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. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    I feel as if I'm always tired and no one can explain why Nd I try to get all the sleep I can get but the zapping tends to prevent it. But then I tend to get some zaps just throught out the day randomly while sitting or walking which is a weird sensation I wish I could control or prevent
  2. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    There are so many different ideas about these "zaps" which I believe (having experienced them and studied them) are type of mini or partial seizure discharge within neurons of the serotonin receptors.

    Remember that a lot of twitches are actually partial seizures arising in the motor neurons. Another type of partial seizure is the tingle (not in the skin) but within a muscle. Similarly partial seizures of the occipital lobe cause flashing lights and strange visual objects.

    The most common cause of many of these "in-head zaps" is the SSRI discontinuation syndrome. Hence drugs which are serotonin reuptake inhibitors tend to be the cause. Also many drugs while not SSRIs, do influence this system, like opiates. You don't actually have to be "withdrawing" from the drugs because continual usage induces partial withdrawal at various times, especially in long term users.

    Also, as TigerLilea suggests it can be a side-effects of menopause because there can be, in some people a downregulation of the serotonin receptors during menopause. Estrogen plays a role in proper regulation of these receptors.

    Because you take SSRI's I would suggest they are the primary cause and their effect is being attenuated by the topamax.

    I do recommend that you start on the following as a preparation for reducing the SSRI in time and it may take some time to get to that point. A magnesium deficiency will make the partial seizures from SSRI withdrawal syndrome more likely and more intense. So your starting point has to be magnesium.

    Magnesium citrate 200mg twice daily for two weeks followed by 400mg twice daily thereafter (this is to ensure you do not get diarrhea, if you do get persistent diarrhea then switch to magnesium threonate or glycinate)
    Vitamin B12 sublingual lozenge 2mg This will assist energetics in your neuron mitochondria.
    Vitamin D3 3000IU daily. You could take 5000IU daily if you believe you are deficient. This will provide neural protection and immune modulation (balance) in your brain.
  3. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    Wow seriously I appreciate all of this more than you know!!! I'm going to go out and get all these supplements to hope that they work for me! In the back of my head I always thought this could be a type of seizure but I didn't know for sure because I never blacked out from them but sometimes The zaps would put me in a daze for a couple of seconds where to me it felt like I could possibly black out but never did. I don't usually experience those types of zaps anymore I just get them consistently everyday for a couple weeks and thwn they can be gone for a couple months.. Do you recommend while I'm taking magnesium to slowly reduce my SSRI prescription medication properly? Or wait for awhile to start trying to titrate that down because it does seem like the cause of this could be related to my SSRI med now that you mention it. Seriously thank you for everything
  4. tamsyn

    tamsyn Member

    For years after getting ME/CFS I had a 'siezure like' activity at night -- next day I would be so sore and exhausted, and my brain felt wired and jittery, vibrating and buzzing -- it was very hard to think coherently. My sleep hygene had always been excellent and i\I'd always slept well...until I got ME/CFS when I couldn't sleep and had this siezuring-type nervous system activity. No supplements of any kind (amino acid, herbal, vitamins, minerals etc ) helped whatsoever. I had not been taking any meds for anxiety or depression so this problem was not a SE of anything -- it seemed to be an ME symptom. I was finally able to get rid of it with 300 mg of Gabapentin at bedtime -- oh, the relief!!
  5. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    tamsyn is correct in saying that some people with ME have suffered some seizure-like problems. However the fact remains that the most common cause of these partial=seizures is neuro-active drugs and that is where I would start looking. Gabapentin was suggested and it is a drug known to reduce seizures. It was developed as an alternative to anti-epileptics. However your "zaps" are not epileptic seizures. You already take topamax. Topamax is topiramate which is an anti-convulsant similar to gabapentin and will have helped to reduce the "zaps".

