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Re: Anxiety vs Dissociation - Craig

Posted by Elizabeth on April 15, 1999, at 7:55:33

In reply to Re: Anxiety vs Dissociation - Elaine (and Dr. Bob), posted by Craig on April 9, 1999, at 3:50:53

(I just started reading this thread)

Craig, there is such a thing as "depersonalization disorder." It means that you have recurring depersonalization episodes (which sounds like what you're describing) without other dissociative symptoms (amnesia, changes in internally experienced identity state or observable "personality," etc.) or panic symptoms (depersonalization also happens to a lot of people during panic attacks). Some people find that the newer antipsychotic drugs (like Seroquel, the one Nancy asked about) or the anticonvulsants (which you've been trying) help with isolated depersonalization like this.

I have spontaneous panic attacks (I'm not usually feeling anxious beforehand and they aren't "triggered" by some external stimulus) so it seems reasonable enough to me that you could be having spontaneous depersonalization.

How long do the episodes last? Also, have you ever had an EEG (and if so, did it show anything)?

In the past (especially before 1980 or so) there weren't many diagnostic distinctions and a lot of things were lumped under "schizophrenia." By the '80s, I think people should have been aware of the risks of hypnosis and used it with more caution. I think I've heard that there are some people who are more "hypnotizable" and that those who dissociate are more likely to be so. (I don't know if this is true or not, it's just a rumor. :-) I've done hypnotherapy before, and it wasn't like being hypnotized in the sense I think you're talking about. It was more like guided imagery (a sort of relaxation exercise). I never lost time or volition or anything like that. I don't know if that's the same thing (no barbiturates!) and I am just not very hypnotizable, or if it's a different and presumably safer technique.

Hopefully people have learned from the mistakes of others by now. It's kind of you to share your experiences - it must be hard to talk about.




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