Depersonalization And Anxiety: Everything You Need To Know

March 30, 2017
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depersonalization and anxiety“Depersonalization Brings A Feeling of Detachment From The World. Real Or Unreal? I Asked Myself For 6 Years Before My Recovery.”

Anxiety can be overwhelming and can cause the mind to do some extremely abnormal things like depersonalization, which is considered as a symptom of anxiety and usually triggers escalating worsening of both anxiety and depersonalization.

Depersonalization is a state when the mind feels divorced or distant from the sense of self. It refers to a condition of excessive self-awareness marked by feelings of floating or being outside the body and a consciousness that disowns one’s own actions.

Depersonalization is often regarded as a dissociative symptom that may occur on its own or with other ailments like depression, anxiety, panic disorders, or bipolar disorder, etc. It may be triggered by severe traumatic incidents, prolonged anxiety or stress, drug or alcohol abuse, or other health problems.

In most cases, depersonalization is believed to be a brain’s coping mechanism which becomes more sensitive or aware, so as to decrease the intensity of trauma or stress. Depersonalization may also occur unexpectedly in the absence of extreme anxiety or stress.

Severe and chronic depersonalization and anxiety can adversely affect work, relationships, and daily life. Treatment includes psychotherapy, medications, and self-care measures.

Symptoms of Depersonalization and Anxiety

Depersonalization is a condition consisting of a mix of emotions, physical sensations, and thoughts which trigger disengagement from the surroundings and a sense that one is not actually in one’s own body. Patients may fear that they are somewhere else and may watch their own body while feeling that they are floating around in some other world.

Depersonalization can cause a variety of symptoms, but the most common is sensations of losing touch with reality and fearing that it may be permanently lost. A few symptoms of depersonalization and anxiety are listed below:

  • Feelings of being disconnected or being an external observer of one’s own feelings, thoughts, actions, or parts of the body or the entire body, similar to floating in air outside one’s own body
  • A sense that the legs, hands, or body is shrunken, distorted, or enlarged and/or that the head is enclosed in cotton
  • Feeling that body movements or speech cannot be controlled or that one is a robotic thing
  • Questioning just about everything, including the reality of the surroundings, one’s faith, the purpose of life, the meaning of life, etc.
  • Feeling foreign even in places that are familiar or known. People with severe depersonalization may not recognize personal things, their home, or friends, etc.
  • Feeling that things which were once important are not significant. Physical or emotional numbing of the responses or senses to the environment, people, and the worldly ways

Also you may feel totally immersed in self-thoughts; feelings of being in a different dimension. In some cases, people may find themselves in an area and not remember how they got there.

Hyper self-awareness marked by constant and continuous over thinking and/or analysis of every little thing is quite common as well. Feeling that personal memories are emotionless and they may or may not be someone else’s memories. In some instances, sufferers may not be aware of what they did when in a state of depersonalization

Causes of Depersonalization and Anxiety

It is believed that depersonalization occurs when a person loses interest in the going-ons around him/her, especially in the social environment, and becomes preoccupied with one’s own thoughts. In most cases, the thoughts may not be about his/her current life state or his surroundings, but of different times, people, and places, etc.

Reduced involvement in immediate environment generally causes the mind to wander and focus attention and energy onto themes that can occur only in one’s imagination. In most cases, loss of interest in current circumstances is often triggered by anxiety, excess stress, and other triggers.

Doctors are not aware about the precise cause/causes of depersonalization. But it seems to have some sort of association with imbalance of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). Such imbalance can increase the susceptibility of brain to develop depersonalization in times of heightened anxiety, fear, or stress, etc.

Symptoms of depersonalization and anxiety may be associated to the following:

  • Emotion, verbal, or physical abuse during childhood or being a witness to constant domestic violence as a child
  • Extreme trauma like being in a motor accident
  • Sudden death or suicide of a family member or close friend
  • Growing up with a parent who is severely mentally impaired
  • Extreme stress-causing financial, relationship, or job issues

The below listed risk factors can increase the susceptibility to developing depersonalization:

  • Presence of underlying physical/mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, seizures, head injuries, etc.
  • Personality traits that causes avoidance or denial of problematic situations or difficulties in adapting to them
  • Using illegal substances like marijuana, hallucinogens, etc.
  • Teens and young adults are more prone to depersonalization than children or the elderly
  • Personally experiencing or witnessing abuse or trauma

First Line Of Treatments In Today’s World For Depersonalization and Anxiety:

CBT sessions with a trained practitioners allows people to understand the reasons for occurrence of depersonalization and anxiety, thereby help efficiently manage symptoms of anxiety until they disappear. Doctors may also opt for techniques like psychodynamic therapy.

There are no specific medications for treatment of depersonalization. Doctors may however prescribe anxiety and depression medicines like Prozac/fluoxetine, clonazepam, or clomipramine if required.

Self care measures to overcome depersonalization are as follows:

Depersonalization may be distressing but not dangerous. It is temporary and hence needs to be waited and worked out. Do not fight the condition, but learn to be ok with it. Hyperventilation tends to worsen anxiety or panic attacks and it is during such heightened cases of anxiety that depersonalization occurs. Hence, dramatically slow down breathing during an episode to alleviate the symptoms.

