The depersonalization manual pdf

The Depersonalization Manual - Depersonalization Manual


First published as a small ebook back in 2007, I initially wrote the DP Manual as a my own personal guide on how to deal with the day-to-day symptoms of Depersonalization.

I suffered with chronic Depersonalization Disorder for two years, and I tried everything to get better: medication, therapy, holistic therapy, you name it! And nothing worked.

In fact, one of the most frustrating aspects of the condition, was the total lack of definitive information about it. I found myself constantly looking for new DPDR recovery tips, and trawling through forums and websites that were full of frightening stories -- exactly what you don't need when you're trying to recover.

As somebody who had always enjoyed writing and been published in various newspapers and online journals, I  was determined that when I recovered I would write as effectively as I could about Depersonalization.

While I had the condition I had written a HUGE amounts of notes and personal diaries to help me reference my recovery progress. This proved absolutely invaluable to getting better and once I had recovered completely, I went back to those texts and began compiling and writing what would become the first edition of the Depersonalization Manual.

The book contains EVERYTHING you need to know about how to recover from Depersonalization.

It pulls no punches -- It breaks the condition down to its logical parts and explains why you have it and how you can recover. It tells you what you MUST do and what you must NOT do in order to get better.

Depersonalization is a defense mechanism. Everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. And for most people, it passes in a few minutes. It's meant to be temporary! And that means that you can stop it completely. ALL you have to do is understand what it is, follow the rules and see for yourself. The DP Manual works because IT HAS TO WORK.

When I first made it available online, the reaction was phenomenal -- People from all over the world were contacting me to say that it had helped them recover, that they were so thrilled to have a book to guide them out of DP. People often had suggestions for the book -- So I took those on board, adding more and more sections in subsequent editions over the years.

It has has expanded over the last 15 years to include many new chapters and is now an comprehensive 178-page book with additional supplements and a complete audiobook version - all of which you can download instantly!




The 2022 edition of the DP Manual is a brand new, expanded 178-page edition of the book  -- AND now comes with a newly-recorded, unabridged MP3 audiobook version and all supplementary materials, read by the author that totals a massive 4 & 1/2 hours of audio.

You can read and listen to the materials on any device, so you can take The DP Manual with you anywhere!

It contains over 10 years worth of personal experience in, research of, and total recovery from Depersonalization that will immediately change the way you think about the condition and prove invaluable to your recovery.

It goes through EVERY SINGLE IMPORTANT ISSUE that anyone suffering from Depersonalization needs to know.

And most importantly,  it explains how you will use these to establish the behaviours that will stop your DP thoughts completely.


The DP Manual Package 2022 Edition

also includes 3 exclusive videos
(NOT available on YouTube)

1. Understanding Depersonalization (23 mins)

DP can be a strange and confusing condition, right? Don't worry, because in this video I will explain to you EXACTLY what Depersonalization is, what causes it, and why you DON'T need to be afraid of it. I will also explain why drug-induced DP nothing to worry about, and why the thoughts of DP are essentially like a song stuck in your head!

2. Stopping The Symptoms

(20 mins)

The symptoms of DP can feel quite scary. So let's get started on stopping them as soon as possible! In this video we'll deconstruct the anxious thought habits of DP and why they cause such frightening symptoms -- and most importantly, how to switch them off! We'll also look at how you've been inadvertently giving DP way too much mental 'real estate', and I'll show you my favorite techniques to stop the symptoms!

3. What To Expect During Recovery

(25 mins)

What does recovery from DP FEEL like? In this video I'll go everything you need to know and what to expect during your recovery -- including my top tips on the big mistakes to AVOID along the way, including NEGATIVE FILTERING. And I'll also explain why you don't need to worry about DP coming back after recovery!

Also Included:


10 Golden Rules For Recovery

In this essential document you will find the golden, unbreakable rules that you will follow in order to recover from Depersonalization. These are condensed down from my own recovery and the recoveries of thousands of others -- and when you follow them you'll soon see amazing results!

The Depersonalization FAQ

Over the years since the Depersonalization Manual was first published, I've received thousands of emails from people asking me to to guide them through specific parts of their recovery. I have collected the 24 most common questions (and my answers!) into one powerful 42-page, easy-to-read document (audio version also included).

