Psychology and Psychiatry


Depersonalization personalities - this is an anomalous state characterized by a violation of the self-identity of the individual, the alienation of all or several processes occurring in the psyche, a sense of one’s own unreality. In other words, the subject ceases to feel as a whole person. With this ailment, the personality is, as it were, broken up into two components of the “I” of the individual: one is the observing part and the other is the acting part. The part that observes, perceives the part that acts, as isolated from itself, alien. In other words, the subject believes that his voice and physical body, thoughts and feelings belong to someone else. However, an individual with such a condition does not lose the ability to subject to an objective assessment of the situation and a sense of reality.

This syndrome is a pathological mental disorder may not always. Episodically, such a state is observed in almost seventy percent of individuals and is found as a feeling of the unreality of the accomplished, short-term feeling of not belonging to yourself. Such a state is more often found in a person during the formation of his self-consciousness. Cases of depersonalization, even with a systematic occurrence, are not considered pathological. The mental anomalies of the personality include this condition only in the case of a stable form of flow, and also when its manifestations do not disappear for a relatively long period.

Causes of depersonalization

In psychology, depersonalization is characterized by a change in the state of consciousness, which, above all, is expressed in disorders of the affective sphere. With more severe course can be observed disorders in the intellectual sphere. In other words, the subject ceases to feel what he usually felt earlier under similar circumstances and begins to feel what he had not previously felt. Hence, depersonalization is also often called disorientation. Since the course of a given disease is protracted, chronic, and due to the fact that many outstanding creators of culture have suffered, there is a depersonalization of activity in the work (for example, depersonalization painting or music, and even science).

The causes of personality depersonalization are often hidden behind the intense stressful effects, often associated with a direct threat to the life of the subject or a danger to the lives of the next of kin. Often, in women, possible injuries and threats to the health of their child can trigger depersonalization.

The occurrence of this syndrome may also depend on the following reasons:

- hormonal disorders, which provoke an imbalance of the endocrine system (for example, disorders of the pituitary gland and defects in the adrenal glands);

- experienced stress conditions;

- transferring such afflictions as epilepsy or schizophrenia;

- the presence of brain lesions of an organic nature (for example, a tumor);

- use of substances that affect the psyche, and in predisposed subjects and alcohol-containing beverages.

Depersonalization due to cannabis exposure is considered quite characteristic.

Various predisposing factors for the development of depersonalization, such as a history of neurological pathology, vascular dystonia, syncope, and susceptibility to increased blood pressure, were found in many sick individuals.

Many children with this syndrome suffered from childhood cases of seizures, birth or head injuries, severe infectious diseases with a very high body temperature and neurological symptoms triggered by this condition.

Experts have proven that the syndrome of “depersonalization of personality” is more often found in women younger than thirty years old than in the male part of the population.

One of the leading factors provoking the emergence of a feeling of depersonalization is the transfer of the strongest stressful situations that caused anxiety-panic emotional disorder or depression. In such states, psyche protection mechanisms are reflexively activated, which cause individuals to hide from exposure to external danger or internal phobia.

The causes of personality depersonalization are also often hidden in intrapersonal conflicts, creating psychological inconsistency and dividing the psyche into two, hostile halves or alien to each other.

It is possible to isolate several variations of the course of the ailment described, depending on the direction of the feeling of fantasy and unreality: somatodepersonalization, autodepersonalization, and derealization.

Somatodepersonalization is a disorder in the perception of the size of one’s own body or a violation of its sensation. For example, limbs seem asymmetric, and the body - made of wood, swollen and heavy. However, the individual who feels these manifestations, is aware of the unreality of the sensations being tested.

With autodepersonalization, patients complain about modifying themselves, often making it difficult to explain exactly what modification occurred. There is a disappearance or discoloration of emotional experiences. Such manifestations are quite worrying patients. Due to the alienation from their own person, they lose their personal opinion, the number of friends decreases. With a long duration of this type of depersonalization, the intellectual sphere suffers.

Derealization consists in modification in the patient's perception of the whole surrounding. Patients complain about the presence of some kind of invisible barrier between their own person and the outside world, on the modification of its external appearance, weakness, dullness and colorlessness. Often, patients note that the conditions have changed, but the description of how exactly the conditions for them were transformed is difficult.

