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The Brain Zaps Do Stop!


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#1 Zapless

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 01:47 PM

Hello all,

I'm a 30-year-old man from Ireland who was on Cymbalta for 5 years. I quit cold-turkey recently and of course, after a day or two, the mighty brain zaps began. With this horrible experience, along with a few other sides such as agression, irritability and headaches, I decided to have a look on here to put my mind at ease. I was very curious as to how long this all would last. I found many topics that described the brian zaps, how horrible they are, and that I was not alone etc. However, to my surprise, I couldn't seem to find any topics with someone actually saying that their zaps had stopped and how long it took. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough. Anyway, I was (like many of you reading this right now having very paranoid feelings and asking myself questions like "Will this last forever??".

I am here to tell you the answer is NO. It will not last forever.

Of course, I'm only speaking from personal experience here, but I've been off this poison now for 3 weeks now and the zaps have indeed ceased. They actually went away after about two weeks to be honest. Also, the agression has been greatly reduced and the headaches are also a thing of the past. Oh, and my sexdrive is through the roof!:) All that remains is my mood which has dropped quite considerably, but that's understandable. I have to wait for my brain to "catch up" and learn how to produce seritonin naturally again, but I have high enough hopes for this.

So, for those of you who have just quit and are going though the same experience I did, just know that there IS hope. Don't give up. Just slug it out and believe me, it will be worth it. As annoying as the dip in my mood may be, it's nothing compared to the lush feeling of being human again. That's right, I can FEEL again.

Good luck, get well and stay safe.

Z.

#2 Imdone

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 02:54 AM

Good to hear from you Zapless. That's important info to relay. Also, I compliment you on your attitude. I like that you said "just slug it through." That's right, we've just got to slug it through and the end prize is being able to feel again. I also like that you realize the mood dip is temporary, and a side effect of getting off the drug, and not just your old problem coming back. So important to realize that. I'm experiencing a bit of mood dip right now and it is really hard to realize it is the withdrawal and not the original problem coming back.

#3 Unfathomable

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 10:10 AM

Thank you for this post. I am experiencing my first excruciating and terrifying week of withdrawal. It is heartening to read anecdotal evidence that the debilitating paresthesia ('brain zaps') will eventually subside.

I encourage other survivors of this horrific drug to share with those of us who are still struggling.

Thanks again.

#4 Imdone

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:03 AM

Unfathomable, it doesn't have to be so horrific. If you taper at the rate of 1mg/day (ie, getting off 30 mg in 30 days, 60 mg in 60 day), your withdrawal symptoms won't be so bad. I have gone from 90 mg to 70 mg in 20 days, with no horrific withdrawal, only some fatigue. See elsewhere on this site on how to withdraw slowly. Cold turkey is not recommended for Cymbalta.

#5 ExCymbaltaUser

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 06:52 PM

of course in a perfect world, a long taper is the preferred methodology, but sometimes cold turkey happens, sometimes it's stupid doctors, financial issues, poor planning, or, an episode of crazy.

the point is, that when it does happens, its important to have information about what's happening in the reality you are stuck in for whatever reason.

i have been tapering since April much more slowly than my pdoc recommended. he wanted me to go from 120mg to 0mg in a matter of weeks. i got to 10 mg last week having had only minor hiccups along the way, and then out of the blue had withdrawal side effects so sudden and irrational, that i dumped the remaining cymbalta, saying well, if I am going to flip out tapering, lets just get it over with. i was not in my right frame of mind because of the withdrawal rage. even if i hadn't done that, i would not have had the time to taper 1 mg at a time because my insurance dropped cymbalta from it's formula and wouldn't cover it after May 1. I had only so much cymbalta to work with because i can't afford $650.mo prescription, but we make too much money to get assistance.

ruminating and beating myself up for what i should have done and can't go back and change is no help. that only makes me feel even worse than i already do from the withdrawal.

what helps is hearing that there is hope. that this misery is not without end, and that my brain will stop feeling like a beat up piece of meat spinning around of it's own accord in my head.

thank you for this.

#6 Imdone

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:42 PM

Hey ExCymbalta....

