Depersonalisation disorder can leave those affected seeing everyday life through a haze or fog. Believed to be a defence mechanism against anxiety or trauma, it makes you feel disconnected from the world around you. And although the condition affects approximately one in 100 people, there are few healthcare professionals who fully understand the disorder.
As reported by the BBC, the condition has left one woman unable to feel love for her own family. During one episode of the Victoria Derbyshire show, Sarah explained how she understands that she cares for her loved ones but only in an ‘academic’ way. She has experienced three chronic episodes of depersonalisation disorder and recalls how her own flat once felt like a film set with her possessions acting as mere props.
The condition can also lead people to experience everyday life in 2D. During the documentary, Sarah recalled one particularly terrifying moment.
“I was reading, holding a book, and suddenly my hands looked like a picture of a pair of hands,” she explained. “I felt this separation between the physical world and my perception of it.”
Despite the condition affecting as many people as those with OCD and schizophrenia, depersonalisation disorder is surprisingly not taught as part of GP training.
Dr Elaine Hunter who runs the Depersonalisation Disorder Service at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, explained the concerns she has for those suffering from the condition.
She told the BBC, “A lot of people now are finding out what their symptoms are through Googling. What could be really helpful is to have each of the mental health trusts across the country have one or two members of staff who are depersonalisation-derealisation leads.”
Currently, the service in South London helps patients suffering from the condition through cognitive behavioural therapy.
Further information including symptoms and treatments available for those with depersonalisation disorder can be found on the NHS website.
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