Curing Your Anxiety or Depersonalization—How to Defeat Intrusive Thoughts

Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization: How to Climb out of the Hole
Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization: How to Climb out of the Hole

Guide to Treating Your Anxiety or Depersonalization

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Approximately 18% of the adult population—or nearly 40 million people—suffer to some extent from anxiety but, although these disorders are highly treatable, the majority of sufferers don't get treatment.

But why suffer for endless years if relief from the troublesome symptoms or even complete recovery is at an arm's length? This article lists the many ways people have found relief from anxiety disorders and related symptoms, including the notorious depersonalization; from supplements and prescription medications to relaxing techniques and many more tools that have proved to be successful in attenuating anxiety.

Just as anxiety manifests differently for every individual, different treatments suit different people. If you try one solution and it doesn't work, then don't lose hope: simply try another (but not necessarily at the same time and of course, consult your physician). Finding the methods that work for you requires research, tenacity, and an open mind, but the methods described in this article will give you hope.

In this article, you will find (in this order):

  1. a definition of depersonalization
  2. a list of lifestyle changes to help alleviate anxiety
  3. herbal remedies to assuage anxiety
  4. helpful over-the-counter supplements
  5. medications your doctor may prescribe
  6. cognitive therapy approaches.

Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization:  Getting Unstuck from Inside Your Head
Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization: Getting Unstuck from Inside Your Head

Defining and Finding Relief for Depersonalization

Depersonalization is a glitch in the mechanism which is responsible for one's sense of self-awareness. It is when your thoughts and feelings seem unreal or feel like they belong to someone else. In other words, it's when one feels unpleasantly disconnected from the outside world. People who suffer from depersonalization say it's surreal, like living in a dream or a movie. This feeling plagues a legion of individuals. If you suffer from depersonalization, do not forget you are not alone in this.

Depersonalization can be a thoroughly frightening and disabling experience and I should know, because it got me, too. My depersonalization occurred when I was using cannabis to fight anxiety and intestinal pain. At first I thought I was going crazy, that I had triggered some serious psychiatric condition (this was before Harvard's 2013 study that found no evidence linking cannabis with schizophrenia). But as time passed, I started to realize that the only thing that had really changed was the way I perceived the world around me.

Since perception defines your emotional connection with the outside world, it is no wonder that depersonalization can make you feel like a piece of furniture. Be aware that although you may think you are going crazy, the chance you are psychotic are slim. Psychotic people are usually not aware of their delusions: this is a paradox worth remembering. Try to remember also that everything is in its right place (including your emotions, personality, and cognition) but you just need to find all of yourself and re-personalize.

In searching for a way to re-personalize, I experimented with many techniques and substances. This article is filled with tips that greatly helped me in returning to my normal self— better yet, to a more educated self—and hopefully they will help you, too.

(Note: Since depersonalization is more of a side effect of anxiety than a symptom, the following advice is oriented to dealing with the underlying anxiety fueling the dissociation.)

Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization:  Stopping    Unhealthy Habits
Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization: Stopping Unhealthy Habits

Cures for Anxiety: Lifestyle Changes

In order to reduce your anxiety and feelings of depersonalization, the first thing you need to do is start taking care of your body. A healthy lifestyle will boost the regenerative ability of your brain: the healthier you live, the more you will feel psychological relief.

Some simple steps you should incorporate into your daily routine:

  1. Drink water. The link between water and stress reduction is well researched and documented. Hydration affects cortisol levels which, in turn, affects anxiety levels. Drinking enough water and substituting sweet drinks with water will help you with many bodily processes and aid in clearing your system of toxic waste. Proper hydration has been proven to help reduce the severity of anxiety attacks. Avoid sugary drinks to prevent complications arising from excess carbohydrate consumption such as mood swings.
  2. Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol is a notorious depressant. Although you may find a short relief from anxiety, alcohol will make it worse in the long run. The same goes for tobacco and other recreational drugs. Many might seem helpful at first, but they usually just cover the symptoms like a blanket and let them stack up until they become too overwhelming to handle.
  3. Exercise. Exercising daily will help you achieve a better attitude, improve your health, and distract you from all the anxious thoughts going through your head. Studies show that it takes a little more than 20 minutes of exercise to reduce anxiety. For me, exercising proved to be just as good—if not better—than using anti-depressants. Furthermore, aerobic exercise promotes neuronal growth and so compensates for the neurotoxicity induced by chronic depression/anxiety arising from increased cortisol levels (hypercortisolemia).
  4. Occupy yourself. Don't think about your anxiety/depersonalization, don't try to analyze every possible trigger of your anxiety, and don't analyze your thoughts all the time, but rather keep yourself occupied with something you like to do. Even if you don't feel like doing anything, force yourself to try something different. A shift in focus will distract you from anxious thoughts and help you slip into doing something pleasing and productive, which is essential to any recovery.
  5. Rest your mind. Make sure you are getting enough rest because when you rest, your mind rests as well. Alternatively, meditation allows you to empty your mind and relax your body. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Not only does meditation ameliorate many symptoms common to, albeit not limited to, anxiety (such as limited focus and alertness), but it has even proven to elicit morphological changes in the brain by facilitating the thickening of gray matter (a brain region associated with intelligence). Meditation is therefore a must-try practice.

Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization: Finding Unity and Wholeness
Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization: Finding Unity and Wholeness

Herbal Remedies Used to Treat Anxiety

There are a large variety of herbs which have the potential to alleviate nervousness and anxiety to a noticeable extent. The major advantages of an herbal anxiety remedy are that they are considered to be relatively safe and rarely pose a risk of developing dependence since they're mostly made from plants (as opposed to some potent alkaloid tincture or other concentrated derivative intrinsic to prescription medication). Furthermore, unpleasant side effects are also quite infrequent, making most herbal remedies a generally well-tolerated treatments, although you should always check with and inform your doctor which remedies (herbal, supplemental, and prescriptive) you are using.