I'm so proud of you for slugging through. It must have been Hell. I guess it still is. Good luck to you for the end of it and keep us posted of your progress. If you find you can't quite get off that final bit, I've heard taking fluoxetine (generic Prozac which is cheap) can help ease one thru it. Not that I recommend taking any more meds. When I'm done with Cymbalta, I am done with this crap! I am pleased to be able to take it slow over 90 days. I had to take a one-week break from my tapering due to an important work obligation which I need my full faculties for.

And yes, There is hope! You will feel normal again!

#7 Unfathomable

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 12:07 PM

I am now six days off (cold turkey after a year of 30mg daily) and it would seem that the withdrawal symptoms are increasing and diversifying.

I have general flu-like head and body aches, diarrhoea, weakness, sore throat and coughing amongst other ailments.

However it is the brain zaps that are most debilitating. It is difficult to gauge any potential shifts in moods or decision making as I am primarily most agitated by the constant pain and discomfort of these shocks. Every two seconds. I am sick of my teeth and lips feeling as if electricity is being charged through them. I am sick of walking in public and feeling as if I am about to pass out at any moment. I am sick of losing vision and and hearing every time these 'zaps' occur.

Unbelievable.

I am trying to rest as much as possible, eating as much as I can stomach and taking vitamin supplements (multi, fish oil and zinc) several times daily.

Hoping this calms down to becoming somewhat manageable within the next week.

It is increasingly difficult to keep these experiences in perspective when interacting with others. Our society is structured so that it is undesirable to mention a reliance on anti-depressant medication, impossible to communicate a desire to cease such reliance.

Very unhappy with my most recent interactions with mental health professionals.

Please excuse the rant. I am exceptionally grateful for the existence of this forum and its contributors. Hope to post more positive updates within the next week.

Thanks.

#8 Imdone

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 08:32 PM

Unfathomable, it doesn't have to be that way, unless you are in a colossal hurry. I presume you have read elsewhere on this site about the many of us who are doing very slow tapering with little or no side effects. I would say the kind of side effects you are having are intolerable. You got off too fast?

I am grateful as hell this site is here too because it is here that I read about tapering the "slow" way. I already went thru the "fast" way myself and got depressed and had to go back on. This time I am determined to get off.

Yes, people who don't take AD's don't understand. But the people here do understand.

I agree with you about mental health professionals. I am "as done" with them as I am "done" with Cymbalta and other psych meds.

#9 ExCymbaltaUser

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 05:45 PM

I agree with you about mental health professionals. I am "as done" with them as I am "done" with Cymbalta and other psych meds.


amen.

#10 beagals

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 08:03 PM

I have weaned slowly off cymbalta. From 90 to 60 to 30mg for one week then my DR had me start Strattera 18mg. I have done a number of illegal drugs in my past and am familiar with withdrawal process. It irks me that DR acts like he has never heard of withdrawal from cymbalta and if it weren't for this forum I might have thought I was losing it. I have a very supportive husband and a 2 year old who are bi=oth catching the brunt of this withdrawal "trip". I have felt many times like I am on an acid trip. Brain zaps are a constant and I am all over the place emotionally, Yelling at my llittle girl over nothing. I finally sent her to stay with her godmother for about 5 days hoping that I would be better before she came home. Wrong! It is definately worse before it gets better. Now I am having leg cramps and feel like I have the flu. Brain zaps may hve let up slightly. When I am haveing them I have trouble talking or thinking until they subside. I just hope it doesn't go on for weeks. PLEASE!!!

#11 Imdone

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 07:34 PM

Beagals, Sounds like you went off Cymbalta in 3 weeks? That is actually fast, not slow, and would explain all the symptoms you're having. Drs are very ignorant of how bad getting off Cymbalta is, mainly I think because getting off some other meds isn't so bad. Cymbalta is one of the worst.

I would suggest you get off using the method explained here: http://www.cymbaltaw...h__1#entry20147

I would like to suggest a book to you about how evil all these psych and ADHD meds are: "Anatomy of an Epidemic" by Robert Whitaker.

