Try To Sleep But Zap Keeps Me Awake? What The Heck Is This?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by joeb7th, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. joeb7th

    joeb7th New Member

    I often have almost complete insomnia and during these worst nights...I just about fall aslepp when I get this "zap" electrical jolt feeling in my head and it totally wakes me back up!

    It's like an electrical charge just bolts into my head. Like someone flicked a light switch for a split second. It really feels like a zap. An electrical charge. Very quick and short but man, does it ever totally shock me back into the wake mode.

    It is so bizarre. It's like my nerve system does not want me to sleep.

    Could someone please tell me what this is? I have had this unprecedented zaping off and on since the first week all this started last Dec. 10th, 2005! I can get this electric zapping in the head anytime I try to sleep, night and day.

    All my nightmare illnesses and weird body feelings started when I started taking a powerful antibiotic called "Levaquin" on Dec. 10, 2005. Within the first 24 hours my entire body exploded into these unprecedented symptoms...shoulder, arm and hand burning pain. Cold numb hands... legs twitching, insides haywire and bladder acting weird. Jolts of pain and nerve twitching all over. Total insomnia, anxiety to the max. Feeling so chilled I couldn't believe it...then hot. One year of these symptoms and so many others. Incredible. Torn rotator cuff, fractured vertabrae,joint and muscle pain and weakness...ankles at night so torturous in pain, knees during day so painful, tendonitis, gastro problems...nerve system feeling so haywire can't even explain it, you name it.
  2. musikmaker

    musikmaker New Member

    This zapping feeling can be caused by meds like Paxil. Many people who try to quit these meds cold turkey really experience this.

    I take both paxil and cymbalta and I experience the zaps periodically.

    The way you started your illness is how I bursted into my last flare. My entire body exploding. It was unreal. Mine happened in November 2004. I am still struggling with the impact of the flare but am slowly improving.
  3. spiritsky

    spiritsky Member

    u might want to try taking some GABA before bed. 500 to 1000mg. GABA is natural and is the bodies natural way of preventing seizures. The balance of GABA and Glutamine is important. With too much Glutamine and not enough GABA u will get siezures. Western diets are often very high in glutamine, especially if you eat a lot of processed foods or mono sodium gluamate (MSG). U can also get seizures from to much aspartate. In this case Glycine and Asparate need to be in balance. Some people get seizures from drinking soft drinks laced with aspartame. Make sure you cut out anything you drink that has aspartame, and no sugar substitues either that contain aspartame. Good luck
  4. mrdad

    mrdad New Member

    I experience the same "jolts" and have for many years
    with an increase in intensity. Mine, however, are mainly
    in the Chest although all heart exams prove negative.
    Started long before ever doing ANY meds and the Docs have
    no idea what to make of it. Happens as I'm "dozing" off to
    sleep or are asleep. Seems very automatic in a less then
    conscious state. I Ain't dead yet??? No matter what my
    Friends think!

    Hope Santa brings us lots of great Junk!!
  5. joeb7th

    joeb7th New Member

    One of you mentioned "seizures?"

    Are these seizures? How scary? I do eat a lot of Stouffers type TV dinners microwaved. I don't drink soft drinks at all.

    But as the last poster said...just as I get into that between sleep and awake mental state these occur.

    So, are they seizures? And if so...why am I having these and can they ever go away? Am I heading towards worse ones?

    Man, so many scary things now since I got this nightmare back in Dec.2005.
  6. mrpain

    mrpain New Member

    the same question about antidepressants... I know some people who gets the zaps due to antidepressants. Pull it up on google and you can read tons of stories like that..
    There was even a class action law suit in California due to Paxil you can read about..It also talks about the zaps..
    So that is why I was wondering if you took antidepressants?
  7. shar6710

    shar6710 New Member

    This is exactly what I went through off and on for almost three years. And I did it before I started on 50 mgs of Trazodone to help me sleep.

    I haven't had any problems with it since I started on Mirapex for RLS.

    If you have trouble sleeping you should have a sleep study done. It might help pinpoint the problem.

    Goood luck,


  8. Dixie_Amazon

    Dixie_Amazon Member

    Effexor affected me that way.
  9. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic New Member


    I was wondering about this too. If I understand this correctly, it says that this occurs when the brain chemicals are re-adjusting from the effects of brain chemical altering medications.