The Depersonalization Recovery Progress Tracker

To get off to the best start with your recovery, it's vital that you monitor your progress! The Recovery Progress tracker will help you to stay focused and give you the necessary motivation and self-reinforcement you will need to get completely out of the thought habits of DP as quickly as possible.

The DP Manual Pep Talk

This powerful motivational talk that recaps all of the most important points covered in the DP Manual. It reminds you of exactly what you need to know to recover from Depersonalization. Not only will this help to alleviate your DP symptoms, but it's a fantastic motivational boost to use at any time of the day. I personally recommend listening first thing in the morning and last thing at night.


That's a massive total of

- 65+ Mins of Exclusive Videos
- Over 230 Pages of Content
- Over 4 + 1/2 Hours of Audio

The DP Manual Package is contains EVERYTHING you need to know for your TOTAL recovery from Depersonalization.
Bypass all the unnecessary fear anxiety, forums, scare stories and get just the information you need to start your recovery TODAY.


Tasks and Downloads - YourSpace

Cheltenham Independence Trust 

Registration Form 13 January to 9 April 2020
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A-Z 3 January - 9 April 2020.
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Usefull Free Downloads

How to sleep better
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Delayed Sleep Phas Disorder_ DSPD
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Understanding Self Harm Guidence from MIND
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The Truth about Self Harm by The Mental Health Association
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Anxiety Booklet
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Anxiety Self help book.
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This Self Help Book has been published by Let's Talk NHS 2gether Trust.  It is a work book, which involves activities to help reduce anxiety.

Mindfulness leaflet
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Free Samples from The Depersonalization Manual by Shaun O'Connor see Useful Books Page

Knowing not feeling
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Still the same person
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Anxiety dp thoughts
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The Mental Health Foundation  
The following  Six Downloads are Booklets  published by The Mental Health Foundation 

Investing in your relationships
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Sleep Better
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Later Life
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How to look after your mental health using exercise
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Fear and Anxiety
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How to look after your mental health
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Tea and Talk Quiz, just for Fun!
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Warning Signs Poster
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What's reasonable at work? Published by Rethink Mental Illness
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Family Space Leaflet.
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Family Space is a local charity set up to develop positive relationships between parent and child 

Anxiety UK Information Booklet
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From Steve's session on Monday 24th July

How to get rid of derealization and depersonalization

If you encounter symptoms of "haze" or "veil" in your head, feelings of unreality of both what is happening around you and your own "I". If you feel that your emotions seem to have become more faded and blunted, that you have lost emotional connection with what usually gives you joy, then this article is for you.

In it I will tell you how to get rid of derealization and depersonalization , explain what it is and list symptoms . I will not advise taking pills, as they do not eliminate the cause of this ailment. I will tell you about safe, effective and natural ways to solve this problem for good.

This article is based both on the advice of Western psychologists (I must admit that in our country the methods of working with derealization are poorly developed), and on personal experience of getting rid of derealization.

Some time ago, as a result of severe stress, I experienced panic attacks and anxiety. The most annoying thing about this was that the sudden attacks of fear, panic and constant anxiety were accompanied by other symptoms. One of them was a feeling of "haze", "fog" in the head, a feeling of some kind of "isolation" from the outside world and from one's own emotions. nine0003

At first I thought it was some kind of serious mental illness. When these symptoms appeared, I became very worried, unable to get rid of restless thoughts about my condition. Then it got even worse. Even when there was no derealization, I was still afraid: “What if this feeling comes back? Is this a symptom of insanity?

But now I recall my worries with calm humor. All this is long in the past. Now I am in a state of deep and strong connection with my feelings and the outside world. I see the world clearly. I do not feel that life is passing somewhere away from me. I feel like I'm alive. nine0003

Here I am going to share with you effective derealization and depersonalization techniques that helped me get out of this state.

By the way, subscribe to my Instagram at the link below. Regular useful posts about self-development, meditation, psychology and getting rid of anxiety and panic attacks.

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Symptoms of derealization and depersonalization

What is derealization and how does it differ from depersonalization? In short, derealization is a feeling of the unreality of what is happening around (or a certain “isolation”, “remoteness” from external events), and depersonalization is a feeling of the unreality of what is happening inside. nine0003

Derealization (as well as depersonalization) in most cases is not an independent disorder. Most often, it is simply one of the symptoms of panic disorder (panic attacks) and/or anxiety disorder. However, if you experience these symptoms, it's always best to see a doctor just in case, to be 100% sure that your derealization is due to anxiety and not something else!

