Head Symptoms During Benzo Withdrawal

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines (benzos) can be an incredibly challenging experience. (I know because I lived through it!) Head symptoms are some of the most common symptoms of withdrawal/BIND. This blog post will explore these symptoms and offer some practical ways to cope and find relief.

Dizziness and Disequilibrium

Vertigo (spinning) or a sense of disequilibrium are common symptoms of benzo withdrawal/BIND. You might feel off balance, as if you’re on a boat or the room is spinning around you. To cope with these sensations, try the following:

  • Practice deep breathing exercises to help stabilize your body and mind.
  • Use a walking aid, if necessary, to maintain balance and prevent falls. ( I used a walker and a cane until my disequilibrium disappeared.)
  • Avoid sudden head movements and take your time when changing positions.
  • Check with a healthcare professional if you have vertigo. A simple head movement may put wandering crystals that cause vertigo back in their proper place.

Head Pressure and Brain Sensations

During withdrawal, you may experience unusual sensations in your head, like pressure, brain sloshing, or even feeling like your brain is a snake writhing around. These sensations can be unsettling but are typically harmless. To find relief, consider the following:

  • Apply a cold or warm compress to your forehead or the back of your neck.
  • Practice progressive muscle relaxation to alleviate tension in your head and neck muscles.
  • Engage in gentle exercises, such as walking or stretching, to improve circulation and reduce discomfort.
  • Remind yourself that you are safe and that the sensations you are feeling are part of the benzo withdrawal/BIND experience. (Always see a doctor to rule out anything else if you want reassurance.)

Brain Zaps, Fizzing, and “Exploding Head”

Brain zaps are sudden, electrical shock-like sensations that can occur during benzo withdrawal/BIND. You can also feel as if your brain is fizzing as if it is carbonated. “Exploding head” is a strange phenomenon that happens as one falls asleep. It is a sudden loud noise and can be accompanied by an extreme hypnotic jerk. I experienced exploding head a few times. I’d hear a loud sizzle, then a deafening “boom!” I’d see a blinding white light (my eyes were closed), and my entire body jerked rigidly. It was harmless but frightening. To cope with these symptoms:

  • Practice grounding techniques to redirect your attention, such as focusing on your breath or engaging your senses.
  • Listen to a guided meditation for sleep/relaxation.
  • Engage in comforting self-talk.
  • Slow down your taper if you are going too fast.
  • Remind yourself that you are safe and that the sensations you are feeling are part of the benzo withdrawal/BIND experience. (Always see a doctor to rule out anything else if you want reassurance.)

Tight Band Around Head and Ears Popping

A feeling of a tight band around your head, as well as ears popping, can be attributed to withdrawal-induced muscle tension or changes in pressure. Eustachian tube disturbances are common in benzo withdrawal/BIND. To help alleviate these symptoms:

  • Try gentle neck and shoulder stretches to release tension.
  • Practice calming breathing exercises.
  • Yawn intentionally to help with ear pressure.
  • Wear a headband or hat to counterbalance the tight band sensation.
  • Use a warm compress on your forehead or temples to help relax the muscles in your head.


Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, can be another uncomfortable symptom of benzo withdrawal. To cope with tinnitus:

  • Use white noise machines or soothing background sounds to mask the ringing.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Remind yourself that tinnitus usually goes away as the nervous system recovers.
  • Avoid exposure to loud noises.
  • Slow down your taper if you feel you are going too fast.

Vision Issues

Double vision, floaters, light sensitivity, or blurry “Vaseline in eyes” can occur during withdrawal/BIND. Bloodshot, pain/pressure, and feeling like sand or grit in your eyes are also common. To cope with these vision issues:

  • Rest your eyes frequently and avoid activities that strain your eyes, such as reading or watching TV for extended periods.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Use blue lenses glasses for screen exposure.
  • Use lubricating drops if tolerated.
  • Rest with cold compresses on your eyes.
  • Consult your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying eye conditions or medication interactions.

Feeling Like You Can’t Hold Up Your Head

During benzo withdrawal/BIND, you might feel you can’t hold up your head due to muscle weakness or tension. To cope with this symptom:

  • Use supportive pillows to prop your head up while resting.
  • Engage in gentle neck and shoulder exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting your head.

Back of Head Pain and Headaches

Headaches and pain in the back of the head are common during benzo withdrawal. To cope with these symptoms:

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Rest when you can.
  • Avoid stressful situations/loud noises.
  • Apply cold or warm compresses to the painful area.
  • If you need to use an OTC pain reliever, Tylenol is better tolerated in benzo withdrawal/BIND than Advil.
  • Gentle massage can help, but avoid deep tissue work or a lot of neck manipulation.

 Weird Face Sensations

Weird face sensations, such as feeling like spiders are crawling on your face, experiencing hot or cold sensations, or tingling, can occur during benzo withdrawal/BIND but are typically harmless. Here are some ways to cope with these symptoms:

  • Distract Yourself: Engaging in a relaxing activity or focusing on something else can help take your mind off the sensations. (Gardening is an excellent distraction!)
  • Practice grounding techniques that bring you back to the present moment and redirect your focus.
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help you observe and accept sensations without judgment.
  • Applying a cold or warm compress to your face may provide relief from the sensations.
  • Gently massaging your face with your fingertips or a soft cloth can help relieve tension and may alleviate the sensations you’re experiencing.

Teeth and Mouth Problems

Tooth pain or feeling like teeth are moving, grinding your teeth, burning tongue syndrome, sore throat, sores in the mouth/on lips, and biting your tongue or inner cheek are common during benzo withdrawal/BIND. Here are some ways to cope:

  • Get regular dental checkups. ( I can’t stress this enough!)
  • Use a gentle toothbrush.
  • Avoid harsh mouthwashes.
  • Avoid spicy foods that can stir up sensations in your mouth.
  • Sip on warm or cold beverages (no alcohol, caffeine, or sugary drinks) to see if they help.
  • Chew your food carefully.
  • Wear a night guard if you grind your teeth.


Reach out to a benzo-wise healthcare professional (my course for healthcare workers launches soon, and successful graduates will be listed on this site), join a positive, solution-focused support group, and connect with understanding friends and family for encouragement and comfort. Above all, be patient and compassionate with yourself as you navigate the healing process.

Add your voice to the conversation.

What types of head symptoms have you experienced? What made them worse? What helped? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Sharing our stories helps one another. Thank you for participating.