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Fatigue - can be a type of dissociation?



Feb 28, 2010
My 1st post-

Hi Folks,

My history- essentially chronic depression. I experience what has been described to me as 'dissociative episodes'. These occure in therapy when I begin to feel a strong feeling- example talking about a loss. As the feeling begins to get stronger, the room starts to get fuzzy and I sort of fade out so that all that's left of me is a voice talking in a fuzzy room. I come out of this state when the strong feeling subsides.

Any way- I had my 1st appointment with a new psychiatrist who will manage my meds only (last doctor stopped taking my insurance). We had discussed the 'fuzzy room' thing in our meeting. At the end of our session I mentioned fatigue as a big problem. He told me ongoing fatigue can actually be a form of dissociation. I guess he meant that fatigue allows you to disengage from life. We ran out of time before I had a chance to ask him about this. I Googled fatigue as a type of dissociation but found nothing.

Does anyone know anything about fatigue as a type of dissociation - as opposed to fatigue being a simple side effect of depression?



Well-known member
Feb 10, 2010
United Kingdom
I'm not that knowledgable on this, but from my own practice point of view [work] it occurs in some patients, and is given the label 'ICU psychosis', where patients are fatigued mentally and physically and become 'dissociated', another term is 'locked in'.

Over stimulation and fatigue cause many effects in these patients, when they have been followed-up [months later] they have explained their experiences which have been bizarre, some pleasant and some awful.

I'm not sure if I have my old notes and articles on this anymore, they may be of help....see if I can dig them out....I seem to remember a key word being 'dissociation'


Feb 28, 2010
ICU psychosis

Thank you for your reply. I wanted to include some information about ICU psychosis- not in an effort to correct you- but because it rang a bell. My mother was in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for a month. One day when I visited her she said, "I was kidnapped and taken to China last night".

Hmmmm, I said and I spoke with a nurse. She said she was suffering from ICU syndrome- which is cause by being in a place for an extended time with 24 hour per day activity, noise, and lighting. Below I have pasted the results of a Google search I just did:

What are the symptoms of ICU psychosis?

The cluster of psychiatric symptoms of ICU psychosis include:

* extreme excitement,

* anxiety,

* restlessness,

* hearing voices,

* clouding of consciousness,

* hallucinations,

* nightmares,

* paranoia,

* disorientation,

* agitation,

* delusions,

* abnormal behavior,

* fluctuating level of consciousness which include aggressive or passive behavior.

In short, patients become temporarily psychotic. The symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient. The onset of ICU psychosis is usually rapid, and is upsetting and frightening to the patient and family members.
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