Depersonalization-derealization disorder (DPDR) is a dissociative condition in which the feelings of depersonalization and derealization become so frequent that they disrupt daily life.
DPDR isn’t considered a psychotic disorder because people with depersonalization-derealization disorder are aware that their feelings aren’t real.
Depersonalization and derealization are fairly common sensations for people to experience, especially after living through a traumatic event. These two states typically co-occur, and there is, at present, no evidence that depersonalization or derealization exists without the other.
What is depersonalization?
The term “depersonalization” has been in use since the 1890s to describe the phenomenon of feeling as if you exist outside your body or a general detachment from your body.
Symptoms of depersonalization include:
- The sensation that you’re watching yourself from the outside, including your movements, your thoughts, and your emotions.
- Your bodily sensations may feel like they are occurring from a great distance, or like they’re happening to someone else.
- The feeling that you’re not in control of your speech or movements.
- Numbness of physical or emotional senses.
- The sense that your memories may not be your own memories.
- The perception that your body parts aren’t yours, or that they’re twisted or a different shape than usual.
What is derealization?
Derealization is used to describe a dreamlike quality that makes a person feel as if their external environment isn’t real. Visual distortions may occur as well.
Symptoms of derealization include:
- Feeling like you’re living in a dream or movie.
- Feeling like the people around you aren’t real.
- Time may not feel real.
- The size and shape of objects may be distorted or hard to estimate.
- Surroundings appear blurry, colorless, or not in their usual shape.
- Surroundings appear flat or two-dimensional.
- Surroundings can also appear sharper and clearer than usual.
This brief, time-saving questionnaire is designed for anyone who thinks they may be experiencing symptoms of depersonalization-derealization disorder.
Your results will help you determine whether you may need additional help and professional support for your symptoms.
This depersonalization-derealization test is not a definitive diagnostic tool. You can, however, use this test as a self-screening tool to help you determine whether or not it is advisable to seek professional help for your symptoms.
Only a trained medical professional, such as a doctor or mental health professional, can diagnose you with DPDR or help you create a plan to alleviate your symptoms.
Depersonalization-derealization disorder is a dissociative condition marked by an ongoing sense that a person is detached physically and mentally from their body or living in a dreamlike state.
While most people experience fleeting sensations of depersonalization and derealization at certain points throughout their lives, it becomes a disorder when it happens so frequently that it disrupts day-to-day life.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that affect your daily functioning, consider speaking with a healthcare professional for support.
Can you self-diagnose derealization?
You can be aware of the state of derealization and be able to name it when it’s happening to you, but you cannot give yourself a formal diagnosis of DMDR.
How long does derealization last?
For some, the state lasts only a few seconds, while for others, it is ongoing or so frequent that it becomes disruptive to daily life.
If your daily life is disrupted by states of derealization or depersonalization, it’s advisable to seek professional help.
What causes depersonalization-derealization disorder?
There’s no one cause of DPDR. Many people experience these symptoms after a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, an accident, or abuse. Other external factors such as lack of sleep and hallucinogenic drugs may make developing DPDR more likely.
In some cases, DPDR is linked to certain seizure disorders, brain diseases, or symptoms of dementia.
But many people who develop the condition have no discernible reason why.