    I do not think you should start reducing any of your existing medication until you have built up your magnesium to the dose I suggested for at least one month. The reason for this is you will see whether the magnesium is helping reduce the "zaps". Also, once you have built up your magnesium levels you should suggest the reduction to your doctor so s/he knows what you are doing.
  6. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    Thank you I'm going to try the magnesium with my medications as they are now and I scheduled an appointment with my doctor on the 15th of August to see her suggestions as well and share your recommendations. I've tried something I had awhile ago called Celebrex 200mg which is kind of like gabapentin last night and I did not have any zaps! When I've been having them all week I'm going to start the magnesium today and see how this goes. I do have to day that once I started topamax 25mg 7 months ago where I took one pill at bedtime my zaps completely stopped until about a month ago they have returned recently which I don't know if my body was just too used to the 25mg dose and needing more.
  7. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    I think the "zaps" will be irregular though, so they cannot be a reliable day by day indicator of the drugs/doses you are taking. Celebrex is a COX2 enzyme inhibitor so not really anything like gabapentin. Not that celebrex would have no effect. I know nothing about whether celebrex will have an effect on partial-seizures.
  8. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    Yeah I usually don't use Celebrex but I figured I'd give it a shot and just try anything to get rid of these zaps. But today is my first day taking the magnesium I just took 2 tablets and I took a tablet of the b12 as well so I'm hoping this works! I've always been told I've had on the higher end of vitamin d3 in all my bloodwork so I didn't know if I should take that as well? I figured I'd just try these two out and see if them help and I'm really hoping they do!!
  9. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    Good luck with that. It is difficult to know about vitamin D3 based on "accepted" blood levels, there is so much debate. The IOM (Institute of Medicine) recommend blood levels of between 20ng/ml and 30ng/ml. But their estimate is based on research on bone health only. Most immune system and endocrinology researchers and specialists recommend a blood level of 50mg/ml or higher, for example Prof. Walter Willet, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.

    So the higher end could mean either 30ng/ml or +50ng/ml depending on who is interpreting the test.
  10. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    i know i looked up my bloodwork it looks like my level was in the 40's but it was a year ago, i was going to mention to my neurologist when i see her this month the supplements that i started of the magneisum and the vitamin b12 and ask for bloodwork to check those levels but i guess it couldnt hurt to continue taking them. so far no zaps last night when i went to sleep! so thats a good sign. thanks for all your help and feedback i appreciate it so much!
  11. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    Your blood levels of magnesium and B12 will be almost irrelevant because the serum levels are a poor reflection of the intra-cellular levels. It is the intracellular and brain levels which are important. This is partly why such large doses of both of these is required.

    It cannot hurt to take them, neither of these will interfere with your medications and both are totally safe at recommended concentrations (magnesium 400mg-800mg, B12 1000mcg to 2000mcg)
  12. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    Megandoc2 I take it you are in the U.S. If you are in U.K. then the measure of your vitamin D will be in nmol/L. (the difference is a factor of about 2.5 ie. 1ng/ml = 2.5nmol/L)
  13. Nanie46

    Nanie46 Moderator


    It sounds like the Levaquin may have started killing some bacterial infections that perhaps you did not know you had, and the resulting die-off caused severe symptoms. Then, if you were never treated long-term for the chronic infections (I'm thinking perhaps Lyme and Bartonella), you could still have severe symptoms that could get worse over time.

    Electric zaps are a common symptom of Lyme disease, along with insomnia, twitching, pain, burning pain, anxiety, easy muscular injuries, IBS, neurological symptoms, and many others.

    Unfortunately, testing for Lyme is very unreliable. Many people who actually have chronic lyme, have only ever tested negative, including me.

    There have been many, many people from this forum who were first diagnosed with FM or CFS, who later found out that they really had a chronic lyme infection and other tick-borne infections causing their symptoms.

    Please take a look at the symptom lists in these first 2 links:

    The symptom list is on pages 9-11 of the following paper written by a Lyme expert:

    Worth reading:
  14. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    Can I just tell you I happen to read what you posted and currently freaking out because Christmas this year I went to the ER with unexplained flu like symptoms and the worst headache of my life (although I was diagnosed with migraines a year before this) and I was just told I was dehydrated and got fluids and pain meds and honestly since then I don't feel the same.... I read those symptoms too all I do anymore is complain about my vision and my eyes hurting and blurry vision not being able to see like I used too. Always thirsty having weight loss and weight gain and upset stomachs unexplained having terrible insomnia random nights with some nights having horrible vivid dreams having the zap feeling and electrical jolt feeling I feel like since I got those I have short term memory loss and other people notice it... I get angry easily and cry easily and I never did before, do you think this could be related to what you said or am I just freaking out for no reason?? How did you even find out you had chronic Lyme disease I never in my life though recall having tick bites but I don't know...
  15. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    I am in the US... Just checked old levels for my vitamin d- it was at the 50ng/ml also it has been my third day of taking the magnesium and vitamin b12.... I did have a bit of stomach problems once this afternoon it really wasn't too bothersome but didn't know if it needed to be noticed but I kind figured if my body wasn't used to this it would do this on day 1 not day 3? Also just noticed I got these supplements at a drug store over the counter and my magnesium one just straight up says magnesium I know you mentioned some ones with other words after that which I don't see on mine which I don't know if I should get something else. But mine magnesium 250mg I've been taking twice daily. Along with the sublingual b12 2500mcg once a day
  16. IanH

