Depersonalization/derealization disorder

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Deperzonalization / Derealization

Symptoms of detachment from one’s bodies or the world around one. Occur as dissociative disorders, which are characterized by a disruption of and/or discontinuity in the normal integration of consciousness, memory, identity, emotion, perception, body representation, motor control, and behavior or as symptom of disorders.

The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual V (DSM V) defines them as:

Deperzonalization: The experience of feeling detached from, and as if one is an outside observer of, one's mental processes, body, or actions (e.g., feeling like one is in a dream; a sense of unreality of self, perceptual alterations; emotional and/or physical numbing; temporal distortions; sense of unreality). (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p.820)

Derealization: The experience of feeling detached from, and as if one is an outside observer of, one's surroundings (e.g., individuals or objects are experienced as unreal, dreamlike, foggy, lifeless, or visually distorted). (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p.820)

According to the DSM V depersonalization and derealization are not distinct from one another, as there are no individuals with predominantly depersonalization versus derealization symptoms. Their essential feature is the persistent or reucurrent episodes of depersonalization, derealization or both. These episodes are characterized by a feeling of detachment or unreality from, or unfamiliarity with one’s whole self or aspects of it. So that one feels "I am no one," "I have no self" as a detachment form his or her entire being or subjectively detach from aspects including feelings (e.g., hypoemotionality: "I know I have feelings but I don't feel them"), thoughts, whole body or body parts, or sensations (e.g., touch, proprioception, hunger, thirst, libido). It can also influence the sense of agency (e.g. feeling like an automat). To sum up "depersonalization" consists of anomalous body experiences; emotional or physical numbing; and temporal distortions with anomalous subjective recall. Whereas episodes of derealization are characterized by a feeling of unreality or detachment from, or unfamiliarity with, the world, be it individuals, inanimate objects, or all surroundings (Criterion A2).