Dissociative diseases can cause people to lose touch with their real selves and their personalities. People with these disorders, which often develop after other major mental illnesses or traumatic events, feel lost and confused about what’s going on inside and outside of them.
What do depersonalization and derealization mean?
People who go through depersonalization or derealization feel like they can’t control what they think, say, or do. Depersonalization-derealization disease (DPDR) is a condition that can be diagnosed when these symptoms happen often and get in the way of daily life.
Some people feel depersonalized when they watch their own day go by, like they are in a movie or looking down from above. People who depersonalize feel numb and can’t show how they feel, even when they are asked to. People may also feel like they have no control over their bodies, like they are robots.
On the other hand, derealization is the thought that your life is not real. When someone derealizes, they feel so cut off from other people and themselves that they doubt the existence of the world. They might feel like their life is a dream because they see things in the same fuzzy way that we all do when we dream.
Thoughts of not being yourself can last for hours, days, or even months. When you’re disconnected, things can go wrong at work, with friends, and in relationships. They can also make it hard to remember things and even cause memory loss.
Where depersonalization and derealization came from
People can disassociate for a lot of different reasons, both on purpose and by accident. It’s possible that dissociation is the brain’s way of escaping the terrible effects of traumatic events. When someone goes through trauma over a long length of time, they may dissociate to get by or deal with the situation. People who have depersonalization or derealization as a sign of another mental health issue can have things like
- Feeling Down
- Stress and worry
- A lot of stress Grief
Lack of sleep or insomnia can sometimes cause depersonalization or derealization, which is a typical sign of many mental health conditions.
It’s important to remember that depersonalization and derealization are not caused by drugs or drinking. Depersonalization and derealization are not the same thing in the DSM-5, even though they may feel the same when you’re drunk.
Help for depersonalization and derealization therapy
Depersonalization, derealization, and other forms of dissociative disorder can be helped by a licensed therapy. Therapists teach their patients skills called “grounding” that help them get back to the real world. This could mean doing things like putting their hands under cold water or touching things around them. Therapists will also help their clients figure out where their separation comes from by giving them a safe place to talk about scary memories or feelings. Clients could also learn how to stay away from the things, like thought habits, that make them feel dissociative.
Because these symptoms are so bad, it’s important to work with a therapist who has helped people who have depersonalization or derealization before. A lot of the time, these therapists are trained in trauma-informed techniques and can help their clients get over their mental health issues and feel like they are back in control of their lives.