Does anxiety cause brain zaps?

Edward Lathrop
Webmaster and Administrator of, as well as contributor to Stop Anxiety Stop Panic.

Been dealing with panic/anxiety since April of last year. But until earlier today, I’ve gotten what I would describe as a brain zap. It was like a sudden jolt inside of my head. I havent really had full blown panic attacks, it’s mostly chronic nervousness. However recently my anxiety has gotten worse, especially when I wake up in the morning. I know you can get brain zaps coming off of SSRIs but I’m not on any type of medication which makes it odd.

I recently got a brain MRI and still waiting on the results. The reason I got it was from pressure inside my head that’s been increasing my anxiety.
A very profound answer Morpheus. Indeed the cause is long forgotten. Unfortunately, it does eat away at your life. My last 9 months have been almost a dream and I’m still waiting to snap back into reality, like it once was before the panic/anxiety introduced itself into my life.

Best reply by Pearl L:

maybe the MRI will tell whats going on, never heard of sudden jolts from anxiety

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Does anxiety cause brain zaps?

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  1. Yes, it most certainly can. However, anxiety can cause most any symptom or phenomena. Something like a ‘brain zap’ is 99.99% of the time not going to be able to be medically diagnosed by anyone. At best they might attribute it to some sort of migraine/seizure status.. but most of the time chalk it up to unknown etiology.

    The most common source of what you are experiencing is the withdrawal of Effexor, that seems to be the most prevalent AD to produce these ‘zaps’. Though I know you aren’t discontinuing any medications or on them.

    But yes, anxiety can cause them, and you aren’t the first to report it.

    Best case scenario I’ve seen with a longer case of these ‘zaps’ is relief from getting on various psychiatric medications (trial and error) and thus stopping the anxiety and zaps.

    I would imagine that extreme anxiety changes many chemicals, in the brain and in the general bloodstream. Either reducing the anxiety on a consistent basis, or regulating the chemicals would stop the phenomena.

    It is definitely not a co-morbid symptom.

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