Derealization/ Depersonalization and Dissociation
Depersonalization/ derealization and dissociation is a disorder that consists of persistent or recurrent feelings of being detached from one’s body, mind, feelings, and sensations (depersonalization). Derealization symptoms include feelings of detachment from one’s surroundings, which give a perception that events, situations, etc. are not real. Many clients also experience feeling as if they have no control over what they say or do. They feel like they are in a dream or fog like state and emotionally or physically numb. Recognition or description of one’s own emotions are limited. Some clients cannot recognize or describe their emotions. They often feel disconnected from their memories and are unable to remember them clearly, and the world seems lifeless and artificial.
The disorder is often triggered by severe stress from events such as emotionally or physically abused, loss of a loved one, domestic violence, or having a mentally ill or severely impaired parent. Diagnosis is based on symptoms after other possible causes are ruled out. Depersonalization or derealization can have comorbidity with various other mental disorders as well as physical disorders. Symptoms of depersonalization/ derealization disorder are typically episodic and vary in intensity. Episodes can last from only hours or days, to weeks, months, and sometimes years. About 50% of the general population have had at least one transient experience of depersonalization or derealization in their lifetime. However, only about 2% of people ever meet the criteria for having depersonalization/ derealization disorder. It occurs equally in men and women and the disorder typically may begin during early or middle childhood.