Drugs that block NMDA receptors cause dissociation. The most famous dissociative anaesthetic, ketamine, is an NMDA antagonist.So
is DXM, a recreational drug that causes dissociation in abusers.Wikipedia’s list of dissociative drugs is basically just fifty-five NMDA antagonists in a row. The only other category they list are kappa opioid agonists, and kappa opioid agonism probably – you guessed it – antagonize NMDA. If we take this result seriously, every substance we know of that causes dissociation is an NMDA antagonist in some way.
Does anything improve NMDA function – an effect we might expect to alleviate dissociation? Yes, and among a list of intimidating research chemicals called things like is one familiar name: estrogen. See eg El-Bakri et al, which finds that “estrogen modulates NMDA receptors function in the brain…enhancing NMDA function”. McEwen et al: “One of the long-term effects of estradiol [estrogen] is to induce NMDA receptor binding sites in the CA1 region of the hippocampus.” Bi et al: “17-B-estradiol [estrogen] enhances NMDA receptor phosphorylation and function.” I don’t fully understand this research, but it seems to point to estrogen promoting NMDA activity in some way.
Transgender people have higher rates of autism and schizophrenia. The Atlantic actually had a good article about this recently:The Link Between Autism And Trans Identity. They cite one study showing 8% autism rate in trans people (compared to 1-2% in the general population), and another showing that autistic people were 7.5x more likely to express “gender variance”. Apparently a lot of trans people have problems getting hormone therapy because their doctors think the gender issues are “just” because of their autism. Some might say that denying people estrogen because they have a condition which studies suggest estrogen can successfully treat is a bit, I don’t know, crazy and evil, but I guess people get really weird around this stuff.