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Depersonalization, a condition characterized by exaggerated self-awareness, can be treated with a variety of methods. The symptoms that accompany depersonalization disorders vary from patient to patient, and in turn, the treatment used to treat the condition varies from patient to patient, as well. Sometimes depersonalization is the major symptom of concern for a patient, and in this case, the person is diagnosed with depersonalization disorder. Depersonalization treatment includes medication, like SSRIs; intensive psychological counseling, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); and some other less traditional therapies, like hypnosis. The type of depersonalization treatment that is appropriate for a particular patient depends upon the etiology of the condition, his or her past success with a particular therapy, and whether he or she has any other mental health issues that are being addressed at the same time.
The disorder is not only recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), but is also one of the most common symptoms of many other disorders. Some common disorders that coincide with the symptom of depersonalization include disorders on the anxiety spectrum, bipolar disorder, and depression. When treating depersonalization as a symptom of another serious mental disorder, many doctors find it necessary to treat the underlying disease before a focused treatment for depersonalization is attempted. In some cases, depersonalization characteristics seem to vanish as mental health improves across the board.
Often times, the first line of depersonalization treatment is an SSRI or SNRI medication. Depersonalization is believed to be largely biochemical in origin, especially in cases that involve a genetically-inherited, co-existing psychiatric condition. In these cases, targeting neurotransmitter systems seems to enable the brain to feel more grounded and, in turn, addresses the anxiety that is a hallmark of a depersonalization condition. Depersonalization symptoms that are caused by physical traumas, like childhood trauma and drug abuse, respond fairly well to this class of medications, but to a lesser extent.
Psychological counseling and talk therapy are almost always recommended for addressing depersonalization issues. Clinical experience with this type of depersonalization treatment shows that patients who engage one on one with a counselor or participate in group therapy have a significantly higher prognosis and level of functioning than those patients who do not. CBT therapy is the most common type of psychological counseling used for treatment because it tends to delve deep into the patient’s active reality, an aspect that needs to be addressed in patients who suffer.
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