Depersonalization Disorder is characterized by an emotional and psychological state in which you feel as if you are not yourself, or as if you are observing yourself and your actions from the outside.
While everyone has these moments of dreamlike disorientation every once in a while, this state of mind becomes a disorder when the sensation occurs on a regular basis and when the feeling persists.
Symptoms of Depersonalization Disorder
Many who suffer from Depersonalization Disorder report feeling like a ghost, or as if they are sleep-walking. Many report the feeling that they simply don’t exist, making day to day life nearly intolerable.
Symptoms of Depersonalization Disorder include the following:
- Feeling as if you are outside your body
- Feeling that you are not in control of your words or actions
- Numbness of the senses
- The sensation that your limbs or head are of a disproportionate size to the rest of your body
- Emotional disconnection
- A sense of being “robotic” or on “auto-pilot”
Causes of Depersonalization Disorder
While the cause of Depersonalization Disorder is not wholly understood, there are common threads among those who are affected. Depersonalization Disorder seems to occur more frequently among people who have had traumatic experiences, such as the sudden loss of a loved one, a traumatic childhood fraught with abuse (emotional or physical), being raised by a mentally ill parent or guardian, severe stress, or a current traumatic incident such as a car accident, robbery, or physical attack.
Additionally, research has shown that an imbalance in particular chemicals in the brain that regulate emotion can exacerbate these factors.
Depersonalization Disorder Treatment
Depersonalization Disorder is typically treated through psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), to help change negative and damaging mindsets, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), to help you gain skills for feeling more connected to yourself and your surroundings.
A combination of group and individual therapy with a mental health professional is favored to treat Depersonalization Disorder. Medication may be prescribed as part of a Depersonalization Disorder treatment plan. Treatment may also include a holistic approach that supplements therapy with mind/body activities such as yoga, physical exercise, mindfulness exercises, and art therapy.
Complete recovery from Depersonalization Disorder is possible with proper treatment that helps you develop appropriate skills. Because the disorder is often triggered and maintained by common co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, it’s important to find a treatment center with qualified mental health professionals that can identify and address these issues.
Why Choose Clearview Women’s Center?
The symptoms of Depersonalization Disorder can be unsettling and leave you feeling exposed. Whether you enter our residential, day, or outpatient treatment programs, Clearview Women’s Center provides a safe, intimate environment for you to heal from your symptoms.
Clearview Women’s Center keeps group therapy sessions small and personal, and works with each patient as an individual, tailoring your recovery plan to your specific needs. Our nurturing therapists have the expertise needed to help you feel more connected and more like yourself again.
Q: Is this a real thing or am I just being dramatic?
A: Though it is widely unreported and undertreated, Depersonalization Disorder is a real thing. It is often misunderstood and therefore swept under the rug, but studies show that up to 2.5 percent of the population is affected by Depersonalization Disorder.
Q: 2.5 percent isn’t very high. Am I alone in this?
A: That percentage may not sound like a lot, but consider that there are 317 million people in the United States. You are definitely not alone. While in treatment, you are likely to encounter others who are experiencing similar symptoms. This peer support can go a long way in helping you make a recovery.
Q: If I feel separate from myself, how will I be able to connect during therapy?
A: It may seem daunting to seek treatment when you are already feeling so disconnected from yourself. A highly qualified mental health professional will guide you through individual and group therapy to help you connect with yourself and with the underlying issues behind your disorder. This connection to a therapist and to treatment may not be immediate, but it will eventually happen if you are open to it.