FAQ about depersonalization

With this FAQ I hope to answer most questions

Derealisatie en depersonalisatie Stoornis

What worsens depersonalization/ derealization?

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress
  • Fears
  • Living in a threatening, unsafe environment
  • Virtual Reality games
  • binge watching
  • Holding yourself to unrealistic standards
  • Drugs, the hallucinogens
  • Being a doom-monger

What lessens depersonalization/ derealization ?

  • Rest and relaxation
  • Safety
  • De-stressing.
  • Sleeping (well).
  • Yoga en meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • meditation retreats
  • Relaxation exercises.
  • bio-feedback to relax more.
  • connecting to nature, being in nature
  • having a pet (dog or cat, not goldfish)
  • processing traumas

Please realize that general relaxation is way less effective than focused therapy.


Can depersonalization and derealization disappear spontaneously?

Yes, depersonalization and derealization can disappear without doing anything like therapy. This happens quite often after experiencing trauma and grief. If you take rest and experience safety, this can happen. If you suffer from DP/DR once for more than 4 weeks, you will be more susceptible to experiencing DP/DR again in the future. The state of mind known as DP/DR can be triggered again in the future.

How do you get chronic depersonalization?

People read in the internet that CHRONIC DP/DR exists, and that chronic should mean that it does not go away. Sometimes people say, Yes, But I've had it for so long and nothing has helped/worked.

I don't see that DP/DR cannot be resolved. The length of time that you have had it says nothing about your ability to be cured.

I see a lot of people who have not had effective therapy, and have not had therapist specializing in curing DP/DR. I see lots of people getting treatment and hoping their therapist can cure them. Hope is not a viable strategy.  Treatment is not somehow going to get you to a cure without a road map, a viable strategy.

What you need is a therapist who has a road map, and a therapist who has had success many times before.
Also, a therapist who has actually experience DP/DR is a big pro.

I am a therapist with a viable strategy, and I'm an experience expert, and I'm available!

Medication for Depersonalization and derealization, is that useful?

1. Medication is an agreement between the prescriber and you. I will not get between you.

2. Medication for depersonalization and derealization, is that useful?

No. I have never needed medication to get even part of the solution for DP/DR.  I have effective therapeutic interventions for that. How can a pill teach you the skills to handle yourself, people and the world around you? How can a pill teach you to handle stress, learn to forgive, become more flexible?

Some psychiatrists will prescribe an anti-psychotic, sometimes an anti-depressant, but no they will not cure the DP/DR. In the best case they will suppress (a part of) the issue, and that will allow you to postpone taking responsibility.

Can it hurt the healing process to take medication?

If taking high dose of any combination of anti depressants, anti-psychotics, epilepsy medication, migraine medication, benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) causes you to not feel anything, I cannot help you either. The therapy I practice, works  via your feelings and emotions.

It can also occur that taking some of these drugs can actually cause or increase your depersonalization and derealization symptoms. Because these drugs can make you feel strange, this can feel like DP/DR itself.

Taking a low dose anti-depressant will not impede therapy.


How do I know that I have Depersonalization or Derealization?

 How do I know for sure that I have depersonalization or derealization (or dissociation) for sure,  and not depression?

1. you can get a secondary depression from not being able to resolve your DP/DR.
2. Part of DP/DR is that you feel that you cannot feel, you feel numb or dead, you cannot connect.

The flattening or absence of emotion is caused by being in the head (out of fear) and having distanced oneself from body and feelings.  The causes of depression is the lessening of the flow of life-energy due to typical causes of depression, like grief, and inability to fulfill human needs for connection, love, attention, etc. Also failure.
DP/DR is truly a different issue, and a depression treatment (medication or psychotherapy) will not improve depersonalization and derealization.

Please also look at diagnose yourself checklist.

Do I really need therapy for Depersonalization or Derealization?

Do I really need therapy? Can't DP/DR resolve itself?

According to statistics by institutions like Trimbos, spontaneous remission happens in a number of disorders. The statistics are best for simple anxiety disorders. The complex the issue, the lower the spontaneous remission.

Most people know that DP/DR is caused by trauma, and DP/DR belongs to the category of dissociative disorders. There are two kinds of DP/DR, the acute and the chronic.
It is normal to experience DP/DR directly after trauma and threat (war), sleep deprivation and extreme stress. When this occurs acutely, it usually resolves itself after the threat and the unsafe experience passes.
Chronic DP/DR do NOT resolve by themselves. It requires therapy. I get lots of people in my practice who were told by their doctors or psychologists to just ignore the DP/DR more than 10 years ago, and ignoring it did not help. I have treated people who had DP/DR for 28 and even 49 years before they came to my practice. They were treated successfully.

