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A few hunches: trying to understand depersonalization

1116 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Dreamer
For the last few days my mind has been racing with thoughts. I find it difficult to stay focussed on one idea so please bare with me (as always) through this post. I'm discovering that talking about my ideas or how I feel without being shy can be very beneficial. Truly, I've never really done it until this week. I think DP has alot to do with the access you allow the world to have to you, to understand your individuality. I told my best friend everything and she has been really supportive. I'm constructing a new reality by saying what I really feel finally. Again, I can't say thanks enough for this board. I've read many threads here and learned so much from your experiences. I'm less scared about what I'm going through now.

Some people have raised difficult questions about DP, some even pretty thought provoking. Let me contribute to this board by offering you the latter. Now, keep in mind as you read this that I'm famous amongst my friends for my ability to construct conspiracy theories. I may just be lost in my own little world :wink: :wink: , but I like to believe I'm not so off track So view the following as pure entertainment if you like :lol:

There are many things that have puzzled me about what I "have". 10 years ago I was told I had "depression", then it became "looks like bipolar", now after reading the literature I'm leaning for "depersonalization". I talked to my therapist for the second time in two days and we both agreed there's definitely cause to think that I may indeed be experiencing this.

Interesting things I've discovered over the last few days:

I took 5 kinds of anti-depressants for my "depression" over the years. I discover that 4 our of 5 (the 5th I could find no information) have "depersonalization" as a side effect.


Is it a coincidence that anti-depressants all have "suic***" or "suicidal thoughts" listed in their potential side effect list as well? I've wondered about this for a long time. Who make up that small group (I do for one) that reacts to anti-depressants perhaps both by having suicidal thoughts and "zone outs".... How come there hasn't been more research done into this I wonder...

Which brings me to: the class-actions suits against pharmaceuticals for the undisclosure of evidence that suicidal tendencies correlate more highly in young people as a side-effect. What do those suits and subsequent rulings say about the potential side-effects of anti-depressants on society at large. Who in the scientific community is asking "WHY do youth respond this way" and "WHAT is it about adulthood that lowers that incidence?"

A possibility: Because youth's brain is not fully developed yet to respond critically to events in their life. Because adults have more life experience to handle those shifts in emotions. :idea: :?:

I keep in mind there are few absolutes in life, including explanations. ..

Another thing I wonder about is: what is the real difference between psychotropic drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, etc, and psychotropic drugs like the prozacs and Co. How do either type of drug affect the brain differently?

Which brings me to: why does it say on the bottles of pick-your-antidepressant "It is thought that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance"? Why doesn't it say "depression is caused by a chemical imbalance" ? How come the people who advanced the theory that depression was caused by this never actually offered up any proof. Usually when you have a theory you need to prove or disprove it before pursuing the research further....

What is the most profitable drug man has ever invented? (ok, this last one is leaning toward the conspiracy theory. I'll leave it at that)

I know, I'm thinking too much about things that I'm probably not likely to find the full answers to. I can't help it. :?

I'm not saying that DP is caused by anti-depressants by the way. I'm suggesting that maybe that small percentage of people who have adverse psychological responses to the drugs may have something very much in common (maybe a human brain... maybe it's not good to put stuff in there that wasn't there to begin with just because "it works for most people"...). Even though I took many anti-depressants I've always been suspicious that they really cured anything. Psychoanalysis has helped me far more than the drugs. To me they seem like a band-aid... Evidence I'm finding seems to point to the possibility that they may actually be doing alot more harm then the pharmaceutical industry which has gotten rich off it would care to admit. But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.

I think the trigger for DP is in my childhood. I was molested by someone in my family and I know that event was very much an influence in my obsessive behaviour as an adult. I wonder if there isn't something about anti-depressants that can amplify the kind of primary DP caused by childhood trauma.

So many factors to understand a story.

I hope I have not bored you with my rambling.

One last question... how many of the DP people here have had suicidal thoughts, and how many of those took anti-depressants?

Good day,
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Dear Nancy,
I'm considered the "biological reductionist" on the Board I guess. But many here have made some excellent points already.

There is a huge body of research that is out there indicating that mental illnesses are biological in origin. The symptoms express themselves in our feelings and our behavior. Just as you might have a clogged up heart, it will express its malfunction in a heart attack, or a pancreas that isn't working will express its malfunction in diabetes, so the brain expresses its malfunction in the normal everyday processes it regulates -- emotion, perception, cognition.

If you look at my website, I have done extensive research -- but I am FAR from an expert on this -- and have noted many articles and books that discuss mental illness at length. Some of these articles are very difficult to read, but one needs to be a researcher, a scientist, at least an M.D. to REALLY have some solid concept of the brain, and it is still so complex, who knows when we will fully understand it?

One thing before I forget. There is a growing consensus that mental illness comes on in the teen and adult years, most likely due to the following fact: in those years, the brain makes as many incredible changes as does the infant and toddler. There is a restructuring of synaptic pathways, etc. -- pruning of "redundant" pathways, and growth of others. It is a precarious time, as is the development of early childhood. Schizophrenia can even be recognized now in subtle signs in childhod.

Stress at that time can set off preexisting conditions, or actually be the result of "too much pruning" and a damage of critical pathways -- there is some indication that this is what happens in schizophrenia.

There is also a surge of hormones at this age. The human being's brain really isn't "finished growing" until about age 25. And the brain changes throughout life as well.

I HIGHLY suggest the following link to my hero (everyone sighs, :roll: ), V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D. who has several great books out and has done extensive research on human perception. He is the modern day Oliver Sacks.

If you go to this link, you will have fascinating reading which supports
"Neuroscience - The New Philosophy" -- have a look at that particular lecture as it talks about depresonalization and derealization.

I also recommend HIGHLY reading the recent Scientific American Mind on shelves right now. It talks about consciousness, perceptual distortions (for instance deja-vu), etc., etc. And it is far more layperson friendly in terms of explaining things.

I'm an old lady 8) , and have lived through essentially most of my life -- 46 years, with anxiety, depression, and chronic 24/7 DP/DR. It has prompted me to do a lot of research, and to become involved with volunteering for NAMI -- see links. I have also been in much therapy over the years, and have tried many meds. My current combo is the most successful, and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) in group recently has been very helpful. A variation of CBT.

This does not take away from the psychological factors that affect brain disorders -- they work together. Talk therapy, CBT, etc. are important and can help tremendously. Medication isn't the only answer.

Also, if you consider the failures of medication, think of people with severe arthritis who still want their Celebrex, Vioxx, etc. even though it is considered a dangerous drug. Psychotropic medications aren't the only ones with serious side effects. I HATE BEING ON MEDS but it is what as helped ME the most. I don't recommend them for everyone.

My website, with my story -- it's very detailed If you look at various links you'll find books and articles listed.

Nature/Nurture is almost impossible to separate in psychiatric illness. The brain is infinitely complex. Medicine does NOT understand the brain fully, and I don't know when it will.

And you need to understand the concept of homeostasis and the Stress-Diathesis model of all pathology, or allostasis or lack of homeostasis.

But there is much research. See the links on this site to the IoP in London, and Mt. Sinai in New York where there are units dedicated to studying DP/DR. And this can come with most if not all mental illness (not a guarantee.)

Ah, also have a look at the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill site.
Advocacy by parents, siblings, friends of the mentally ill, and the mentally ill themselves. I am a member and volunteer.

End of lecture,
In Peace and in the Spirit of Healthy Debate
D 8)
EDITED: I always mess up my URLs these days
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