Depersonalization disorder (DPD)Edit

Depersonalization-derealization syndrome is characterized by a persistent and recurrent sense of separation and alienation towards the own body and / or the surrounding world. It is accompanied by a sense of experiencing a qualitative change, of unreality, distance, or automation.

A person with DPD may feel "like he's in a dream" or "like watching himself in a movie." Amongst most common complaints is a sense of lack of feelings. A person afflicted with the depersonalization-derealization syndrome may have the impression that his thoughts, memories, body movements or behavior in some way "are not his own."


Momentary, fleeting experiences of depersonalization or derealization are very common and occurs in up to 20% of the people. The DPD often touches patients suffering from epilepsy and people with a migraine. DPD may also be a result of taking psychoactive drugs like marijuana, LSD or mescaline. It happens that the syndrome is developed in connection with certain methods of meditation, deep hypnosis, fatigue and experience of sensory deprivation (being in a situation of a very limited supply of external stimuli). Quite commonly it occurs after the head injury and after the so-called "near death experience", associated with a situation of extreme danger to life.

However, the number of people experiencing this syndrome in a "clean", a separate form is small. It often occurs in the context of depression or anxiety disorders, and certain psychotic. The course of the syndrome may be episodic, recurrent or chronic. It most commonly affects people in late adolescence or young adulthood, it's 2 to 4 times more likely to develop in case of a woman.


Depersonalisation and derealisation are usually explained as the result of difficult life experiences and characteristics of the nervous system functioning. In the first case, the importance lays in the so-called. traumatic experience - overwhelming with the extreme soreness. Research suggests that about half of the people that manifested a syndrome of depersonalization-derealization experienced significant trauma in their life. Psychodynamic psychotherapy proposes treating this syndrome as a kind of defense mechanism of ego.

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