Depersonalization disorder is a medical condition where a person feels unreal or feels disconnected from things in his or her environment. A person with depersonalization disorder may also feel like she is observing herself from outside her body. Sometimes it feels as if one is experiencing life in a dream. Many people with depersonalization disorder feel as though they are losing their grip on reality, especially if these feelings continue for long periods of time and if they become chronic. Depersonalization disorder can interfere with everyday life. It can affect personal relationships, work and school. Usually people who suffer from depersonalization disorder begin to avoid people and places that exacerbate the uncomfortable feelings.

Transient feelings of depersonalization are quite common and are usually not a cause for concern; however, ongoing feelings of detachment that are emotionally disruptive, do not subside or keep returning and interfere with everyday life are warning signs. People who experience these feelings chronically should find a psychologist who is familiar with depersonalization disorder. Even though depersonalization disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), many doctors are not familiar with depersonalization or its symptoms.

There are many causes of depersonalization disorder although sometimes it begins with no apparent trigger. Many times depersonalization disorder starts after a life-threatening experience such as an accident or assault. People who suffered physical or emotional abuse as children are more inclined to suffer from depersonalization disorder. It may also be triggered by trauma or stress. Depersonalization disorder may occur along with other mental health conditions like depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and multiple personality disorder. Keep in mind that depersonalization is a separate disorder. Sometimes it starts suddenly, and sometimes the feelings begin gradually. The exact cause of depersonalization is not fully understood. There is some evidence that chemicals in the brain are out of balance. Depersonalization disorder typically begins in the mid to late teens or in early adulthood. Many teenagers report feelings of depersonalization commencing after smoking weed or using other drugs. Sometimes depersonalization disorder begins after the use of a prescription medicine like antibiotics. Depersonalization disorder is rare in young children and older adults.

Treatment for depersonalization disorder consists of psychological counseling and medication. Sometimes behavior modification works well. There is no one medication that doctors can prescribe to help alleviate feelings of depersonalization. Sometimes a patient may have to try different medications until one is found that works well for the symptoms. Many people report that exercise and healthy eating habits help feelings of depersonalization. Avoiding illegal substances, alcohol and nicotine have also been reported to help people with depersonalization disorder.

Many people suffer from depersonalization disorder. The most important thing for a person who suffers from depersonalization to realize is that he or she is not alone.