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Derealization/Depersonalization Disorder


The purpose of this piece is to give an explanation as to what derealization and depersonalization are. They are purposefully grouped together because they are very similar in their effects and causes. It is very important to note that both of these disorders are caused by an underlying issue which should be addressed.

Derealization Disorder is a very complex condition and is characterized by distortions in self-awareness. Roughly 50 percent of the general population has experienced depersonalization or derealization at some point in their lives. Derealization is considered a dissociative disorder.

Though derealization is not a standalone symptom of anxiety, it is almost always apparent at the peaks of stress.

It is not clear at this time what is actually occurring in the brain when people experience this problem, but it is believed to be a natural coping mechanism. During intense bouts of stress it is believed that the mind essentially decides to tune out the world around it in an attempt to preserve sanity.

Derealization, when derived from anxiety, is not considered to be dangerous. It usually will dissipate on it its own and usually only appears during bouts of intense anxiety.

Doctors and psychologists are in agreement that the best way to stop derealization is to address it using mindfulness. The best way to do this is to perform a task and, when doing so, attempting to only focus on that task. It is very important to only focus on your senses as you do whatever task you’re engaging in.

Symptoms and Sensations of Derealization Include:
    • Feeling cutout or cutoff from surroundings.
    • Feeling trapped.
    • Feeling as if objects are cartoonlike or unreal.


    Derealization focuses your surroundings. Sufferers of this describe it as being in a dreamlike state where your environment feels unreal, foggy, or hazy.

    Therapies used to treat derealizatoin include the taking of antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and psychotherapy.
    Depersonalization disorder happens when you persistently have a feeling that you do not exist. Many people will experience this in their lives.

    Depersonalization is considered to be an anomaly of self-awareness. You may be suffering from this if you often feel as though you are watching yourself or as if you have no control over body or actions. You may feel that the world has become vague.

    Depersonalization is considered a dissociative disorder.

    This is also a prominent symptom in other non-dissociative disorders, such as clinical depression, anxiety, borderline personality, bipolar disorder, OCD, sleep deprivation, and migraines. This can also be considered a desirable effect in the use of recreational drugs.

    In its worst states, depersonalization can cause disturbances in relationships, work, and daily activities.

    If you or someone you know feels like s/he is not within his or her own body and is an outside observer, it would be wise to contact your health care provider and get some help because this is the sign that there is an underlying problem in the person's life that is now manifesting itself as depersonalization.

    Symptoms and Feelings of Depersonalization Include:
    • Feeling inhuman or like a robot.
    • Feeling invisible or nonexistent.
    • Feeling foreign or unrecognizable to yourself.


    Treatment for these disorders is completely dependent on what the underlying causes are. Causes vary from borderline personality disorder to depression.

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