Medical Questions > Mental Health > Anxiety and Stress Forum

Possible Depersonalization / derealization ?

Hello all,
I've seeing many Dr.s over the last 3 weeks and no one seems to be able to conclusivley decided what exactly I'm going through. Perhaps, someone here can give some helpful words.

Here's the backstory.
About 3 weeks ago, during a routine day at work, with nothing out of the ordinary, I experience an "episode" where I was suddenly overcome with fear, panic, and feeling as if I was passing out or dying. I did not black out, however my heart began to race, I felt fevered, my hands trembled like I have never seen in my life, I was sweating, and I was unable to stand. After a few minutes, these initial symptoms began to subside...however, I felt completely dissoriented and disconnected from what was going on around me. I began to cry because the feeling was so dissorienting and unfamiliar that I was completely panicked. I can only equate the feeling afterward to when smoking marijuana but without any sort of euphoria. Just very fuzzy/dreamy. I just remember I kept saying "Something is not right with me. Something is not right"
I left work only to return the next day fearing that the same thing was about to happen. I left work to see a Dr. She assessed that it was most likely a panic attack. She prescribed me Xanax and Blood Pressure Medicine being that my BP was veryyy elevated. Then she took an EKG of my heart just to make sure, of I don't know what.
SOOO...the EKG came back she referred me to a cardiologist.

During the course of the next week or two I continued to feel like I was consistently walking or floating around in a dream state and felt very disconnected from myself. Very surreal.
Also, a couple of days I suffered from pretty severe depression which eventually went away.
Soooo...I saw the cardiologist...he took another EKG of my heart, an ultrasound of my heart, and a 24 hour urine collection. All of which came back perfect. He concluded that the irregular EKG must have been because the nurse incorrectly administered the test. I also returned to the first Dr. who took bloodwork to rule out hypoglycemia or a thyroid disorder. Which came back perfect.
Then I explained to her how I was still "trapped in this state" and began to experience wierd head pressure near the front of my head which made my eyes sore. I also began to notice that the way I perceived light and dark and indoors and outdoors was some how different, things were altogther just kinda foggy and it was hard to visually focus on things. SOOOO
she sent me to a nuerologist. Who administered some sort of wierd sobriety-like test where I had to follow her finger and walk in a straight line and stuff. After an interview and revealing to her that I had a history with drug experimentation (which I will get into) that I should go in for an MRI. She also did some sort of test on my head where I had to wear this wierd sorta hairnet thing with electrodes and she flashed lights in my eyes. In the end both the MRI and other test came back normal.
NOW here is where I'm worried. She now wants to rule out a condition she called "Partial Temporal Complex Epilepsy". She wants me to go in for an MRA and stay in patient for 2 days to monitor my brain. Now the experience I've had with this particular specialist has been AWFUL!. She is consistently late for appointments and sometimes misses them all togther, often leaves the room to attend to the mailman, whatever...its pretty ridiculous. I'm actually considering getting a second opinion. The week before she suggested these things I was feeling MUCH better. No head pressure, the fogginess was much better, and I just felt more "in tune" with myself. I was only taking the Xanax maybe once a week when I felt like I may have another panic attack. So that is why I'm really questioning her diagnosis, which the next day I feel like I'm right back in that wierd dream state. After doing some research online I'm not totally convinced. And came across a condition called Depersonalization or Derealization, and am pretty suprised she didn't bring this up as a possiblilty, considering I feel it described my syptoms to a "t". Noww.....I in college exprimented with a few drugs (Marijuana, Cocaine, Ketamine, Exstacy, Shrooms)...however it was never habitual use, maybe once or twice, and was about 5-6 years ago. However, I was a habitual pot smoker for probably the last two years (I would smoke later in the evening to help relax me and to fall asleep). Since, the first episode I have quite smoking. Soooooo....what does everyone think? I felt pretty relieved before meeting the Nuero for my MRI results as I was pretty much writing it all off as stress and anxiety, and then as soon as I left it was like it started all over again. If anyone has some words of advice or expertise please pass it on. This is beginning to get very tiring.
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replied July 4th, 2007
Hi There:
I have suffered many episodes like yours. My eyes don't focus on things, I feel a heavy pressure on them and I am not able to think clear.
My problem began about 3 and a half year ago, when I was on my brother's wedding party. Suddenly I started to feel like if I was "outside" my own body. My eyes started to feel abnormal, that made me feel very anxious. This made me go to several Drs. I had all kind of medical tests (Tomography, ENT exams, blood tests, opthtalmologists, you name it)
I also was checked for epilepsy, all tests came with normal results.
I went to a Psychiatrist that puts me on Clonazepam and Cymbalta. None of this meds helped me to reduce the eye symptoms. Clonazepam helped me a little to minimize anxiety, but then , I was trapped into Withdrawal from Cymbalta.
At this moment i live with this symptom. I am not searching anymore an answer to this.
My anxiety hits me sometimes, and I am sometimes depressed, because of my symptoms.
This is so weird, that sometimes I think my life is a nightmare and I want to wake up. I have been fighting against this and sometimes I want to give up. '
Well, This is my story. I don't have answers for you, but I think medical science hasn't all the answers to so many conditions on human body.
Some Drs have told me that maybe is a nutritional deficiency, or a viral infection consequence, who knows.??
Hope the best for you

