Can Alcohol Cause Depersonalization?
We already know that there is a direct link between drug use and Depersonalization -- but what’s mentioned less is the possible link between Depersonalization and alcohol.
DP sufferers often report feeling more Depersonalization after drinking. So can alcohol cause Depersonalization?
Can it make it worse? Can it make it better?
Depersonalization after Drinking
I have heard it from many sufferers over the years: they go out to a bar / club, have a few drinks too many -- and feel more depersonalized for days afterwards.
I had the exact same experience.
My Depersonalization hit me at the age of 25. I was a pretty sociable guy who enjoyed going out and having a few beers. But when I got DP, that all changed. For the first few months I hardly left the house -- Sociability was the last thing on my mind.
But as time went by I desperately wanted to get some part of my old life back -- and that meant going out with friends and having drinks.
Forgetting the Feelings
The alcohol would help me to forget the feelings of Depersonalization for a few hours. This was incredibly exciting -- for the first time in months I was able to relax a little and enjoy myself.
Of course, this usually meant that I wanted to keep partying until all hours and keep the feelings of DP away for as long as possible.
But of course, the party had to end sometime. And I would pay for it over the next few days. Heightened feelings of stress, anxiety -- and of course, DP -- would overwhelm me.
I would sink into a depression, thinking I was stuck in this condition forever. After a few weeks, I’d get brave enough to try going out again, and the cycle would repeat.
Can Alcohol Cause Depersonalization?
Now, this may sound as if there is some complex relationship between alcohol and depersonalization. But as with everything DP-related, the actual explanation is very simple.
So, can alcohol cause Depersonalization?
The answer is No. Alcohol itself doesn’t cause depersonalization.
Of course it doesn’t -- If that were the case, it would have to carry a mental health warning and nobody would touch the stuff! People drink to relax and have fun. And in fact, alcohol usually causes depersonalization to recede temporarily. Why?
Well, think about it -- Why is it a social lubricant? Why does it reduce your inhibitions?
Because it temporarily reduces feelings of anxiety.
As this article from Healthline says: "At first, drinking can reduce fears and take your mind off of your troubles. It can help you feel less shy, give you a boost in mood, and make you feel generally relaxed. In fact, alcohol’s effects can be similar to those of antianxiety medications."
DP is an anxiety-based condition. So when your base level of anxiety drops, so do the feelings of DP. That’s why going out for a few drinks can be such a relief for sufferers of the condition.
Hangovers and Anxiety
But alcohol also causes hangovers. And hangovers cause anxiety.
And anxiety causes Depersonalization.
This is why people experience depersonalization after drinking. DP almost never occurs while the person is inebriated and having a good time. It’s always a result of feeling hungover.
Anxiety is the root cause of depersonalization and therefore, alcohol reduces feelings of depersonalization -- until the hangover kicks in!
Think about the symptoms of being badly hungover:
Fatigue and Weakness
Headaches and Muscle Aches
Poor or Decreased Sleep
Increased Sensitivity to Light and Sound
Dizziness or a Sense of the Room Spinning
Decreased Ability to Concentrate
Depression, Anxiety and Irritability
Now, think about adding those feelings on top of the symptoms and heightened levels of anxiety that come with a condition like DP. You’d be doubling, tripling the anxiety levels, right?
And that’s what sends people spiraling off into negative thought patterns for days and weeks on end!
So when somebody says that they have a few too many drinks and they feel depersonalized for weeks afterwards -- that’s not a result of the alcohol itself.
It’s a result of the anxious feelings that come with feeling hungover.
So there you have it! There's no complicated connection between alcohol and Depersonalization.
Alcohol causes hangovers, which can cause anxiety, which can cause Depersonalization.
It's really that simple!
Once I figured this out, I made sure that if I did go out, I'd only have one or two drinks -- and plenty of water too! -- so there'd be no hangover the next day. I did this carefully until I was recovered completely from Depersonalization.
And once you’ve recovered from DP, which you can and will do 100%, you can absolutely get back to your normal habits of socializing, drinking etc.
Because the alcohol is not the cause.
Neither is caffeine, or social situations, etc.
The anxiety is the cause.
And understanding that is the first step towards your recovery from Depersonalization.
Start your Recovery from DP today
The Depersonalization Manual is the oldest and most trusted text on Depersonalization recovery available today. Written by a fully recovered sufferer with over 15 years experience of dealing with DP sufferers, it's been the trusted DP recovery program for more than 25,000 people worldwide.