I have experimented with a wide range of herbal remedies and often found them more efficient than actual prescription medications, especially in the long run. The following have proven to work most efficiently:

Humulus lupulus (Hops): If you want to experience the tranquilizing benefits of hops, you'll need to use the oil (via an extract or a tincture). Although you'll find it in beer, there is no evidence that beer will help your anxiety.

Lactuca Virosa (Opium Lettuce): Do not be frightened by the name, as this plant is no relative to opium (papaver somniferum), although it is known to have some of opium's beneficial properties. Lactucarium, the milky fluid secreted by this plant, has been appreciated for its analgesic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory uses for centuries. Two or three grams of leaves made into a tea will give you pleasant relief!

Lavandula (Lavender): There have been many scientific studies conducted in stressful places (doctors' offices, exam rooms, etc.) on the soothing, anti-anxiety effects of lavender oil. In one German study, lavender pills (which are not available in the U.S.) were shown to reduce anxiety symptoms in a group with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) as effectively as Ativan (a prescription medication like Valium).

Matricaria recutita (Chamomile): Available as a tea or in capsule form, compounds in chamomile bind to the same brain receptors as drugs like Valium. In one study at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, there was a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms in those participants suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) who were administered chamomile supplements for two months.

Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm) is available as a tea, capsule, and tincture, and has been used for hundreds of years to reduce stress and anxiety and help with sleep. In one study, participants who took 600 mg of lemon balm extract were significantly calmer than those who took a placebo, although some research indicates that overuse will add to anxiety, so proceed with caution.

Mitragyna Speciosa (Kratom): Another plant with opiate-like properties, this tea, sold as a legal high, does in fact act upon some of the opioid receptors in your body (delta receptors and slightly mu receptors), but lacks any of the traditional opiate side effects such as the risk of developing addiction (although it is possible to become addicted with frequent use of heavy doses, especially with the use of strong extracts). Its anxiolytic and antidepressant effects make it popular among anxiety sufferers and quitting opiate-users. I find it very effective at alleviating anxiety and great for use at work as it is pleasantly stimulating in lower doses and comfortably sedative in higher doses. Works great for sleep in higher doses, too.

Passiflora (Passionflower) is a sedative which some studies have found can reduce symptoms of anxiety as effectively as prescription drugs. It's also used for insomnia and the German government has approved it for nervous restlessness.

Piper methysticum (Kava) (also known as Kava Kava): The Kava root has been extensively researched for its beneficial effects on stress, insomnia, and anxiety. As with all these substances, consult your doctor first, especially if you drink alcohol, have liver problems, or use other medicinal substances.

Scutellaria lateriflora (Skullcap): An herb of the mint family with broad medical applications, it has proven to possess antitumor, anti-angiogenesis, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Furthermore, it has exhibited noticeable anxiolytic properties without any potentially harmful or unpleasant side effects and thus is a benign alternative for anxious patients.

Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization:  Escaping the Cage
Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization: Escaping the Cage

Helpful Over-the-Counter Supplements for Anxiety

Proteins, minerals, vitamins, and other substances are essential for a brain to function properly. The chance that your anxiety, or at least part of it, can be traced to a vitamin or mineral deficiency is quite high. Here are some over-the-counter and natural ingredients to help alleviate anxiety.

Aniracetam is a nootropic (memory/learning-enhancing) dietary supplement that is immensely useful when your thinking is fogged by anxiety. Depersonalization often causes brain fog and therefore I found taking a supplement of aniracetam extremely helpful for learning/working.

Do not underestimate the power of simple supplements such as B-complex: its deficiency can cause symptoms of mania, psychosis, fatigue, memory impairment, irritability, depression, and personality changes. Supplementation of B-complex has been shown to reduce confusion, depression, and work-related stress. I recommend using the sublingual form due to its high bioavailability (easy absorption). It is difficult to overdose on B-vitamin since it is water-soluble, so don't be afraid to incorporate it into your daily diet.

BCAA (branched chain amino acids): Comprised of three amino acids (valin, leucine, and isoleucine), this supplement will be useful not only to body-builders who are looking to gain some muscle tissue, but also for anyone struggling with fatigue or depression. I found it especially effective in reducing physical fatigue: 500mg two to three times daily makes all the difference when I go jogging.

Centrophenoxine/Meclofenoxate: Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine, an essential transmitter involved not only in muscular function and other somatic aspects, but also in cognitive processes such as memory. Additionally, this supplement was proposed to cause an increase in density of dopamine receptors. Overall, its an interesting nootropic which seems to help with focus and the storing of new information into long-term memory.

Choline is an essential nutrient for brain health, intelligence, and synaptic plasticity. A choline deficiency can impair memory and reasoning and affect mood and focus. We derive choline from foods like eggs, beef liver, dairy, soaked nuts and legumes, and cruciferous vegetables, but most people do not get the daily recommended amount so unless you have a consistently healthy diet, supplements such as Alpha GPC and Citicoline are excellent sources of choline.

GABA is a supplement that is essential in regulating anxiety. It does not readily cross the blood-brain barrier in lower doses but it indirectly calms you down (exactly how is yet to be explained). 500mg once or twice a day should be enough (morning/evening before sleep). This dose can be exceeded but it may have paradoxical effects and work against you by increasing anxiety.

L-Theanine is extracted from green tea and evokes a focused state of relaxation without making you tired or over-stimulated. Research shows that that it helps moderate heart rate and blood pressure, and some studies show that it reduces anxiety. In one study, anxiety-prone test-takers were calmer during a test if they first took 200 milligrams of L-theanine. Along with its nootropic properties, it is also a worthy mood-enhancer. You'd have to drink a lot of green tea to feel the effects, but it's also available in a capsule. 400-800 mg daily should do the job nicely.

Not only does lecithin reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, but it also helps you to achieve an overall calm state of mind. I found it to be outstanding in reducing panic attacks (which many people experience as a result of depersonalization). The cholinergic system is involved in memory and learning among other sympathetic and parasympathetic responses. Therefore lecithin will positively address cognitive impairments such as brain fog. Take daily anywhere from 1200mg to as much as feels comfortable.

