What are some books based on depersonalization-derealization disorder?

In this blog, we will cover Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder and books that can help, we will also be discussing what Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder is, its symptoms, causes, and treatment. We will talk about some good books which serve as a guide/reference for this disorder. 

What are some books based on depersonalization-derealization disorder?

In DSM-5, depersonalization/derealization disorder comes under the class of Dissociative disorders. The disorders in this class are mutually exclusive and the core symptoms of all dissociative disorders include amnesia, derealization, depersonalization, identity confusion, and identity alteration. 

The books based on depersonalization-derealization disorder are:

  • Depersonalization: A New Look at a neglected syndrome
  • Overcoming depersonalization and feelings of unreality: a self-help guide
  • Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization
  • At Last A Life
  • Overcoming depersonalization disorder

We will discuss these books in detail in the further sections of the blog.

Depersonalization-Derealization disorder 

Depersonalization-derealization disorder is said to be occurring when a person persistently or repeatedly has the feelings of observing themselves from outside their body or when they have a sense that things around them are not real or both. These feelings of depersonalization and derealization can be extremely distressing and can make a person feel like they are living in a dream. 

What is Depersonalization? 

A mental state in which the self appears to be unreal. Individuals feel cut off from themselves and, in most cases, from the outside world, and their thoughts and experiences take on a dreamy quality.

What is Derealization?

A state marked by a decreased sense of reality, i.e., a change in the perception or cognitive characterization of external reality, makes it appear weird or unreal.

Symptoms of the depersonalization-derealization disorder

The symptoms of the depersonalization-derealization disorder include persistent and repetitive episodes of depersonalization or derealization or both which cause distress and problematic functioning at work or school or any other important areas of life. 

During these episodes, people are aware that their sense of detachment is only a feeling and not reality. This is the major difference between a psychotic episode and an episode of this disorder. During a psychotic episode, victims do not realize that it is not reality. 

The experiences and feelings of the victims can be difficult to describe. Symptoms usually begin in the mid-teens by 16 years or in early adulthood. Depersonalization-derealization disorder is rare in children and older adults, with about 2% of the population in the world experiencing it. 

Symptoms of depersonalization

Symptoms of depersonalization include, 

  • Feelings of being an outsider, observing your own thoughts, feelings, your body or parts of your body. Sometimes it feels like you are floating in the air. 
  • It feels as if you are not in control of your body
  • There is emotional or physical numbness of your senses or the responses to the world.
  • Your memories feel detached and there is a lack of emotion.
  • Sometimes you cannot be sure of the memories are yours or someone else’s 

Symptoms of derealization

The symptoms of derealization include, 

  • You have the sense of being alienated from or might feel unfamiliar with your surroundings. You are unsure of whether you are in reality or in a movie. 
  • You feel emotionally detached from people you care about. 
  • You find your surroundings to be appearing distorted, blurry, colorless, two-dimensional, or artificial, or there is a heightened sense of awareness and clarity of your surroundings. 
  • There are distortions in your perception of time, for example, something that happened quite recently might feel like the distant past. 
  • You are also unable to perceive distances properly and also the size and shape of objects appear distorted. 

Causes of Depersonalization-derealization disorder

Not much is known about the causes and development of depersonalization-derealization disorder. However, the interaction between biological, psychological, and environmental factors obviously plays an important role. 

Just like other dissociative disorders, this disorder can often get triggered by intense stress or a traumatic event, for example, war, extreme violence, abuse, disasters, or accidents that the person has been through or experienced. 

Treatment of Depersonalization-derealization disorder

The main treatment is psychotherapy, otherwise called counseling or talk therapy. The goal of the treatment is to gain control over the symptoms so that they diminish and the person is able to manage themselves. 

Two psychotherapy approaches used include cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy.


Psychotherapy can help in the following ways;

  • Understanding why these symptoms occur is always the first step. 
  • It helps us learn strategies for coping and helps us deal with stressful situations.
  • Helps us learn techniques to distract ourselves from the symptoms and make ourselves feel more connected to our world and emotions
  • It also gives us a chance to address and confront the emotions related to past trauma experienced.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.


There are no medications specifically approved for the treatment of this disorder but a psychiatrist can look for a medication best suited as per the unique needs of the person suffering the condition. 

There are antipsychotic medications that can be given, the land also mood stabilizers, antidepressants, etc.