    Brain shivers, also known as "the electric brain thing", "battery head", "brain zaps", "Blips", "Effexor shocks" or "brain spasms", are a rare but notorious withdrawal symptom of certain antidepressants.

    Paresthesia and "electric shock sensations" are clinical terms used to describe this symptom.

    It is most commonly associated with venlafaxine (Effexor), duloxetine (Cymbalta) and Lexapro, but has been reported with other serotonergic antidepressants as well (e.g. paroxetine, bupropion, and sertraline).

    Many medical professionals are still unaware of the possible occurrence of this effect.

    Tranylcypromine (Parnate) used at high doses is also known for severe brain shivers, which may in some cases start at the base of the spine and progress to the head, or may occur exclusively in the head.

    The effect appears to be almost unique to those antidepressant chemicals that have an extremely short half-life in the body; that is, they are quick to disappear completely.

    This attribute of abruptness leaves the brain a relatively short time to adapt to a major neurochemical change when you stop taking the medication, and the symptoms may be caused by the brain's readjustment.

    There is no evidence that the shivers present any danger to the patient experiencing them.

    "Brain shivers" 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 in the brain itself, with associated disorientation for a few seconds.

    It is sometimes accompanied by brief tinnitus and vertigo like feelings.

    Immediately following this shock is a light-headedness which may last for up to ten seconds. It is thought to be a form of epileptiform activity [1][2].

    Some have suggested the experience resembles a "funny bone" except that it shoots through the entire body, starting from the head.

    It is frequently initiated by sudden eye movement, and is often perceived as unpleasant. The effect may be similar to drunkenness without any cognitive loss.

    Driving with brain shivers is not advised[3]. The sensation can be described for many as the feeling of a flashbulb going off inside the head or brain, coupled with a sudden sensation of pressure within the ears which is similar to the feeling of trying to relieve inner-ear pressure.

    As withdrawal time increases, so does the frequency of the shocks, before they wane completely.

    At their peak, "brain shivers" have been associated with severe headaches.

    They may last for a period of several weeks after the last dose, but usually resolve completely within a month. However, the effect may only last a few days.

    There is hypothetical and anecdotal evidence that Omega 3 supplementation can be very helpful to alleviate the symptoms of brains shivers.

    The suggested action if one experiences this while withdrawing from antidepressants is to slow the tapering process.

    Like any withdrawal effect, this should be reported to the prescribing physician.

    Brain shivers are also commonly experienced following periods of heavy use of the drug MDMA (ecstasy).

    Anticonvulsant medications such as gabitril are often used as treatment.

  10. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    If you are starting a new antidepressant, it is best to start off at a low dose to give your body time to acclimate. You can also get these zaps if you forget to take a dose one day.

    I'd tell your doctor. Maybe you need Clonazepam in addition to your antidepressant. You take this right before you go to bed.

    you may need to do a sleep clinic evaluation.
  11. BobinGermany

    BobinGermany New Member

    I have been on Paxil for several years and if I miss a day or 2 without them I get the "zaps". Like you, it scared me quite a bit. Are you coming off of an anti-depressant? <sp> I have heard from many people coming off of anti-depressants experience these. No, they aren't seizures.

    Hope you feel better soon and Merry Christmas!
    [This Message was Edited on 12/24/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 12/24/2006]
  12. apl

    apl New Member

    I have had these too, and it's torturous...just when I am falling asleep, I will get a jolt, either from my stomach/adrenal gland/kidney area that travels up to my head (accompanied by what I can only describe as a spasm in that region), or a jolt or zap directly from my head.

    My whole body has intense pain and a sudden stress-like seizing up of my internal muscles. All of it involuntary, and I have had nights where this happened dozens of times to countless times, every time I started to fall asleep.

    This symptom was really bad when I was taking Ultram, and I had to stop taking it in case that was part of the problem. I still get them now, but not as frequently or as long in duration (maybe happens 10 times in a night when it occurs).

    I have not ever taken Paxil, and am not on any anti-depressants or the like. My suspicion is that it is another symptom of CFS and/or FMS which can be exacerbated by certain drugs or over-exertion or other triggers.

