Depersonalization and addiction are two serious mental health concerns that can feed off each other to create a negative spiral. But how are depersonalization, derealization, and addiction linked, and what can you do when you’re dealing with them? This blog explores depersonalization, derealization, and addiction and where to get addiction treatment when you find yourself struggling.
To get in touch with a mental health professional at The Bluffs, call 850.374.5331 to learn more about our extensive addiction treatment program and how it can help.
What Is Depersonalization?
Depersonalization is a relatively common psychological phenomenon. Over a lifespan, more people than not will have an experience of depersonalization, even if they don’t recognize that term. Depersonalization is the feeling of being disconnected from your body, mind, or emotions. When a person experiences depersonalization, they may feel:
- Like an outside observer of their thoughts, actions, or behavior
- As though they are not in control of their movements or actions
- Emotionally numb to their situation
Often, depersonalization is known as derealization. The two are closely related, but derealization has to do with feeling alienated from one’s surroundings instead of oneself. Both can occur during addiction.
How Are Depersonalization and Addiction Linked?
Depersonalization and addiction are related in several different ways. The first is that certain drugs may produce the sensation of depersonalization. Ketamine, methamphetamine, LSD, magic mushrooms, and DMT can cause people to feel as though they have lost touch with their bodies or surroundings. This can occur either as a direct drug effect or as a symptom of drug or alcohol withdrawal.
But the relationship goes the other way as well. People who experience depersonalization are more likely to engage in substance use and may develop a drug or alcohol addiction as a result. While there is limited research on the direct connection between depersonalization and addiction, there are several pathways that demonstrate how the two are linked.
Depersonalization is often the result of severe anxiety, such that the diagnosis of a depersonalization-derealization disorder is a subclass of anxiety disorders.
People experiencing extreme anxiety may be more likely to engage in substance use, have a higher risk of developing addiction, and use drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate their symptoms.
Depersonalization is a frequent symptom for people who have lived through extremely traumatic experiences. From this perspective, depersonalization serves as a defense mechanism that distances people from their intense and traumatic experiences.
People who continue to experience the effects of trauma well after the event has occurred may be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In fact, PTSD and addiction share a symbiotic relationship. It may be the case that people who experience depersonalization are also be dealing with trauma and could benefit from dual-diagnosis addiction treatment.
At a more general level, there is a connection between depersonalization and derealization and stress. The cumulative weight of dozens of different stressors can leave people feeling overwhelmed and may lead them to turn to drug or alcohol use as a type of release valve.
Yet using substances to deal with stress often develops into an addiction, and many will need professional help in order to recover.
Get Help for Depersonalization and Addiction at The Bluffs
If you or a loved one is struggling with the symptoms of depersonalization and addiction, reach out to the team at The Bluffs by calling 850.374.5331.
Our multifaceted team of mental health and addiction experts would be happy to walk you through our treatment options and explain how professional help can help you to overcome addiction and find relief from the symptoms of depersonalization. No matter how severe your symptoms are, you can recover.