Diagnose yourself for Depersonalization and Derealization

DSM 5 Checklist DP/DR

Checklist voor derealisatie en depersonalisatiestoornis

The DSM-5 has clear checklist (Code 300.6) to ascertain if you do have DP/DR. Please read every paragraph A through E to check.


A. The presence of persistent or recurrent experiences (episodes) of depersonalization, derealization or both:

Depersonalization: Experiences of unreality, detachment, or being an outside observer with respect to one's thoughts, feelings, sensations, body, or actions (e.g., perceptual alterations, distorted sense of time, unreal or absent self, emotional and/or physical numbing).

Derealization: "Experiences of unreality or detachment with respect to surroundings (e.g., individuals or objects are experienced as unreal, dreamlike, foggy, lifeless, or visually distorted."

B. During the depersonalization or derealization experiences, reality testing remains intact. This means you did not loose yourself in a hallucination.

C. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or other medical condition (e.g., epileptic seizures).

E. The disturbance is not better explained by another mental disorder, such as schizophrenia, panic disorder, major depressive disorder, acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or another dissociative disorder.

If you meet these criteria A - E, you are suffering from depersonalization and derealization disorder according to the DSM 5.

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History Diagnosis Depersonalization and Derealization

Maurice Krishaber (born in 1836 als Krishaber Mór, in Vojvodina then Hungary, now Serbia) was ENT doctor. He specialized in vertigo. He thought in 1873 that depersonalization was a sensory disturbance.  Maurice Krishaber described depersonalization as  "estanged from self"

The word depersonalization was first used by Henri Frédéric Amiel, Swiss moral philosopher in his diary: The Journal Intime. On 8 July 1880he wrote:

"Everything is strange to me, I can be outside of my body, of me as an individual, I am depersonalized, detached, away".

Ludovic Douglas described in 1898 clinically "a state in which the feeling or sensation is that thoughts and actions do not touch th self or elude the self and become estranged, there as an estranging of personality in other words a depersonalization. "

The British psychoanalyst RD Laing described depersonalization as a defensive mechanism caused by deep threat.

more information n the diagnosis DP/DR.

Depersonalization as a symptom of

Depersonalization and derealization can also be a symptom of another disorder.

DP/DR occur as symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation, and jet-lag.
DP/DR occur as symptoms of hyperventilation and panic disorders.
DP/DR occur as symptoms of trauma and PTSD
DP/DR can occur as s symptom of psychosis and schizophrenia.
DP/DR can be a residual symptom after someone has had a psychosis, but has been free of psychosis for years.
DP/DR can also be symptom of migraine.
DP/DR can also be symptom of temporal lobe epilepsy.

What does not belong in depersonalization/derealization

You are suffering from voices in your head that tell you do commit violence. If you do, this is a sign for psychosis and schizophrenia.
You see things that others do not.
You don't know how to separate fantasy (and imagining) from reality. This belong with psychoses, schizophrenia, etc.
You think you are talking to God. This is part and parcel of psychoses, schizophrenia, etc.
You are distrustful, paranoid. This is part of psychoses, schizophrenia, etc.

Full blown depression, not being able to get out of bed, not wanting to live.

What does go with depersonalization

Symptoms that belongs with the diagnosis depersonalization and derealization, but are not mentioned in the DSM-5

Feeling NUMB.
Feeling brain fog.
Seeing a strange tunnel vision effect.
Seeing a mist.
Feeling like a robot.
Feeling like an NPC
Feeling dead.
Feeling estranged.
feeling disconnected to places you recognize
Feeling disconnected from loved ones.
Feeling like an alien.
Feeling off, like you are sick.
Feeling disorientation, spinning.
more symptoms of derealization

Being highly sensitive, very empathic.

I fight DP/DR, do not accept DP/DR.
I need control of my feelings and emotions.
It gets worse with great stress and sleep deprivation.
I am very afraid of depersonalization and/or derealization.
Fear of losing control.
Fear of going crazy.

Lots of worrying, thinking and ruminating. Trying to analyze and understand DP/DR.

Often social anxiety.

Concentration problems, trouble thinking clearly. Memory is worse since DP/DR.
Blank mind.

Philosophizing about the nature of reality, existence and non-existence, meaning of life, purpose of life.

The results of having DP/DR are not mentioned in the DSM-5!!!
You can get panic disorder, stress and burnout, secondary depression, social anxiety, other fears, and general anxiety disorder from DP/DR.

Sometimes there is also visual snow or Hallucinogen Persistent Perception Disorder.

Differential Diagnosis

When you try to figure out what problem you have, you have to compare and contrast symptoms to make sure you have the diagnosed the issue correctly. A differential diagnosis is about just this, make sure you are not confused or confounded by the following issues, which have partial overlaps with DP/DR.

1. Depression. Both DP/DR and Depression can have the flattening of emotion.  A secondary depression can also be caused by DP/DR.
2. Hyperventilation, and panic attacks. Feeling strange (DP/DR) can occur here too.
3. Anxiety disorders, like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
4. Neurological CVA causing Cotards, Mirrored-self misidentification, or prosopagnosia. A few of the Delusional Misidentification Syndrome (DMS) types can have an overlap with DP/DR, as they also are perception disorders.
5. Migraine.
6. Epilepsy. Temporal lobe epilepsy.
7. With a number of life threatening medical issues, DP/DR has been known to occur as a symptom: severe car accidents, neuroborreliosis (that is Lyme in the brain), ALS, anemia (deficit of iron), B12 deficit, sepsis,  poisoning, really bad heart disease, etc.