Medications and Depersonalization Disorder

It is very common for people to take medications in an attempt to either alleviate or cure depersonalization. Much of the time medication is used in conjunction with psychotherapy, in particular cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This begs the question, are medications truly useful in overcoming depersonalization disorder and derealization?

As it turns out, they are not. Medications often prolong depersonalization and cause it to worsen. At best, medications provide enough comfort to deter people with DP from fixing the psychological problems that cause DP, and allow the disorder to persist year after year.

In order to understand why medications are so ineffective at treating depersonalization, you have to understand what causes DP, and how the true underlying causes need to be addressed before a complete recovery can occur.

Depersonalization disorder is usually caused by moderately adverse, or suboptimal environments that create in people a tendency to dissociate as a means of cutting off from psychic pain. People become detached from themselves, and feel that the outside world is unreal. People with DP tend to have disorganized attachment styles, come from dysfunctional families, have experienced emotional abuse, chronic stress, interpersonal trauma, and traumatic events.

When you understand that these adverse events are the underlying cause of depersonalization, you realize why medication is ineffective at treating it. These underlying causes build up gradually in a person’s mind as accumulated stress, until a stressful situation triggers the acute onset of the disorder, such as smoking marijuana, taking a hallucinogenic drug, or experiencing a stressful situation.

Normally what happens is a panic attack ensues, and the person becomes depersonalized. Sometimes the disorder comes about gradually. In either case, there is a difference between the trigger and the underlying causes. In order to cure depersonalization, you have to address the underlying causes, not take medication.

You have to address a disorganized pattern of attachment, and the psychological legacy that has been created by experiencing chronic trauma, often caused by growing up in a dysfunctional family. In order to do this you have to integrate painful experiences into your sense of self. You have to identify the areas of your self that have been wounded. This can often be an uncomfortable process. Medications tend to numb your pain, making it less likely that this corrective work will take place.

Medications are often used in conjunction with CBT. CBT is certainly effective at dealing with the obsessive and distorted thoughts that plague people with depersonalization. Sadly though, medications don’t cure depersonalization, and often prolong it because they deter people from dealing with the core emotional issues that allow the disorder to persist.

Source by Harris Harrington

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