Lots of people report that the DP/DR remains even after a trauma or an anxiety disorder is treated successfully.

All the more reason to take DP/DR seriously and come for treatment.

Do you want to cure your DP/DR?

Call Ben now for an appointment.


Can I combine your therapy with my other therapy?

Can I combine this therapy with other forms of therapy?

As far as I'm concerned, yes, you can.
I do want to know what other types of therapy you are doing, and what exactly you are doing.

Often people report that they feel my therapy replaces the need for any other kind of therapy.

How often per week do you need to do therapy for Depersonalization?

A few years ago, I had a number of people who wanted to be cured in as short a time as possible, and so I experimented with different frequency of having sessions.

1 time per week works fine.
2 times a week can work if you are very motivated (for a short period of time, I mean one or 2 weeks).
3 times a week is too much and not efficient.

Less than 1 x per week works too. There are a number of clients who cannot afford more than 1 x per month, and this works too, it is just slower.

How many treatments will I need before my Depersonalization/ Derealization /Dissociation have been cured?

It depends on many factors, like

Are you on medication and at what dose? Medication slows the process.

Please  realize that you cannot resolve your DP/DR without first resolving panic attacks, the trauma that started it, and some mayor fears.

Can you easily get to your feelings and emotions?

Have you already had some successful trauma therapy like EMDR?

On average, DP/DR can be cured between 6 and 16 sessions to cure 80-100 percent of the problems.
A simple case of derealization between 3-5 sessions.


Why this approach?

Because this works. If eating cucumbers or oats would cure your DP/DR, I would be advocating that, but eating anything, or avoiding caffeine does not cure DP/DR.

I have spent many years searching and trying different forms of therapy, and then trying to analyze why some work (and others fail).

I have come to the conclusion that you need certain elements, and yes, they need to be in the right order and in the right amounts.

1. Acceptance.
2. Trauma therapy
3. Empowerment
4. Self-therapy, Self-reliance, believing in yourself.
5. Tons of knowledge about how trauma and DP/DR work,
Knowledge how you can heal from DP/DR.  Knowledge about loads of related fields.
6. Having a therapist who actually is empathic and can use feeling and intuition to find and remove blocking limiting beliefs and emotions.
7. A therapist who also know how to deal with the mind when it runs haywire.
8. A therapist who can relate because he has been there and got the T-Shirt.
A therapist who has a good track record, has helped loads of people recover.

Can Depersonalization or Derealization or Dissociation also be caused by .....

Lots of people ask me if they can also get Depersonalization, Derealization or Dissociation from

  • A car accident
  • an operation
  • a panic attack
  • burn out.
  • depression
  • poisoning
  • exam stress and studying

Depersonalization is a reaction to threat, so anything that can be perceived as a threat, too unsafe can cause DP/DR.

Is this also a symptom of depersonalization?

DP/DR causes a great number of feelings and sensations that are very intrusive. Many say that they keep trying to wake up from the dream, or try to somehow get your vision - the picture to become sharp, to make contact with reality, and it keeps not working.

Quite often, people assume there must be something wrong in their head, either with their eyes, so they visit and eye doctor, or with their ears, so they visit and ENT. Also, quite a few people assume there must be some tumor or the feel that something must be broken, like a hemorrhage (CVA). Thankfully, most GPs and medical specialists quickly rule those issues out.

Feeling numb? Yes.
Feeling dead? Yes.
Robot ? Yes
Observing from outside? Yes.
Passage of time different? Yes.
Size smaller and larger, fluctuate? Yes.
Sounds sound far away or too acute? Yes.
Memory problems? Yes
Concentration probems? Yes

Which people get DP/DR more often?

People who use recreational drugs.
People who feel vulnerable.
People who feel highly sensitive
Control freaks
People who suffer from performance anxiety.
People who have a hard time dealing with the harsh reality of life, who cannot deal with the amount of suffering and pain that life brings.
People who have parents that never cry.

Which people do not get DP/DR easily?

People who are

emotionally flexible
embrace life
hardy types
who can cry
don't hold a grudge
go with the flow
accept life however it comes.

I’ve just gotten derealization, what can I do?

