Depersonalisation disorder (DPD)

People who suffer from depersonalisation disorder (sometimes known as depersonalisation- derealisation disorder) often describe an unpleasant and disabling alteration in the experience of their self and/or the world around them.

Recent studies have indicated that the illness is probably more common than previously thought and may affect between 1 -2 % of the general population. It however remains a poorly recognised disorder and many patients struggle on without ever receiving a diagnosis or treatment.


Part of the challenge in diagnosing this condition is that some sufferers have difficulty in describing their experiences.

Depersonalisation may include a disturbing sense of feeling disconnected from one’s self. Sufferers may report feeling as if they are an outside observer of their own body or thoughts. Some people report that it is like feeling like a robot or like being in a dream.

People who suffer from derealisation describe feeling detached from their surroundings. They sometimes describe a sense of unfamiliarity or unreality in the environment. They may report that the world around them feels foggy or dream like.

Some sufferers of DPD also develop other illnesses such as depression or anxiety as a direct consequence of their experience of DPD.


For many sufferers receiving a diagnosis of DPD is therapeutic as some fear that they are the only individual suffering from the symptoms. There is some evidence that medication can be effective as well as cognitive behavioural therapy.