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replied July 16th, 2009
I was on prednisone after a sinus surgery, that steriod is pure evil. Had bad derealization and keep having to clear this film from my eye in order to refocus. What's up with the eyes being effected by anxiety? I can't even wear my contacts. The prednisone is out of my system, but I'm still foggy, dizzy, and keep trying to snap out of it, wanting to get back into feeling my life like I used to. This truly sucks.
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replied August 3rd, 2012
I'm having the exact same issue after taking predisone for 2 days about 3 weeks ago. How long did this take to pass for you? Did you see anyone for help? Mine went away after a few days and was gone for a week. Came back about a week ago. Hope you're doing well!
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replied September 13th, 2009
I am currently experiencing the exact same symptoms and have been for a year. Im studying my final year at High School and it could not have come at a worse time. I feel like I am merely existing- walking around in a daze with considerable sensitivity to brightly lit areas. I am most productive at night. Ive narrowed down the cause to a year of anxiety and repression becuase of an STD scare (which was merely perceived). I do not know what to do. You can be going through the worst of life experiences but can walk outside and enjoy positive environmental reactions. But not with derealization. Feel me?
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replied December 8th, 2009
I can relate to exactly what you're saying.

I first started to get this feeling of unreality around 3 years ago. However, it was only temporary, and only lasted around a couple of minutes at a time. But around 1 year ago, I smoked marijuana for the first time, and had a really bad panic attack on it. Ever since then, this feeling became permament.

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replied March 30th, 2010
I hope everybody gets over it permanently. It disrupts your whole life. I'm starting to believe anything because I've been like this for 4 mos, almost steady. Nothing alleviates it. Maybe xanax, but I don't feel like myself and puts me more in routine instead of obsessing about everything.
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replied July 1st, 2010
Hey, all. Man, this is so close to home. I went through a huge amount of stress (divorce, my kid being injured, job loss -- all in 4 months.) which led to my first panic attack in '06 or so. I never smoked much dope, but did in '07/'08 for a short time. Then had a massive panic attack in '08 and the DR settled in quickly after and has stayed. My cognitive therapist said there's a direct relationship between pot and panic/DR. The long and short is that this is one of the hardest things I've ever faced -- but -- I have to realize that it took a long time to build to the panic and symptoms. It's gonna take time to get past them, too. It's hard, very hard, not to focus on the symptoms. I sleep fine. I wake up okay, but the DR kicks in an hour after I wake up and carries throughout the day. Then it seems to get better later at night. It kind of goes away when I focus on other stuff -- it's still there, but not as much in the foreground. Meds? Just started Wellbutrin. An occasional Vitamin X. Wink And the stress is still heavy-duty. I also swim a lot and it seems to subside when I swim. But once I'm out of the pool...wham.

I empathize with you guys. All of you. This is a massive !**@! and it "seems" to be affecting my quality of life. In reality, it's not. I just have to focus more on things, not "it". Sorry for the ramble, and thanks for sharing your stories.
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replied December 19th, 2011
You will have better luck seeing a psychologist when it comes to DP/DR. The MD's will attribute it to anxiety disorders and call it a symptom which in some cases it is but if you are someone who has DP/DR feelings consistently day in and day out then you most likely have DPD disorder. I had it for three years and seen a Psychologist. I went through therapy for one year and beat it. Had no problems for 17 years until May 2010 when I decided to smoke a joint at a party and the DP came back. I am currently seeing a Psychlogist again and am optimistic that I can beat this again. Stay positive.....Pot, LSD and exx are the three main culprits for this disorder/symptom. Spread the word so others don't suffer.
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replied January 15th, 2012
Marijuana/Prednisone DR
Hey all.
I've had the same DR as most of you are describing. I haven't gone to a doctor about it yet, but after hearing a lot of these stories, it sounds like this just takes time to subside. A little about me, I have anxiety disorder as well as hypochondria, which, at times, has made it difficult for me to function in normal life. My DR started a few months ago, around November, right after I decided to quit marijuana cold turkey. A day after that, I had a massive panic attack that left me looking for answers as to why that happened, and apparently THC withdrawal causes anxiety and panic attacks. This, paired with my anxiety and hypochondria was hell. I was worried about everything that I felt, I thought I was having a heart attack at least once a week, and it made me paranoid, but this subsided almost completely after a month or so. About a week ago, I decided to smoke a little pot again, so I did, but that left me wanting more, as I have had a lot of stress with my parents in the process of getting divorced and moving back in with them as I spend a semester at a college near my house. I ended up smoking that night, and then smoking a gram over the next three days. This, once again, left me at square one with severe DR. My marijuana-caused DR is mostly gone, however I have just been prescribed prednisone for my bronchitis. I just came down off that, and it made me feel bipolar, as I completely cleaned my parent's house and now am feeling down as I type this. Just thought I would share my experience.

Oh and P.S.
Codeine helps with the anxiety.
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