You've just experienced a threat, and feeling unsafe. If you manage to get back to feeling safety in a relatively short amount of time, there is a chance that DP/DR will subside as well.
So, surround yourself with people you feel safe with. Increase safety and security now.

How you can do that as a friend or family member, is by being there for the person suffering, just listening, without judging. Physical touching and hugging can, if appropriate, increase the feeling of safety and security.

Last thing to mention is that if the feeling of Derealization does not resolve itself in two weeks time,  there is chance it will become chronic, and require professional help to cure.

I’ve had DP/DR for xxx Time, can I still be cured?

I've had DP/DR for 5 months already, can I still be cured 100% ?
I've had DP/DR for 4 years already, can I still be cured 100% ?
I've had DP/DR for 12 years already, can I still be cured 100% ?
I've had DP/DR for 25 years already, can I still be cured 100% ?
I've had DP/DR for 49 years already, can I still be cured 100% ?

Yes you can. Ive successfully cured up to 49 years of DP/DR. The more pertinent question is are you willing to do what is necessary? I've got the road map. You are going to have to be willing to be honest to a fault, and you are going to need to be willing to do the work. One of the more difficult parts tends to be having the heart, daring to take the steps.

Can I consume alcohol when I have DP/DR?

When you start to feel the effects of alcohol, you can start to react to those effects. Quite often for people with DP/DR, the reaction tends to be - oh, this feels a little like DP/DR, or a lot like DP/DR (feelings strange, not in control, etc) and this triggers the fear of DP/DR.

If you are a client of mine, most often, in the last stages, I separate the feeling of the effects of alcohol form the feeling of DP/DR.

See also what I said regarding precepts (life rules)

Weed, hash, cannabis, positive or negative effect on depersonalization and derealization

I have treated quite a few people after a bad, mostly with weed, sometimes with other drugs, especially XTC, and some other hallucinogens. The story of accidentally eating space cake comes up several times.

When you have had a negative experience of a bad trip and subsequent DP/DR induced or enhanced by weed, you will be more sensitive to having another bad experience with weed leading to DP/DR again.

Why do I have Depersonalization?

Because you have experienced an threat, and you could not process this. I often call Depersonalization a processing glitch. My experience is that is it the sensitive people who get depersonalization.

I don't know why I have depersonalization

There is no result without a cause. It appears that you do not take yourself seriously enough. Please realize that our mind can rationally deal with thinks completely separately from our emotional processing, and it is not the rational mind that counts. If your body is producing fears, anxiety, or specifically depersonalization and derealization, it is a signal that there is a processing glitch, and this glitch came from one of your experiences.

Why do I read so many horror stories on the internet?

Why do I read so many horror stories about depersonalization on the internet?

On the internet you read about years of trying everything and nothing works. Now I'm a critical person. What does trying everything mean EXACTLY? I have met lots of people who have gone to therapists who are not trained to cure DP/DR. Do you realize that not all therapists are equally skilled and experienced, and that that makes a huge difference? Compare this to sports coaches, or medical professionals.

Please realize that the internet forums of which have lots of people who suffer, are not a representative place. You enter a world of people who either have horrible versions of DP/DR, people who want to complain and not take responsibility, or people who haven't found good mental health professionals.

Do you think that people who have cured their DP/DR would actually surf the web for DP/DR? Why would they? Why would they post their cures? They have moved on, and have no reason to think about it any more. The only people who post their cures are people who have something to sell you.

Why can’t my doctor or psychotherapist help me with my Depersonalization?

Doctors and psychologists are trained by their universities and colleges to focus on particular issues. Diagnosing and treating depersonalization and derealization is NOT a priority. There has been very little research compared to other disorders. Many doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists even admit they don't know much about DP/DR and they admit they have very little to offer. There is no medicine that has been proven to help. If you compare what happened with social anxiety, the moment they found an anti-depressant that worked, the drug companies 1) changed the DSM diagnostic process ( you could say skewed statistics in their favor) and 2) started to push their medication for social anxiety to the doctors. So, no money to be made by a quick fix (medication) means nobody cares.

There are so many doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists.
Don't expect any one of them to have specialized in depersonalization and derealization disorder. If they are not specialized, and only see one person with DP/DR per year, why would you expect them to get really good results, the cure you want?

I have specialized in curing DP/DR. I spent many years seeing what works and perfecting the treatment approach to reach the cure you need.

Do you want to cure your DP/DR?

Call Ben now for an appointment.