I began Brainzaps in 2008, with a short post on ‘brain shivers.’ I have recently updated the post as 11 years ago the term ‘brain zaps” was not that well documented as a byproduct of withdrawal from psycho-pharmaceuticals. Today, there is more of a consensus that the condition is common and most probably caused by a disruption in GABA levels.
My psychological bottom occurred in 1994, eleven years into my sobriety, after all alternative treatments had failed. By that time, I had been battling insomnia for a month, had extreme anxiety, and delusional thinking. My primary care doctor put me on Imipramine and Ativan and referred me to my first psychiatrist. My first sixteen years of treatment consisted of various psycho-pharmaceutical cocktails and weekly therapy with a psychiatrist. My initial diagnosis was psychotic depression and borderline personality disorder.
I began Brainzaps to chronicle my journey when I parted ways with my psychiatrist to begin working with a therapist who practices integrative medicine and psychotherapy. At that point I was on a cocktail of medications, which included over 400 mg. of Effexor XR.
Over the years, the most popular page on this site has been my writing about my ongoing battle to get off Effexor: Effexor XR and Memory Loss. The comments from people of all ages from all walks of life on the devastation this drug has had on their cognition has been astonishing. I’ve done my best to respond with limited information and personal suggestions.
Probably the most interesting thing which has happened in the field of mental health since I began this journey towards wholeness has been that the concepts I explored so many years ago about neuroplasticity and the ability to reconstruct an undamaged inner world have became a mainstream belief.
Here are some highlights from the blog.