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Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder Treatment

Last Updated: November 29, 2023

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Depersonalization-derealization disorder is when someone feels that they are seeing themselves from outside of their own body. It can often feel like things around them are not real or that they are living in a dream. It can be challenging to tell what around them is real and feel very disturbing to experience. 

Treatment for Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder can include medication and psychotherapy. It is also essential to consider treatment for any co-occurring conditions that may impact the treatment for Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder.

Article at a Glance

  • Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder can be treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication
  • Medication does not cure the condition but helps ease the symptoms
  • Common co-occurring disorders with depersonalization-derealization disorder are depression and anxiety 
  • Substance abuse can increase the symptoms of Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder and inhibit treatment

Medications for Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder

Although there is no cure for Depersonalization-derealization disorder, medication therapy is one option for reducing the symptoms that occur with this condition. Depression is one of the common symptoms of a dissociative disorder, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, are widely used to treat depressive symptoms. Common SSRIs that are used to treat depressive symptoms in Depersonalization-derealization disorder are:

  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)

Although depersonalization-derealization disorder is not a psychotic disorder, as people with this condition are aware of their reality, antipsychotic medication can be effective at treating several symptoms someone may experience. Antipsychotic medication can help reduce anxiety, stabilize moods and improve their emotional affect.

Therapy for Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder

Different types of therapy for depersonalization-derealization disorder can be an effective way to treat the various symptoms that accompany the diagnosis. With a dissociative disorder of this magnitude, someone may live in a constant state of discomfort where they are trying to navigate what is real versus what feels distorted or distant. This can cause someone to distance themselves from emotional responses to protect themselves emotionally.


The purpose of therapy for depersonalization-derealization disorder is to help someone regain a more extensive range of emotional capacity and to help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety that can accompany depersonalization-derealization disorder. The different types of therapy that may be used for depersonalization-derealization disorder are:

  • Teletherapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy

Treating Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder and Co-Occurring Conditions

Depersonalization-derealization disorder commonly occurs with other mental health diagnoses such as depression or anxiety. Depersonalization-derealization disorder can cause someone to have similar symptoms that occur with depression, like stunted emotional responses. 

The same can be said about the symptoms of anxiety, which may arise for someone with Depersonalization-derealization disorder when they are experiencing detachment from themselves and their environment. 

Medication that treats the symptoms of anxiety and depression can help manage depersonalization-derealization disorder with co-occuring mental health disorders, combined with traditional psychotherapy.

Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder and Substance Abuse

Research has shown that there is a correlation between substance abuse and Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder. The use of drugs or alcohol can cause symptoms of Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder to increase or can even cause the disorder to occur in the first place. Drug and alcohol abuse can cause a change in someone’s sense of reality, which already occurs in Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder and may intensify with substance abuse. 

When treating Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder, it is important also to treat any other symptoms that are happening, such as substance abuse. Treating both diagnoses will give someone a better chance of recovery and symptom management moving forward. 

Treatment for Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder in Kansas City

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with or experiencing the symptoms of Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder, The Recovery Village Kansas City offers treatment for those with or without co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. 

Reach out to the admissions team at The Recovery Village Kansas City to discuss treatment and insurance coverage, today.

Sources

Columbia University. “Depersonalization: Everything You Need to Know” July 10, 2023. Accessed November 21, 2023.

Gentile JP, Dillon KS, Gillig PM. “Psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy for patients with dissociative identity disorder.” Innov Clin Neuroscience, February 10, 2013. Accessed November 21, 2023. 

Murphy RJ. “Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder and Neural Correlates of Trauma-related Pathology: A Critical Review.” Innov Clin Neurosci, January – March, 2023. Accessed November 21, 2023. 

Cheney, Dina. “Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments.” Forbes.com, May 5, 2023. Accessed November 21, 2023.