Depersonalization "Ask The Expert"

 

I Just read the information on depersonalization. My first experience was with pot in my teens. I am now 45 and through the years it came and went. I also went through panic disorder. Several weeks ago my doc put me on Lexapro and after 4 days I awoke to look in the mirror and not feel normal at all. This was the first time in about 4 years that DP came back and in the last 2wks it has happened 3 times. What did the Lexapro do to bring this monster back?? PS The Lexapro was for migraines I was having. I had very much recovered from the panic disorder
ANSWER: Though yours is not the only observation that depersonalization seems to appear during/after lexapro there are no theories or practical suggestions as to how it might be neurochemically related. Speculatively, depersonalization might be "cleared up" by lexapro because of decreasing depression. Depersonalization is often coupled with depression, occupying the primary place in a clinical picture. So when depression (migraine might be a form/mask of depression) is dominating depersonalization is "invisible." While depression is treated, depersonalization becomes "visible." But speaking academically it is not clear what phenomenon your experienced - what "a monster in the mirror" is psychopathological.  
Thank Goodness I found this site! My therapist keeps on insisting I'm experiencing dissociative episodes or fugue- but those symptoms never quite fit into what I was exactly experiencing.  In the past month, for the first times in my life I have experienced Depersonalization. Let me explain. First I would experience a very very stressful situation, where I feel like I would just explode, then I would just deal with it until I could go to bed. After two hours of sleeping, I would wake up and feel extremely disconnected with my body. I would feel like I'm floating, like I cant walk, and like my speech is slurred. This feeling generally lasts several hours and is present the next day, at times.  

My question is, why does Depersonalization only happen when I wake up from napping? Both experiences, I was fine - stressed and upset- but fine before I went to take a nap. Then I woke up- and I was Depersonalized. 

What has been happening to me when I sleep?? 

ANSWER: Disconnection differs from depersonalization in terms of definition. Though your description is not so much about the feeling of being disconnected with your own body as about feeling of weakness (and other problems) of the body. It is close to particular states "between" full dream and full alertness. If you would send more detailed description - it would be helpful. 
 
I have been suffering from DP, anxiety and depression for over 1 year. I am seeing a therapist and psychiatrist. Therapy is helping me to deal with emotional issues. I have tried Paxil, Buspar, Lexapro, Xanax and Serzone. All these increased my DP symptoms. With all but Buspar I could not sleep. I am frustrated. I feel like there is no hope for me. Do you think there is a medication out there that will work for me. Some websites suggest that there is no real treatment for this. What do you think. Thank you!
Answer: As for many medical conditions there is no specific treatment for depersonalization. One never knows what will help and sometimes nothing helps for some period and then everything could be back to normalcy spontaneously or respond to medication. Everything you mention is used in cases of depersonalization. There are also other meds which might help. Though to decide which is optimal a patient needs to talk with a physician who evaluated him/her directly. There are different types and subtypes of depersonalization and each type is more responsive for certain groups of meds. For example the treatment of depersonalization from "epileptic" spectrum would differ than depersonalization from "neurotic" spectrum. Depression and anxiety are typical symptoms with depersonalization. 
 
I recently suffered my first episode of depersonalization which lasted for about a month. Prior to entering this mental state I had started to practice Zen meditation, which might have contributed to my change in perception. Now that I feel better again I am hesitant to resume this meditation practice as I would hate to suffer another episode of depersonalization. Can depersonalization be related to Buddhist enlightenment or are they two completely different states of being. According to Buddhist beliefs the state of enlightenment is characterized by the loss of a persons ego, which is exactly what I experienced during my episode of depersonalization. It is difficult for me to view depersonalization as an enlightened state, yet I am forced to wonder if my experience was actually the desired effect of meditation. It is my belief that depersonalization might be a positive experience if it occurs in a religious context, but terrible if it occurs otherwise. I recently suffered my first episode of depersonalization which lasted for about a month. Prior to entering this mental state I had started to practice Zen meditation, which might have contributed to my change in perception. Now that I feel better again I am hesitant to resume this meditation practice as I would hate to suffer another episode of depersonalization. Can depersonalization be related to Buddhist enlightenment or are they two completely different states of being. According to Buddhist beliefs the state of enlightenment is characterized by the loss of a persons ego, which is exactly what I experienced during my episode of depersonalization. It is difficult for me to view depersonalization as an enlightened state, yet I am forced to wonder if my experience was actually the desired effect of meditation. It is my belief that depersonalization might be a positive experience if it occurs in a religious context, but terrible if it occurs otherwise.
Answer: Thanks for your interesting inquiry. It is not easy to formulate a reply. Meditation is so wide and uncertain a notion. As well as depersonalization, ironically saying. You consider meditation as rather deep content with quite certain religious connotation. In this case some kind of initiation is needed to open an opportunity to experience and to reflect on experience. So inside of Buddhism there is a particular understanding of meditation. Inside of psychopathology there is a particular understanding of depersonalization. But the technical languages and conceptual frames of these two domains are so different that there is no correct way to compare.

But of course you are right - there is an overlap and enough literature trying to explore this overlap. But a majority of literature present specific views which often to personal without solid theoretical ground. You would find many papers to start your search and to come to your own conclusion how depersonalization and meditation are related. 


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