The diagnosis of “depersonalization of the personality” was first made in the 19th century by French psychiatrists. Prior to that, it did not exist as a separate syndrome. Signs of such a mental disorder were mixed with the general complaints of patients and were included in other diagnoses. Later, depersonalization was singled out as a separate type of mental disorder.
What is depersonalization?
Depersonalization is a severe mental disorder in which the perception of oneself as a person and the surrounding world as a whole becomes abstract. Patients suffering from this syndrome lose their sense of the reality of what is happening to them. Own “I” is isolated and abstracted from reality. The behavior and reasoning of people suffering from depersonalization are based only on the example of other subjects of society, and not on their own principles and beliefs. The reaction to external stimuli is only formal. Patients often call themselves “automatic”, mechanically performing any action. The consciousness of patients with depersonalization syndrome is divided in two: one person in it becomes an outside observer, and the other deeply experiences his inner mental failure.
In some cases, the patient develops the so-called painful anesthesia. The phenomenon lies in the fact that the feeling of compassion for close and dear people is dulled, a state of insensitivity and impartiality to everyone and to oneself sets in. In most cases, patients are still aware of who they are and what is wrong with them, against this background there is a general mental discomfort. Those patients who do not seek help from a specialist, over time, begin to get used to alienation from their own personality, get used to the idea of hopelessness and continue to live such a life. But a long stay in the state of this psychopathological syndrome is fraught with complete oppression and suicidal thoughts, with all the ensuing consequences.
Types of the clinical picture of the patient
Psychiatrists usually distinguish several types of depersonalization syndrome. They differ in the behavior of the patient and his perception of his own “I” and the world around him as a whole.
In this state, a person loses perception of himself and everything that happens to him. Become an impartial observer of your life. The patient cannot control his feelings, thoughts and reactions. Often all memories, both positive and negative, are erased from memory, and a person tries to re-examine his life, his place in it. Patients with autopsychic disorders do not experience any feelings after any changes in their lives. They can neither be happy nor sad. The concept of mood does not exist for them, there is only one state in which a person always remains.
The anomaly of this kind of violation is that the individual always feels that something is wrong with his body, something has changed. He sees violations in the length, shape, size of the body. Such patients stand for a long time near the mirror, trying to detect at least one of the far-fetched shortcomings and make sure that their thoughts are adequate, to find proof for them. The mirror, of course, shows the real picture, but as soon as the patient turns away from the mirror, all abnormal sensations return again.
This type of mental disorder can be called rather “derealization”. With such a phenomenon, the perception of the surrounding reality is disturbed, control over reality and all ongoing life events is lost. The patient perceives the real world and objects as fantastic, not real. He seems to fall into another reality and cannot find his place in it. Everything that happens around is perceived as artificially created events. A person is in a game from which one can easily exit and start again.
In all of the above cases, the patient is haunted by fear for his incomprehensible sensations. He cannot identify their nature and clearly explain what is bothering him. It seems to a person that he is starting to go crazy, he is afraid to tell others about his perception of the world and himself. Because of this, the trip to the appointment with specialists is delayed, and they decide to do this only when existence becomes unbearable.
Causes of the disease
There are many factors that can lead to the development of depersonalization. Most of them are related to stressful situations in which a person has recently fallen. In such cases, in order to reduce the psycho-emotional load, the patient’s psyche resists accepting reality and switches to the “outside” view. This helps to maintain clarity of mind and at the same time look at the situation from the side. But the phenomenon can drag on and fail.
Physical factors can also be the cause:
- head and brain injuries;
- stroke or even microstroke;
- postoperative factor (if it is a neurosurgical intervention);
- endocrine disorders;
- hemorrhages in the brain;
- benign and malignant neoplasms of the brain.
A separate factor contributing to the development of a personality disorder is drug addiction. In this case, intoxication of the body occurs, which increases the production of endorphins. The same effect is observed in advanced alcoholism.
Who is most susceptible to the symptom?
A significant number of recorded cases of the disorder are observed in people who are impressionable and stored, who care too much about the impression they make on others. These are extroverts with an analytical mindset and perfectionists. As a rule, potential patients are indecisive, painfully react to changes and new circumstances. They are responsible and meticulous.
It all depends on the character, individual characteristics, temperament of a person.
The situation that served as a trigger may be one-time or last for a long time. Here everything is decided not by the peculiarity of the situation itself, but by the nature of the person’s reaction to the circumstances.
Sometimes the culprit of mental disorders is a genetic predisposition or pathology of the nervous system. It is much more difficult to treat such diseases.
Before choosing a treatment regimen, the patient must undergo a series of diagnostic measures to determine the causes of the disorder. If, after passing the diagnosis, the presence of symptoms of depersonalization is confirmed, the doctor prescribes treatment.
The first step is psychotherapy. At the same time, the patient is explained that everything is curable and this sometimes happens in healthy people. The main objective…