Symptoms of derealization

  • Feeling of "haze" or "veil" in the head
  • Feeling as if signals from the outside world are reaching us late
  • The state of an "observer" torn off from external reality, who perceives this reality as a film
  • Ordinary things (beautiful scenery, favorite people or objects, entertainment) do not evoke an emotional response
  • The state in which we live this life as if in a dream

Symptoms of depersonalization

  • Feeling of "fading", "dullness" of one's own emotions and experiences
  • Feeling that both our body and our emotions seem foreign to us
  • Feeling of unreality ("blurring" "uncertainty") of one's own self

Accompanying symptom for both conditions

  • Anxiety and anxiety about the state of derealization/depersonalization

In principle, these statuses accompany each other. Moreover, many researchers do not distinguish between them at all. One way or another, when we are aware of the external world, we still “filter” information about it through the prism of our internal perception, which is also aware of the internal world. In other words, a person does not have two separate types of perception for external and internal reality. Perception is one. nine0003

And if this perception is “disturbed” (I used this word in quotation marks so that you don’t be afraid: derealization is a safe symptom, but more on that below), then this “disturbance” will inevitably extend to both the sensation of external phenomena and internal .

I described this principle not for abstract philosophizing, but to formulate a practical conclusion:

Methods and principles that will allow you to get rid of derealization will also eliminate depersonalization and vice versa. These two deeply interconnected phenomena do not require two different “treatment” schemes (again, I use quotation marks, because I believe that there is no disease: derealization is a protective mechanism of the psyche; more on that below). nine0003

And in this article, when I write "derealization", I will have in mind both the symptoms of derealization itself and the symptoms of depersonalization.

Why do derealization and depersonalization occur?

This problem is not yet fully understood. Therefore, it is impossible to answer this question with certainty. However, there are scientific theories that try to explain this phenomenon.

Personally, I am a supporter of the theory that derealization is a defense mechanism of our psyche. The whole irony of such an illness as panic attacks lies in the fact that those symptoms that people consider dangerous for their lives, in fact, are designed to save this life in the event of a mortal threat. I'm talking about symptoms of rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, feelings of fear and panic (which are triggered by adrenaline rushes). As I described in the article, the symptoms of a panic attack are all defense mechanisms of our body. nine0003

And derealization is also the same protective function.

One Western study found that on average 50% of people who have experienced a traumatic event experience symptoms of derealization. Surely you have heard stories of people who got into dangerous, stressful situations and described their experience as: “It seemed to me that this was not happening to me”, “It was like it was in a dream.”

These are the symptoms of derealization. In moments of stressful events, our psyche, as it were, "closes" from potentially traumatic experiences. And so it seems to us that what is happening is like a dream, that this is not happening to us. And here we can draw the following conclusion:0003

Derealization and depersonalization are not dangerous in and of themselves. These are simply defense mechanisms of our psyche, which seeks to "close" itself from unpleasant experiences.

And you can get rid of this state. I'll tell you how next.

How to get rid of derealization and depersonalization

First advice – get out of the vicious circle of anxiety

afraid of the harm that derealization can cause them. nine0003

First, let me remind you that this condition is not dangerous. Secondly, as we remember, it is very often just one of the symptoms of anxiety. What does it mean? This means that when you start worrying about the symptoms of derealization, you provoke new attacks of anxiety or panic, which in turn increase the derealization!

So relax and try to let go of thoughts about your condition. If derealization has come, then it has come. You are already in “this boat”, so there is no point in worrying and winding yourself up. Relax and try to accept this state. Do not oppose or resist him. It is temporary. Just as it came, it will go. nine0003

You should strive for this, although it is difficult. In people with chronic anxiety, the mind is so anxious that it tends to worry constantly about everything. And when there is no reason, the mind finds it. And at first, it is very difficult to break this established habit and help yourself to relax and stop worrying. However, it is possible. The following tips will partly deal with this problem.

Second advice - develop concentration

Psychologists give the following advice. nine0003

If you love to read, then you probably have a plan for what books to read in the future. (And if you don't, it's time to start) Personally, I have a lot of books in my plan that are not very exciting, maybe even boring, but, nevertheless, I think that I need to read them. It can be books on history, science, or even fiction, serious, deep, but not exciting. Read such books.

