Dissociation.. Everything is Unreal

Feelings of nothing being real right before a panic attack. Feeling like you stand behind yourself.Q:I do have panic attacks, but before they start I get a feeling that nothing is real, including myself. I sometimes feel as if I am standing behind myself and it is really frightening. I can also feel really dizzy which only makes everything worse. I do panic, but I panic as a result of these feelings. No one seems to understand what I am saying. They think that it is all part of the attack, but it isn't. Stop these unreal feelings and I won't panic.

A: The research on Dissociation is now speculating that some people with Panic Disorder, Dissociate first and then panic or become anxious. A theory we, again, are in complete agreement with.

Another word for Dissociation is Self Hypnotic trance. When people Dissociate they get a variety of symptoms, including 'out of body' experiences, not feeling real, seeing their environment through a white or a gray mist, stationary objects may appear to move, tunnel vision, sometimes they may feel an electric shock move through the body, or a 'whoosh' of intense energy. It is quite easy to induce this state in people who are vulnerable to them. One of the easiest ways to induce this state is by staring.

When people are driving, they stare at the road ahead or sit and stare at a red traffic light and without warning they get a number of the above symptoms. It can also happen watching TV., working on a computer, reading and many people report fluorescent lights also help to induce this state. The symptoms are not harmful in themselves and once people can see how they are doing it, they lose their fear of them and some people report they now actually enjoy it when it happens!

If you are not eating properly and/or not getting enough sleep you become more vulnerable to Dissociation. The American research is showing that many of us can enter a Dissociate state within a 'split second.' Recent research is showing that some people can feel quite dizzy or lightheaded when they dissociate and the fear of what is happening to them helps to hold them in that state.

I have been working with this theory of Dissociation with very successful results and I feel it is the major cause for a large sub group of people with Panic Disorder.

next: Dissociation is Triggering the Panic Attacks
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APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2008, October 3). Dissociation.. Everything is Unreal, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Last Updated: July 1, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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