“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

I've been experiencing brain zaps and electric shock symptoms. I'm taking Xanax and heard that Xanax can cause them. I also heard that anxiety can cause these symptoms. Can anxiety cause these symptoms, and if so, what can I do to get rid of them? And should I stop taking my medication right away?

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Updated: May 11, 2019

Yes, the electric shock sensation (also referred to as “brain zaps”) are common symptoms of anxiety. Many people experience them. I did too. And yes, they initially scared me, as well.

Since there are many medical conditions that can cause anxiety-like symptoms, it's wise to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. If your doctor attributes your symptoms to stress and/or anxiety, you can be sure they are stress- and/or anxiety-related.

Actually, stress is the cause of these kinds of symptoms. Most people don’t realize this because they don’t feel stressed, but being anxious (worried) stresses the body and a stressed body produces symptoms of being stressed.

The best way to eliminate these kinds of symptoms is to become knowledgeable about stress and anxiety so that you can take proactive action to prevent your body from being stressed. This is where good self-help information can be invaluable. The more you know about stress and anxiety, the better off you’ll be.

To that end, I encourage you to join our Recovery Support area and immediately read Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The information in these chapters should provide many of the answers you are looking for, as well as I think you'd find this information comforting and reassuring.

I think you'd find The Symptoms section in the Recovery Support area to be helpful as well. We list and fully describe all of the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety, including this one.

The good news is that symptoms can be eliminated when you understand what causes them and learn how to reverse them. While the information isn't rocket science, it is important to know and apply, since these kinds of symptoms generally don't subside permanently on their own. Knowing what to do is key to eliminating them.

The Recovery Support area of our website was developed for this reason: to explain what stress and anxiety are, how they occur, and what you can do to reduce and eliminate them. Because all of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating stress and anxiety and know how awful and frightening it can be, we developed the information in the Recovery Suppot area of our website so that others wouldn't have to suffer needlessly as we did. Again, I'm confident that you would find the information in the Recovery Support area helpful.

There's no question about it. Knowledge is power when it comes to resolving stress and anxiety issues, including brain zaps.

The bottom line is, you don't have to worry about these symptoms, but they do require action before they can be eliminated. Knowing what to do is the key to returning to normal health. Once you know what to do and have experienced a successful reversal of your symptoms, you can then consider coming off of your medication. But I don't recommend doing so right now, as people need to be equipped with the right information and well prepared before attempting to break free of a benzodiazepine medication (which Xanax is a form of).

Incidentally, I was on Xanax too, and for many years. But I've been off of it and anxiety condition free for over 26 years. Knowing what to do made all of the difference. And if I can do it, you can too!

For more information about this symptom from our public anxiety symptoms pages, see the anxiety symptom Brain Zaps Anxiety Symptoms.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources:

Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions page.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the brain zaps electric shock symptoms.