Books based on Depersonalization-Derealization disorder 

Depersonalization: A New Look at a Neglected Syndrome 

This book, written by Mauricio Sierra, was first published by Cambridge University Press in 2009. It is a review of depersonalization that considers the topic from a variety of angles, including conceptual, pharmacological, neurobiological, clinical, historical, and trans-cultural views.

It covers talks of contemporary neuroimaging research, which provide fresh insights into the illness and open up new avenues for better symptom management through pharmaceutical and psychotherapy therapies.

Mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, as well as other primary care practitioners, neurologists, and psychiatric nurses, may find this book useful.

Overcoming Depersonalization and Feelings of Unreality: A Self-Help Guide 

As the name indicates, this is a self-help guide that can be used directly by the patients. It was authored by Anthony S. David, Dawn Baker, Emma Lawrence, Mauricio Sierra, Nick Medford, Elaine Hunter and was released in the year 2007 by Robinson publishing. 

This book can help understand the type and degree of the depersonalization disorder and also come to understand why it developed, and finally to cope with the symptoms using practical skills drawn from various modalities of psychotherapies like CBT, MBCT, DBT, etc. 

Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of the Self

Daphne Simeon and Jeffrey Abugel wrote the book Feeling Unreal, which was published in 2006.

This is the first book to explain what depersonalization disorder is all about, and it delves into not only depersonalization but also the philosophical and literary implications of selflessness, as well as providing and citing the most up-to-date research, treatments, and strategies for coping with ‘unreal’ life experiences.

Feeling Unreal is a book for those who still believe that such experiences are a symptom and consequence of something else and that depersonalization is just a symptom and consequence of a disorder rather than a disorder in and of itself.

It also gives long-awaited answers to those who suffer from depersonalization disorder and their loved ones. It is primarily intended for mental health professionals and students, but it also serves as a warning to the medical community as a whole.

At Last A Life 

It was written by Paul David and was released in the year 2006. This book is an autobiographical memoir and can be used as a self-help book. The author describes his own experience and recovery through panic, anxiety, and depersonalization.

It has simple language so it could be understood quite well and explains the sufferers’ point of view. This book is also referred to by therapists due to its simplicity and easy navigation.

Overcoming Depersonalization Disorder: A Mindfulness & Acceptance Guide to Conquering Feelings of Numbness and Unreality

This is a really great book that was written by Fugon Neziroglu, Donnelly, and Simeon. It can be quite helpful in a better understanding of the mental condition and help a person to cope with it through various skills and guidance given in the book


We discussed what depersonalization-derealization disorder is, what are the symptoms of this disorder, the causes and risk factors associated with the condition, its treatment, and shared a list of books related to the disorder. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What are some books based on depersonalization-derealization disorder?

What triggers derealization? 

The most common known trigger or derealization is emotional and psychological abuse and neglect. 

How do you know if you have depersonalization?

The signs and symptoms of depersonalization include feelings of being detached or being outside your body, numbness and having no feelings, unable to control your actions or what you say, etc.

Is depersonalization a mental illness? 

Yes, depersonalization is a mental illness which is called a depersonalization-derealization disorder. It comes under the class of dissociative disorders in DSM-5. 

How do you stop the derealization episode?

If you feel like you are having an episode of derealization try to touch something cold or hot, pinch yourself, focus on your senses, count something, etc. if you are unable to handle yourself, consult a mental health specialist. 

What’s the difference between derealization, depersonalization and dissociation?

Specifically, depersonalization is a sense of detachment from oneself and one’s identity and derealization is when things or people around do not seem real. Different from these two, dissociation is  quite a general term that refers to a detachment from anything or multiple things.

Can you cure depersonalization-derealization disorder? 

The depersonalization-derealization disorder cannot be cured but taking appropriate help and required treatment can drastically reduce the symptoms. It is important for the affected people to talk to a professional in order to begin treatment so they can start to feel themselves again. 


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association. ISBN 0890425558. Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/depersonalization#dsm5

David, Anthony (2012). Overcoming Depersonalization and Feelings of Unreality. Hachette UK. ISBN 1472105745. 

Dissociative Disorders. (Feb 03, 2022). Traumadissociation.com. Retrieved Feb 3, 2022 from http://traumadissociation.com/dissociative.html.

Hunter, E. C., Baker, D., Phillips, M. L., Sierra, M., & David, A. S. (2005). Cognitive-behavior therapy for depersonalisation disorder: an open study. Behavior research and therapy, 43(9), 1121-1130. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2004.08.003. PMID: 16005701 Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/depersonalization#dsm5


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