open access

Vol 15, No 1 (2018)
Review paper
Published online: 2018-03-28
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Depersonalization/derealization: group of symptoms or a separate disorder?

Władysław Sterna, Radosław Sterna
Psychiatria 2018;15(1):26-34.

open access

Vol 15, No 1 (2018)
Prace poglądowe - nadesłane
Published online: 2018-03-28

Abstract

Depersonalization is often characterized as a sense of unreality of self and the state of emotional numbing. Derealization,
on the other hand, is defined as a sense of unreality of the environment and the alteration in its experience. This
article discusses the current state of knowledge about the treatment and neurobiological/psychological aspects of this
condition. In addition, the authors describe the problems which have to be faced by professionals who are dealing with
these disorders. The difficulties which are discussed include: co-occurrence with other disorders, insufficient knowledge of
patients and physicians, difficulty in describing symptoms, lack of clear treatment guidelines and unknown psychological
and neurobiological background. The authors underline the need to take decisive steps towards better understanding
and helping people with depersonalization/derealization disorder. As authors highlight, there is a clear expectation from
patients to get a disorder-specific treatment, so that we should continuously widen our understanding in this field. In
spite of the difficulties encountered, the authors note that the level of knowledge is constantly increasing, and depersonalization
and derealization are becoming increasingly popular among professionals. This results in emerging new
hopeful treatment methods such as rTMS, cognitive-behavioural therapy, of depersonalization and opioid antagonists,
but they require further research.

Abstract

Depersonalization is often characterized as a sense of unreality of self and the state of emotional numbing. Derealization,
on the other hand, is defined as a sense of unreality of the environment and the alteration in its experience. This
article discusses the current state of knowledge about the treatment and neurobiological/psychological aspects of this
condition. In addition, the authors describe the problems which have to be faced by professionals who are dealing with
these disorders. The difficulties which are discussed include: co-occurrence with other disorders, insufficient knowledge of
patients and physicians, difficulty in describing symptoms, lack of clear treatment guidelines and unknown psychological
and neurobiological background. The authors underline the need to take decisive steps towards better understanding
and helping people with depersonalization/derealization disorder. As authors highlight, there is a clear expectation from
patients to get a disorder-specific treatment, so that we should continuously widen our understanding in this field. In
spite of the difficulties encountered, the authors note that the level of knowledge is constantly increasing, and depersonalization
and derealization are becoming increasingly popular among professionals. This results in emerging new
hopeful treatment methods such as rTMS, cognitive-behavioural therapy, of depersonalization and opioid antagonists,
but they require further research.

Get Citation

Keywords

depersonalization, derealization, depersonalization-derealization disorder, depersonalization-derealization syndrome

About this article
Title

Depersonalization/derealization: group of symptoms or a separate disorder?

Journal

Psychiatria (Psychiatry)

Issue

Vol 15, No 1 (2018)

Article type

Review paper

Pages

26-34

Published online

2018-03-28

Bibliographic record

Psychiatria 2018;15(1):26-34.

Keywords

depersonalization
derealization
depersonalization-derealization disorder
depersonalization-derealization syndrome

Authors

Władysław Sterna
Radosław Sterna

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