Depersonalization-derealization (DPDR) disorder is a type of dissociative disorder. Dissociative disorders are the ones where individuals have problems with memory, behavior, emotions, and their sense of self. The symptoms of dissociative disorders can potentially harm every aspect of a person’s mental functioning.

Depersonalization and derealization are two different classes of symptoms that have been clubbed due to their similarities. Let us discuss the symptoms, causes, and potential treatments of depersonalization-derealization disorder.

Symptoms Of Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder:

Depersonalization-derealization disorder involves the occurrence of the following symptoms:

  • Depersonalization: People with these symptoms feel detached from their surroundings and themselves. They constantly feel as if they are observing themselves outside their body and watching the events happening around them as a spectator.
  • Derealization: People who have derealization symptoms have experiences of unreality. They start to believe that the events happening around them are not real.
  • Visual symptoms: Many people with DPDR report having visual symptoms like tunnel vision, blurry or distorted vision, and altered size and distance of objects.
  • Distorted time perception: People also report feeling as if the time is passing too fast, there are gaps in their mental timeline, and they are jumping from one moment to another.

The symptoms of the disorder can show up as early as childhood years. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the average age of people who have depersonalization-derealization disorder is 16. Less than 20% of people with the disorder get their first symptoms after the age of 20. 

Read more: Echolalia: Definition, Types, Causes

Causes

The exact causes behind depersonalization-derealization disorder are unknown. However, several risk factors are associated with the mental illness. These include:

  • having existing mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression,
  • severe mental stress,
  • the sudden death of a loved one,
  • trauma,
  • emotional and physical abuse,
  • substance abuse, etc.

Treatment:

According to science, it is possible to recover from depersonalization-derealization disorder completely. Some individuals can recover on their own, while others can benefit from different treatment options. Some of them are listed below.

Medications:

There are no specific medications to treat depersonalization-derealization disorder. However, your health care provider might prescribe medications to help with symptoms related to other conditions like anxiety, depression, or panic attacks. Anti-anxiety and antidepressant medicines are generally prescribed to patients with DPDR.

Disclaimer: The above-suggested medications should only be used after proper diagnosis and discussion with professionals. Unregulated use can be life-threatening.

Psychotherapy:

One of the most common treatment choices for depersonalization-derealization disorder is psychotherapy. The focus of these psychotherapy sessions is to eventually eliminate the stressors that triggered the condition in the first place. 

Psychotherapy for depersonalization-derealization disorders may include the following:

  • cognitive-behavioral therapy,
  • psychodynamic therapy,
  • behavioral therapy,
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and
  • hypnotherapy.

Read more: Best Online Therapy Platforms – 5 Easy-To-Use And Affordable Sites.

Conclusion:

Depersonalization-derealization disorder can leave one feeling detached from themselves and their surroundings. The exact cause is unknown, but trauma, stress, sleep disruption, and substance abuse are critical factors in the emergence of DPDR.

It is essential to spread awareness about lesser-known mental disorders like DPDR to sensitize and inform people about them. This can allow them to properly gauge the situation and find appropriate help. On that note, to know more about other unusual psychological disorders, click here.

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