Depersonalisation Disorder is a mental health disorder characterised by a profound sense of being disconnected or detached from ones own body.
Sufferers often report that they feel as though they are observing themselves from outside of their own body or that they can hear themselves speak without conscously being in control of what is being said.
In common with other dissociative disorders, depersonalisation disorders are commonly associated with childhood abuse or trauma and represent a kind of psychological splitting-off from the intolerable memories.
It is relatively rare within a population and is only diagnosed when it causes serious impairments to social functioning.
As is the case with other mental health disorders, depersonalisation disorder has been categorised as being due to faulty underlying neurobiology however, despite many years of research, no conclusive evidence for biological malfunction has yet been identified.
Depersonalisation Disorder Symptoms
The main symptoms associated with Depersonalisation Disorder are:
- A subjective experience of unreality.
- Detachment from one’s surroundings.
- Detachment from one’s own thoughts.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Difficulty remembering things.
- Recalling memories with the emotional content missing.
Although many people will experience some of these symptoms at some point in their lives, depersonalisation disorder sufferers tend to suffer these much more frequently, with greater intensity and over longer periods of time.
Diagnosis of Depersonalisation Disorder
Technically, only a psychiatrist can diagnose a Depersonalisation Disorder, but in the UK general practitioners have tended to diagnose mental health problems by using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
The DSM lists specific symptoms against a range of disorders and whenever a person meets this criteria, they are said to be suffering from that disorder.
Diagnostic procedures do NOT make use of medical testing (for example blood tests) in order to produce a diagnosis, but rather is an opinion based on the observation of certain behaviours in the person who is suffering.
Because of this lack of verifiable medical testing, diagnosis remains a controversial subject, particularly within the psychological (non-medical) community.
However, in the UK access to support services is often contingent on receiving a diagnosis, so in this sense, a formal diagnosis may be useful.
Getting a Mental Health Diagnosis
Please be aware that Lee Psychology do not diagnose mental health disorders.
Our psychological counselling services do not require you to have been formally diagnosed but should you wish to obtain a formal mental health diagnosis, then please contact your GP who can arrange it for you.
Counselling for Depersonalisation Disorder
We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for Depersonalisation Disorder and related problems.
Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:
- How long you have had the problem.
- Your personal preferences.
- How your problem is affecting you today.
You can read more about the different types of therapy for anxiety on the following links:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depersonalisation Disorder
- The CORE programme for Depersonalisation Disorder
- Counselling for Depersonalisation Disorder
Although all therapies use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.
Research suggests that this therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.
Psychiatry Through the Looking Glass
Read what the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) and the United Nations (U.N.) said recently about the biomedical models of mental illness on Psychology Today.
Common Mental Disorders
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Depersonalisation Disorder
- Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Prolonged Grief Disorder
- Separation Anxiety Disorder