#12 MichelleMBurke

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 12:09 PM

I am so glad to hear that the brain zaps don't last forever! I cannot stand it! I hate this medication with a passion and I cannot wait until I am totally free of it. I would not recommend anyone take it

#13 BetsyF

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 05:39 PM

My husband lost his job and I couldn't stomach the $800 a month to continue with COBRA so I started weaning myself down off my bottle as soon as I heard the news. I was able to drop down to 10mg per day and then ran out, and have been off for a week - with the same brain zaps, aggression, noise intolerance and flu-like symptoms everyone else has experienced. I was hoping that after a week, it'd start getting better, but each day is just as hard as the last. And just 4 months ago, I weaned off 3 years of serious pain meds!!

#14 CymbaltaSucks

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 05:12 PM

I stopped cymbalta 60 mg daily, which I'd been taking for 1 year, using a slow taper with prozac to reduce withdrawal side effects, mainly the brain zaps. It has now been over 8 weeks, and I continue to experience brain zaps on a daily basis. The zaps are so bad that I get them when turning my head or even moving my eyes. I think this medication may have caused permanent brain damage. The funny thing, is that my MD started me on cymbalta after I told her how terrible it was for me to stop effexor due to brain zaps. She said cymbalta wouldn't be half as bad. She was right....turns out it's actually twice as bad.

#15 leonajayne

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 04:25 PM

Hi I am a 33 year old lady who has been taking cymbalta for around a year now, i was previously taking prozac for 9 years but felt they no longer worked for me and thats when cymbalta was recomended... THIS WAS THE WORST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE!!! I really want to get off these but the fear i have is putting me off, i have on a few occassions missed my cymbalta for 1 day and the effects are terrible... the brain zaps and the anxious feeling i have makes me feel like im going insane, after doing lots of research i see i am not alone which is a relief... I also am considering just stopping taking them but know i will end up so low that i wont leave the house ever, cry every day blaa blaa blaa which is even more off putting. However i have been reading up about 5-htp and they just seem like an amazing non prescription miracle, so really i was just wondering if anybody has any advice/experience regarding my problem?? i would be most grateful for any help... Thank you. Leona

#16 KatnotcrazyaboutCymbalta

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 08:58 PM

I'm glad to hear that it ends at some stage and MIGHTY glad I found this forum.

I was on Cymbalta 60mg for around 2 years and then recently I went to a new doctor because the old one was hopeless and she immediately said 'do you want to wean off?' YES! I hate being on it - it makes me tired all the time and I don't have a very full life while being on the drug.

So she suggested I finish my course of 60mg (2 weeks left) and then go onto 30mg for 2 weeks - it seems fast but I didn't care - I just wanted out (or off rather). So now it's day 6 of being off it altogether and the brain zaps are driving me mental (excuse the pun)! What's worse is that I can't explain or describe what it's like to the people who want to help me.
I went home half day on Monday, took the day off yesterday and I'm back at work today and again I can't explain to people what's wrong because for me it is a personal subject.
Thankfully I haven't experienced any other withdrawal symptoms yet, but I just want the brain zaps to stop or at least ease a little.

Thank you to everyone above who has experienced these withdrawls and tell us that it WILL be ok.

#17 argirl

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 11:55 AM

Zapless--- THANK you for your positive post. I'm on week two of being completely off of it. I'm having a bad day and didn't go to work. I have hope though that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have really had no support through all of this. I tried to reach out to my partner but she doesn't understand and we have recently broken up. So, I've just got to push through! My mood has dropped considerably as well and I am extremely irritable and anxious. Everyone... hang in there. We can beat this!

#18 argirl

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 12:01 PM

Unfathomable- I completely understand your comment about how society doesn't understand. Hence the withdrawal being worse because there is no one to talk to. My partner couldn't even handle it. Hang in there. I am also extremely grateful for this site!