    IanH Active Member

    Hmm that is odd about the magnesium. Magnesium threonate and magnesium citrate are "supposed" to be the best absorbed. However I doubt the differences are very significant except that magnesium oxide is definitely less effective than the other forms.We always use the citrate. Does it not say something in the smaller print?

    Your vitamin D level is unusually normal/good.
  17. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    Oh wow your right... Right in the small print it says the ingredients are magnesium oxide and magnesium stearate. Maybe I should go look to buy the other ones you've mentioned previously
  18. Nanie46

    Nanie46 Moderator

    Hi Megandoc2,

    It is possible that you have tick-borne diseases even though you never saw a tick bite. I never saw a bite either. It is also possible that you have contracted Bartonella from a tick, flea or cat.

    There are also other tick borne diseases such as Ehrlichia and Babesia. Some new strains of Borrelia have recently been identified also. Borrelia burgdorferi is Lyme, and other strains of Borrelia are not considered Lyme, but are closely related and have similar symptoms.

    Many experts also believe that Lyme and other related infections can be spread by mosquitoes, biting flies, fleas and other vectors.

    Protomyxzoa Rheumatica is a recently discovered infection known to be spread by mosquitoes, but many people with Lyme disease have it, so it may be spread by ticks also.

    I actually figured out I had chronic Lyme disease and then I found a Lyme literate MD who could evaluate, diagnose and treat me long-term.

    I had a western blot IgG and IgM from Igenex lab in CA.

    Even though the results were officially read as CDC negative, I had done my homework and I knew that some of the positive and Indeterminate bands that showed up were Lyme specific. 2 Dr's then told me I did not have Lyme, but I knew better.

    I found a Lyme literate MD who did a 6 hour evaluation, lots of lab work and a very thorough history.

    I was diagnosed with Lyme, Bartonella and Rocky Mt Spotted Fever.

    I treated for 3 years and I am about 80% better.

    I recommend finding a Lyme literate MD (LLMD) and getting a good evaluation for many of these infections...not just Lyme disease.

    You can find a LLMD by going to, clicking on "flash discussion", signing up for free, clicking on the "Seeking a Doctor" board and creating a post asking for a LLMD in your state or area. Put the state or area in the title of the post so it can be easily seen.

    Most LLMD's do not take insurance because they treat long-term, outside of the very inadequate IDSA guidelines for short-term lyme treatment, so they are persecuted by insurance companies and other Dr's and medical boards. LLMD's follow the ILADS guidelines for long-term treatment.

    There is a newer test for Lyme that is a culture, unlike other tests that are antibody tests. Many times, people are so sick that they are not making antibodies. Plus, the Lyme bacteria alters the immune system which allows the bacteria to thrive. Different strains of Borrelia often are not detected with standard antibody tests which are designed to detect only one strain.

    Here is info on the Lyme culture test:

    Any Dr could order tests for you, but most Dr's do not even believe that chronic lyme exists. Then if you were diagnosed with it, they would only treat you for a few weeks and claim you were cured. That's one reason why a LLMD is necessary. Most Dr's are very clueless about these chronic infections.

    Lyme disease is called the great imitator because it can look like and be diagnosed as many different diseases such as MS, RA, Alzheimer's, Lupus, ADHD, FM, CFS/ME, and many others.

    Notice what those diseases have in common? ................."no known cause".

    Well, there is always a cause, and often it is infectious. Dr's just have not found the cause or are not looking for the cause.

    We have to do it.

    My adult daughter also has Lyme and Bartonella, She was first diagnosed with migraines, depression, anxiety, trigeminal neuralgia and other things.

    My adult nephew was recently diagnosed with Lyme, Bartonella, Babesia and Protomyxzoa Rheumatica. He had been diagnosed with many things first.....depression, anxiety, Baker's cysts behind knee, back injuries, torn rotator cuff, suspected bipolar illness, and others.

    Those conditions were the results of all those chronic infections, yet mainstream Dr's do not recognize that.