A magnesium deficiency can precipitate depression and anxiety, so make sure to keep proper levels in check. You can ingest enough magnesium in daily portions of green vegetables, but if you don't have the time to eat this way, a supplemental magnesium can act as a gateway to sleep and calmness. Try 250 mg at first and work your way up slowly as high doses can lower your blood pressure and consequently make you tired.

Omega 3-6—also known as and found in fish oil—is a dietary supplement that helps people suffering from anxiety and also actively participates in prevention of cancer, inflammation, and depression. In one study, students who took a daily dose of 2.5 mg a day for three months experienced significantly less anxiety before an exam than those taking a placebo. There is not really an upper limit on intake, but 300 mg of EPA and DHA daily should suffice.

Piracetam is another nootropic from the racetam family that improves cognition. It acts as a positive allosteric modulator of the NMDA glutamate receptor, which proved essential in learning and memory. 1.2 g to 12 g is a typical dose range. Efficiency varies among individuals, so you will have to find the right dose for you. Combines well with Aniracetam, Lecithin, Alpha GPC, and Centrophenoxine because they work in synergy.

Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization: Quieting the Mind
Cures for Anxiety and Depersonalization: Quieting the Mind

Prescription Medications for Anxiety

If you choose to visit a doctor hoping to find help with the management of anxiety, these are some of the prescription options your doctor will most likely be choosing from. However I do not advocate the use of prescription medications as they are often addictive and have many unpleasant side effects, both short and long term. Prescription medications only create a room for your anxiety to hide in and as soon as you quit (or if you do not increase the dose to counteract increasing tolerance), the anxiety will escape its room and haunt you once again, often to a greater extent than before.

Benzodiazepines: Strong anxiolytics, anti-convulsants, and hypnotics that enhance the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These are very helpful—especially with panic attacks—and do great with anxiety, too. Nevertheless, these are incredibly addictive and therefore I would not advise their use long term: a maximum of twice a week may eliminate development of any dependence upon this psychoactive drug, but even such a subtle regimen can become habitual if practiced long enough.

Bupropion: An atypical antidepressant and a successful smoking-cessation aid, Bupropion works by inhibiting the reuptake of the catecholamines dopamine and nor-epinephrine, thus making them more available to the receptors in the entrapped synaptic cleft. Because the role of these transmitters is mostly excitatory, anxiety and insomnia can be aggravated. In other words, this drug can aggravate or add to your problems. However, it might appeal to depressed patients suffering from fatigue and lack of concentration.

Buspirone: A psychoactive drug that has proven to be quite efficient at treating anxiety and to a lesser extent as an antidepressant. It also possesses nootropic properties by enhancing spatial learning and memory. It takes a couple of weeks before the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects become fully noticeable, but it is worth a try as it has few side effects, especially since does it not affect sexual drive as many commonly prescribed anxiolytics tend to do.

Cerebrolysin: Neuropeptides from a pig's brain have been revealed to have neurotrophic properties (enhances neural formation) and therefore have found their place in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease among many other somatic/psychiatric maladies. Efficacy is high and a few administrations have a long-lasting effects, making it necessary to administer only a few times. No significant side effects have been noted and this medication is generally well-tolerated among a wide spectrum of patients. The only drawback which might deter some from using this approach is that the most prevalent and ergonomic form available is in vials which require to be administered intra-muscularly (IM) or intravenously (IV). In other words, it's usually taken via a shot, so if you have a problem with needles, this may not work for you.

Hydroxyzine: An atypical antihistamine that has proven to be successful in treating mild anxiety. It possesses hypnotic properties making it helpful to insomniacs. For me, it proved to be quite helpful; you may notice changes in appetite and drowsiness (both elevated).

Naltrexone: An opioid receptor antagonist that is used in managing opiate dependence, it is not an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) but several studies have proven that it can be helpful in treating depersonalization. This is because opioid receptors have the ability to alter perception (therefore while on opiates, you may feel depersonalized). It binds to the opioid receptors and blocks the access/function of any agonists trying to bind. Studies showed quite positive results for the participants who were treated for 6-10 weeks at a fairly high dose of 120 milligrams per day. Three individuals were relieved of their condition, while the other subjects experienced partial alleviation of symptoms. On average, a 30% decrease in depersonalization symptoms was reported.

Pregabalin: A GABA analogue (which does not alter the GABAergic system as it may imply but works via a different mechanism) used for peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain) management, but has proven to be great at relieving the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, too. Its efficiency is comparable to that of benzodiazepines, but with a lower addictive potential and a reduced list of side effects, it seems like a better alternative.

SSREs: Selective serotonin reuptake enhancers (like Tianeptine) work in an opposite way as do SSRIs. Instead of inhibiting the transmission at the synaptic cleft, SSREs enhance the uptake, which results in an uplifted mood rather than the emotional numbness experienced with SSRIs. So as far as prescription drugs go, this one ranks highest on my list. However, it might be hard to acquire in the U.S. as it is not available by conventional means.

SSRIs: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors were a favorite option prescribed by many doctors. These medications (such as setraline, fluoxetine, and paroxetine) increase the levels of serotonin in one's brain and thus were prescribed to relieve anxiety. However, SSRIs proved to have a low rate of efficiency (around 15%), ranking them below placebo, and many in many cases made matters worse. It takes couple of weeks before the body adapts to the medication and effects start to show (if any do). These medications usually possess horrible side effects including sexual problems. SSRIs also make you numb, and this is counter-therapeutic for depersonalization sufferers as they are looking for the exact opposite, to feel emotions to a greater extent.

Tramadol: A synthetic opiate with affinities for serotonin and norepinephrine systems. In addition to the binding of mu and delta opioid receptors, this medicine inhibits the uptake of norepinephrine and serotonin, increasing its availability to binding in the synaptic cleft and leading to a down-regulation of these receptor sites in the long run. It might be beneficial in cases where the receptor sites are hypersensitive. Although the chances of developing dependence is high (as it is with benzodiazepines in chronic use), it works great at alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety by enhancing focus, eliminating psychosomatic pain, and lifting mood.

