Depersonalization Disorder

Three hands on man's face experiencing depersonalization disorder

When Reality Decides To Take A Break

The feeling of depersonalization is terrifying and torturing at the same time. During the experience, it’s as if your mind is losing its grip on reality and allowing you to view the world from an external point if view; as if you are outside of your body.

For instance, while listening to somebody speak, it may become uncomfortable making eye contact with them because it almost feels as if you are coming out of your body, and the more you maintain eye contact, the worse it gets. So you start to constantly shift your body position; a slight turn in different directions gives you the hope that the out-of-body sensation will go away.

Another example is the sensation of not feeling steady on your feet; it’s as if you are walking on clouds because your steps don’t feel like they’re making contact with a solid surface. By experiencing this sensation, you start to panic and believe that you may fall over at any moment! The next thought that naturally rushes into your mind is to take a seat somewhere; but that is not always possible depending on where you area.

The cause of depersonalization disorder is not known; it may be associated with depression or anxiety. The symptoms may go away on its own or through psychotherapy. There is no medication that treats it. If you have anxiety, then antidepressants can be tried; sometimes the depersonalization is part of the anxiety.

If you or anyone is suffering from depersonalization disorder, feel free to share your experiences with The DSM Ready Movement so we can provide you with support and comfort! We are in this together.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Chemical Compound Of Nicotine

Addicted blonde woman wearing blue hoodie and smoking a cigarette

Nicotine Effects

Nicotine is a toxic yellowish liquid that is the active ingredient in tobacco. It acts as a receptor agonist at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. In small doses it acts as a stimulant, but in larger doses it blocks the action of autonomic nerve and skeletal muscle cells.

Nicotine is highly addictive based on drug-reinforced behavior; the process of associating a drug with a certain behavior. For instance, you may start off smoking one cigarette at a party. The next time you attend a party, you may smoke a couple of more cigarettes.

The next time you have a beer at your friend’s house, you may smoke a cigarette for the first time away from a party setting. Afterwards, you make smoke a cigarette every time you drive to your friend’s house! Your brain attempts to enhance every behavior that is related to previous nicotinic behaviors; this is the addiction!

Nicotine creates a psychological dependence in the user; every previous activity under the influence of nicotine will make the user want to repeat that activity with nicotine again. Nicotine has a way of making behaviors more enjoyable; the second that you inhale the first puff, you feel an immediate sense of relaxation as if your stress is being sucked out of you.

Take a look at Mayo Clinic to understand nicotine dependence. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 400,000 deaths per year in the United States and more than 41,000 deaths from secondhand smoke. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. That is 10 years stolen by nicotine!

The DSM Ready Community is here for anyone who is suffering from an addiction. Through support and the sharing of our stories, we can get past any roadblock that life brings us!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

World On Drugs

Two people sitting in a drug alley spray-painted by graffiti

Why You Should Not Try Drugs

The temptation to try substances stems from our burning desire to alter our consciousness and view reality from a different lens. The problem is not the alteration of consciousness, but the drugs themselves.

Other tools such as meditation and the emotion of happiness can also alter our consciousness; they provide non-harmful ways of viewing the world from a different lens. Meditation allows you to escape reality by directing your energy to your thoughts and presence, while pure happiness magnifies and enhances the present moment into something pleasurable.

Drugs, on the other hand, are tools with a high potential for developing psychological and physical addictions; some more than others. It is not worth exploring these tools for the sake of your sanity; losing touch with reality or becoming dependent on a substance defeats the whole purpose of your original quest to alter your consciousness.

The DSM Ready Movement is about promoting a natural and healthy lifestyle, where we come together to achieve happiness and success through the sharing of our experiences!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Marijuana Mental Illness And Violence

Addicted female smoking marijauna joint

Marijuana Tsunami

I recommend anyone who is interested in the effects of marijuana on society to read Alex Berenson’s book “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence.” This book opened my eyes to the stories of marijuana causing psychosis in people who had no symptoms prior to smoking and the violence and murders committed while under the influence!

The legalization of marijuana is great from a social perspective: no more government telling us what we can put in our body, no more hiding weed in the closet, no more arrests secondary to racial discrimination and no more jail time!

But what the legalization movement and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (norml) are not emphasizing are the increased mental illness rates and violence that come with consuming marijuana. Just take a look at this article from Psychology Today.

It is no secret that consuming marijuana increases one’s risk of developing a psychotic disorder! But proponents of legalization are not directing much attention to these facts because they have an agenda: to legalize marijuana, smoke in peace and make money via cannabis-related businesses!

