Brain Zap


Symptoms described as ‘brain zaps,’ ‘brain shocks,’ ‘brain shivers,’ or ‘cranial zings’ are a withdrawal symptom experienced during discontinuation (or reduction of dose) of antidepressant drugs. The symptoms are widely variable in description and of unknown etiology; common descriptions include dizziness, electric shock-like sensations, sweating, nausea, insomnia, tremor, confusion, nightmares, and vertigo.

The ‘preferred term’ for coding these types of symptoms in adverse drug reaction reports is ‘paraesthesia’ (more generally known as the feeling of ‘pins and needles’).

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