Marijuana triggered Depersonalization
Posted 21 March 2011 - 04:41 PM
It does not actually happen with this kind of scenario. Some people have chronic depersonalization triggered by smoking marijuana once, twice, or three times. The phenomenon does not actually appear to be dose-related. Others may describe that their depersonalization was triggered on an occasion when the pot they smoked was unusually strong, or possibly laced, or when they were in a highly stressed state, or when they experienced a bad trip with overwhelming anxiety or a panic attack. From what we know, it seems that any amount of marijuana, however small or infrequent, has the potential to trigger chronic depersonalization in a person who is particularly vulnerable.
If depersonalization was triggered by smoking marijuana, does it mean there is irreversible brain damage?
No, there is no evidence that there is irreversible damage in marijuana-triggered depersonalization, nor in any other type of depersonalization. Indeed, the U.S. research program at Mount Sinai has compared in great detail the various characteristics of depersonalized individuals who had onset triggered by marijuana versus drug-unrelated triggers. No differences were found in any characteristics, such as age, severity and frequency of depersonalization symptoms, or particularly types of depersonalization symptoms. Thus, it seems that marijuana triggers a disorder that differs in no obvious way from other forms of the disorder. The fact that we have not yet found a medication that is effective in treating the condition does not mean that there is irreversible brain damage. It means that we have not yet discovered the particular neurochemical and brain circuitry abnormalities that subsume depersonalization and a medication that is able to correct these.
Why have so many doctors never heard of depersonalization disorder?
This is true, though it may seem hard to believe. Some patients with depersonalization disorder (DPD) encounter a well-informed professional and receive an accurate diagnosis quickly. But this is the exception, not the rule. More often than not, patients see psychiatrists and psychologists who tell them they are anxious, stressed, depressed, personality-disordered, or even psychotic without ever identifying depersonalization as their condition. This can be damaging and only perpetuates the patient’s sense of feeling crazy, being misunderstood, or seeing themselves as an anomaly suffering from something that no one else has and no one else knows about. Depersonalization disorder, by our rough estimates, appears to be common and to affect 1-2% of the population, and although there is only limited comfort in numbers, it is better than suffering alone. Those with the disorder are becoming more informed and more able to search out and communicate with others suffering from the condition largely because of information and support groups created by sufferers themselves on the internet. Among professionals, there has been greater recognition and appreciation for the disorder over the past decade, possibly in part because of a number of high-quality research studies that have put the condition on the radar screen for the mental health profession.
Certain drugs prescribed to treat depersonalization can actually make it worse. Can some of these drugs actually cause it?
There is no evidence in the literature that prescription medications can trigger or worsen depersonalization. There may be one or two such cases reported, and even those are dubious because of the other complex circumstances surrounding the onset of depersonalization. It is not uncommon for prescribed medications to cause a transient worsening of depersonalization, especially early on, if they have side effects that make people feel more drugged, sedated, or out of it in one way or another. However, this is different from any kind of lasting impact on the symptom.
Simeon, Daphne, and Jeffrey Abugel. Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of the Self. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.
Posted 22 March 2011 - 02:42 PM
Posted 14 August 2011 - 06:41 PM
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