What Is Depersonalization?
is a feeling of disconnection from one’s identity. People with
depersonalization feel like they have no control of their own thoughts and actions.
They can feel like they are watching themselves from outside their own bodies,
and that they are outside of reality.
people experience short-term symptoms of depersonalization from time to time.
Ongoing or recurring bouts can indicate depersonalization disorder.
disorder can cause strain in relationships. It can make normal life, including
work and hobbies, challenging. People who experience long-term or recurring
symptoms that disrupt life, work, and relationships should seek medical advice.
What Causes Depersonalization?
cause of depersonalization is largely unknown. It may be related to chemical
imbalances in the brain, specifically in neurotransmitters.
of depersonalization can be triggered by stress. They often occur in
conjunction with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. Some
cases have no exact cause or trigger. Others begin after a traumatic event.
What Are the Symptoms of Depersonalization?
with depersonalization often have muted senses and slow response times. They
may feel as though their limbs are distorted. Depersonalization can cause a
person to feel disconnected from other people, especially emotionally. These
feelings can be scary, but usually the person is aware that the feelings are
How Is Depersonalization Diagnosed?
brain and nervous system specialist or psychiatrist can diagnose
depersonalization. Doctors will first rule out neurological disorders as the
cause of symptoms. They will also test for other mental health disorders.
to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
of Mental Disorders, the following symptoms indicate depersonalization
- ongoing or recurring depersonalization or
- awareness that the detachment isn’t real
- symptoms interfere with relationships, work,
- symptoms not directly caused by other mental
health conditions or the use of drugs, alcohol, or medication
Who Is at Risk for
Depersonalization is more likely to
develop in people who have experienced or witnessed a
life-threatening or traumatic event. It can also develop in people with
post-traumatic stress disorders and in people with mental health issues such as
depression, anxiety, or panic disorders.
Depersonalization usually occurs in
teenage or early adult years.
How Is Depersonalization Treated?
for depersonalization often includes medication and/or psychotherapy. There are
no medications specific to depersonalization. Some people find relief through
antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Psychotherapy can help a patient understand
his or her feelings and overcome fear. It can also help a patient work through
other mental health issues.
What Is the Outlook for
will seek to provide coping mechanisms and relief of symptoms.
people with depersonalization disorder recover completely. Symptoms sometimes
go away without treatment over time. More often, they require treatment.