Cognitive Approach: The Key to Recovery

So you are starting to exercise, drinking plenty of water, and supplying your body with essential vitamins: Good start, but you're not at the finish line yet.

Following these steps will help you reduce the severity of your anxiety, but will not eliminate it. In order for your anxiety to disappear, you will need to start thinking about and looking at anxiety differently and analyzing the sources of your anxiety in order to learn how to resolve them. Just like you must pull out weeds with their roots intact in order to prevent them from growing back, you will have to face the root of your anxiety. Your mind is a great device, but requires an even greater operator to master it.

Let's look at an example of maladaptive reasoning so you can see what I mean:

  • Wanting everything to be perfect at all times and costs can be a great motivation, but only within limits.
  • Trying to live up to unreasonably high standards and consistently obsessing about your failures or events you misinterpret as failures will trigger a difficult-to-reverse cascade of anxiety.
  • What if it happened differently? Why me? Why am I so unlucky? Am I going crazy? Constantly asking yourself questions like this will successfully consume your focus and pull you out of reality and into a box filled with profoundly negative thoughts.
  • As you might have noticed, negative thoughts can become quite a habit and habits are hard to break so in a sense, you become addicted to anxious thinking.
  • Unfortunately, the thinking begins to projects into behavior and starts eliciting physiological responses characteristic to anxiety such as panic attacks, racing heart, and restlessness. Now the habit becomes even harder to break as you have associated it with strong emotions, further imprinting the experience into your memory.
  • See how this becomes a never-ending problem that constantly gains in force? Therefore it is important to break the habit as soon as possible to save yourself from prolonged struggling and it is why some patience and time are required to break the habit as you need to replace that counterproductive practice with a healthier one.

Solution to example:

  • Recognizing what the problem is and that it is an anxious response rather than a normal form of reasoning is the first move.
  • The issue, in this case, is over-thinking and exaggerating, so you will want to rationalize the response by questioning the negative questions/exaggerations.
  • You might want to ask yourself: What are the chances of me going crazy, considering that I have already experienced this without turning psychotic? Did it really turn out so bad?
  • In other words, you begin fighting your anxiety (which skews your view on reality) by using evidence and reason to counter its proposals. By adapting approaches like this, you successfully break the vicious loop.

Techniques like this are often employed in cognitive therapy and I have found this approach the most effective, simply because once you learn to resolve a particular aspect of your anxiety it won't return. It is like learning to ride a bicycle. Sure supplements, exercise, meditation, and the rest will be a great help, but their drawback is that you will need to practice them infinitely as their effect is rather short-lived and relies on frequent practice.

But being aware of what anxiety is, how to distinguish it from your true self, and how to eliminate its very sources will be your best weapons against depersonalization/anxiety.

I highly recommend the Linden Method, which further develops these points and provides additional tips on overcoming anxiety/depersonalization. It supplied me with all the tools necessary for understanding and resolving my anxiety and taught me how to apply various cognitive therapies critical to recovery. I found it highly informative and incredibly helpful for my depersonalization; it certainly (and thankfully) subtracted a couple of months from my recovery.

Hope these tips will be of as much help to you as they were to me. Depersonalization and anxiety are not permanent if you are willing to reform your life. Additionally, anxiety tends to decrease with increasing age—perhaps due to becoming adjusted to the feeling—so there is always that to look forward to!

Good luck to you all and I wish you a huge anxiety relief!

Comments: 55 comments

anonymous 5 years ago

Very Interesting Online Research

may I ask you about the resources that you get such information from

Thank you for your effort

Dr Ameer

saraPalmer 5 years ago

I like this lens because of the unique perspective you gave us. There are several methods and suggestions in this article that I agree with and I'm sure you are of help to many sufferers. Thanks again.

anonymous 5 years ago

Hi excellent post.. I would like to add something that might help.

One of the most important things that one would forget is to breath.i think a lot of people do when it comes to panic attacks and mind going blank. Something as simple as that will go a long way. Stretching your extremities might also help you relax.

Cognitive Behavior might also help you realize some bad automatic thoughts to more realistic ones.

Don't forget that exercise is one of the most powerful you can do for stress relieving. I believe that for most at least 40+ minutes you will find yourself in a different mood Find something to get you motivated , the stronger your emotion the longer you stay motivated.

I agree with SSRI's there's a lot they don't tell especially withdrawal symptoms. but for those that have you can get over them for the most part with some supplements. Don't forget time flies and eventually you will get better.

I would even say that high dose Vitamin C (way above FDA values) would help also with overall being. Its one of the most powerful antioxidants that helps your immune system combat stress.

Many will also argue to stay away from fluoride, MSG (monosodium glutamate), Aspartame (Artificial Sweeteners), containing products,

GreenfireWiseWo profile image

GreenfireWiseWo 5 years ago

Very interesting lens. Thank you.

anonymous 5 years ago

With each of your articles, I learn more and more about my DP. I am 37 and have had it since I was about 6-7 years old when my parents divorced. I do not know any other way of life and just learned what it was called a few months ago. I don't think it will ever go away- I don't know what I am striving towards- I don't recall what true emotions or feelings are to be honest- once in a while I'll feel something brutally deep- like emotion during childbirth or general happiness from my children. II will try some of the supplements listed immediately and exercise daily. I look forward to more posts. I've always disliked who I was, how I bevhave, feelings of selfishness, the constant anxiety and other symptoms that plague me every minute of my life. Thank you for all of your research.

anonymous 5 years ago

THANKS SO MUCH! i have created a note on my facebook to help me with this. I'm literally at the end here and needed this. I got back from the Dr's and he has nothing to say except how I have deteriated mentally and it's true but i'm not taking Effexor like he wants me to, I did a lot of research on it and no way. I'm going to fight again, I was on clonazepam for 4 years and just got off it and everything is back but worse and i'm scared to death and was feeling so hopeless imagine the feeling of realizing your one pill away from losing it, losing everything everything was so overwhelming I wanted it to just end. I am back on a very small amount of clonazepam today but i'm going to only take it when necessary and start dealing with my demons again slowly. and like you said which i'm going to repeat and take as my mantra I will "find all of myself and RE-PERSONALIZE!! i'm going to be ok thanks to you and if I could i'd hug you.

spiritualll profile image

spiritualll 5 years ago

I have been suffering from anxiety too.. My Anti-Conscience keeps invading my human conscience. Once the absurd feeling reach the surface of the conscience, I start again having absurd fears...

