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Originally posted by Deus Ex Machina 42
A reality of which is not my own. The sense of life and living, through itself and all around. This is not my existence.
Dissociation is an unexpected partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of a person’s conscious or psychological functioning that cannot be easily explained by the person. Dissociation is a mental process that severs a connection to a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. Dissociation can be a response to trauma, and perhaps allows the mind to distance itself from experiences that are too much for the psyche to process at that time. Dissociative disruptions can affect any aspect of a person’s functioning. Although some dissociative disruptions involve amnesia, the vast majority of dissociative events do not. Since dissociations are normally unanticipated, they are typically experienced as startling, autonomous intrusions into the person's usual ways of responding or functioning. Due to their unexpected and largely inexplicable nature, they tend to be quite unsettling.
Different dissociative disorders have different relationships to stress and trauma. Dissociative amnesia and fugue states are often triggered by life stresses that fall far short of trauma. Depersonalization disorder is sometimes triggered by trauma, but may be preceded by only stress, psychoactive substances, or no identifiable stress at all.
The DSM-IV considers symptoms such as depersonalization, derealization and psychogenic amnesia to be core features of dissociative disorders. However, in the normal population dissociative experiences that are not clinically significant are highly prevalent, with 60% to 65% of the respondents indicating that they have had some dissociative experiences. The SCID-D is a structured interview used to assess and diagnose dissociation.
Derealization (DR) is an alteration in the perception or experience of the external world so that it seems strange or unreal. Other symptoms include feeling as though one's environment is lacking in spontaneity, emotional colouring and depth. It is a dissociative symptom of many conditions, such as psychiatric and neurological disorders, and not a standalone disorder. It is also a transient side effect of acute drug intoxication, sleep deprivation, and stress.
Derealization is a subjective experience of unreality of the outside world, while depersonalization is unreality in one's sense of self. Although most authors currently regard derealization (surroundings) and depersonalization (self) as independent constructs, many do not want to separate derealization from depersonalization. The main reason for this is nosological, because these symptoms often co-occur, but there is another reason of great philosophical importance, namely, that the phenomenological experience of self, others, and world is one continuous whole. Thus, feelings of unreality may blend in and the person may puzzle over deciding whether it is the self or the world that feels unreal to them.
Chronic derealization may be caused by occipital–temporal dysfunction. These symptoms are common in the population, with a lifetime prevalence of up to 74% and between 31 and 66% at the time of a traumatic event.