By: Jessica Nutter

What is Depersonalization?

Depersonalization, (may also be known as derealization), is a frightening and/or disturbing experience where you feel like you are not within one's own body. This disorder makes you feel as if you are watching yourself act from a distance, it also makes you feel like you do not have complete control over the things that you do. People with this can function normally but are more prone to extreme anxiety and possible panic attacks. It can be quite disturbing to people who experience it, even though it is completely harmless. Depersonalization disorder is normally found within young adults.

Some Causes of Depersonalization

The real cause of depersonalization has not yet been discovered, although it is thought to be an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that causes the feelings. Life-threatening and serious traumatic events, like war and extreme violence have been known to trigger the feelings of this disorder. Substances that may trigger the disorder are:

Alcohol - which may induce the feelings of depersonalization.

Marijuana - when people are withdrawing from this substance it may cause the symptoms to occur.

Benzodiazepines (psychoactive drug) - people withdrawing from benzodiazepines have reported perceptual disturbances that come from depersonalization happening to them.

Symptoms for Depersonalization

Feeling out of control of your actions

Feeling as if you are watching yourself as an observer

Feeling disconnected from your body

Feels like you're having out-of-body experiences

Having difficulty distinguishing whether or not feelings are reality

Everything feels dream-like

Treatments for Depersonalization

People with this disorder that try and get help usually go see a cognitive specialist for therapy. This therapy can significantly help patients view their symptoms in a non-threatening way and hopefully allow them to stop thinking about them altogether. There are no medications made for depersonalization specifically, however, doctors will sometimes prescribe drugs used to treat anxiety or depression.