September 20, 2019

What Does Dissociation Feel Like?

Not hearing your own voice, not feeling your own body but rather observing it from a distance could be signs of dissociation. For someone who is suffering from a dissociative condition, life could feel very different and not so normal. Dissociation is a rare mental condition that affects a few people among millions. When such a patient is asked what does dissociation feel like, there is hardly a concrete answer because it could be difficult to describe.

Here are some of the factors related to dissociation.

What Does Dissociation Feel Like?

Every person who experiences it feels differently about dissociation. While this could happen to a person of any age and gender, the symptoms vary from person to person. Depersonalisation is one type of dissociation where the patient feels like he or she is outside of their own body. They also lose conscious control of their own identity. Some people experience derealisation, which makes them feel like things are not real. Patients sometimes also feel like they are someone else altogether. 

What Happens in the Brain?

The brain usually experiences a fight or flight-related stress while experiencing dissociation. The heart rate also tends to increase and the body starts preparing itself for some form of injury. Some patients tend to become breathless during such situations. Dissociation sometimes happens in a traumatic environment and it can continue to relapse at intervals. Patients tend to become extremely responsive to the slightest of emotional or physical danger. 

What Is the Root Cause?

Low blood sugar, stressful conditions and even lack of sleep could cause dissociation. Some people experience dissociation even at the prospect of being alone. Large events where an individual is surrounded by too many people in a large space can also result in dissociation. This is because the person feels easier to handle the situation if he or she is not really there. Someone who has faced a traumatic situation like an armed robbery could also start feeling dissociated when their partner or companion is not around.

How Can It Be Cured?

Experts suggest that dissociation can be cured and the severity of it can also be reduced. As a first step, the patient should seek advice from a mental health professional. Good therapy is often considered a good start at curing dissociation. Some therapists could also recommend medication for extreme cases. People suffering from dissociation can be cured in the long run with the help of therapies like dance and singing. This way, the patient can easily connect with his or her own body.

Woman has hand pain at park

Some easy steps like counting till a hundred and backward could help the patient connect with his mind and thereby his body. Holding ice or smelling something strong are other ways of connecting with the body and keeping the brain on track. Situations that create triggers for dissociation should be avoided. If you know of a person who is suffering from dissociation, the best way to help out is to offer positive and supportive statements like ‘It’s going to be ok’. No matter what the situation or behaviour is, you should reinforce positivity by stating things like ‘you’re not crazy’ instead of constantly asking the patient ‘what does dissociation feel like’!

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