Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Kjs, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Anyone have experience with Depersonalization?

    I am terrified. difficult child seems to be falling further and further into this. It has been two years since this hit, and not getting better.

    I have watched a once sports active, funny, smart kid become isolated and withdrawn. Spending almost all of his time in his room. Ofcourse other kids his age cannot relate to how he is feeling and makes this so difficult.

    He has tried a handful of different medications, and started all with high hopes. Only to be let down.

    He is a junior in high school and should be enjoying his high school years.

    I am so afraid, so sad for him.

    Is there any positive, hopeful outcome? He does not do drugs. He is terrified. Anxiety has overcome his life. He even posted just that on his facebook.

    How can I help him? His self esteem is gone. He has put on weight...probably due to lack of activity. It seems to be getting worse and I am desperate for help.

    I tried other discussion boards strictly for DP....but the support is just not like it is here. Haven't received any responses.

    In all the years on this board, I have received such wonderful support. This Depersonalization has left me helpless and lost in attempts to help him. Please, are there any answers anywhere?
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I don't have any advice, but wanted to let you know you're heard. I wish I had answers for you. For us all.

    Never give up hope.

  3. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    This was on wikipedia...I'm sure you've researched everything, but just in case...

    any chance you could get someone to try this?

    A recent Russian study showed that naloxone, a drug used to reverse the intoxicating effects of opioid drugs, can successfully treat depersonalization disorder. According to the study: "In three of 14 patients, depersonalization symptoms disappeared entirely and seven patients showed a marked improvement. The therapeutic effect of naloxone provides evidence for the role of the endogenous opioid system in the pathogenesis of depersonalization."[
  4. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    I am having a real difficult time. I go research Depersonalization, and I will read something that gives me hope, then I read the complete opposite. I feel more and more helpless.
    I don't even know what to believe. One website contradicts another. One version of hope is only shot down by another of dispair. I don't know how to help my son.
    I can't take his anxiety away. I can't tell him it doesn't exist. yet i see him becoming more and more distant. he is afraid, and he is struggling every day. Yet i cannot help him.
    I am feeling so alone, so afraid. Where do I go for help? Where do I even begin?
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    When is the last time he had a thorough MH evaluation? I'd recommend getting another one- testing and then MDE if possible. Maybe if they can narrow in on the cause it can lead to some help. As most here know already, I'm not one to think medications are the end-all answer and the typical therapist doesn't seem to be able to accomplish much with our difficult child's.
  6. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    You are right. He needs an update for the least. His appointment. is next week and I have a lot to do to get ready for this appointment.
    difficult child had a complete MH evaluation last spring when he switched Dr.'s. In addition to what is posted on my signature doctor also suspects personality disorder as well as PTSD.
    At the time we chose to address the anger issues since that was causing the most problems. Not even realizing the Depersonalization was probably causing much of the anger.
    It is hard to think of the depersonalization because he rarely talks about it, he rarely talks at all these days.

    His psychiatrist was off over the summer due to surgery and rehab. He hasn't seen psychiatrist since last May. His appointment is next week. I have so much to discuss.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ohhhh.... depersonalization can be a symptom of PTSD. Although some claim that some medications might help ptsd symptoms, no medication actually treats it. You need to find a therapist who specializes in ptsd, in my humble opinion. The typical tdocs will claim they can treat it or help with it but only the ones with specialized training in it can really help, in my humble opinion. Given his age, I'd be asking if they have an expertise in childhood trauma. It can be worked thru and the symptoms minimized.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Have they considered something called complex PTSD for your son? I havent really looked into it but I know another mom whose daughter was dxd with it and her daughter has extreme anxiety.

    Anxiety is a very horrible thing to live with. I have terrible anxiety. You say in your signature that your son is on xanax as needed. Have you considered the long acting xanax that works for 24 hours? I take that every day and it seems to help but I dont have that zoned out feeling. Also, if he has periods where he gets extreme bouts of panic attacks where the anxiety just hits all at once...klonopin comes in a melt tab. Low dose but extremely quick in.

