Derealization is a condition that involves a feeling of emotional and environmental dissociation or detachment. Derealization makes individuals emotionally disconnected from their loved ones and, if left unchecked, may lead to a cascade of unwanted results.

Derealization meaning a feeling of altered reality, is one that makes one’s surroundings and objects appear unreal.

Now that we’ve answered the question ‘What is dereaizatiion’, let’s understand derealization disorder.


Derealization disorder is a persistent sensation of being outside one’s body and observing events, accompanied by a feeling suggesting these events are unreal.So, what is derealization disorder? Derealization disorder is a persistent sensation of being outside one’s body and observing events, accompanied by a feeling suggesting these events are unreal. Derealization disorder can also be called depersonalization disorder, and the two terms may be used in place of each other..

Derealization may not be a cause for alarm because it is rare for derealization to require treatment. Statistics show that derealization occurs in about 2% of the population or less, and it affects both males and females equally.

Derealization disorder is a kind of dissociative disorder.  Dissociative disorders, as their name implies, involve disorders in tandem with dissociative behaviors. This includes disconnections with the environment, thoughts, and actions. Dissociative disorders are mental conditions relating to breakdowns or disruptions in

  • Memories
  • Conscious behaviour
  • Environmental awareness

Individuals with derealization disorders are not necessarily out of touch with reality, but they perceive their reality as unreal. They realize their perceptions are unfamiliar. They often act as though they are in a dream, and time feels different to them.

Transient derealization is quite common and occurs from time to time. Feelings of dissociation can be triggered by a number of reasons or events, some of which include:

  • Severe stress
  • Experiencing disturbing events
  • Emotional abuse
  • Childhood neglection
  • Physical abuse
  • Domestic violence

Derealization disorder may become severe and require treatment when it starts affecting the quality of one’s life. Chronic or recurring derealization may interfere with an individual’s relationships, daily routine, and activities, and it can even extend to their workplace or school. Most people have had derealization at some point in their lives, and that is normal. These feelings usually go away and have no long-term effect whatsoever on one’s quality of life or relationships. Although when these feelings become persistent and do not easily go away, it can be termed “derealization disorder,” and it would be best to seek professional help.


Derealization disorder affects personal relationships, school, work, or other important areas of an individual’s life. Derealization disorder is not a transmissible disease, and as such, detecting symptoms may vary. Alterations in one’s subjective experience may be a pointer to these symptoms. The major symptom would be the sensation of observing or experiencing one’s own thoughts, actions, surroundings, and behavior from an out-of-body distance.

Derealization disorder symptoms typically appear between the ages of mid-adolescence and early adulthood.Most people with derealization disorder develop symptoms at a young age, and their symptoms reduce in adulthood. The average age for derealization is 16 years of age, and symptoms decrease at age 40 and above.

Symptoms of derealization disorder can last anywhere from a few hours to several days or weeks, and in some cases, years.Some symptoms are inconsistent and have varying intensities. Some derealization and depersonalization symptoms include:

  • Feeling of emotional and/or physical numbness.
  • Emotional detachment or feeling little or no emotion at all
  • Feeling disconnected from one’s own body and mind. Most patients describe it as a dreamlike feeling.
  • Inability to disentangle the emotions being felt.
  • Feeling of detachment from one’s surroundings
  • Inability to quantify time. Recent events feel like a long time ago.
  • Feeling like an observer of your emotions and physical body
  • Surroundings may appear colorless or 2D, or the size and shape of objects may become shrunken or distorted.

Anxiety and depression frequently accompany severe distressing cases, and patients begin to be concerned about their mental health.Their constant feeling of unreality leads to uncertainty about what’s real and what’s not.


Depersonalization derealization disorders are disorders that are associated with feelings of dissociation or disconnection from reality. It involves feelings of being alienated from your environment, and it feels like you are living in a movie or a dream.

Depersonalization involves the breakdown of one’s sense of personal identity. Depersonalization and derealization disorders are used interchangeably, but in a more direct sense, depersonalization refers to a severed connection to one’s feelings, emotions, thoughts, and body, whereas derealization refers to a disconnection from one’s surroundings and environment.