Try to keep your attention on the text (which will "slip" because the text is not interesting) and return it every time you get distracted. This, firstly, will develop your concentration and certain parts of the brain, and secondly, it will allow you to be closer to the area of ​​\u200b\u200bexperiences. After all, books, after all, stimulate your emotions, give rise to images in your imagination, helping you to be closer to yourself. nine0003

Advice Three - Develop Mindfulness and Sensitivity

In many of my articles, offering to solve various emotional and personal advice, I give advice: "meditate. " So I'm not going to surprise you with originality and give similar advice. No, wait. There is one nuance here.

The more articles I write, the more I work with people who suffer from anxiety and depression, and the more I get feedback from them, the more I want to stop using the term "meditation". nine0003

Not only because it (undeservedly) smacks of something mysterious and mystical. With the development of scientific research on meditation, the world is increasingly aware that meditation is not magic, not a religion, but a completely applied exercise.

The reason why I want to drop this term more and more is the following. When I say "meditation" people often take it as an end in itself. It seems to them that simply sitting in a motionless position will solve all their problems by itself. Therefore, I decided to write more about “techniques for developing awareness, attention, concentration.” From this formulation it becomes clear that meditation is not an end in itself, but only a tool and means for something more. nine0003

Western psychologists agree that mindfulness helps in getting rid of derealization. The first reason this happens is because the state of consciousness that mindfulness practices induce is the opposite of what a person feels during derealization. During derealization, our attention is “scattered”, is in some kind of half-sleep haze, it is not able to clearly and clearly grasp the object, the object of attention becomes unclear, as if blurred, and our emotions and experiences seem to be at a distance from ourselves. nine0003

But during mindfulness practices, on the contrary, we sharpen our attention so that it is aware of the object more clearly, as if we are focusing the lens of our lens, adding clarity to the picture of the world. We also try to become aware of our sensations directly, becoming closer to them.

What actually needs to be done? Your practice will consist of two parts.

"Informal" meditation

Practice mindfulness throughout the day. Try to pay more attention to your immediate feelings. You can do this, for example, while eating. Instead of thinking about other things, "moving away" from your feelings, concentrate on the taste of food in your mouth, on the sensations of how it passes through the esophagus and into the stomach. nine0003

How do you feel in your mouth? Sweetness, bitterness? Heat or cold? What is the taste of food? What do you feel in your stomach? Heaviness or lightness? Warm or cold? Just be with your feelings here and now. Get closer to the realm of direct experience. As soon as your thoughts are distracted from the here and now, bring them back.

The same principle applies to other daily activities: washing dishes, cleaning, exercising, any physical labor, walking. For at least a small part of your day, try not to let your mind wander. Try to be here and now with what your senses are aware of: tastes, smells, colors and colors, tactile sensations, sounds. In this way, you will sharpen and train your attention, returning yourself to a clear and direct perception of life. nine0003

Formal practice:

Formal meditation is the same sitting meditation during which you try to concentrate on one object, such as breathing. There is no magic here. Meditation is a trainer for your attention, your awareness, your self-control, your sensitivity to sensations.

When you meditate, you focus your attention on an object, as if sharpening your focus. Thanks to this, your feelings, experiences become more clear, emotions become more alive and brighter. This, again, is the opposite of derealization, the consequence of which is that emotions are dulled and faded. nine0003

There is a stereotype that meditation is needed to get rid of emotions, to become indifferent. This is not true. The purpose of mindfulness practice is to teach you how to control, accept and let go of your emotions, manage your mind instead of being its pawn. And practice just the same leads to the fact that, as a result of the development of awareness and attention, we begin to perceive life more vividly and richly, in deeper and more distinct colors.

But the meaning of meditation is not only to eliminate derealization as a symptom. Practice will help to cope with the cause of derealization: anxiety, depression, traumatic experiences. nine0003

I wrote above that many people have such a restless mind that it is very difficult for them to relax, to control themselves during anxiety attacks. As soon as emotions and disturbing thoughts appear, they immediately take over such a person, dragging him deeper and deeper into a pool of panic and anxiety.

