Does Lexapro help with dissociation? (3+ strategies)

In this article, we will discuss whether Lexapro helps with dissociation or not. Furthermore, we will explore what research suggests on this, the possible connection between Lexapro and dissociation, signs and symptoms of dissociation and alternative treatment options that help in dissociation.

Does Lexapro help with dissociation?

Yes, Lexapro may help improve the symptoms of dissociation. Although it is not specifically prescribed for the treatment of dissociation, some individuals with dissociation may find relief when their underlying symptoms of depression and anxiety are addressed with antidepressants like Lexapro. (1)

Lexapro is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by balancing the levels of a neurotransmitter in the brain, called serotonin. Serotonin improves and regulates a person’s mood and boosts their motivation, thereby reducing depression and anxiety. (1)

Dissociation can be referred to as a mental health trauma, where a person feels disconnected from their thoughts, feelings, identity and memory. It’s like a temporary escape from reality. The three common types of dissociation are depersonalization (detachment), derealization and amnesia (forgetfulness of important personal information or events). (3)

If you’re experiencing dissociation or related symptoms, do not self-medicate yourself rather approach a healthcare provider.

How does Lexapro help with dissociation? 

The relationship between SSRIs like Lexapro and dissociation is complex and not well understood. However, it is believed that the increase in levels of serotonin in the brain, from Lexapro helps relieve dissociative symptoms indirectly. (4)

Serotonin is involved in the regulation of mood and emotions and it also helps in stabilizing cognitive functions. Dissociation is usually co-related with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related disorders and trauma can negatively impact the normal functioning of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin. (4)

Therefore, by balancing the levels and normalizing the functions of serotonin, SSRIs like Lexapro may help reduce the feelings of sadness and depression associated with dissociation. As serotonin also has a positive impact on cognitive functions, it can significantly reduce the cognitive symptoms of dissociation like confusion and memory distortion. (3,4)

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that people are unique and may respond differently to medications, so the effectiveness of Lexapro for dissociation may vary from person to person. 

What does research suggest?

According to a research study, a 37-year-old woman was brought up in a hospital with major depression and depersonalization disorder. She had common signs of depression like hopelessness, low energy, decreased appetite, trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating. (3)

Upon asking she told the doctors that she had been feeling detached from people and herself as well, since the age of 13. She was given duloxetine for 4 months but it couldn’t help relieve her symptoms.

The doctors decided to give her sertraline (SSRI), initially with a low dose and gradually increased the dose. Then they added a combination medication with sertraline called lamotrigine. This combination worked well for her and after 8 weeks of treatment, her depressive and dissociative symptoms were reduced to a great extent. (3)

This study has shown that using Lamotrigine together with SSRI can be beneficial for people with depersonalization rather than taking an SSRI alone. (3)

According to psychiatric research, the response rate for pharmacotherapy treatment (SSRIs) in patients with dissociative disorders is found to be 68.42%.

What are the signs and symptoms of dissociation? 

Here are some common signs and symptoms associated with dissociation that every individual might experience differently: (5)

  • Depersonalization: It’s a sense of detachment from one’s own body. A person might feel like they’re in a dream or watching a movie. 
  • Derealization: Thinking that the world around you is strange, unfamiliar and not real. 
  • Amnesia: People might forget important events, experiences and information about their lives.
  • Identity confusion: Feeling confused about who you are or uncertain about yourself. 
  • Emotional numbing: You might feel emotionally numb or detached. Difficulty expressing or even experiencing emotions. 
  • Time distortion: Having a perception that time is moving unusually fast or slower than normal. 
  • Cognitive distortions: A person might feel difficulty in concentration and focus.
  • Loss of control: Feeling like you’re doing things without really deciding to do them or doing things and later not remembering them. 
  • Inability to recall traumatic events: Forgetting or blocking out traumatic and scary events or memories. 
  • Sensory dissociation: Feeling or sensing things differently, such as altered perception of one’s senses. For example, not feeling pain after a traumatizing event or feeling empty.

It’s important to remember that dissociation is usually a person’s coping mechanism in response to traumatic or overwhelming stress and emotional pain.

What are the non-pharmacological treatment options for dissociation?

Here are some alternative treatment options for dissociation that might help you in relieving the symptoms: (6)


  • Trauma-focused therapy: Therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can help process and tackle traumatic events and painful memories. (6)
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): This therapy helps an individual to focus on building skills that help in emotional regulation, mindfulness and tolerating distress. 
  • Internal family systems (IFS): It’s a therapeutic approach for people to explore and understand different parts of themselves, such as their personality which creates internal harmony.

Mindfulness and meditation: 

Try to engage yourself in relaxation techniques like inhaling and exhaling deep breaths, stretching your body as you do in yoga and exploring other meditation approaches to calm your mind and body and ultimately help in stress reduction. Thus improves focus and dissociative symptoms. Nature therapy, as simple as going out in nature for a walk, can also improve mood and overall well-being. 

Support groups:

Joining support groups where people with different traumatic experiences and troubled pasts, share their insights and strategies for coping, might be very helpful to ease the dissociative symptoms and may also improve a person’s self-esteem. 


Some people find acupuncture very helpful in managing and reducing stress and promoting a sense of balance, that helps with cognitive functions and reduces negative dissociative thoughts. 

Holistic approaches:

Try to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into your daily routine like fixing your sleeping schedule is foremost which helps in better focus and enhanced energy levels. regular exercise like running or lifting weights and a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients might help to support your overall being. (6)

As a pharmacist, in my opinion, Lexapro is an SSRI, which has shown promising results in treating depression, anxiety and panic-related disorders. It has been used widely along with other antidepressants or mood stabilizers, to reduce the underlying symptoms of dissociation. 

Always keep in mind that people are unique in terms of brain chemistry and may react differently to different medications, especially antidepressants. For example, Certain antidepressants like Citalopram affect dissociation in some people. So efficacy of Lexapro related to dissociation may vary from person to person.

It’s recommended to approach your doctor for appropriate treatment and therapeutic outcome.

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