Some experts also identify the following types of depersonalization: anesthetic and allopsychic.

Anesthetic depersonalization is to reduce the response to the feeling of pain due to the presence of long-lasting pain. Allopsychic depersonalization is a violation of the processes of self-perception, resembling a split personality.

Symptoms of depersonalization

Today, this syndrome is quite widespread. Personality depersonalization is considered the third most common psychiatric symptom. Some experts consider the disorder described as a symptom of anxiety. But there is another category of experts who believe that this state is not a simple depression or anxiety, although they do not deny a close relationship with these states. They argue that this syndrome is characterized by clear differences, although it has a number of commonalities.

Depression and depersonalization are considered in relation to the etiology of non-specific typical pathological reactions of a programmed nature that have a certain value for adaptation.

Almost every individual can experience manifestations of this syndrome of different intensity in different life periods. In most cases, the occurrence of depersonalization is preceded by traumatic circumstances, such as the accident or death of a loved one, panic attack. Most often, the manifestations of this disease disappear on completion of the traumatic factors or a little later, but for some categories of persons, it lasts longer.

Derealization and depersonalization usually "strike" the subjects experiencing a traumatic situation. But they do it for the sake of a good purpose, which is to emotionally move individuals from direct danger, allowing them to ignore feelings of fear and other feelings (that is, to ignore those states that would normally suppress a person), and to act expediently (for example, to get out of a burning room crashed car, etc.).

Derealization and depersonalization in most subjects, as stated above, disappear when the traumatic situation ends. But some individuals may feel the feeling of “being outside their own body” or unreality, which provoke derealization and depersonalization, dwell on such sensations and constantly wonder why they are experiencing this. Such anxiety only increases the anxiety and fear that is present due to depersonalization symptoms. As a result, the manifestations of this syndrome can not disappear, and the so-called vicious circle is obtained. In this case, depression and depersonalization, feelings of fear, for the most part, only intensify, like circles on the water surface, which leads to stereotyped mental activity inherent in this state.

Similarly, individuals suffering from panic attacks can enter into a state of depersonalization. Since there is no visible danger around them, it begins to seem to them that there should not be a feeling of unreality, as in cases with an actual danger. That is why individuals are often afraid of these sensations and even begin to believe that they are going crazy, being actually in their right mind. There are many reasons for a long stay in this state, but all of them are united by the concentration of individuals on the sensation itself and the desire to comprehend what is happening, which aggravates depersonalization.

At the beginning of the development of the syndrome, patients understand that they perceive their own personality in a way that is not necessary, as a result of which they painfully experience their condition. They constantly try to analyze their own state of mind and paint it without confusion, adequately assessing the fact of the presence of internal discord. The initial symptoms of this condition can be found in the complaints of the subjects about their being somewhere in an unknown place, that their body, emotions and thoughts belong to other individuals. Often they may have a steady feeling of unreality of what is happening around them, the surrounding world. Previously familiar objects or objects in the perception of individuals suffering from depersonalization seem unknown, lifeless, really non-existent, similar to theatrical scenery.

The key symptom of this disease in the initial form, not associated with other diseases of the psyche, is finding the patient in a clear mind. Patients are aware of what is happening and feel shocked due to the inability to regulate their feelings. This worsens the state of mind and provokes the progression of the disorder.

People suffering from depersonalization syndrome cease to feel resentment, repentance, joy, compassion, feelings of sadness or anger.

Individuals with depersonalization are characterized by a weak response to any trouble. They behave in such a way as if they are present in another dimension. The world through the eyes of such patients looks dull and uninteresting. Patients perceive the environment as if in a dream. Their mood is practically not subject to changes, it is always neutral, that is, it is not perfect or bad. But at the same time, they are characterized by an adequate and logical assessment of reality.

The symptoms of severe depersonalization in general include:

- the dulling or perfect loss of feelings for relatives, previously beloved; indifference to food, bodily discomfort, works of art, weather;

- confused temporal and spatial sensation;

- difficulty in trying to remember something, even what is happening quite recently;

- loss of interest in life in general;

- depression of the state;

- detachment and closure.

