My understanding is that it is a “cessation syndrome” rather than a withdrawal. My understanding is that in withdrawal, one has cravings to reuse, but in cessation syndrome, that craving is not present.

I went through the cut off from an SSRI and lived to tell the tale. I was such an anxious mess for that time.



Mine is different from most of the people on here in that when I went off prozac I just remember getting super emotional and crying at a burger king because they got my order wrong without knowing why. Don’t know if that is a withdrawal symptom but there you go.


This electrocution phenomenon is commonly referred to as “brain zaps” and a search for that term on the Internet will bring up countless testimonials of the same experience.

Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) was (falsely) marketed within the medico-pharmaceutical industry as a fantastic new SSRI that circumvented these bizarre components of cessation syndrome phenomena, (like was then understood in major drugs like Lexapro [escitalopram]), but in reality has proven to be significantly worse and makes up for a vast majority of these “brain zap” reports.

It’s not a good idea to stop any SSRI without a titration plan. Typically (and conservatively) one should reduce the dose by as little as 2.5-5% every two weeks, which makes quitting “the official way” quite a lengthy process for most.


Yikes I guess I got lucky when I stopped Zoloft. Absolutely nothing happened.


yes - my doc called them brain zaps too.


I’ve been tapering down since before Thanksgiving, which means I’ve been experiencing these brain zaps since roughly then. I’ve gone slowly, but it’s still happening. I think it’s because I’ve been on the med for over three years.


Mr. Star had an idea, and it’s worked wonderfully both times I’ve tried it. When the zaps start getting bad, I lick a 9 volt battery. Getting actually electrocuted shocks my body enough to stop the shocks. Weird, but effective!


I am going through this, presently. I quit taking Prozac 2 months ago, without any side effects except for relentless insomnia.

Luckily, I am taking therapeutic doses of vitamin D, ω-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 (under the direction of a naturopath) and Remeron to alleviate the withdrawal.


I heard that doing that with a battery can kill you if you get the timing wrong (interferes with the heart electrical pulse). Could be an old tale, but thought I’d mention it.


I don’t believe that for one second. Maybe if you have a super weak heart or something, I guess.


Sorry it has been so hard for you ninja.

In the end I had to restart my tablets - was having a hard time coming off them. I admire you for your dedication. J


All the weight I’ve lost so far has been a great motivator. Ten pounds in a month and a half, and going down every day. Also, the possibility of having kids. I tapered much more slowly than you, though. I wouldn’t call restarting a lack of dedication on your part. You did it wrong, and you set yourself up for failure.