TobiasFJames 5 years ago

Great lens, I shall have to have a more thorough read when I have the chance and look into some of the supplements you mentioned. I suffer from a social/generalized anxiety disorder myself, and I'm in the process of making my own lens on the subject, documenting my experience and the things I've found helpful. Anyway, thanks for the great information.

anonymous 4 years ago

Heyhey great post!

What do you think differentiates Anxiety DP/DR from the actual Disorder?

i felt it for brief moments while having a mild head injury, becoming unconsicious and while ill.

about 10 years ago i´ve got it really hard because of marijuana but overcame it with distraction..

5 years ago ive got it because of anxiety and a bad hangover.. i overcame it once more..

and now ive got it for like 2-3 month because of bereavment.. but to be honest it feels like my fear of getting it and having it is what it got me once more :/

m3playa lm profile image

m3playa lm 4 years ago Author

@anonymous: Hey there!

I don't think there is much of a difference between DPD and anxiety induced depersonalization; they really are the same thing perceptually, but are used as separate terms where the former is generalized, not concentrating on the etiology, and the latter specifies the cause. Depersonalization tends to be co-morbid with many psychiatric disorders ranging from anxiety to schizophrenia so there might be different mechanisms involved in producing the same effect (dissociation). The tag disorder is often used to emphasize on the recurrence of the symptom(s) so one would think DPD is episodic and permanent in the long run while the anxiety induced depersonalization is only temporary, but this is also disputable since anxiety on its own tends to be chronic bringing the dissociation back with each relapse.

As for your case, anticipating the comeback of depersonalization certainly has the potential to induce it because you are contributing to the escalation of anxiety by having such intrusive thoughts. You will eventually become accustomed to the feeling and once you reach the point where you no longer care whether you are depersonalized or not you will quickly slide out of it, ignorance does indeed help to overcome both physical and mental pain because you are not feeding the struggle with focus. You overcame it several times and you will again, quite possibly, in a shorter time with each reinstatement as you incrementally become accustomed to the feeling. I know how much of a predicament it can be to deal with, but look at it this way: it serves you as an exposure therapy where you are not only becoming increasingly resistant to anxiety in general by learning to live in such a lurid state, but will also prove resourceful later on like any experience in life.

good luck and don't lose hope!

DaydreamerJay profile image

DaydreamerJay 4 years ago

Very helpful information! I've been dealing with various forms of anxiety and dissociation for as long as I've been alive! People don't think things as simple as not focusing on anxiety and getting exercise as helpful, but that is part of the problem. The little things can be the BIG differences.

SoundsOfBliss 4 years ago

Just got some B complex actually. Amongst other things... It's so important to stay connected and focused on the good things about life. Lots of good stuff here. Thanks.

anonymous 4 years ago

i wish everyone in the world could have this knowledge.. if only buddhism would have succeeded in capturing everyone in its wisdom. imagine.

anonymous 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this info. i needed it. I'm so grateful to know I'm not alone with these feelings. I was handling anxiety but then the depersonalization kicked in a scared the hell out of me. I thought i was going crazy.

anonymous 4 years ago

Aww thanks so much for this, man. I'm suffering from horrible depersonalisation and a fear the world is leaving me. Scares the life out of me! I don't want to go the meds route and I'm clinging to sanity and exercising like a demon since yesterday:) This stuff u've given us is a life saver. Thank u. Fingers xd.

anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: I'm feeling way better. The depersonalization went away. Give time, time. I totally know how hard it is. Try to walk into the feeling instead of away. This will pass. Know that for sure. Hugs

anonymous 4 years ago

I'm doing lots of yoga. Helps a lot

anonymous 4 years ago

A good read. I have was suffering with Depersonalization and anxiety for about 2 months at chrustmas. Since then, I have been on 10mg Citalopram a day. and I have propranolol if i get too anxious at any point. Horrible position to be in, I wanted to kill myself. But it does go away. The only time i get slight symptoms of depersonalization coming back is if i think about it again. The gym certainly helps, for the reasons mentioned above and just because your working hard and you have a target and you start looking and feeling better you break in to a new lifestyle.

anonymous 4 years ago

@anonymous: how long did it take? bc I'm 14 and I'm so scared and sad that this is happening to me.

anonymous 4 years ago

Thanks for the advice. Removing the anxiety causes from the root has been a challenge for me but with your advice I feel that it will be gone soon.

anonymous 4 years ago

wow. you really might have just saved my life. I truly appreciate it, ive been looking for no med way to reach my sanity and this is very helpful.

anonymous 4 years ago

Dude, I can't stress how useful this article was. I had a bad trip on some weed a while ago and I was going in and out of insanity with the DPD I contracted. After reading this and looking more into it I became so much happier and even picked up some very healthy habbits. This was a life saver and appreciate all this info you've put into helping people out. Please realize you've saved a person's life and he can't ever express how much he is thankful for it.

anonymous 4 years ago

Thank you this was very helpful I just feel like killing myself sometimes because of how much this sucks thanks a lot !

anonymous 4 years ago

I really appreciate you writing this article. I also had a bad experience with weed and I've been racking my brain to feel normal for the last three months- even though I haven't smoked. I've been doing some of the things you mentioned but you really brought it home when you mentioned that we need to control anxious thoughts and realize that our stressful situations really ARE conquerable. Thank you so much!

anonymous 4 years ago

Loved this article.Thank you so much. I have been suffering from severe anxiety for a few months now and would like to overcome it as I have 5 children and a husband that need me. Not to mention I would love to be my old self again. Thank you.

dcastillocasanova 4 years ago

Hi, friend! I wanna know if you're good now, or you're only better? Please, i'm so bad :( I'm suffer depersonalization because i smoked marijuana.