Meditation allows you to calm the mind, curb anxiety, let go of obsessive thoughts. And gradually, step by step, move towards complete deliverance from panic, fear and anxiety. You can learn how to meditate by reading the article on how to meditate correctly. nine0003

For people who are experiencing symptoms of derealization, I will give the following advice regarding meditation. As an object of concentration, choose the sensations during breathing that arise in the region of the nostrils. Why? Because the sensations there are very subtle and sometimes barely noticeable. This means that in order to feel them, you will need to “sharpen” your own attention, as it were, to focus the lens of your internal lens. This will increase your sensitivity to your own feelings. After I gave this advice to one of the participants in my DON'T PANIC course who was suffering from derealization, she wrote:

As I wrote above, derealization is a consequence of other problems. When your anxiety passes, then the derealization will also disappear. Therefore, I advise you to focus your efforts not on combating a particular symptom, but on solving the general problem of anxiety.

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Trueman, David. Anxiety and depersonalization and derealization experiences. Psychological reports 54.1 (1984): 91-96. Cassano, Giovanni B., et al. nine0003

Derealization and panic attacks: a clinical evaluation on 150 patients with panic disorder/agoraphobia. Comprehensive Psychiatry 30.1 (1989): 5-12.


American Psychiatric Association (2004) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR (Text Revision). American Psychiatric Association. ISBN 0-89042-024-6.

Sierra-Siegert M, David AS (December 2007). "Depersonalization and individualism: the effect of culture on symptom profiles in panic disorder". J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. nineteen5(12): 989–95. doi:10.1097/NMD.0b013e31815c19f7. PMID 18091192.


depersonalization - what is it and why many more people suffer from it than ever • Slutsk • Newspaper "Іnfa-Kur'er"

In the publishing house Alpina Publisher publishes book "I am not me: What is depersonalization and how to live with it" by American psychiatrist Daphne Simeon and Australian journalist Jeffrey Abugel , who has been living with depersonalization for many years. As the authors write in the introduction, “This is a story about a mental disorder that affects millions of people around the world, but only a few know its name. Depersonalization has been mentioned in the medical literature for more than 100 years, and the need for this book - the first fundamental study of the issue - is long overdue. We publish a fragment from the chapter on how depersonalization received the official status of a disease and what is the reason for the spread of this disorder today, writes Knife.

A new disease? Hardly

Depersonalization as a human experience is by no means new. Traditionally, it was considered a natural way by which the mind copes with unbearable shock or stress, unbearable life circumstances (for example, life in a concentration camp). In such cases, consciousness separates itself from the outside world, just to survive. But, oddly enough, depersonalization can manifest itself spontaneously, without any obvious trigger. The potential reasons for this (we will look at them later) have only begun to be seriously explored in the last few years, although theories have proliferated over the past century. Some people cannot remember exactly when and how the problem began to manifest itself, or whether it was tied to any particular event at all. For others, the disease began so early that they simply do not know any other condition. In such cases, depersonalization becomes a safe vacuum where nothing can disturb them. True, the price for this is very high: people cannot feel something, even if they want to. They become what Ron and others have called "the living dead". nine0003

The term "depersonalization" in the diagnostic process refers to both a symptom and a full-fledged mental illness. Ludovic Duga, a psychologist and philosopher who wrote frequently on the topics of memory and the déjà vu symptom, is often credited with first using the term "depersonalization" in its modern sense in the late 1890s. However, Doug himself first saw this word in a popular literary work of that time - "Diary" Henri-Frédéric Amiel (Henri Frédéric Amiel, 1821-1881). This detailed diary of the withdrawn and enigmatic professor was published posthumously. One entry from there made it possible to designate the nature of depersonalization for all subsequent times: “Now I can look at life almost as if from a coffin; everything is strange to me, I can be outside my body, outside my personality, I am impersonal, detached, volatilized. "Isn't this crazy?" Other, more famous people understood depersonalization and derealization as a well-defined human experience. nine0006 Sigmund Freud came into contact with a vivid experience of derealization when he traveled to Athens in the year and visited the Acropolis. "So it's all really the way we learned in school?" - he writes about 30 years later in an open letter to Romain Rolland and there he explains that on that day he experienced a brief bout of derealization. He had read about the famous ruins for many years and knew that they really existed, but for some reason they clearly exceeded his expectations with his own eyes. Freud was aware of his real presence in the Acropolis, but in a strange way it was difficult for him to perceive this reality. nine0003