    I thought I should add a distinctive characteristic aftereffect of the zaps, which is my brain feels physically fatigued and like it's been wiped out. I get very dizzy and disoriented, it's very hard to describe. I'll try to explain it better at a later time.[This Message was Edited on 12/27/2006]
  13. joeb7th

    joeb7th New Member

    Besides the brain zaps...From one degree to another I am always slightly dizzy or really dizzy. It makes walking difficult..even standing still must hang on to something.

    Even get this sitting on the computer.

    Also, I was taking Lexipro for a few months but stopped 4 months ago.

    So many weird "but REAL" symptoms.

    Always scared, depressed and frustrated because not only are these symptoms debilitating but they just won't go away! The thought of having these for the rest of my life is almost impossible to take.
  14. sohappy7

    sohappy7 New Member

    I ocationally get the zaps, but my body too refuses to let me sleep. It's almost like the ability to sleep left me. This has happened since my cfs has gotten worse. All of these weird symptoms are mind blowing and you wonder what they will manifest themselves to be when you wake up? I pray to God that this doesn't last forever...because I can't imagine this forever either!
  15. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    About 5 years ago i was diagnosed with anxiety and was giving lexapro 10mg and had been taking it pretty consistently for about 5 years now. About 2 years ago I was diagnosed with insomnia and was just thrown Ambien 10mg at me and I've been taking that basically everyday for 2 years (which is not something I want to take life long either!!!!) but anyways and then I was diagnosed with migraines and saw a neurologist and was giving a daily medication to try out and at first taking those together those together was fine until I started to notice minor zaps and electrical jolts like all of you describe so it felt like they came from my brain so I decided to see my neurologist and she decided to have me stop the migrane med she gave me first because it also was giving me low blood pressure so I've been on a new med topamax 50mg nightly and all my zaps and jolts were gone until they would come back randomly a couple months at a time when I would be really tired and really needed sleep they would keep awake and make my heart race until I finally calmed down and they went away and I could sleep but it happened to me from time to time.

    I want to know what I'm doing wrong if I'm spin anything wrong any meds that could react and cause the zaps cause I won't but I wonder if there is a way I can prevent them or make them stop right away I can't like this. Seeming to get worse when it's hot outside of just at night when I'm really tired. I'm glad I'm not the only one that gets these I thought I was crazy I just want them gone lol thank you
  16. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    These zaps are very disturbing. I had them for nearly two years. The cause was opiates. However like you, even when I stopped the medication the zaps continued. I was taking a few supplements at the time but decided to increase my magnesium citrate from 200mg to 400mg twice daily. The zaps stopped within two weeks. I increased other supplements too as part of the mitochondrial support regime but I am quite sure it was the increase in magnesium which got rid of them.

    The topiramate (topamax) will have reduced them because it is an anticonvulsant however it probably will not get rid of them completely. I take it you are now on: lexapro, ambien and topamax.

    Have you tried to take any supplements at all? If so which? You may be able to reduce or even eliminate these drugs with a good nutritional/supplemental regime.
  17. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    No I haven't tried any supplements I haven't even thought about that option! I would love to stop all of the medication I am on I feel as if I don't even need them but find when I try to stop them my zaps get worse and it's hard for me to afford having multiple sleepless nights this is just not how I want to live forever or even take all of these medications forever. I was young and felt like certain medications were just thrown at me to try to cover up some symptoms I thought I had until it was too late and felt like my mind and body were adjusted to accustomed to taking them. Now that I work in the healthcare field I just wish I never took any of these meds and just sucked it up haha and I feel as if when I try to explain the zapping sensation people can't relate or don't even understand what I'm talking about to try to help me prevent them
  18. Tiber2011

    Tiber2011 Member

    It could be related to sleep hygiene.

    Do you get super-tired in the day?
    Your body might be falling asleep too fast. It'll try to correct itself naturally by zapping or jolting you awake.
  19. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    I don't know how old you are, but could you be going through peri/menopause right now? These zaps are very common as women's hormones are fluctuating in menopause. I went through this for a couple of years on and off. Once I was post meno the zaps went away.
  20. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    I'm only 23 I feel like I'm too young to be experiencing all of this haha it seems to be related to my sleep because I tend to be tired all the time and would go to doctors all the time for fatigue and no one could tell what was wrong. The zaps seem to happen alot when I'm really worn out and haven't gotten a good nights sleep- but I seem to be trying to force my body to sleep when I can and I try to get Atleast 8 hours but that tends to be pushed back by the zaps