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m3playa lm 4 years ago Author

@dcastillocasanova: Hey there!

First of all, sorry for the late reply, I have been busy the last few days. As for your question, I am good now; in fact, even better than before I had conducted depersonalization. Do not worry as it will all pass, but it takes some time. Depersonalization is like a heavy curtain that obscures your thinking and objective outlook on reality - it can be lifted, but it takes patience and a little bit of effort.

hold strong and try to keep it positive; you will soon be looking back at this nightmare with a happy state of mind!

anonymous 4 years ago

did you have to have medical treatment? i am only 16 and have been suffering with depersonalisation for nearly 6 months now. the doctors cannot prescribe me anti depressants because of my age, i am on beta blockers to help with the panic attacks an dam also tying therapy this week. this article has helped.

anonymous 4 years ago

Thank you so much for posting this, I recently had a very bad experience with Cannabis, resulting in what has so far been over a month of fairly severe depersonalistion. Unfortunately, this has coincided with me starting University (which has made the whole ordeal much tougher). I just wanted to say that this article has been an extremely positive influence on my life, and I hope that a couple of months down the line I can say it played a massive part in getting me 100% back to normality. Thank you

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m3playa lm 4 years ago Author

@anonymous: Hello Sophie,

no I didn't use any prescription medicine, at least not in the long term, to overcome depersonalization. In some cases, intervening with pharmaceuticals can prolong the recovery process, so you are not missing out on that much. If you need an immediate relief you can still look into something over the counter or try something as simple as tea from melissa officinalis.

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m3playa lm 4 years ago Author

@anonymous: Good day to you Uniboy,

For me, it too started at the beginning of a school year, and I agree that it just makes everything tougher that way. It might very well be that your apprehension of the beginning of a semester just added to the anxiety and brought it to the level required to tip the anxiety scale over - at least, that is how it was for me. In any case, all the best in your classes and a quick recovery!

anonymous 4 years ago

Thanks for this, I've had depersonalzation for over 2 years and it still occurs everyday. And I've been on so many medications. I'm even doing threpy now, I hope something in here might help.

anonymous 3 years ago

Well iresearched paroxysms in the cerebral areas & temporal lobe epilepsy as well & idont really feel that isuffer from either of these, only bc iread that ppl who suffer from this have mild or severe brain seizures which idont have. Iresearched, well googled what imight have & ithink isuffer from a detrimental case of an earworm, which is when you can not get one or more songs out of your head no matter how hard you try not to think about it. At first iwas able to watch tv w.out hearing the songs but somehow igave this too much power so now it has gotten worse. Ithink the songs were definitely triggered by depressed thoughts bc istill have not got over the loss of my sister/bff thus the thoughts & songs makes it difficult for me to concentrate on a tv show, or schoolwork, & now sleep. Do you think this method can cure what ihave bc ireally don't want to feel this way anymore, iwant my normal life back, ijust want to be happy or at least as happy as iwas before really soon. Please respond as soon as possible. Thankyou

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m3playa lm 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: The techniques I am proposing in this text are universal in application, and they should benefit anyone who tries them. They are not confined only to those with psychological difficulties, but will serve the healthy equally well in reducing day-to-day stress. Therefore, and although the etiology of your distress is unknown to me, giving it a shot should not come to waste. Nevertheless, what makes you say with such certainty that cerebral epilepsy is out of question? The symptoms of such pathology do not necessarily need to be conspicuous. The songs seem to be narrating your everyday life, but, as you said, are contextually detached from your depression. My advice remains the same - visit a neurologist and have the absence of epilepsy confirmed â then you will at least be able to eliminate a likely possibility and narrow your search down. Even if you do not seem to match all the symptoms that does not rule the diagnosis out, for those are only general guidelines that dismiss the heterogeneity of individuals.

anonymous 3 years ago

u hit my story on the head as well. Exact same situation. Pamelor cured most of my issues. The panic, depersonalization, some of the anxiety and much of the depression. Problem: I have not gotten motivation, focus, and sex drive back. I never had much motivation before for focus but my sex drive was huge.

anonymous 3 years ago

Very helpful thank you. I am going to try some of your tips. Are you now cured?

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m3playa lm 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: You are very welcome, and yes I am depersonalization free as of now. Once you develop a sturdy defense mechanism against anxiety, you will become much more resistant to depersonalization, even in the long-term. Good luck with you recovery!

schizlife 3 years ago

I dealt with depersonalization and derealization for some time. It was absolutely the most trying time of my life, but I gained so much from it spiritually and psychologically. It will make you mature as an individual, that's for sure! Best and worst experience ever :)

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m3playa lm 3 years ago Author

@schizlife: I concur. Once you learn to overcome depersonalization, you are pretty much set for anything.

anonymous 3 years ago

Do you have any info on whether a thyroid issue could affect DP? Also, how do you determine which supplements to take at the beginning? Last question for now, if a choice is made to take a med, which one would work the soonest for anxiety? Thank you for enlightening those of us who don't have this debilitating issue but love someone who does.

anonymous 3 years ago


I'm trying to find out whether or not I have the 'Depersonalization Syndrone'.