Deep breaths and practicing varied breathing exercises can help prevent frequent episodes. Meditation, yoga, jogging, and other exercises help gain more control of the body and mind and thus help prevent it from wandering off into an imaginative world.

In addition to counseling, talking to a person whom you trust is also helpful. Do something distracting that turns your attention back to reality. You may watch a video, or call someone, reading book, etc. You may also try to focus on what’s happening in the immediate present surroundings and events. Be more social (party, go out with friends, etc.); keep busy; avoid drugs and alcohol; and sleep well.

To Learn More About The #1 CBT Based Downloadable Program To Eliminate Depersonalization And Anxiety Visit The My Program Page

Depersonalization Crash Course Video:

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19 comments on “Depersonalization And Anxiety: Everything You Need To Know

  1. Victoria Freeman Jul 31, 2017

    My close friend told me that Dennis is a perfect anti anxiety guy! I’m a 32 years old, generally I behave very nice but, occasionally overreact whenever face complex situations. I am seeking your advice to get rid of this issue.

    • Best to begin the end the anxiety program (my program) and I can guide you through email along the way to full anxiety recovery Victoria 🙂

  2. Christopher Lawler Aug 1, 2017

    Dennis really helped me get to a better life to where I am able to control my anxiety now. He was very kind and responsive to my queries. I will forever be thankful to Dennis for helping me lead a better life. Thank you Dennis!

  3. Pat Martin Aug 1, 2017

    I’ve been in touch with Dennis for so many days. He is the best! I don’t think I would be able to keep a full time job if it weren’t for him. He really saved my life. The program is really easy to do; you just have to be willing to put the required effort in. Dennis is the perfect anxiety guy!

  4. Michelle Auvil Aug 15, 2017

    Very good info here. Dpdr is really scary. The day that all my issues started I’m still not sure what came first, a panic attack that was accompanied by dp or dp that made me panic. Whatever it was I went to the er and the feelings and sensations have not left since. 6 years now! On and off benzos 3 times which is hell and only makes it worse. I watched your depersonalization video as well and it makes sense that it is a stress response. The brains coping mechanism. After a rough childhood and mentally and physically abusive past relationships no wonder my brain freaked out. I have been diagnosed with a panic disorder with dpdr. So I’m not too sure which one to try to fix first. All I know is the more focused I am on it the worse it gets. And that cycle is never ending for me. Its been a rough road. Still debating on whether or not to do a one on one with you since I have been to many therapists etc which have all failed me. It may be worth a shot tho since it can’t make me any worse lol

    • Best to begin re-framing any past experiences that may have contributed to your current depersonalization and anxiety Michelle. Reframing is taking the experiences in the past and creating a different outlook. Seeing how it served you in some way for your future, and what lessons you gained. I go deep with this through the program.

  5. Simpson Jane Aug 19, 2017

    Sounds good to know that depersonalization and anxiety are extremely related. I’d like to know if its advisable to take the medical angle or the self care measures in alleviating depersonalization? Because I feel employing tailored self measures can work better. I’d appreciate if you could throw more light on this.

    • If medical experts can’t find a reason for your depersonalization they’ll most likely put you on the pill, and help you cope through a psychotherapist. I took the self care measure through a combination of CBT and NLP, and in 3 months time overcame my depersonalization and anxiety.

  6. Dennis Brown Aug 19, 2017

    Depersonalization and anxiety is common with many people, and they’re often guilty of the aforementioned causes. With this piece, it’s easy to know the symptoms and how to avert depersonalization and anxiety. Please, is ‘anti-socialization’ a risk factor that can make one susceptible to anxiety and depersonalization?

    • Depersonalization and anxiety can be a different experience from person to person. Anti socialization can certainly be a defense mechanism from the brain which creates the reward system of less anxiety and sensations. But the truth is we have to activate the fight or flight response to generate new associations to what it is we fear. This becomes essential that we place ourselves in the envioronments that challenges our depersonalization and anxiety, and change the meaning of what we feel and see from there.

  7. Joy Snow Sep 18, 2017

    This is such a detailed exposition here!
    I have been experiencing this sense of my mind flying away from me for a while now and it has been giving me great concern, it often times leads me to just keeping to myself and not want to leave my room all day. I think I have found the right corner here and hope to learn more from Dennis and learn to be a better person.

  8. Suzanne Sep 19, 2017

    Being an anxiety sufferer I found this article very interesting. The feeling I sometimes have that I am not part of anything or that I feel like a total different person worried me. This article for the first time gave me a name for my feeling, Depersonalization. What a relieve to known that this depersonalization is part of my anxiety road. Thanks for informing us.

  9. Johann Sep 19, 2017

    I am a husband and father. As a child I always where anxious and sometimes it felt as if my feelings were not my one. A CBT practitioner told me about depersonalization and I immediatly recognised myself. I told my wife about depersonalization and that I sometimes suffer with some of the symptoms. She helps me get through them. Using CBT techniques also helps a lot.

    • CBT will most definitely help alter the thought patterns and behaviours that fuels further Depersonalization and anxiety. Great share.

  10. I started experiencing depersonalization a few years ago, and I thought it went away. Now it seems to be back, and it feels like it never left in the first place. It truly is a very uncomfortable thing to deal with, and it can make it hard to bond with family and friends.