#19 OffCymbalta

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:21 PM

I was on Cymbalta for a year and Effexor for 3 years before that. In January I started lowering my doses of Cymbalta from 60 mg to 30 mg. I took 30 mg for a week and my doctor told me I could just stop. He was wrong! The brain zaps and withdrawal symptoms are too much to just quit. I went another week on 30mg and then opened the capsule and divided it in half. They withdrawal symptoms were still a little much when I dropped from 30mg to 15mg. I took this dose for a week or so and started going every other day with 15mg. Then I split this dose again and took 7.5mg everyday for a week before skipping days. After a week, I dropped to 5mg for a week and then did the skipping days for another week. Then finally dropped to 2.5mg for a few days. These are estimated mg doses since I was opening the capsules and dividing the contents inside. After a few days of 2.5mg I stopped. The withdrawal symptoms were almost nothing after lowering my doses over the last two months. The worst days were the drops in the beginning with confusion, brain zaps, nausea, inability to sleep, inability to focus. I feel some anxiety now but my doctor has given me ativan to help with this and the sleeping. Since Cymbalta effects the serotonin in the brain, the dreams are a bit crazy. I am hoping that as time passes the neurons in my brain will start to work properly without Cymbalta.
I have been off of Cymbalta for 11 days now and feel pretty good. No brain zaps which was the worst part of my withdrawal. Only a few occasions of dizziness. But again I lowered my dosage very slowly over a longer period of time to lessen the withdrawals. Good luck!

#20 Irisheyes

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 11:18 PM

I started cymbalta August 2011 for post surgical depression. It worked beautifully. I started with 30 mg , then 60, down to 30 in feb then 30 every other day for 10 days & I took my last one a week ago today. I have audio hallusinations which I'm guessing are brain zaps. Otherwise I'm good.
Is it a safe bet to expect the brain zaps to last 3 weeks to 3 months? They do go on all day.
The post surgical depression was the worse experience of my life. I'm 63 & no spring chicken. The cymbalta did what it was designed to do. However, I surely don't like these brain zaps. I want an end date. I'd appreciate some feedback.

#21 freaked

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 10:48 PM

I'll have to say from all the stuff I've been reading this seems to be the best approach. But right now I'm totally freaked! I've been having multiple brain zaps in succession for several minutes.(the worst I've had). I've been off cymbalta for 4 days cold turkey due to finances. Borrowed money just a while ago out of shear panic and just took a dose again. I hate this! No warnings just came on Boom! How long before i get back to status quo?
having many other symptoms also!!
Itch, flu like, congested, irritated, emotional up and down.
been on this stuff for over a year for pain. All pain plus many others returned in last few days...

#22 horse1

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 11:20 PM

Thank god I found this site.. I thought i was loosing my mind! I was put on cymbalta 20mg about 2 years ago for nerve pain from several abdominal reconstruction surgerys. The cymbalta make me 40 pounds heavier in less than 4 months so i decided to stop taking them... I went down from one a day to one every other day and all was well for a day or so and then the "brain zaps" as you all describe them started.. WOW they suck!! Im going to make another attempt to get off them, wish me luck.. I also have no sex drive at all, can I thank this crap for that too?

#23 plezhelp

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:14 PM

Thank god I found this site.. I thought i was loosing my mind! I was put on cymbalta 20mg about 2 years ago for nerve pain from several abdominal reconstruction surgerys. The cymbalta make me 40 pounds heavier in less than 4 months so i decided to stop taking them... I went down from one a day to one every other day and all was well for a day or so and then the "brain zaps" as you all describe them started.. WOW they suck!! Im going to make another attempt to get off them, wish me luck.. I also have no sex drive at all, can I thank this crap for that too?

afraid so...about the sex drive! would probably be less weight gain if we could still want/have sex! plez don't give up ~ we are going to get better. i do recommend that you do a daily dose...by opening yr capsules you can then put half the granules into yogurt or juice, and take the other half next day. i found that it is a lot easier on the brainfarts/zaps, as opposed to alternating days or cold turkey = which is really rough going (my experience) i was recently laid up with pnemonia and was unable to take my cymbalta {actually went without for almost a week} since i was sleeping mostly anyways...well sometimes i wish i had stayed off completely ~ but for me the crying jags came back fast & hard and so i chose to continue the cymbalta (30 mg/day)for the last 3wks. Now i am having a whole new set of problems/side effects: i love being outdoors, and i am mature enough to take due care ie: hat, shirtsleeves, sunglasses, lots of water etc. But one day i was relaxing in the shade of big tree reading in a park, and it was only 23*C, was there only 2 hours - the next day i had heat/sun stroke, which after a week has turned into vertigo! i eat healthy and am intimately aware of my body...cymbalta is proving lethal and my body no longer wants it. slow and steady seems to be the preferred way on here the forum too. a lot of those withdrawing from cymbalta are 'counting their granules' to better help their bodies detox. i hope you let others suffering show you the best way for you to come off cymbalta. i'm rooting for you...and i too am choosing to get off this poison, but no heroics this time ~ i am going to be kind and wean myself off ~ its what we would do for the horses right!!? keep me posted of your progress.

