"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Mental Health: Depersonalization Disorder

Depersonalization disorder is characterised by phases by which one feels disconnected or detached from one's own body and thoughts (depersonalization). The disorder is usually described as feeling like you might be watching yourself from outside your body or that you simply are in a dream. However, individuals with this disorder don’t lose touch with reality; You realize that things should not as they appear. An episode of depersonalization can last from a number of minutes to (rarely) a few years. Depersonalization can be a symptom of other disorders, including some types of substance abuse, certain personality disorders, seizure disorders, and certain other brain disorders.

Depersonalization disorder belongs to a bunch of disorders called dissociative disorders. Dissociative disorders are mental illnesses that involve disturbances or breakdowns in memory, consciousness, perception, identity and/or perception. If a number of of those functions are disrupted, symptoms may occur. These symptoms can affect an individual's overall functioning, including social and skilled activities and relationships.

The predominant symptom of depersonalization disorder is a distorted perception of the body. The person might feel like a robot or in a dream. Some people could also be afraid of going crazy and becoming depressed, anxious, or panicked. For some people, symptoms are mild and last only a short while. However, for others, symptoms could also be chronic (persistent), lasting or recurring over a few years, resulting in problems with day by day functioning and even disability.

Little is thought in regards to the causes of depersonalization disorder, but biological, psychological and environmental aspects may play a job. Like other dissociative disorders, depersonalization disorder is usually triggered by severe stress or a traumatic event—corresponding to war, abuse, accidents, disasters, or extreme violence—that the person has experienced or witnessed.

Depersonalization could be a rare symptom of assorted psychiatric illnesses and sometimes occurs after a dangerous situation corresponding to an attack, an accident, or a serious illness. Depersonalization as a stand-alone disorder is kind of rare.

If symptoms of depersonalization disorder are present, the doctor will begin the assessment by conducting an entire medical history and physical examination. Although there are not any laboratory tests to specifically diagnose dissociative disorders, the doctor may perform various diagnostic tests, corresponding to imaging studies and blood tests, to rule out physical illnesses or medication unintended effects because the reason for the symptoms.

If no physical illness is identified, the person could also be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist, medical professionals specifically trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interviews and assessment tools to judge an individual for dissociative disorder.

Most individuals with depersonalization disorder who seek treatment are more concerned about symptoms corresponding to depression or anxiety than in regards to the disorder itself. In many cases, symptoms disappear over time. Treatment is frequently only vital if the disorder persists or recurs, or if the symptoms are particularly distressing for the person.

The goal of treatment, if vital, is to deal with any distress related to the onset of the disorder. The best treatment approach is determined by the person and the severity of their symptoms. Psychotherapy or talk therapy is frequently the treatment of selection for depersonalization disorder. Treatment approaches for depersonalization disorder may include:

  • Psychotherapy: This kind of therapy for mental and emotional disorders uses psychological techniques designed to assist an individual higher recognize and communicate their thoughts and feelings about psychological conflicts that could lead on to depersonalization experiences. Cognitive therapy is a particular type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing dysfunctional thought patterns.
  • Medication: Medications are generally not used to treat dissociative disorders. However, if an individual with a dissociative disorder also suffers from depression or anxiety, taking an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication may very well be useful. Antipsychotics are also sometimes used to assist with considering and cognition problems related to depersonalization.
  • Family therapy: This kind of therapy helps educate the family in regards to the disorder and its causes and helps relations recognize symptoms of reoccurrence.
  • Creative therapies (art therapy, music therapy): These therapies allow the patient to explore and express their thoughts and feelings in a secure and artistic way.
  • Clinical hypnosis: This is a treatment technique that uses intense leisure, concentration and focused attention to attain an altered state of consciousness, allowing people to explore thoughts, feelings and memories that they might have kept hidden from their awareness.

For many patients, complete recovery from depersonalization disorder is feasible. The symptoms related to this disorder often resolve on their very own or after treatment that helps the person take care of the stress or trauma that triggered the symptoms. However, without treatment, further episodes of depersonalization may occur.

Although it is probably not possible to stop depersonalization disorder, it might be helpful to start treatment as soon as symptoms appear. Additionally, rapid intervention after a traumatic event or emotionally distressing experience could help reduce the danger of developing dissociative disorders.