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David Baxter

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Out-of-body experiences
by Jennifer Forbes
Sunday, September 16, 2007

Have you ever had an out-of-body experience?

If you live with an anxiety disorder, chances are you have or at least come close. During a severe panic attack (some are milder than others) one can experience depersonalization and/or derealization. I have often experienced derealization during panic attacks, but only once did I have an extreme case of depersonalization. It was absolutely terrifying. Literally, I lost my "sense of self" and was outside my own body - is was like I had a mind and no body - sort of floating in mid air or something. It sounds crazy, and well, it was. In fact, I have not found an online definition which describes my episode in its fully intensity (sorry Wikipedia!).

Interestingly, scientists are now creating virtual out-of-body experiences for willing volunteers. I suppose that this virtual method may soon be used for desensitization purposes. While I don't think I would be first in line to try it, nonetheless, it might be worth trying if it is shown to reduce the severity of panic attacks.
 

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