The victims of marijuana violence are not usually the users themselves, as opposed to alcohol; they are family members and friends! Individuals who are prone to developing a psychotic episode secondary to marijuana consumption literally lose touch with reality; they may become paranoid and experience auditory hallucinations telling them to kill their wife or neighbor!

Not to mention that the legalization of marijuana will increase the psychological addiction rate to the substance even more than is currently prevalent. By having cannabis stores available on every street corner, it will be very easy and tempting for adults and teens to buy some flower; adolescents will just get their older peers to purchase it for them.

Everyone should always think twice about the pros and cons of such an important event happening in our society; always ready between the lines and do your own research! Do not blatantly accept one side of the story without diving into the details of the other; there are always two sides worth learning about.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

People Will Be Jealous

Jealous person's face

When Human Nature Interferes

There is no way to avoid it; jealously is part of human nature for some and you must expect that they will be in tune with their feelings toward you. They do not have to give you a reason for why they envy you; you can read it on their guilty face and continue smiling.

Whatever your achievements or advantages are, stand proud and strong by them. Do not let others’ jealousy make you self-conscious; this is a personality issue from their part and not from yours. Your goal is to maintain your composure and carry on.

Do not try to confront their jealousy; it will just make things awkward and make you look weak. You will lose your prestige if you confront another person’s jealously. Learn to accept their envy; it means you are doing something right!

What you should never do is become jealous of others! If you find yourself dealing with a person who demonstrates an advantage over you, be appreciative and learn from them! You will gain more by being honest and trying to learn from someone else rather than becoming jealous of them and feeling insecure inside.

The DSM Ready Movement does not promote jealously of others. We are a community built on people from all levels, including rich, poor, successful, happy, depressed or content. We are here to learn from each other, build relationships and help one another elevate to a higher level of consciousness!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Activate The Bookworm

Man floating on turquoise body of water reading a book

The Health Benefits Of Reading

There is something very relaxing about the process of reading, yet many people choose to watch television or play video games. Reading requires patience and desire to sit still and concentrate on the material, but you can learn to tap into the relaxing part of the activity, which you will come to appreciate over time.

The health benefits of reading:

The more you do it, the more you will learn to enjoy it. Like every new activity, it takes time to engrain the habit and allow your mind and personality to accept it into your life. The knowledge that you can gain from reading is endless; pick up a book and read about European history, a classic such as The Great Gatsby or psilocybin and how it is being used in Johns Hopkins trials!

You can always find something to read that will activate the bookworm inside of you. The key is to take that first step of picking up a book, finding a cozy place to open it and begin diving into it! Enjoy the beautiful white snowflakes falling outside or the pouring rain bringing a fresh scent of summer breeze, while you sit by the window and garner more exciting information!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Drugs, Drugs And More Drugs

Melted building secondary to drug use

The Reward System’s Slippery Slope

A substance use disorder is a psychological disorder in which a person continues to use a substance despite the negative consequences. Substances are groups of drugs that have similar effects on your brain, body and behavior. The worldwide prevalence is around 16% and men are more likely to be diagnosed.

Examples of substances:

  • Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor)
  • Tobacco (cigarettes, snuff, cigars, e-cigarettes )
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea)
  • Stimulants (cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine)
  • Cannabis (marijuana, hash oil)
  • Sedatives (benzodiazepines, barbiturates)
  • Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP, psilocybin, peyote)
  • Opioids (heroin, methadone)
  • Inhalants (markers, glues)

Substances are addictive because they activate the brain’s reward system. Your reward system makes you feel pleasure by releasing a neurotransmitter called dopamine from the ventral tegmental area when you perform activities necessary for survival, such as eating, drinking and having sex.

When you begin to use a substance, your reward system releases much greater quantities of dopamine, hijacking your reward system and motivating you to use the substance again. Once a person’s reward system is hijacked and he or she turns into an addict, other important needs such as sleep, saving money and being responsible no longer matter as much.

Examples of negative consequences:

  • Tobacco (cancer, heart disease, lung disease, smoke breaks interfering with work)
  • Alcohol (liver disease, drunk-driving, embarrassments and hangovers)
  • Cannabis (lack of motivation, psychosis, social isolation)

Impaired control over substance use means that a person is taking a substance in larger amounts, has unsuccessful efforts to cut down, spends a large amount of time obtaining and using the substance and experiences cravings.

Social impairment means that a person may start to fail at work or school, have recurrent use despite social consequences and give up on recreational or occupational activities because of substance use.

Risky use means that a person uses a substance in dangerous situations and continues to use despite physical or psychological health problems.

Tolerance to a substance means that a person experiences diminished effects with use of the same amount and needs an increased amount to achieve the same effects.