#24 plezhelp

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:35 PM

Unfathomable- I completely understand your comment about how society doesn't understand. Hence the withdrawal being worse because there is no one to talk to. My partner couldn't even handle it. Hang in there. I am also extremely grateful for this site!

hey @argirl...how are you doing? boy i can relate to the lack of knowledge or understanding about this drug and its side-effects. "ooooowwwww...all these wonderful antidepressants..and YOU are the only one not having success!" that is what i heard from many...former friends. i use to say i wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy ~ but now i can name a few i'd like to see try to kick this drug! {i'm having a mini-mad moment!} i've chosen to see this as a time of solitude ~ to reflect, reject, rejuvanate, relearn, unlearn, and learn again. life is a process of change so i encourage myself to be excited about it ~ the journey as much as the destination (balanced health)
well i hope you are doing well ~ and i'd appreciate you keep posting your progress. i'm pulling for you!

#25 plezhelp

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:53 PM

I'll have to say from all the stuff I've been reading this seems to be the best approach. But right now I'm totally freaked! I've been having multiple brain zaps in succession for several minutes.(the worst I've had). I've been off cymbalta for 4 days cold turkey due to finances. Borrowed money just a while ago out of shear panic and just took a dose again. I hate this! No warnings just came on Boom! How long before i get back to status quo?
having many other symptoms also!!
Itch, flu like, congested, irritated, emotional up and down.
been on this stuff for over a year for pain. All pain plus many others returned in last few days...

i was able to get 'samples' from my doctor(s) to help prolong the withdraw by cutting back gradually/daily till eventually 'counting granules' ~ i'm too old for heroics so i am choosing to do as i would with any animal i know is suffering...i would gradually wean them off. please know that you are hitting a truly rough patch...but it too will pass...and then usually a 'new' symptom will take up!! plez don't give up and know you are not alone in this...and i can totally relate to what you shared. i am reading (when my vertigo/dizzyness allows me) everything i can on this site ~ it is chocked full of useful information, and some truly wise and compassionate people. i am in your corner and pulling for you, plez keep me posted and i'll try to help where i can. peace&love

#26 alysonhliberty

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 01:31 AM

Good to know that these damned brain zaps won't last forever. I was on Cipralex / Lexapro for about 5-6 years, and was switched to Cymbalta last December. I got the brain zaps about 4-5 days after no Cipralex, but with Cymbalta it was just over 24 hours. I think conventional medicine is way too often considered to be all-knowing and the be-all / end-all of answers to our health problems. For the most part, all they really know how to do is to mask the symptoms to make us think we're cured. Not to mention, these medications cost an arm and a leg. I've been looking to alternative medicines to help with this withdrawal, and will continue to look to them for any future ailments.

It sounds like most of us are fed up with the medical profession, and rightly so! The lack of information or understanding doctors have about this drug is mind-numbing; they don't give a shit about us. If they did, they would know exactly what it is they are giving to their patients.

This site has proven to be a great source of comfort for me; knowing there are many others dealing with this, and that the symptoms do eventually go away!

#27 horse1

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 10:15 PM

Well.. Im about 2 weeks free of cymbalta.. the brain zaps are all but gone, they show up mildly in the evenings. I have no clue why the evenings. I do still feel like crap and very tired/withdrawn everyday all day. I didnt do the granual counting but had the zaps continued strong that was my next move.

#28 Jennyd78

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 05:49 PM

Thanks for the hope :)

#29 Lazydaizy

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    I recently weaned off Cymbalta, after using it for 2 years for depression. The depression is gone, but now I'm in the withdrawal horrors

Posted 23 July 2012 - 07:44 AM

Hi Zapless (and everyone else who posted replies)

Your words are really about all that are getting me through today.
Thank you so much.

how are you all doing now?

Would love to know how people fare long-term off cymbalta
XXX

#30 horse1

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:22 PM

Im about a month cymbalta free and please to report.. 100% symptom free!!!! Hang it there folks better days are around the corner..



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