    If they are thinking personality disorder at all, I would be looking for a therapist who does DBT groups for teens. That would be ideal. If not a group, then individual.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I had depersonalizatin and derealization (they are both the worst symptoms I have ever had). For me, it went away and I'll tell you what happened in my case (realizing that everyone is different).
    First of all, any depression in me brought on depersonalization and derealization. The derealization made me afraid to go outside. I would be afraid of trees, of the sky, of the grass...everything seemed so disconnected from everything else. I panicked and stayed in my room. I preferred the dark although I don't remember why. I think I felt more "real" when I didn't have to see the world, which seemed so far from me. Then there was the depersonalization. You feel like you are in a dream ALL THE TIME. I used to scare myself more by asking myself, "How do I k now I'm real? How do I know this is really happening?" I was told, in an excellent teaching hospital, that this is an anxiety symptom that will go away when my depression did. That was sort of true. The one medication that REALLY helped the depersonalization for me was Valium and now Clonazapan. Nothing else did any good. Also, TOO MANY medications made the depersonalization come back REAL bad. I'd feel drugged and spacy and unreal, which is exactly how you feel when you have depersonalization. If I used any therapy, I'd try cognitive behavioral therapy or, better yet, dialectal behavoral therapy. I would wonder if any of his medications are causing the symptoms. Maybe they're not supposed to...but any drug can.

    I don't know if this did any good, but it's my story. I have really had a lot of mental health problems in my life and this, unfortunately, was one of them and the absolute worst. (((Hugs))). There is hope.
  10. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    MM..thanks for you input. It is hard to imagine, sounds awful. He told me last year it felt like his ears are on the back of his head, like he is not in his body. Last night he told me it feels like his arms, legs aren't connected. He can't feel them.
    He rarely talks about it because he said nobody believes him. He cried and said he can't live like this. He stopped playing baseball, he has a difficult time remembering things. He said he can't focus. Use to be one of his best assets...his memory. Now he said he can't tell me what happened an hour ago. Like it is a dream. I am so afraid for him. Almost two years now. He has done research and has tried different medications with high hope, only to have no result. I am not convinced he has ADHD..that is new. I believe the focus issue is the depersonalization and not ADHD. I believe Vyvanse will cause more anxiety issues.

    Again, anyone throw ideas at me. We opted to persue the anger issues last year rather than the anxiety issues. Now I don't know what to do. He is feeling depressed, I don't know how he cannot. He stays in his room all the time because of how he feels. And he is afraid it will never go away. And I can't help him. I can't promise it will. He sees psychiatrist next week. Should we talk about going off medications and then persuing the anxiety? difficult child does say that vyvanse helps him at school. And today was the first day he took it since last school year.

    I am very proud of difficult child right now. I didn't realize how bad the DP was until he talked to me last night. And I did more intense research today. Everything he described to me is what I read and what MM said PLUS some. Today he went to the mall with a friend. I am so proud of that. I tried to tell him that anxiety is directly related to this and he needs to step out of his room and his comfort zone. he needs to get some excersize. He has been in his room now for over a year most of the time he is home. And he has put on a lot of weight. He does have a girlfriend....which is good. Because when he isn't in his room he is at her house. I for him to exersize, to help releive his stress. He said it is too hard, not worth the effort. I did get him to walk with me last night. That is when he talked to me, and he cried. I hugged him and told him I'll never give up and he can't either. I told him he needs to distract himself from this feeling. Did I give the right advice? He is trying. I see him trying. But more times than not the DP gets the best of him. I welcome ALL advise. I am scared and lost. How do you even explain this to teachers. How can he even function at school? How can he keep up his grades? I never realized it was this bad. I never realized how much he has dealt with.
    What scares me is at one point he was putting "gages" in his ears. I made him take them out. I can't deal with holes in his ears. But he said, when he made the holes bigger, it caused pain. When he was in pain the DP was less and he felt more normal. That scares me. He also picked his arms until they would bleed last year. I got a call from school social worker one day asking what all the marks were on his arm.
    My thoughts are all over the place, I am sorry. The heart to heart talk last night, the reading I did, I am confused and scared. This board is tremendous support and I appreciate everyone and everyone's input. Thank you so much.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DP is a lot like disassociating which you might relate to this activity. Have you been driving in a car and suddenly realized that you were suddenly at your destination but have absolutely no recollection of how you got there? Or maybe end up at some point in the drive, you "wake up" and go...oh heck, where am I and why am I here?

    Its very disconcerting.
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I wish I had some answers for you; all I can do is send hugs and prayers.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    kjs, it's my understanding (albeit this comes from my layman's research on MH issues ONLY so keep that in mind), that depersonalization is more of a symptom of something else- kind of like being hyper is an issue but can be a symptom of many things. That's why I think determining what it is a symptom of then treating that would be the way to go. I never thought about medications being a possible cause but if MWM has experienced that, it might be worth double-checking dosages of medications, too. But if he's experienced childhood trauma (you said PTSD wsa a possibility and at his age, that can only mean there has been some sort of trauma to him as a child), my bet would be on that being the cause of depersonalization, but it's worth exploring all reasonable possibilities, in my humble opinion.