Well-known psychologists in subsequent years both touched on the topic of depersonalization in their books in passing, and wrote voluminous articles about it in almost all major languages ​​of the world. In the 1930s, the Modern Clinical Psychiatry medical manual first included the concept of "depersonalization". Examining this book years later, one finds an extremely insightful description:

Depersonalization, an acutely felt stressful feeling of alienation, sometimes also called depersonalization syndrome, can be defined as an affective disorder in which the main symptoms are a sense of detachment from reality and a loss of self-confidence feelings of identification with one's own body and control over it. The symptoms of detachment from reality are of two types: the feeling that one's own personality has changed, and the feeling that the outside world is not real. The patient does not feel himself, but he also does not feel that he has become someone else. Therefore, such a state is not at all what is called a change in personality. The experience loses its emotional significance and can be colored by a frightening feeling of being unfamiliar and detached from the environment. The onset of the disease can be either acute, accompanied by a strong emotional shock, or gradual due to prolonged physical or emotional stress. Most often, depersonalization manifests itself in people with a high level of intelligence, fine mental organization, rich imagination, sensitive, introverts. The patient may say that his feelings are "frozen", that his thoughts are strange, that he thinks and acts mechanically, as if he had become a machine, an automaton. People and objects seem to him unreal, distant, lifeless, colorless. The patient may say that he feels like he is in a trance or dream, appear confused and bewildered by the strangeness of this sense of unreality. He has difficulty concentrating and may complain that his brain has "died" or "stopped working." nine0003

To be completely meticulous and take into account what is known today, the description should end here. But, consistent with older theories about depersonalization, the textbook postulates that this phenomenon is not a separate disorder apart from other neurotic and psychotic conditions that are more common in women and adolescents and for which electroconvulsive therapy is recommended as an effective form of treatment.

Today it is known that depersonalization appears equally often in both sexes and at any age. Chronic depersonalization is today known as a unique independent disorder, and not a secondary symptom in the structure of depressive, obsessive or psychotic conditions. nine0003

In contrast to the early days of the study of the psyche, today the field of psychiatry has developed a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which is regularly updated to keep it current. The new editions contain a list of state-of-the-art criteria for making an accurate, evidence-based diagnosis of virtually any mental illness. In earlier versions of DSM, from 19From the 1950s to the 1960s, depersonalization was mentioned outside the description of a dissociative reaction, in the category of psychoneurotic disorders. According to the latest revision of the DSM-IV, depersonalization, now placed under dissociative disorders, is partly defined as follows:

Prerequisites for depersonalization are persistent or recurring episodes of depersonalization characterized by feelings of detachment or alienation from one's own body (Criterion A). The patient may feel like a robot or living in a dream or movie. There may be a feeling that a person is watching his own thoughts, body or parts of it from the outside. Often there are sensations of loss of sensitivity of various types, a lack of emotional response, a feeling of lack of control over one's actions. The person with depersonalization disorder constantly proves to himself that reality is intact (eg, that he/she is not a robot but just feels like one) (Criterion B). Depersonalization is a general perception and such a diagnosis should only be made if the symptoms are severe enough to cause significant distress or impairment of life functions (Criterion C). nine0003

Detachment or alienation from oneself, coupled with the awareness of this detachment, is a distinctive feature of depersonalization, despite the many accompanying symptoms that were recorded in dynamics. Patients, as noted in the DSM-IV, may have difficulty describing their symptoms or fear that their sensations signal "crazy."

In addition, the DSM-IV draws attention to other possible manifestations of depersonalization disorder:

  • Derealization - perception of the outside world as alien or unreal;
  • Macropsia or micropsia - an unusual change in the perception of the size or shape of objects;
  • Perception of other people as "weird" or "mechanical".

Other characteristic features of depersonalization are symptoms of anxiety, depression, obsessive ruminations, somatic manifestations, and changes in the sense of time. In some cases, the loss of feeling that is characteristic of depersonalization may mimic or coexist with a depressive disorder. Depersonalization and derealization are common symptoms of panic attacks, the DSM-IV adds. However, if they occur only during such episodes, the patient cannot be diagnosed with depersonalization disorder. Another basic diagnostic guide used by psychiatrists, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), mentions depersonalization but, curiously, places it in the category of "Other mixed behavioral and emotional disorders" rather than in the category of dissociative disorders, for which There are specific treatments. This fuels the ongoing debate over what category depersonalization should be classified in. DSM-IV and ICD-10 describe this condition with slight differences, but generally provide the same diagnostic criteria. The DSM-IV also notes that about half of people will experience a single, brief episode of depersonalization at some time in their lives, usually accompanied by severe stress. Short-term depersonalization occurs in about a third of those who find themselves in life-threatening situations and in about 10% of patients hospitalized for psychiatric disorders. Depersonalizations of various types, lasting seconds, minutes or even hours, can easily manifest themselves in "normal" people in extreme situations: sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, travel to unfamiliar places, acute intoxication with marijuana or hallucinogens. nine0003

