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I think I have DPRD, what should I do?

If you think that you are experiencing symptoms of Depersonalisation or Derealisation there are a number of things you can do. Please note that although Unreal aims to provides support to those affected by DPRD, we are unable to advise individuals directly.

Seek the advice of your GP

If you are experiencing DPRD and it is impacting the way you think, act and feel, then you should speak to your GP. Speaking to your GP about how you feel can be difficult at first. To make this a little easier, you could write down your symptoms beforehand and read them out when you’re in the GP’s consulting room.

To help you, here are some of the most common ways people describe symptoms of DPRD:

  • “I feel as though I am living in a bubble/a fog/a dream/a movie

  • “I feel like a robot”

  • “I don’t feel as though I am in control of my speech/movements”

  • “I feel as though I am outside of my own body’

  • “I feel emotionally/physically numb”

  • “My surroundings feel unfamiliar, even in familiar places such as my own home”

  • “I feel a heightened sense of clarity/awareness of my surroundings”

  • “Objects/time/distance feels distorted”

Remember, you can always take a friend, relative or someone you trust with you to your appointment for support.

It is important to remember that GPs speak to people experiencing mental health issues all the time and they are trained to deal with these issues. If you feel that your GP doesn’t understand your DPRD symptoms, or you are unhappy with your doctor, you can try booking an appointment with a different GP at your practice or move to a different practice.

What will my GP do?

Your GP may make a diagnosis and they may suggest some treatment options. These could include prescribing medication, making a referral to a therapy service or specialist mental health team or providing advice on ways to improve your mental health.

If you are prescribed medication, your doctor should tell you what it is for and detail any potential side effects. If you experience any unexpected side effects or you have any questions, you can often call your GP surgery and ask for a doctor to call you back to put your mind at ease. You could also book another appointment. If you are unsure about medication, you may want to ask your GP for alternatives, such as talking therapy. It is important to find the treatment that is right for you.

Talk to someone you trust

You may find it helpful to talk to your partner, teacher or a friend or relative about your DPRD. It can be a real relief to share your feelings with someone else. Hopefully, they will listen and offer support.

Rethink Mental Illness

You don’t have to be in crisis to access mental health support. You can call the Rethink advice and information line Monday to Friday, 10am-2pm for practical advice on:

  • Therapy and medication

  • Benefits, debt or money issues

  • Police, courts, prison

  • Your rights under the Mental Health Act.

Call Rethink on 0300 5000 927 (calls charged at your local rate).

Mind

Mind have an information line that you can call to get answers to questions about:

  • Mental health

  • Where to access help

  • Medication and alternative treatments

  • Advocacy

Call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 or email info@mind.org.uk. (UK landline calls are charged at local rates. Charges from mobile phones will vary considerably). 

Treatments for DPRD

The symptoms of DPRD can be frightening and alienating but there are ways that you can learn to cope with them and many people recover completely. The first thing to do is to seek professional advice. Below are summaries of some of the treatments available for DPRD.

Therapy

Many people find that therapy helps them to manage their symptoms. There are many different types of therapy, including counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Psychotherapy. In particular, CBT techniques have been shown to help people suffering with DPRD. If you are accessing therapy through the NHS, you may initially be offered CBT. You can also pay to see a therapist privately, without the need for a referral. For some people, a few sessions of therapy is all they need, while others may require therapy over a period of months or years.

Rethink Mental Illness offers some very helpful and detailed information on accessing therapy services. Click here to visit their site.

Medication

There are currently no drugs that exist specifically for the treatment of DPRD, however, your GP may offer your medications such as antidepressants or mood stabilisers. Some people find that these alleviate their symptoms.

Grounding techniques

Grounding techniques can help you to feel more connected to yourself and the world. They can also help you to shift your focus away from negative thoughts and feelings. Grounding techniques can involve slow breathing, tuning in to sounds, sights and smells around you or using your sense of touch to help you to feel connected with objects around you.