Let me tell you my story:

It all began 4,5 years ago when I was at a friends birthday party. I was 17 and contributed in smoking some marihuana which resulted in a 'bad trip'. The days after were a real struggle, I felt as if something wasn't right... As the days progressed I started to develop strong 'anxiety symptons' towards the circumstances that reminded me of that evening. Loud music, flashing lights, people smoking, crowded places,... Whenever I came across situations which held some of these 'factors' I started feeling uncomfortable and a feeling of anxiety started to develop, reminding me of that 'bad' evening. It kept getting worse until I reached a point where I didn't want to leave the house anymore just because I was so scared... It took me about 1,5 years to get myself back together and overcome all of this! So after 1,5 years of struggling I managed to get my 'old self' back, but I stopped smoking completely and had a a strong adversion towards alcohol. I also completely changed my lifestyle and started to eat healthy and workout! I lost about 20 pounds and I never felt that good before. I then had the 'time of my life' for about 2 years! I was going out again, having fun, occasionally having a drink, but never overdoing it. Still the thought of ppl smoking marihuana always stayed in the back of my mind and I couldn't stand smelling it or being near ppl who smoked it. That was the only thing I hadn't overcome. Now, this year in September, I went on a holiday with my best friends as I hadn't been a vacation in 3 years... I really looked forward to it, but then as we reached day 4 of our 8 day vacation it 'went wrong'... We were out for dinner in a local town and decided to visit the old town centre and a drink to end a thus far lovely evening... When we walked past a bar where someone was smoking some kind of cigar 'it' suddenly came back, that horrible feeling I had 4,5 years ago... Boom, without any notifaction whatsoever it was back... I couldn't believe it because I was fine for more than 2 years and I thought I'd overcome my fear, except for the marihuana smell. After I had the horrible experience, panic reaction, I went back to our hotel and went to bed, hoping things would be better in the morning, but they weren't. I got out of bed not feeling right... As the days went on things didn't change, I stell kept feeling strange, like something was missing. I've always been someone who contemplates life a lot and thinks about 'deep questions' concerning life. Also, I'm a perfectionist in a lot of things I do, so I started mindboggling about what could be wrong? Did the smell of that cigar triggered something in my brain? When we took the plane back after the 8 days of vacation I didn't feel like I 'came home', the feeling felt like it was missing... From that day on it progressed negatively... I went to bed, my own bed, but it didn't felt like my own... As I woke up the next day I didn't feel like all the other days I woke up in my own bed... It felt strange, unfarmiliar... This feeling extended the forthcoming days to my 'entire reality' sort of speak... Everything still looked the same, but 'felt' different. Also, when I looked in the mirror, I didn't see 'myself' anymore. It seems I couldn't recognize myself anymore...

As for the reality that had 'changed' I was able to still know how I was supposed to feel before that night on vacation... So I still was able to go back in my memory and find out how I should be feeling when doing the most normal things like biking to the busstop, being at school, work in the garden,... But I couldn't hold on to this feeling, it always slept away as I stopped thinking about a certain memory... I felt like I'd fallen into a black hole or something, I didn't understand what was going on, everything started to feel strange and unfarmiliar, but hadn't physically changed... Also my body started to feel 'strange'. At some point I felt as if my legs, arms, hands weren't my own...

Also, when I look at other ppl I always focus on their eyes and I struggle very hard in 'seeing the person in front of me' it seems like I'm not able to attach his/her personality. They seem like 'dolls' sort of speak. I really felt that I was getting 'crazy' or something, my whole world had fallen apart... In addition time didn't seem to be flowing as it normally does... Waking up at 6am or 11am, going to sleep at 9pm or 2am it all felt the same. It seems as if I lost my perception of time. I also had trouble remembering the events that occurred in the past couple of weeks...

I decided to go to the doctor a few weeks back, who prescribed me some Osteopathy sessions and advised me going to a psychologist. I also have had a CT scan done, and blood drawn, which both resulted in perfectly normal results. The osteopath told me my nerv and sympathic symtems were overloaded. I'm now struggling with these feelings for about a month and I don't know what to do, because it's not getting better... The psychologist gave my a prescription for Sipralexa (Citalopram) an SSRI. I haven't started taking this, should I?

So with this being told, does DP apply to me or?

m3playa lm profile image

m3playa lm 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: Hi, sorry to hear about your troubles. From what you are describing, it is

highly likely that your symptoms can be attributed to depersonalization.

Perfectionism and profound introspective skills seem to prevail among

individuals vulnerable to dissociation; maybe because they notice the

losses/changes the most. Fighting it is tough, but you had a good thing

going (exercise and overall healthy living), so keep it up. Because you are

facing this for the second time, it might all resolve sooner than your

previously conducted depersonalization - just don't lose hope. As for the

prescribed medication, I would avoid SSRIs more than anything - their

efficacy is poor while their side effect profile is rich. Abstain from

alcohol and similar for a while and try not to focus on the

depersonalization too much, and it shall all pass. Good luck!

anonymous 3 years ago


I don't normally comment on this pages but I just wanted to say that it is insanely comforting to know that I am not alone in this. I have been smoking cannabis for some time now but around a month ago I had a very, very scary reaction that included a severe panic attack, feelings of depersonalization, and the conclusion that I was dying. The following days were extremely challenging, and each day I was plagued with feelings of dread and fear that the panic would return. Ever since then, I have been feeling very removed from most things, like I'm not the one talking when I'm talking, or the one walking when I'm walking, etc... I feel very much apart from reality, and it has become very frustrating. That said, I believe that it is getting better with time - and it is only when I am feeling swamped with school work - or in a group of people that I begin to feel very removed once again. I am very comforted by the fact that it is all in my head and that I will eventually overcome it and be able to move on. I am thinking that this will perhaps be easier to work on once I am done with my studies and home for the break without much to do!

m3playa lm profile image

m3playa lm 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: Hi there Sandy!

I don't have any research papers depicting the relationship between DP and thyroid pathologies at hand, but since thyroid issues can be tied to anxiety and similar psychiatric disorders, I would say that such nexus exists. Which supplements should one choose to binge at the beginning of their recovery journey is not for me to decide - although we might share a common symptom, depersonalization, all of us will tend to experience it slightly differently and our response to substances will likely vary too. The best advice to give you here is experiment with a couple and decide for yourself. As for the prescription medication, benzodiazepines will work immediately and lose their efficacy with continued use. Nevertheless, do not take benzodiazepines on a chronic basis because you will regret it later. I wish you all the best in your recovery!

anonymous 3 years ago

Your article contains some of the best information I have read about recovering from depersonalization. I'm just curious given your extensive knowledge why you decided to omit lamotrigine from your list of medications as it has been proven to be helpful for many people struggling with this condition and has also been proven in studies to have quite a high success rate. Thanks again for some excellent advice.

m3playa lm profile image

m3playa lm 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: I didn't know about lamotrigine. Thanks for bringing it to my awareness. I shall look into it and update the lens afterwards.

anonymous 3 years ago

Thanks so much for this optimistic post finally! All I've read abt DP is that it's horrid n has no 'cure' but I don't believe so, esp after reading ur wonderful post. I'll never give up. I've had this for more than 20 yrs but I'm sure it'll go 1day however horrid it is... God bless u n pl pray for me.. I'm exhausted

anonymous 3 years ago

It's my belief that anyone can overcome Depersonalisation simply by willing it to be so. I "suffered" from what I now know to be Depersonalisation/Derealisation for about a year which kicked in about a year after I started smoking weed. I never sought advice (online or otherwise) for what was happening but rather recognised it as a fault in my own thought processes (though I did indeed worry about going insane, rather turning myself insane through overthinking things).

