Dissociative describes the feeling of being detached, particularly from your mind or body. In a mild sense, dissociation may feel like a curious disconnection from your thoughts or your feelings. In more severe instances, dissociation can look like a complete, involuntary separation from reality.

Sometimes, dissociative episodes are small. You may zone out while at a boring meeting or get lost in a good book. Other times, dissociative experiences are the result of dissociative disorders: psychological conditions that could be the result of past trauma.

For example, depersonalization-derealization disorder and amnesia are conditions that could cause you to feel completely outside of yourself.

Dissociative is also a descriptor for the effects of certain medications, and hallucinogenic experiences can be considered dissociative. Dissociative drugs can make you feel like you are detached from reality. They can also cause you to have distortions in your auditory and visual senses.

Some examples of medications and drugs that may induce a dissociative episode include:

  • Ketamine
  • PCP
  • Psilocybin
  • Salvia divinorum

Some dissociative episodes can last for days, weeks, or months, in the case of dissociative disorders. In comparison, dissociation brought on by a psychoactive medication usually lasts for a few hours at most, especially when a hallucinogenic experience is intentionally induced.