Dissociation and Strange Sensations

Question about anxiety disorder and dissociation experiences of a moving brain and itching below the skin.Q:Thank-you for your site! I stumbled across it while totally overwhelmed by symptoms one day at work - no more work was done that day but I felt so comforted! I've had a disorder for almost 5 years now, and I experience dissociation, a "moving brain" feeling that literally never stops and incredibly intense itching sensations beneath the skin that make me want to scream! I can't seem to find any reference to the itching and moving-brain sensations in any literature: is this common?

I have been in therapy for about 2 years and am taking and things have improved but I'm still very uncomfortable almost all the time. It sounds ridiculous but only now am I gradually realizing that I'm "causing" these symptoms myself. I would love to feel at peace - I can't remember the last time I could just relax and get some relief from the symptoms. It helps so much to know you're out there!

A: We are glad the site has been of help to you. We know how important it is to be able to identify with other people who have an Anxiety Disorder.

Re the itching and the 'moving brain'. Have you checked with your doctor to make sure the symptoms are not an effect of or any other medication you may be taking. We assume from your letter your Disorder is an Anxiety Disorder as our reply is based upon the symptoms you mention in an Anxiety Disorder context.

We have found over the years many people with Panic Disorder do dissociate and the itching underneath the skin can be part of it. Some people comment it can also feel like 'ants' crawling. It isn't written up in the Panic Disorder literature but we know it does happen to some people. The 'moving brain'. We are not sure what you mean by this. Some people report a tingling or the 'ant' crawling sensations across the scalp. Some people report a vibration sensation, or they feel as if the top of their scalp is being cut off, others report a great pressure from within the head pressing against the scalp. None of these symptoms are in the literature but they not uncommon. There can also be the dissociative sensation of stationary objects moving, buildings swaying, the road undulating etc.

People with panic disorder usually also develop allergies, food, environmental etc. Do you know if you are allergic to anything? Some people report that acupuncture can help with the 'itching' sensation and this may also be worth looking into.

The way we think does create many of our symptoms. We always suggest people contact a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT). They can assist us to begin to work at changing our negative thinking patterns. And if you are prepared to really work at it, it can change your life.

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APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2008, October 3). Dissociation and Strange Sensations, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: July 1, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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