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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Emotional detachment.

 mardirose - Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:10 pm

I'm 17 years old, and I feel very disconnected from every aspect of my life. I feel like I grew up too quickly, had years of chemical substance abuse, and have unresolved issues because I feel too distracted and spacey to deal with them. I feel sick now, physically sicker day after day, and constantly exhausted, even if I get a good night's sleep. I used to be anorexic but I'm better with it now, and even enjoy eating most of the time because I know it's healthy. But nothing seems to make me feel better, I have racing thoughts and can't seem to stay on one topic in my head. I also tend to stare off like my mind is shutting down frequently and I'm extremely spaced out. I have good friends but I also have little or no interest in meeting new people, I tend to avoid activities and speaking with people. Sometimes I feel I'm on the verge of a mental breakdown, but I calm myself down until it happens again but they're always extremely drastic. Sometimes I'm scared for the health of my mind. I don't feel passionate.

Is there any medical advice someone can offer me, maybe what kind of symptoms these are, and ways to help it? My mental and physical exhaustion and detachment is tearing apart my life.
 Dr. E. Seigle - Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:32 pm

Hi mardirose,

You described very well the feelings including unhappiness, numbness, detachment and anxiety that you are having, along with a past history of substance abuse. The cause(s), diagnosis and treatment for what you are experiencing can be determined with the help of a psychiatric evaluation. This usually involved 2 sessions with a psychiatrist in which your life history, your feelings, symptoms, family history, and medical information is gathered to determine the nature and treatment for your condition. One often finds that a childhood history of some painful life experience underlie the kinds of feelings that you are reporting, though this is not necessarily the case. You may already know. It sounds as if you may be experiencing a depressive disorder, in terms of simply describing some of your symptoms. Other possible diagnoses to be considered would include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (if you have history of trauma or abuse), an anxiety disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder.

You may want to get the names of recommended psychiatrists in your area from your family doctor, local hospital, friends, family, or your local community mental health center. Good luck, don't be afraid to ask for help; strongly consider avoiding being treated with medication alone, without psychotherapy; this often occurs for people and it is often not an optimal treatment.

-E. Seigle MD

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