Depersonalization and Derealization are symptoms of a mental health condition that includes repetitively feeling of being detached (dissociation) from your sensations, mental processes or body (depersonalization), or with feelings of detachment from your surroundings (derealization). If your senses (due to any reason) are not able to function in an integrated manner or not able to make sense out of your experiences or given environment and it causes you to feel distress then it may suggest depersonalization (DPR) derealization (DRZ) syndrome. While it is common for most of us to have experienced this at some point in time of our lives, these feelings can often occur after:Experience life-threatening dangerTake certain drugs (such as marijuana, hallucinogens, ketamine, or Ecstasy)Become very tiredAre deprived of sleep or sensory stimulationYou may have experienced depersonalization (DPR) if you have ever felt one or more of the following:Feelings of unreality, “everything around me is not real”Feelings of confusion about your surroundings with feelings of dizziness or heaviness in headFeeling like not connected with your body, mind, feelings, sensations or even images
(“when I look at myself in the mirror, I feel this is not me”)Unable to feel the physical sensations in the bodyYou may have experienced derealization (DRZ) if you have ever felt one or more of the following:Feelings of unreality, “everything around me is not real”Feelings of confusion about your surroundings with feelings of dizziness or heaviness in headThe world may appear twisted out of shape as if you are looking through a screen/ shield for example, things may look very clear or blurry/ fading, alternately there may seem to be a change in size or shape of objectsThere may be increased awareness of the surroundingsThe pace of time may feel different, “I felt the time had slowed down” or “everything seemed to happen in fast-forward”People who experience or a diagnosed with DPR/ DRZ syndrome feel as if they are in a dream state like state, remember how everything feels when we are asleep lost in our dreams? And waking up we often feel “It was a weird dream, things were so different, I couldn’t see it clearly, the colours were different, the person in the dream was me but it was not me.”It is not uncommon for people to experience this particularly under severe stress, if there has been emotional/ sexual abuse especially during childhood or due to any other major life stress (being victim/ witness of physical abuse; divorce; trauma/ accident; loss of a loved one).Feelings of detachment from self or the surroundings may occur occasionally or continuously. After tests are done to rule out other possible causes, professionals diagnose the disorder based on symptoms. Psychotherapy, especially relaxation based behavioural therapy, is often helpful.