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dp_dr's Journal

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This is a community to discuss and educate about Depersonalization/Derealization disorder, and share stories, support, and help through communicating about experiences that are shared by virtually all sufferers.

What is depersonalization?
Depersonalisation is both a symptom and an illness. It was first described by Ludovic Dugas, a French Psychiatrist writing at the turn of the century. It occurs in almost all the major psychiatric disorders including severe anxiety, panic disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessional compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, as well as neurological conditions such as migraine and epilepsy. Normal peoples can experience it during states of fatigue, fear or meditation, or after ingestion of drugs such as cannabis and 'Ecstasy'. It can also exist, rarely, in a pure form: 'Primary Depersonalisation'.

Is it a medically recognized illness?
Yes. According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic , 'Depersonalisation Disorder' is characterised by persistent or recurrent episodes of: "... detachment or estrangement from one's self. The individual may feel like an automaton... There may be the sensation of being an outside observer on one's own mental processes... Various types of sensory anaesthesia, lack of affective response... are often present". Derealisation (the sense that the external world is strange or unreal) may also be present.

What is it like?
Many sufferers describe it as 'terrifying', 'like losing your sense of being alive', 'a living death', 'like being detached from your own body, your loved ones, your feelings...' People say that it is as if their mind is full of cotton wool; they pray that they will wake up and it will all be clear once more. Many describe de-realisation: as if the world around them is like a movie or that they are separated from other people by an invisible pane of glass. When such unpleasant feelings persist without explanation, the person may be judged to be suffering from depersonalisation disorder. It can be brought on by severe stress or emotional turmoil but may also appear out of the blue, and apparently suddenly.

How common is it?
A third of undergraduates said they had experienced some of the symptoms at some time in a response to a questionnaire. One hospital survey found 12% of psychiatric patients suffered severe and persistent depersonalisation.

What is the cause?
There are many theories: depersonalisation might be induced by overwhelming anxiety or an early traumatic event. In these circumstances, becoming detached from one's body may seem a useful means of distancing oneself from the trauma, but in some people, the depersonalisation then becomes autonomous and a problem in it's own right. Neurological theories include a disruption or neurotransmitter imbalance in the parts of the brain which integrate oncoming sensory information with our internal representation of the Self (the temporal lobes). A specific part of the temporal lobe, the amygdala, responsible for processing emotion, may be crucial.

What is the treatment?
There is no clearly identified treatment for depersonalisation; almost everything has been tried from in-depth psychotherapy, through electroconvulsive therapy, to antipsychotic and antidepressant medication. Sometimes, treatment of the underlying condition abolishes the symptom. Encouraging results have been achieved with the antidepressant drugs known as the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, including fluoxetine (Prozac). Newer drugs which act on specific serotonin and noradrenaline receptors may prove to be helpful.

Source : Professor Tony David, DP Research Unit, London Institute of Psychiatry

What are the goals of the community?
The dp_dr community vows to prove that there is treatment of this illness through support, and prescription medications, with the most up to date information that i can find such as medical journal articles and suggestions of treatment by sufferers. I wish to show that this is a real disorder that is valid and affects many people that hopefully can find treatment and support through each other. This is a seemingly rare illness, as far as M.D.'s know, but together through support we can try to help each other if not cure, then treat and overcome this disorder. Furthermore, i hope it to be a useful forum to discuss induced dp/dr through recreational drug use (marijuana, psycocillibin, lsd, ecstasy) and anaesthesia. Also, this will be an extension in the 'livejournal realm' of the 'forums' board which can be found at http://www.dpselfhelp.com which is the most resourceful site in existence about this illness, containing: shared stories, findings through experience, medical updates, and most importantly how to battle and treat this illness, and what to utilize to treat it with such as medications, herbs, holistic therapy, religious practices, and whatever else may help you.

Any reccomended links?
As stated above, all the information you will ever need in abundance can be found at:


The opinions and suggestions for treatment herein are in no way substitution for a licensed medical doctor or mental health specialist. If you find information here about medications etc. please discuss these with your doctor, and i will try to provide substantial evidence as to why a particular medication helps (such as a medical study). Also, this community is in no way associated or affiliated with dpselfhelp.com or livejournal.

best of luck and health to us all!


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