    I hope you can find the root cause of your illness and get better. I'm saying a prayer for you.
  19. Megandoc2

    Megandoc2 Member

    Wow thank you so much for your time and explaining everything... i really appreciate it! and took a read to all of the articles you posted and have been noticing more and more symptoms you mentioned and i saw on the list. i am going to consult my doctor as soon as possible. I do work in the medical field and i do find it frustrating seeing doctors try to cover up so many diagnosis' with the use of medication. i did find most of the symptoms i experienced something like no other and unexplainable- and almost feeling stupid to explain it to people because no one could truly understand. until one night it got so bad i googled it and found this. ive been having these symptoms for a little over 2 years... i dont know if they are getting worse but they are getting more troublesome and annoying. i am only 23 years old and not looking like i want to live like this forever. i am hoping to find some answers.... and i am glad you did!!!! i appreciate everything you said to me and i am going to get some tests done as soon as i can!
  20. Nanie46

    Nanie46 Moderator

    Hi Megandoc,

    You're very welcome. I don't mean to sound pessimistic, but do not expect your regular Dr to know much about Lyme disease, lyme testing and other tick-borne infections. He may agree to do an ELISA (Lyme screen), which is considered useless by Lyme experts (LLMD's).

    The mainstream medical community uses 2 tier antibody testing for lyme. If the ELISA is negative , and it usually is, they don't even bother doing a western blot. Even if they did do a western blot, it would be from a typical lab like LabCorp or Quest, which does not test for all bands on a western blot. They leave out many Lyme specific bands which are tested for at Igenex lab.

    If you read page 7 of the following paper, under the heading "Diagnosing Later Disease", you will see that Dr Burrascano, a LLMD, says that the ELISA is not sensitive enough to serve as an adequate screen.

    The ELISA misses at least 50% of cases of Lyme disease. Even the standard western blot misses many cases of Lyme disease because of the strict criteria set up by the CDC to qualify as a positive test. Then on top of that, they created this test in a way that cannot detect other strains of Borrelia....only one strain.

    My western blot from a standard lab was CDC negative, with only one positive 41 on IgG.

    My western blot from Igenex was read as CDC negative (because the criteria are too strict and limiting and the CDC does not consider many lyme specific bands!), but it showed positives on bands 30, 41, 45 and 56 and an indeterninate on band 31..all on the IgG (meaning past infection).

    Then my Igenex western blot also showed positives on bands 18, 58 and 83-93, and indeterminate on bands 39 and 41 ...all on the IgM (recent or active infection).

    If you look at the link above, on page 7 under the heading "western blots", you will see that Dr Burrascano says which bands Dr B considers Lyme specific. I had many Lyme specific bands show up on my Igenex western blot, that are not tested for through regular labs.

    If I had listened to the 3 Dr's who told me I did not have Lyme, I would never have recovered to where I am today. I had to do this research myself and advocate for myself and find a Lyme literate MD.

    It is unlikely that your Dr will know any of this and will believe that the 2 tier testing for lyme is adequate.

    Then when you get a negative result from the ELISA or standard western blot, he will tell you that you don't have Lyme disease.

    This is why I strongly urge you to find a LLMD or LLND and get a good evaluation.

    There are thousands and thousands of chronically ill people out there with these chronic infections that are not being diagnosed and treated properly. They will never recover because they are being given diagnoses with "no known cause" and therefore the root cause cannot be treated.

    You could tell your Dr that you want a western blot done through Igenex lab in CA and a Lyme culture test through Advanced Labs. You will have to pay for them (Igenex only accepts Medicare) but it is worth the money to get answers.

    You can call or email customer service at Igenex and have them send you a free test kit which has a prepaid fedex label included. The Igenex western blot should be done on a Monday or Tuesday morning at a lab that can prepare the blood and send it out SAME DAY via 2 day fedex. It should not be done later in the week, or it could arrive at Igenex on Fri or Sat and sit for too long.

    Lyme Disease is actually a clinical diagnosis, based on history, symptoms, exam and labs. It should NEVER be ruled out based on just a negative lab test, although this happens all the time, leaving people sick forever.

    Just ask all the people on the Medical Questions board at will hear the same story of seeing dozens of Dr's, getting negative tests and zillions of other diagnoses until they found someone Lyme literate who understood tick-borne infections.

    More good info:

    Please watch this very informative documentary about the unrecognized epidemic of Lyme Disease, called "Under Our Skin":