Some Symptoms of Emotional Attachment Disorder
Everyone experiences times when expressing feelings or emotions is more difficult than others. Stress at home, school or work, relationship changes, illness, or fatigue may be the cause. However, when a person is incapable of feeling or is able to turn off emotions seemingly whenever they want, this could be an indication of emotional detachment disorder. Some common symptoms of EDD include the following:
An inability to express emotions
Being unaware that their actions are perceived as rude
Avoiding emotions when a situation warrants emotional expression
A lack of empathy toward others
The inability to identify one's own emotions
People with the disorder may feel that they are somehow “bad", or that no one cares for them. Children with the disorder may seem to be in a constant state of anxiety, are incapable of effectively responding to outside stressors, and may be unable to recognize when they are safe. It’s important to respond to children with EDD in a calm and empathetic manner to avoid worsening their fear or anxiety.
Struggles Of People With Emotional Detachment Disorder
Emotionally detached people may think about interacting with others and may have a deep desire to express emotions to others but find themselves unable to connect with or express their feelings. Often people who have this disorder are mistakenly believed to lack empathy for others. Although the perception of total lack of empathy is understandable, it’s important to acknowledge that people with emotional detachment disorder are capable of feeling, just unable to connect with and act upon those emotions with what a generally appropriate response.
In times of conflict, it is not uncommon for others to seek out people with emotional detachment disorder as a support person for their cause. Because people with EDD seem to have no opinion or strong reactions, they are often viewed as the perfect person to be a neutral party in conflict. People with EDD usually find this offensive or hurtful.
Emotional Detachment Disorder
Because EDD has symptoms that are similar to mood disorders, it can be difficult to diagnose. Some people who have EDD may be diagnosed with and treated for major depression. When misdiagnosis occurs, it can lead to improper or inadequate treatment. For an accurate diagnosis, it is important to consult a doctor who knows what EDD is and can discuss your symptoms and concerns. The earlier EDD is identified and diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment and the development of healthy attachments.
Emotional Detachment and Relationships
Emotional unavailability is the most common symptom of emotional detachment in relationships. The symptoms generally do not extend beyond the relationship, and it is understandable that experiencing emotional detachment in a relationship can feel overwhelming.
For some people, the lack of emotional connection may lead to fear that the relationship cannot be salvaged. Although it will take work and commitment, emotional detachment disorder does not have to end a relationship.
How To Fix Relationship Emotional Detachment
It can feel like a difficult decision trying to decide if a relationship is salvageable. This is especially true in the presence of emotional detachment disorder. Even the strongest people can experience relationship troubles. The most important thing to consider is that your personal mental health and well-being is crucial.
It can be helpful to find a counselor or therapist who works with personal and relationship issues whom you can discuss your thoughts, feelings, and hopes for the future with. Consider your personal goals and dreams and ask yourself what you are willing to do to accomplish them. It is important to communicate with your spouse or partner.
Other Types Of Detachment - Changes in Mood And Personality
Mental Detachment (Depersonalization And Derealization)
Mental detachment generally occurs as the result of stressful situations. It can cause an affected person to feel as though they have lost touch with reality. Depersonalization is a form of mental detachment that results in a person feeling as though they are on the outside of their body watching what is going on around them. Derealization is experienced as an intense feeling that reality has been altered or that it is unrecognizable.
Anxiety, fear and stress can cause some people to feel like they need to distance themselves from others. One of the most common ways people deal with stressful situations is isolate from others. Although taking some personal time to reflect can be helpful, it is important to also take time for social interaction with others. Physical detachment or self-isolation can cause increased feelings of anxiety, stress, and even depression.
Learning To Cope
If you are experiencing symptoms of emotional detachment disorder, it is important to reach out for help. In addition to mental health care, there are some things you can do to try to shift your internal focus and learn to connect with the emotions that you have detached from.
Meditation is a mental exercise that focuses on training one’s awareness and attention. It is believed to be helpful in reducing a person’s negative feelings and thoughts. Meditation helps to increase focus, promote calm, and reduce stress. There are several books and apps that teach meditation.
Keep A Journal Of Your Emotions
Finding ways to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings can be a helpful step in learning to connect with emotions. If you are experiencing an influx of emotions, instead of ignoring them, write down what you are feeling. Carve out a set time each day to write about your thoughts and feelings and how they have affected you throughout the day. Ask yourself questions like, “What triggered these feelings in me?” “What am I feeling at this moment?” Later, you will be able to refer to your journal see how you have changed with the way you respond to your emotions.
Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
Sometimes, people with emotional detachment disorder to blame themselves for their inability to connect with others. Keep in mind that whether you have detached from others on purpose or you never learned effective ways to develop relationships with others, it
is possible to learn to develop healthy emotional attachments. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and give yourself grace.
Allow Yourself To Experience Vulnerability
Feeling vulnerable can cause a sense of fear, especially if you are accustomed to being detached from emotional responses. However, learning to be vulnerable can be a helpful step in learning to connect with emotions. This doesn’t mean that you have to give another person total access to everything that is personal to you. Begin slowly. Allow yourself to accept responses that may not be what you expected without immediately shutting off your emotions. For example, if you tell someone a story that you think is funny and they don’t seem to agree, that’s okay. Learning to talk with others and communicate with them can help form healthy attachments.
Avoid The Use Of Alcohol Or Drugs
An inability to connect with emotion, or the internal tension a person with emotional detachment disorder feels, can lead to feeling a need to escape. Although alcohol and some drugs may help relieve symptoms such as anxiety and sleep disturbances temporarily, they can also have an adverse effect on emotional and mental well-being. Avoid the use of alcohol and do not self-medicate, as these can worsen emotional detachment disorder.
Support groups offer an opportunity to meet with and talk to others who are experiencing or have experienced the things similar to or the same as what you are going through. This can help you realize that you are not alone and that there is hope for improving your emotional health and well-being.
Mental health professionals, such as licensed professional counselors (LPC) or therapists, are trained to help clients with mental health concerns, such as emotional detachment disorder, understand the disorder and learn ways to cope effectively. If you need help and have a counselor or therapist in mind, call today for a consultation. If you don’t know where to turn and would like to see a local therapist, ask your primary care provider for a list of resources, or search online.
The experienced team of mental health professionals at BetterHelp want you to help you learn to develop health attachments with friends and loved ones. When you reach out to BetterHelp, you can expect the counselor who is matched with you to work with you. You'll learn how to identify the source of emotional detachment disorder and help you develop the skills necessary to help you connect with your emotions, so you can begin to develop healthy attachments with others.
BetterHelp is highly accessible and convenient, available to you anytime, anywhere – including the comfort of your own home. You’ll be matched with a therapist after completing a brief questionnaire, but can switch at any time if you don’t feel they’re a good fit for you. Additionally, sessions are customizable and can be conducted often outside of standard business hours via video chat, phone call, instant messaging/texting, or live voice recording.
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