Derealization – Symptoms, Treatment, Causes


A person experiencing Derealization experiences a distortion of the reality of his or her environment. Derealization pertains to the sudden change in the perception of the outside world, wherein the person feels that the setting he or she is living in is only a fantasy and is not real.

Derealization involves feelings of being inside a glass bubble from which the person cannot escape. He or she sees the world as dim, smoggy, hazy and unreal. The external world can also be perceived as cartoon-like.  Although their view of the environment seems significantly distorted and bizarre, the individual suffering from derealization knows that this is just his/her perception.  He/she is completely aware of what is real; and that what he or she is experiencing can be more associated with “feelings”.  Derealization, therefore, is not an indication of psychosis. 

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Causes of derealization

There are different factors that may lead to derealization. People should be aware of the influences so that they can prevent the condition from happening. The following reasons that may contribute to derealization include the following:

  • Stress

A person often experiences stress because of the multiple activities he or she is doing. Sometimes, if the stress is not managed properly, it could result to a nervous breakdown. Once the function of the brain is altered in any way, there can also be a modification of the perception leading to derealization.

  • Anxiety

There are times when a person suffers from bouts of anxiety especially if he or she is not certain of how things will turn out. Anxiety may result to panic attacks if the situation is not resolved immediately. The person having panic attacks cannot distinguish reality from fantasybecause he or she cannot focus anymore.

  • Imbalanced diet

Most teenagers, especially girls, would like to have more appealing bodies and one way to achieve that is to go on a diet. Some would not eat well and even skip meals because of the fear that they will get fat. They are not aware or sometimes forego of the importance of proper diet to the brain functioning. There will be imbalances in the workings of the brain because the source of energy is depleted. Chemical reactions in the brain will likewise work erratically since the brain is not functioning well. Derealization may come in when the problem is not resolved.

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  • Excessive exercise

Men and women work out to attain their desired body figure. Many of them exercise excessively to get the desired body figure as soon as possible. Our body needs exercise to keep fit, but if exercising is in extreme, the body’s energy and oxygen supply may diminish. The supply of energy and oxygen that is supposedly allotted for the brain will be used by the other parts of the body due to excessive exercise. The brain’s function would be affected causing some distortions in one’s perception.

  • Drugs, caffeine and nicotine

Some medications, such as antidepressants and hallucinogens, may create feelings of derealization especially if the drugs are abused. In addition, drinking too much coffee or any caffeinated drinks, as well as smoking and consuming other nicotine-containing substances may also trigger the emergence of derealization.

  • Psychiatric disorder

A person with a psychiatric disorder, such as schizophrenia,also suffers from a distortion of reality. He or she may have derealization as one of the symptoms of the disease.

  • Vestibular disorders

Though the cases of derealization caused by vestibular disorders such as labyrinthitis are rare, it is possible that a person may develop the condition if the disorder is not properly managed. Due to the infection, the vestibular nerves are also affected. The vestibular nerves send different signals to the brain making the brain chaotic. The brain would work slowly resulting to derealization.

  Derealization Treatment

Some people believe that there is no cure for people having derealization problems; but there are existing management plans for derealization. The person with derealization should be brave enough to acknowledge the condition so that he or she can consult with the experts. If treatment is done upon the onset of the condition, then there would be greater chances for the person to be cured. The one suffering from derealization should seek counseling from a qualified expert because this is one of the best ways to get rid of derealization.

Psychotherapy is also an option for treatment as it can tackle the underlying problems causing the condition. It is also important for the person not to disregard physical care, like eating the right kinds of food, getting adequate rest and having moderate exercises because these things can help in getting back to reality. 

Derealization may sound funny to some people because they think it is a ridiculous condition. But derealization does exist, and if you are open to accept those people having derealization, you can help them in some ways.

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Related posts:

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  2. Asperger’s syndrome in adults-Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
  3. Positive symptoms of Schizophrenia
  4. Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
  5. Sleepwalking in children

One Comment

  1. Mary Gonzalez says:

    My name is Mary,
    My grandson is 18 years and he has Derealization. I have try to get help for him and no one seems to be able to help, no one has even ever heard of it.
    I live in Los Angeles California and would really be thankful if you can recommend me to some places that can help him.
    I don’t know where to turn to anymore,

    Thank you.

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