Depersonalization disorder symptoms include:

  • Continuous or recurring feelings that you're an outside observer of your thoughts, your body or parts of your body
  • Numbing of your senses or responses to the world around you
  • Feeling like a robot or feeling like you're living in a dream or in a movie
  • The sensation that you aren't in control of your actions, including speaking
  • Awareness that your sense of detachment is only a feeling, and not reality

Other symptoms can include:

  • The sense that your body, legs or arms appear distorted, enlarged or shrunken
  • Feeling like you are observing yourself from above, as if you were floating in the air
  • Feeling emotionally disconnected from people you care about

While episodes of depersonalization may last only a short time, some people with depersonalization disorder have episodes that last hours, days, weeks or even months at a time. In some people these episodes turn into ongoing feelings of depersonalization that may periodically get better or worse.

When to see a doctor

Passing feelings of depersonalization are common, and aren't necessarily a cause for concern. But ongoing or severe feelings of detachment can be a sign of depersonalization disorder or another physical or mental health condition. See a doctor if you have feelings of depersonalization that:

  • Are disturbing you or are emotionally disruptive
  • Don't go away, or keep coming back
  • Interfere with work, relationships or daily activities
Jul. 07, 2011