    Good luck!
  14. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member


    Your post is making me think about a lot of what my younger difficult child (he was 12 then -- 13 now) went through this past year. He was very traumatized by the cycle of violence at our home when older difficult child was ill -- raging, unpredictable, violent. Then older difficult child was gone to juvie, then psychiatric hospital, then Residential Treatment Center (RTC) -- and younger difficult child is left. His ordeal began.

    He has always been a "picker" with scabs on his arms; these got bigger. He said he could feel nothing -- "I'm in a blank." That's what we called it -- "The Blank." He wouldn't do homework. We set it in front of him -- nothing. I don't think he could do it. He began to fail all his classes. He didn't care.

    He had already developed encopresis. He started showering every 20 minutes -- "it helps me get ahold of myself." He couldn't sleep and was unbelievably hyper at night -- "I don't have the energy to control myself at this time of night." (I have my notes from this time). He never went out -- just sat -- no TV. He started restricting food and got skeletal. He had panic attacks. And all this time he remained in The Blank. At one time he let me feed him food he liked when he was a baby -- yogurt, applesauce -- with a spoon (our therapist suggested) and played "So big" with me. He would have died before doing this before The Blank.

    There's a lot more that sounds like your difficult child but I can't remember it all.

    He felt no pleasure, or even pain. "It's like I look at that man and dog over there, but I can't really feel anything about them -- I'm just looking." His voice sounded different on the phone -- friends noticed. It was like a baby voice. Our therapist said it was a dissociative-type trauma reaction.

    I can't say that any medications helped him. We tried quite a few over the months. We did go to our therapist -- she's a trauma therapist. I can't remember if she did EMDR with him at that time, but he's had it before over the violence issues, and so have I. It was helpful.

    Over time we just supported him. Went to the trauma therapist weekly. Sometimes I stayed, sometimes I left for part of the time. girlfriend is adopted, so he already had trauma issues to begin with. So our family problems compounded them tenfold. He gradually came around.
    He got stronger and gradually started to be able to feel his emotions. He's still recovering.

    Thank you for writing about your difficult child. I'm still trying to figure out what happened with our difficult child -- he sounded just like yours. He got better. It took awhile. He remains a very anxious boy, and still vulnerable.

    Your difficult child is going to get better. I'll be praying for him. It's very hard. It was just as bad as the violence.

  15. Jena

    Jena New Member


    does he have a therapist the he sees weekly?? someone he can freely vent to that isnt' family or teacher??

    is he still on abilify? for how long?? if found my daughter having same symptoms when she was on that medication, and we wound up pulling her due to it. seroquel was a better fit and addressed the anxiety component of her illness alot better. weight gain is bad though, so if you did switch you wanna go with time released less side effects.

    i think alot of times just the weight of our kids, their reality is alot for them as it is for us. doctors, medication, diff therapy, its' alot to process all at one time.

    is he capable of handing any outside junk at this time or no due to anxiety?? i think therapy and peer groups are a huge part of helping our kids. the peer groups are great because they find similar kids to relate to and get they arent' alone and weird. that's how my daughter views herself at times weird.

    ok, that's my two cents. good luck :) hang in there
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would like to add that I did not have PTSD (one of the few things I know I didn't have...haha). The depersonalition ANd derealization (look that second one up...they go hand in hand) came and went with my depression only. And when I was on Lithium that just intensified the this day, I'm afraid of Lithium and a few other older medications that actually drugged me up, thus making the depersonalization even worse. I have no idea why Valium helped, but I was in the hospital for a ten week stay (back when they didn't kick you out until you felt better). I was so bad with the dp that the doctor gave in and gave me one Valium. I was near the end of my pregnancy at the time and nobody wanted to give me Valium, but since I was near term and suicidal, they tried it. Insantly, I felt better (my body quieted and I felt connected to the world again) and that medication gave my one other antidepressant...a chance to kick in. Benzos still help me, EXCEPT for Xanax. I find it too strong and hypnotic and any hypnotic drug reminds of depersonalization with makes me panic, thus repeating the entire cycle.
    You get some really scary thoughts when you have dp. I used to look at my hand and wonder how it moved when it felt like it wasn't connected to my body. I was NOT psychotic. I knew it WAS connected to my body, but it didn't feel that way. The whole world seemed far away from me and dreamlike, like I was stuck behind an invisible wall and couldn't get out. The interesting thing was, at the hospital where I stayed, all the patents were encouraged to leave heir rooms, so we all spoke to one another. Every single depressed patient I talked to said they had the same dp feeling as I did! I wonder if it goes hand in hand with severe depression. Let me tell ya, it doesn't HELP the depression any.
    Lots of good luck to your son. I hope you got my PM too :) Tell him about me, that it went away. That always helps to know that it's not going to last forever.