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Dissociation can be described as a disconnection from reality (as opposed to a loss of contact with reality, as in psychosis). Dissociation is similar to consciousness disconnection and is most often accompanied by derealization and/or depersonalization. Currently, it is difficult to determine whether these all are their own individually unique phenomena, or actually all one in the same.


Dissociation can occur as a direct, neurological result of dissociative drug use, or in the context of many different mental disorders (e.g. borderline personality disorder, PTSD, dissociative identity disorder, other dissociative disorders) and neurological conditions (e.g. brain damage, epilepsy, etc.) As a psychiatric symptom, it can be accompanied by feelings of agitation, confusion, anxiety, depression, cognitive dysphoria, and general discomfort or distress.

As an effect of a psychoactive drug however, dissociation is not always perceived as unpleasant and dysphoric. It can be accompanied by euphoria as well, depending on set and setting. Drug-induced dissociation is most commonly caused by dissociative hallucinogens (e.g. PCP, ketamine, DXM) but there exist other drugs in different chemical classes (most notable ones are the depressant drug class); the benzodiazepines, some antipsychotics, alcohol and other atypical GABAergics (GHB, muscimol, etc.) all have the potential to induce dissociative states.

Psychoactive substances