Some signs of depersonalization-derealization conditions include:

  • Seizure disorders
  • Dementia
  • Brain diseases
  • Other psychiatric diseases


To properly diagnose depersonalization disorder, the doctor has to rule out symptoms displayed due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), personality disorders, underlying mental health problems, anxiety, depression, and drug use. Hallucinogens, for example, cause symptoms similar to depersonalization and derealization disorder.To avoid a miscalculated diagnosis, doctors indulge in several tests to manage physical issues.

Technically performed interviews and tests can assist in the diagnosis of depersonalization and derealization disorder.

So, the question you might be asking is, what causes depersonlization? Let’s answer that.


Depersonalization may be triggered by an increase in stress levels or due to physical abuse, domestic violence, emotional abuse, or neglect during childhood. The exact reason depersonalization surfaces has not been fully understood. Genetic or environmental factors may play a key role in influencing depersonalization and derealization disorder symptoms.

Other mild causes of depersonalization include:

  1. Drug abuse (intake of illegal or recreational drugs): It’s no news that drug intake leads to several health problems and characteristic symptoms. Drug intake, especially hallucinogenic drugs, often leads to delusions and a heightened sense of one’s environment.
  2. Sleep deprivation: sleep deprivation often leads to a low attention span, a lack of energy, a bad memory, and increased stress levels.
  3. Tiredness: late nights and long hours spent on work and school have adverse effects on one’s health and may become more severe if left unchecked.


The main or major treatment for derealization disorder is psychotherapy. Other treatment methods include cognitive-behavioral tests (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy, etc.

Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is a broad term used to describe the process of treating mental health problems by conversing with a psychiatrist or another professional mental health care specialist. Psychotherapy aids patients in understanding their emotions, moods, and behavioral tendencies. Most crucially, it offers solutions on how to take control of their life and handle their mental health. For a comprehensive approach to online therapy, consider resources available at https://calmerry.com/online-therapy/.

The main aim of using psychotherapy as derealization disorder treatment is to ensure that the symptoms lessen or completely disappear. Psychotherapy helps by:

  • Helping patients come to terms with past traumatic experiences
  • Helping patients identify the causes of their derealization disorders
  • Planning coping strategies to tackle anxiety, depression, and stress
  • Crafting techniques are valuable to patients because they help them feel more in touch with reality and in control of their feelings.
  • Helping patients find suitable methods to deal with stress and emotions related to traumatic pasts

Derealization disorder can feel overwhelming and scary, but understanding that it is treatable may provide some reassurance. Patients are advised to stick to their treatment plans, learn more about their condition, and connect with people.

An unpopular treatment method for some cases would be to stop drug abuse (unprescribed intake of hard drugs, particularly hallucinogens, which illicit symptoms similar to derealization). The use of grounding techniques, behavioral techniques, cognitive techniques, and psychodynamic therapy has been successful for some patients.


Derealization disorder patients have recovered on their own in some cases, while others have learned methods to recover from them in a calm manner..Professional help may be required when an individual has been suffering from the symptoms for an extended time period as a result of traumatic experiences or abuse, especially when the individual is unable to help themselves.

Psychotherapy, as earlier explained, helps in ways most cannot imagine. Successful therapy ensures that an individual is able to take control of their lives and steer them in the right direction. Individuals suffering from derealization have suffered greatly.Derealization would most definitely affect one’s relationship with people; it may reduce or completely deter output in school, leading to bad grades and, in worst-case scenarios, expulsion. Derealization disorders can also affect output in the workplace, leading to reduced performance and low yield, which, if not properly checked, may lead to an individual losing his or her job.

Although derealization disorder primarily affects adolescents in their late teens, it affects both men and women equally.Patients’ levels of derealization disorder may vary, but they can fluctuate over time and improve or worsen.

There is no main method to completely stop derealization; this is because most humans, at least above 50% of the population, have experienced it at least once in their lifetime, and this is quite normal. It becomes a problem when derealization becomes recurring and persistent and decreases an individual’s quality of life.

To completely eradicate derealization disorder, one would need to seek professional help. Seeking professional help means seeing a therapist, one who would discuss the best strategy to handle an individual’s derealization episodes. The doctor may also prescribe medication to ease the symptoms of the anxiety and depression associated with the disorder..