Depersonalization disorder is a dissociative disorder, which is characterized by an unpleasant state of mind in which the perception of an individual changes. The affected individual feels disconnected or detached from his own body and thoughts. It happens when a malfunction affects the self-awareness mechanism of the human brain. The patient seems to be dreaming partially; however, he does not lose contact with reality either. This disorder involves disruption of memory, consciousness, identity, perception, and other mental processes.
An episode of depersonalization may last for few minutes or for years. But this disorder is generally a symptom of other psychotic disorders or seizures, and rarely occurs as a separate mental condition. The contributing factors might include life-threatening experiences such as wars, accidents, natural calamities, assaults, violence, and serious illnesses and injuries, etc. The primary symptom is that the patients experience distorted perception of the body, wherein they do not have control on their body and thought processes. This fear may result in depression, anxiousness, and panic attacks due to which, patients may feel as if they are going mad. Such symptoms can affect the social and personal relationships of an individual.
Generally, people who go through life-threatening experiences heal faster, if they get adequate emotional support. However, if the symptoms recur repeatedly or last for longer periods, then medical treatment is necessary. There are no specific diagnostic tests; however, psychologists or psychotherapists, analyze the severity of symptoms along with mental and physical characteristics of the patient. They also check the medical history of the patient, and then suggest a treatment.
Since, the symptoms are triggered by trauma, the treatment essentially consists of psychotherapy along with psychosocial and psychopharmacological treatments. Apart from this, cognitive therapy, family therapy, creative therapy like music or art therapy, and clinical hypnosis, etc., also can be combined to get better and faster recovery. If depersonalization is a symptom of other mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety, then the drugs and treatment prescribed for that disorder can help minimize the symptoms. In some cases, doctors may use specially designed interviews and assessment tools, to reduce the mental stress of a patient that may improve the psychological state of a patient. Such interviews and meetings are carried out at treatment centers.
The treatment lasts until the patient is completely recovered, and when symptoms stop to occur. However, genetics and environment, too play a major role in the speedy recovery of the patient. It may not be possible to prevent this disorder; however, early detection and treatment can help the affected people improve their mental health, by fighting this disorder in the right manner.
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