Withdrawal to a substance means that a person experiences physical or psychological side effects when the substance is no longer in the body.

The causes of substance use disorder:

  • Genes (account for 60% of a person’s vulnerability)
  • Environmental (growing up in a drug-infested neighborhood, poor parenting, peer pressure)
  • Developmental (children or adolescents who use drugs have a greater risk because their brain is still developing until approximately age 25)

There is no cure for substance use disorder. The treatment is tailored to the individual depending on which substance he or she uses and what support is available. Examples include medication assisted treatments such as 12-step meetings, naltrexone for alcoholics, Suboxone for heroin addicts, nicotine replacement for cigarette smokers, inpatient rehabilitation and individual therapy with counselors and psychiatrists.

The goals for a drug addict are to establish a functioning role in society, maintain a drug-free lifestyle and most importantly, to stop using drugs! Because the disorder is chronic, most people require long-term or recurrent treatment to maintain sobriety.

The DSM Ready Movement is here to support anyone who is suffering from a drug addiction! Together, we can empower each other to maintain sobriety and lead a life of happiness and love!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Torture Of OCD

White male with OCD wiping his tears

OCD Is Treatable

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness characterized by the presence of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are defined as recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges or impulses that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted, and cause anxiety or distress.

Compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors (i.e., checking or ordering things, excessive washing, excessive tics) or mental acts (i.e., repetition of words, counting, praying) that an individual performs to attempt to neutralize the unwanted thoughts.

The compulsions aim to prevent or reduce anxiety or some dreaded event or situation from occurring. They are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize.

The obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming and may cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning. They are not due to a substance, medical condition or other mental disorder.

OCD can be very debilitating to the point of causing individuals to lose their job or marriage. Some individuals may shower 7 times a day while others have to return home multiple times to check if they turned off the stove. Spouses, family and friends can be greatly affected by an individual’s behavior; it can be very hard and painful to witness someone struggling with OCD.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from OCD, please seek immediate treatment from a medical professional! Antidepressants and CBT are the first-line treatments.

Lastly, The DSM Ready Movement is always available for mental and emotional support; together, we can overcome any hardship!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Defeat Anxiety With Belief

Four people watching the sunset after overcoming anxiety

We Are Stronger Than Anxiety

Anyone who has experienced anxiety or panic attacks can relate to the extreme mental and physical discomfort: a sense of doom, depersonalization, fear, sweaty palms, a racing heart, etc. The anxiety often terminates when you leave the setting or become distracted, but sometimes you are not able to leave, and you must have a plan on how to manage the situation.

The key to defeating anxiety in the long run is to adopt an attitude of belief and strength; a mindset in which you know that you will defeat anxiety. This mindset involves not reacting to anxiety, meaning, that even if anxiety occurs, you are carefree and do not become emotionally affected by it.

Learning to adopt a carefree attitude towards anxiety will teach your brain that you are indifferent to the anxious experiences, and that you are not affected by the terror; kind of like a “been there, done that mentality.”

It may not be easy to think like this at first, but if you make an honest effort to adopt this mentality, eventually you will start to notice the anxiety dissipating from your life; it will no longer have room to breath since you will no longer be paying attention to it.

No one deserves suffering from anxiety, and to find out the source may take years. So rather than dwelling on the past and trying to figure out what may have initiated this chain of events, learn to accept your reality by adopting a belief system that involves overcoming your anxiety with a carefree attitude.

The DSM Ready Movement is here to help us manage and overcome anxiety! Through the sharing of our stories and experiences, we will become a stronger community and defeat anxiety together!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Stop Running Away From Your Problems

Stack of colorful jigsaw puzzle pieces representing life's problems

The Unconscious Cabinet

Every person knows the feeling of waking up with a problem on their mind, only to quickly repress it in the depths of the unconscious and “deal it with later.” This is a common mistake that can easily be avoided; you will be better off in the long run if you deal with the problem in the present moment!

You will find more peace by tackling the problems rather than burying them; filing problems in your unconscious cabinet clusters your mind and puts it in overload mode. This only promotes stress, frustration, relationship issues and breakdowns.

The mature and effective way is to deal with the problems head on; you cannot keep running forever. Problems are a way for us to grow and learn from; they teach us lessons and principles and provide us with guidance and reality checks.

We usually avoid dealing with problems because life is already stressful as it is. But putting off problems for the future contributes to the current mess you are in; fixing them will make you feel better. You will feel less stress, more freedom and a sense of accomplishment!

The DSM Ready Movement is about helping each other come up with effective and honest solutions, which will help us feel happier and more content with life!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)