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What are brain zaps?

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Brain zaps are short, buzzing sensations, similar to electric shocks, that occur in the brain or head and extend to other parts of the body, according to Dr. Jean Pollack for Psychology Today. Brain zaps are a common side effect experienced by patients who stop taking certain medications.

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Dr. Pollack notes that brain zaps can be accompanied by vertigo, tinnitus, lightheadedness and disorientation. They are attributed to a neurochemical change that occurs in the brain as it tries to adjust to a decrease in the dosage of these medications or their complete elimination. Wikipedia explains that brain zaps are one of many side effects, including flu-like symptoms, that can occur during withdrawal from SSRI antidepressants, anxiety medications and sleep aids. Symptoms typically last one to four weeks and resolve on their own although they can be severe or extended in some cases.

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