It has been established that a high frequency of temporary manifestations of depersonalization is typical for ⅓—½ of students, as well as for people who have experienced a threat to their own lives. The latter case has a separate name - "post-traumatic dissociation" and is of particular interest, since it often occurs after extremely deep upheavals, which the modern Western world fears.
The features of such episodes make it possible to predict how a person will cope with such a situation after a long time. As noted above, many people experience short episodes of depersonalization after a major emotional shock, some drug use, or during a period of significant stress. It has been established that depersonalization manifests itself at least briefly in 50–70% of the population. Studies show that approximately 1-3% of the general population may suffer from chronic depersonalization. Often, primary depersonalization disappears as suddenly as it began, but sometimes it becomes chronic and exists according to its own mysterious laws. In most cases, this disorder makes people think they are going crazy. When depersonalization begins after taking a number of drugs, the person decides that his brain is damaged. Having lost their familiar sense of self and space, people feel as if they are losing touch with reality. But, unlike patients with mental illness such as schizophrenia, such people do not go crazy at all. On the contrary, they suddenly become too understanding of reality and being, too aware of where and how exactly their feeling is deformed compared to the “normal” feeling of being real. nine0003

In principle, depersonalization is similar to something like a modified "awareness" or "awakening", which in some cultures is considered a certain level of spiritual growth. This is briefly mentioned in the DSM-IV, but for most Westerners, the "abnormal" feeling of "not-self" is a state they would rather leave in the past. (We will talk more about the philosophical interpretations of this state of mind in the next chapter.)

New Millennium Mental Disorder

The study of the nature of depersonalization - as a temporary symptom or as a full-fledged chronic disease - is becoming especially important today for several reasons. First, over the past 30 years, there has been a wave of cases of depersonalization triggered by illicit drug use, from the 1960s to the present day. Marijuana and many of today's "nightclub drugs" are definitely triggers for both acute and chronic depersonalization, and this has been well documented. Second, it has been proven that more people today are experiencing (or at least claiming to be) depersonalized than ever, regardless of the primary trigger. Many of these people suffer in silence for years, feeling embarrassed and ashamed. The spread of the Internet has prompted the creation of several sites with support groups for those who suffer from depersonalization. Through these platforms at the end of 19In the 90s, thousands of people with strikingly similar experiences and symptoms began to unite, experiencing information hunger and seeking solace. One of sites - in 2001 visited 10,000 times in three months. The entry below is typical of many people who have looked at the page and then returned to their isolated worlds.

I look at my mind from the outside, I feel both trapped and entangled in the strangeness of my existence. My thoughts are endlessly revolving, I am constantly exploring an unaccustomed feeling of myself. Why do I exist? Why am I me and not someone else? During these reflections, I break out in a cold sweat, as if frightened by my own thoughts. It happens that I do not feel solid ground under me. I look at my body and cannot understand why I am in it. I hear myself talking to someone and I can't figure out where the voice is coming from. I imagine myself looking at my own life like a movie. But where am I then? Who is watching this movie? What is this cinema? Worst of all, it all seems to be true, and the periods of my life when these sensations are not present are fiction. nine0003

This is an e-mail excerpt, but similarly articulated expressions of the strangeness of depersonalization could have come from Amiel's pen or appeared in dozens of other philosophical and literary works of any era. And these cries for help did not go unheeded.

The awareness of the problem, coming from the internet and doctors' offices, has impressed several medical research institutes enough to start depersonalization research programs. These are the Department of Depersonalization Research at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and the Depersonalization and Derealization Research Program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. These programs aim to explore depersonalization in all of its deeper aspects—descriptive, cognitive, and biological—and to explore new therapies that can help those who experience unbearable suffering from depersonalization.

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