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Depersonalization

What is depersonalization? It is a mental condition that can cause the nurse at a hospital suffering “burnout” to become emotionally detached, and cynical about the patients in her care, or it can be the state of mind that causes a brother to murder his sister with a hammer in an explosive fit in their home. Depersonalization is a serious condition, and the third most common form of anxiety disorder.

It has been said that the inspiration for Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream came to him as a result of his depersonalization, and it has been suggested by a top-ranking US military commander that it is depersonalization that enables a soldier to kill another human being. For many others in everyday life, it is a disturbing condition that makes them feel like they are living in a dream or a movie. Everything seems unreal, and hazy. They find it hard to talk, and connect with others, and maybe even lose the love they feel for those closest to them. They lose a sense of who they are, and sometimes can’t remember having certain conversations, or doing a specific action. They lose all sense of what they used to consider being “normal.”

According to the Psychiatric Diagnostic & Statistic Manual, Depersonalization Disorder (DPD), causes a feeling of ‘detachment or estrangement from one’s self,’ that a person may feel like an automaton, or an outsider divorced from their body, as if they are watching their own body’s movements from across the street, or viewing their mental processes as those belonging to someone else. Some even experience de-realization too, a sense that the external world is strange or unreal.

Depersonalization

Depersonalization affects those who suffer from severe anxiety or panic disorder, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. It can also strike those who are afflicted by migraine, or epilepsy, but also be experienced by others without any known mental health issues simply through fear, fatigue, stress, emotional turmoil, or even meditation. And perhaps, not surprisingly, people who use recreational drugs such as cannabis have described feeling a sense of depersonalization as a result of their inhalation.

The Depersonalisation Research Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry in London has become the world’s top authority on DPD, and has many theories about the cause of the condition. One theory is that people experiencing severe anxiety or traumatic events fall into a state of depersonalization as a way of becoming detached from the situation, and thereby avoid having to cope with it. This on the face of it might seem like a good coping mechanism – but it often leads to a more permanent condition, and can then become a “chronic” case of DPD.

Another possibility is that sections of the brain that are receptive to sensory information isn’t integrating properly with the ‘temporal lobes’ that play the important role in processing the emotions we feel. This has been demonstrated in studies involving people with suspected DPD, resulting in ‘significant differences’ between those who suffer from it and those who don’t. In other tests, people with depersonalization have been found to have a ‘low skin conductance response’ to unpleasant forms. This, says the Research Unit, suggests something is blocking the senses dealing with emotional reckoning. Measuring arousal is an important factor when gauging emotions.

Yet more studies have found that people with DPD have lost the ability to feel empathy for others. This has been measured in a series of stress tests revealing differences in heart rates, and hormonal balances.

Despite all the research, the Unit has stated that there is currently no “evidence-based” treatment for depersonalization, though further studies have indicated that forms of psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) looks the most promising as a way to combat the condition, as indeed is the case with other anxiety disorders. Although medication, and prescribed drugs are sometimes used for people with general depression, doctors tend to veer away from this course of action when diagnosing anxiety disorders because drugs are not a long term solution and have been found to heightened the anxiety-related symptoms when people stop taking anti-depressants.

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"Learn how Karin Regenass went from hopeless to break free from her panic attacks with the Linden Method!"

"I am a recent user of the Linden Method (indeed just started last week!) I was suffering from anxiety and panick attacks since last year, it got so disturbing I thought that even death was better, my thoughts drove me crazy and also these feelings which came with derealisation and depersonalisation. I then found the linden method as I was looking at videos on YouTube, about anxiety.

At first I was worried that it would not work, I was so negative and I did not want to spend my money (I was really bitter) but my friends checked it out and really wanted me to try this one, so I got the downloadable version. The effect it had was amazing! The panic attacks stopped immediately (I did not have one since then) and now after a week my anxiety is just like a faded shadow-still lingering but I have my life back in control, I enjoy going out and participating in fun activities! To all fellow sufferers I'd say - life is waaays to beautiful! Don't waste another day and get the Linden Method! The money you spend on it is nothing compared to what you get out of it.

Thank you so much."

Karin Regenass

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