Since individuals suffering from this syndrome remain completely sane, it is often quite difficult for them to transfer their condition, as a result of which they may develop suicidal tendencies. Therefore, people exposed to prolonged states of depersonalization need specialized professional help.

Often, patients with symptomatic depersonalization may experience an unusual phenomenon, which is duplication. That is, the patient feels that the place where he feels his ego and himself is outside his physical body, often 50 centimeters above his head. From this position, he observes himself, as if he is a completely different person. Often, patients may feel that they are in two places at the same time. This condition is known as double orientation or double paramnesia.

The phenomenon of depersonalization can also be observed in the social sphere. For example, the depersonalization of activity is a cynical attitude to work, the removal of responsibility for the case received.

Depersonalization of activity implies a cold, inhuman, insensitive attitude towards individuals who come to receive therapeutic assistance or education, as well as other social services.

Depersonalization treatment

Often, the depersonalization of the personality can be one of the manifestations of many different syndromes observed in psychiatric science. The constant onset of depersonalization symptoms in subjects suffering from depressive states and in patients with schizophrenia should alert the therapist. Since patients who initially complain about the sense of unreality of what is happening and the unrecognizability of objects, may in fact suffer one of these, the most frequent ailments. A scrupulous analysis of the history and a thorough study of mental status in most cases should help to identify the specific features of these two diseases.

Many psychotomimetic drugs often provoke a modification of sensations characterized by duration and stability, therefore, for correct diagnosis, information should be obtained concerning the use of such substances by the patient. Also, first of all, when diagnosing, it is necessary to take into account the presence of other clinical manifestations in subjects complaining of a feeling of unreality. Thus, the diagnosis of "depersonalization disorder" can be made in such conditions in which the symptoms of depersonalization are the main and dominant manifestation.

The need for a more thorough study of the neurological clinic emphasizes the fact that depersonalization may be the result of serious disorders of the brain. This is especially true in cases where depersonalization is not accompanied by other manifestations that are observed more often in psychiatry. First of all, the diagnosis suggests the need to exclude epilepsy or tumor process in the brain. Since the feeling of depersonalization signals at the very early stages of the presence of neurological pathology. That is why patients complaining of depersonalization must be carefully examined.

In the vast majority of patients, this condition is initially characterized by sudden development, and only a few subjects have a gradual onset. Often the disease begins in the age range from 15 years to 30, but sometimes it can be observed even in children of ten years of age. After 30 years of depersonalization occurs less often, and after fifty almost never. A number of studies that have been devoted to monitoring for a long time the category of persons suffering from depersonalization, indicate that this disease is characterized by a tendency to a protracted, chronic course. In most patients, the symptoms remain unchanged at the same level of severity, without significant fluctuations in intensity, but they can also be detected sporadically, alternating with asymptomatic periods.

How to cope with depersonalization? Many therapists advise you to occupy your brain, be distracted, for example, read books, watch television, listen to music, communicate with pleasant people, etc. or engage in self hypnosis. Today there is no information regarding a certain successful approach in the use of pharmacological agents.

Treatment for depersonalization is mainly symptomatic therapy. For example, anxiety medications usually have a good effect in anxiety. Along with this, psychotherapeutic approaches are also poorly studied.

In difficult situations, long-term treatment is applied in the hospital, where a whole range of measures is used to eliminate the causes of fear and panic conditions. Успешно используется медикаментозная терапия, назначают успокаивающие средства, транквилизаторы и нейролептики, снотворные препараты, а также антидепрессанты. Нередко применяют массаж и физиотерапию.

Также известен гомеопатический подход в терапии синдрома деперсонализации. Homeopathy is based on the belief that some of the same substances can provoke symptoms of a certain nature in healthy individuals and heal similar symptoms in sick subjects.

Also, psychologists recommend individuals who are concerned about the question: how to cope with depersonalization, to pay attention to your own lifestyle. Regular uninterrupted sleep, systematic exercise and the use of healthy food will help eliminate manifestations of depersonalization associated with neurotic states, anxiety and panic attacks.