Now it took me a long time to realise the source of what was happening to me and also why it had been triggered but I eventually "worked it all out", and as soon as I did this, the Depersonalisation almost immediately went away. None of my friends know I've ever suffered, in fact I was alone every step of the way.

My thoughts on Depersonalisation are as follows - anyone suffering from it also suffers from anxiety and low self esteem. When combined with a trigger for DP (ie weed for most of us), these source issues spiral out of control to such a level where it becomes almost all we think about - an underlying internal monologue of our thoughts. Now since I'd been smoking weed for a while before this happened to me - I knew that weed could NOT be the cause, thus though I cut down my use, I was still smoking weed throughout the year I had DP.

To overcome DP is very, very simple. You must confront what you don't like about yourself. You must confront your anxiety. You should NOT use any drugs/supplements to counteract the DP. Everything listed here to distract you from DP is great for coping with it, not for curing it (though this may come in time after living with it for long enough).

I believe certainly believe weed is the most dominant trigger for DP - but that doesn't make it the enemy. I used weed as a TOOL to overcome DP. When one is high, much of their personality is brought into light and if you're not happy about who you are then you're going to try to fight what you believe to be the "bad" part of yourself. It is this "fight" which pretty much IS DP, therefore you must completely accept you for YOU, disregard thoughts of what other people think of you and be truly satisfied with who you are. This will instantly rid you of DP. I found that meditation (while high or not high) was the quickest way to become genuinely happy with who I am.

This has become much longer and more of a ramble than I'd anticipated haha, so to recap;

- Weed triggers DP because it makes the gap between your true personality and your "fake" personality bigger (fake meaning the one you present to others, your ego etc...)

- This leads to an awareness of your two separate personalities when you're sober, which is frightening! (This might sound severe but it isn't! When people list symptoms of DP such as "2D vision, nothing feels real", this is what it is!

- Because you're now scared of your own thoughts, your initial anxiety and self esteem drops even more thus you now have DP.

- To reverse the process listed above you must understand what has happened, accept yourself for who you really are, combine your true personality and the one you show to others. Realise the difference between rational fears and irrational fears. For me this was easy, for others it may not be so - but the end result is guaranteed - you will be rid of DP! You'll have no reason to depersonalise because you'll love who you are! If this is so - you're now okay to smoke weed again!

If what I've written here helps just one person get out of what feels like a vicious circle of negativity, my work is done! If you have any questions/comments please don't hesitate to reply. Now - to light up a doobie :)

m3playa lm profile image

m3playa lm 3 years ago Author

@anonymous: Well put! Thank you for your heuristic contribution.

Susan Trump profile image

Susan Trump 17 months ago from San Diego, California

I never seen a post with such a rewarding list of comments. You should be very proud of the numbers of people you have helped with your insight on depression.

youngringiminian 12 months ago

That is really fantastic it do help me got my guts back and feel everything gon' be cool as it was b4...thanks is your friend from Nigeria who suffers from ths Godforsaken dr

katie 9 months ago

I see this was posted a long time ago, but if you still keep up with it please answer me. I'm 17, this just recently happened to me but not for the first time, the first time I was 7, I have no idea what caused it. then it happened a few times from smoking weed & drinking. I stopped completely, then starting drinking again, not abusing, just when out with friends after two years, it happened one time, I haven't drank since, that was about 6 months ago, now about two weeks ago I woke up with about 3-4 hours of sleep in a rush & ran around all day, I got home & I felt really tired, not like this.. I took a nap around 5 & woke up at 8. I felt fine. I can't really remember if it was constant like this, but for the past 5 days it has been. I went to the hospital thinking something could be wrong with my brain because I also have very strong head pressure but no pain. got a ct scan everything was fine. the doctor said it was my sinuses, she perscined me amoxicillin & Zyrtec. I believe the night before I had a panic attack, so I had nasuea, she also gave me something for that. I only took the Zyrtec once because I read it makes you tired, & from my bad experiences with weed & alcohol I've never done any other drug because I was scared. I started the amoxicillin then it got stolen from me at work. I can't really think of anything besides stress & the drinking that could've caused this to last this long.. please help. I'm beginning to feel very hopeless. I'm going to do a lot of what you mentioned here staring tomorrow & hope for a fast recovery to feel like me again. but please if you can help try to figure out what caused this.

Beth 8 months ago

I am grateful for coming across this article. Thank you.

JS 7 weeks ago

Surprised that inositol was not mentioned in your list of supplements.

Scott 13 days ago

Well I hate to put a downer on things but this whole underlying anxiety issue is really a red herring in many DP/DR cases. Ive been stuck in DR for around 9 years now. I stopped drinking for years, quit smoking, stuck to a healthy diet, ran a few half marathons etc etc. Nothing takes it away - not even the odd brief window without it. In my experience you have to come to terms with it and soldier on. Let me stress I dont have underlying depression or anxiety issues. I manage to run a fairly normal successful life, although occasionally its really strong and I have to lock myself away for a day or so. Its heart breaking coming to the conclusion that its just the way I am now and there most probably will never be a real cure, or even understanding of the condition, but the days you struggle with this diminish and only trouble you occasionally.

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