Depersonalization disorder is a change in how people see themselves. They feel detached from their own mind or body, like they are watching themselves from the outside. It may make them feel like they are in a dream.
Symptoms of this disorder include:
These symptoms may be very frightening. Sometimes people with this disorder also have panic attacks or get depressed.
Depersonalization often occurs after an accident, assault, emotional trauma, or serious illness or injury. The exact cause of this disorder is not known. It may be caused by differences in the brain or nervous system. It might also be related to things such as child abuse or a family history of mental illness.
It often begins at an early age, from around puberty to the late twenties. Depersonalization can last from a few minutes to many years.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your:
Your provider may also do a physical exam and lab tests to rule out medical conditions as a cause of the symptoms.
This disorder often gets better without treatment. Antianxiety and antidepressant medicines may help. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a way to help you identify and change thoughts you have that are not realistic. CBT can help you learn new ways to think and act. Hypnosis may help some people with this disorder.
For more information, contact:
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
Web site: http://www.nami.org
Mental Health America (formerly The National Mental Health Association or NMHA)
Web site: http://www.NMHA.org