Depersonalization disorder (DP) is a type of psychological disorder marked by a prolonged or persistent sense of unreality or disconnection from the body. The best DP self-help techniques include methods to understand DP symptoms, build a support network, and self-monitor symptoms and triggers. These methods may not be enough, however, and those with DP may require psychotherapy and medication.
The symptoms of DP include a lingering sense of unreality, as though a person is watching a movie rather than living life, or a sense of observing oneself from outside of the body. These symptoms can be frightening and distressing, and people may feel as though they are losing touch with reality. Most people feel disconnected once in a while, but if the symptoms are persistent, then it is considered a disorder and treatment is necessary.
One of the best places to start with DP self-help is to normalize the symptoms a person is experiencing. Reading books about DP can help the affected person realize he or she is not alone in experiencing these distressing experiences. It is also helpful to reassure people with this disorder that they are not losing their minds, and that the symptoms are not their fault or a result of mental weakness.
Often, DP is accompanied by another mental illness such as depression. Treating the anxiety or depression symptoms is another tip for DP self-help. Relaxation and breathing exercises can be useful for relieving anxiety. Getting regular exercise may also help combat anxiety and depression.
A person struggling with DP symptoms needs a strong support network. Many of the DP self-help techniques involve building a support system of family and friends. Support groups for people struggling with DP disorder are another way to find social support. When DP symptoms or life stressors arise, having social supports can be an excellent way to help cope.
Other useful DP self-help techniques involve self-monitoring to learn when symptoms arise and what triggers them. Symptoms may be triggered by outside stimuli, life stresses, or by no particular cause. Often, when symptoms are triggered by a specific stress, such as being in a crowd, a person will develop avoidant behavior, going out of his or her way to stay away from the trigger. With the assistance of a support group, family, or friends, a person with DP symptoms can gradually begin to work at overcoming avoidant behavior.
DP disorder is considered a serious psychological disorder. For many people, DP self-help techniques alone will not be sufficient to overcome the disorder. A psychiatrist, psychologist, or physician can offer valuable help in the form of psychotherapy or medication.