Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To be diagnosed with depersonalization-derealization disorder, you must meet the symptom criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. This manual is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

The DMS-5 includes these definitions:

  • Depersonalization. You have experiences of unreality or feeling detached from your thinking, emotions or your body. Or you may feel like an outside observer watching your thoughts, feelings, sensations, body or actions.
  • Derealization. You have experiences of unreality or feeling detached from your surroundings, as if you were in a dream.

To be diagnosed with depersonalization-derealization disorder:

  • You must have persistent or recurrent experiences of depersonalization, derealization or both
  • During the depersonalization or derealization experience, you are aware that the experience is not real
  • Your symptoms cause significant distress or interfere with your social life, job or other important areas of your life
  • Your symptoms are not caused by another mental health disorder, such as schizophrenia or panic disorder
  • Your symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of alcohol, drugs or a medical condition

You may need further evaluation or tests to rule out other physical or mental health disorders and other causes, such as substance misuse.

May. 24, 2014

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