The next few pages will tell you everything you need to know about Depersonalisation Derealisation Disorder; what it is, potential causes and available treatments.
What is Depersonalisation/Derealisation?
Depersonalisation and/or Derealisation is a defence mechanism that the mind employs to help it to cope with too much stress. Many people will experience feelings of Depersonalisation and/or Derealisation at some point in their lives. Feelings of Depersonalisation and Derealisation can be triggered by stress, a traumatic event or substance use. For some people, these feelings may last minutes or hours but will they will eventually pass. For other people, feelings of Depersonalisation and Derealisation can be recurring or can last much longer. These people may be experiencing Depersonalisation Derealisation Disorder (DPRD).
What does DPRD feel like?
Depersonalisation Derealisation Disorder (also known as DPD, DPRD, DPDR) can be described in many different ways but essentially, it is a persistent feeling of being disconnected from your own body (Depersonalisation) or feeling disconnected from the world around you (Derealisation).
You may be experiencing Depersonalisation Derealisation Disorder if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
Feeling like a ‘robot’
Feeling that you're not in control of your speech or movements
Feeling like you are an outside observer of your own mental processes
Feeling like you are ‘outside’ of your body or parts of your body
Emotional or physical ‘numbness’
Feeling as if you are living in a dream or a movie
Feeling as though you are ‘in a bubble’ or ‘behind glass’
Feelings of being alienated from or unfamiliar with your surroundings
Your surroundings appear distorted, blurry, two-dimensional or artificial, or alternatively, a heightened awareness and clarity of your surroundings
Distortions in your perception of time
Distortions of distance and of the size and shape of objects around you
It is important to remember that symptoms of Depersonalisation Derealisation Disorder can be different for each person. The symptoms can also be hard to describe. If you don’t recognise your symptoms in the above list, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t experiencing it.
Here are some ways that people describe their experiences of DPDR:
If you think you are experiencing Depersonalisation Derealisation Disorder and the symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life, you may want to seek some treatment.