How to Stop Depersonalization


re-origin Team

Published on

January 12, 2024

Updated on

April 8, 2024

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Robert Stevens


Do you struggle with feeling detached or disconnected from yourself or your body? Do you often live in a haze and feel out of touch with reality—as if you are walking around inside a dream? Do stressful events make these experiences feel even worse? If so, there are ways to cope!

When experiencing a mental health challenge, the first step towards healing is awareness. Awareness of the causes, symptoms, and treatment of depersonalization gives you the power to take steps to decrease the intensity or frequency of your experience. In this article, we will discuss the causes of depersonalization disorder, its symptoms, emotional regulation coping strategies, and potential treatment options. 

re-origin is a brain retraining program that helps people with chronic disorders that impact their daily lives. By retraining the way you relate to and experience depersonalization, you can begin to reduce symptoms and start feeling reconnected to your body and life again.

What Causes Depersonalization Disorder?

Like many other mental health challenges, the direct cause of depersonalization is unknown, but there are risk factors that can contribute to its development.

Risk factors of depersonalization include, but are not limited to:

  • High-stress environments such as work, home, or relationship issues
  • Experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event
  • A previous mental health disorder like depression, anxiety, or panic attacks
  • Alcohol or substance abuse1

Depersonalization vs. Derealization

Depersonalization and derealization are dissociative disorders that are slightly different than one another in that:

“Depersonalization refers to feeling like you're outside of yourself, watching your own thoughts or actions from a distance. Derealization refers to feeling like the world around you isn't real. People in this state often describe their external surroundings as unclear, lifeless, or foggy. It is possible to be in both states simultaneously.”2

In other words, depersonalization refers to a shift in one's relationship with oneself and one’s body, while derealization refers to the relationship with the outside world. Many people experience both—this is referred to as “depersonalization derealization disorder (DDD).” For the sake of this article, we will discuss depersonalization and how to manage it.

Symptoms of Depersonalization Disorder

Depersonalization symptoms can occur acutely or last for a longer period of time. Treatment for depersonalization is imperative to shorten the span of an episode.

Symptoms of depersonalization disorder include, but are not limited to:

  • Feeling cut off from oneself, a sense of numbness or disconnection from your body
  • Distorted self-image
  • Feeling like you are inside a dream
  • Feeling out of control of one’s body
  • High levels of anxiety or a sense of impending doom2

How Long Does Depersonalization Last?

While everyone experiences depersonalization differently, it generally takes a few minutes to a few hours for the related symptoms to fade. If left untreated, depersonalization can come and go over a lifetime.3 So, it is very important to participate in coping mechanisms if you are experiencing symptoms of depersonalization.

Treatment For Depersonalization

Treatment for depersonalization varies based on the individual, but there are three main effective options. The options vary based on your access to healthcare and therapy.

Brain Retraining Program

Joining a brain retraining program, like the one we offer at re-origin, is the most accessible way to treat depersonalization since brain retraining is something you can do daily at home and does not require medication or visiting a health clinic.

Brain retraining follows the basic principle of neuroplasticity; our brains are designed to change. Whether you are 15 or 75, you can unlearn old, unhelpful thoughts and patterns that contribute to chronic health conditions and then relearn new patterns that can help you heal. At re-origin, we use a simple technique designed to help you interrupt triggers or thought processes that may contribute to a depersonalization episode. It has proven extremely effective for those with other mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Talk Therapy

Talk therapy is still available, although less practical than brain retraining due to cost. Talking with a mental health professional can still be extremely helpful in treating depersonalization by discussing and learning to manage triggers, cope with symptoms, and gain new perspectives on the disorder. 

Anxiety Medication

Anxiety medication can help minimize symptoms of depersonalization, but unfortunately, it does not deal with the root cause. It is not a bad option to manage symptoms while engaging in therapy or a brain retraining program. If you are interested in learning more about anxiety medication for depersonalization, please reach out to your mental health provider.

Strategies For Coping With Depersonalization/Derealization

While depersonalization may feel deeply uncomfortable at the moment, there are steps you can take to reconnect with yourself and reality.

Acknowledge and Accept Your Feelings

Understanding and validating the discomfort you feel while in an episode of depersonalization can help the nervous system feel calm and grounded. It can remind your brain that, despite the discomfort, experiencing depersonalization is simply a brain process. You can experience depersonalization and still know that you are safe.

Identify Your Triggers

Learning what triggers depersonalization is crucial to managing symptoms. Once you understand what triggers your symptoms, take inventory of what activities feel important to continue and what you may put on the back burner while you heal. The good thing? You can still partake in activities you love; you may just need to temporarily modify them. 

Stop Drug and Alcohol Use

Both drugs and alcohol can worsen symptoms of depersonalization. If you are experiencing acute symptoms or a prolonged episode of depersonalization, it is wise to stop the drugs and alcohol.

Ground Your Body and Mind

If you are experiencing an episode of depersonalization, consider stepping outside and placing bare feet on the grass. Getting in touch with nature is incredibly calming for the nervous system and can quickly end the episode. Fully engage your five senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste) to feel the effects.

If you do not have access to nature, try turning on the TV or your smartphone to a nature channel (YouTube is great for this) and visualize yourself in the scene. 

Practice Breathing Exercises

Breathing techniques can bring you back into your body during an episode of depersonalization. These techniques do not need to be anything fancy—consider inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of six. When doing deep breathing, the most important thing is to take a longer exhale than you inhale. This will turn on your Parasympathetic Nervous System (known as “rest and digest”) and immediately calm your mind.

Distract Yourself With a Good Book or Listen to Upbeat Music

Allowing yourself to get lost in a good book or listening to your favorite song are both great ways to end a depersonalization episode. As with getting outside, allow your senses to be fully engaged.

Stick to a Sleeping Schedule

As with most mental health disorders, lack of sleep or an erratic sleep schedule can aggravate symptoms. Consider going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. If it helps, a simple bedtime and morning routine can contribute to improved sleep quality—something as simple as reading for 10 minutes before bed and drinking a cold glass of water upon waking can make a big difference.

Engage in Daily Exercise

Exercise produces feel-good hormones like dopamine and endorphins. These hormones help balance the nervous system and decrease the intensity of the depersonalization symptoms. Try moving your body for just 10 minutes a day. Going for a walk or gentle yoga can be incredibly helpful.

Find Perspective By Journaling

Getting connected to your mind and learning more about yourself through journaling can help you move through acute bouts of depersonalization. Use this time to identify what feels safe to you, some positive affirmations, or even write a letter to yourself. You may read these things in moments of depersonalization to help you feel connected to yourself again.

Talk to a Friend or Family Member

Connecting with others produces large amounts of oxytocin. This hormone helps improve immune system function. In addition, it can help decrease mental health episode frequency and intensity. Keep your conversations positive and uplifting. Share any wins, and try asking your friends and family members to cheer you on during this difficult time.

Why It’s Important to Get Help With Depersonalization

If depersonalization goes untreated, it can impact you for your entire life– this includes limiting the ability to work full-time, engage fully with friends and family, or partake in your favorite hobbies. Learning to connect with yourself, your reality, and others is extremely important in improving overall mental, emotional, physical, and quality of life. You deserve to heal!

Stop Your Depersonalization With re-origin’s Brain Retraining Program

re-origin is here to help you heal from depersonalization! We have helped hundreds of people use the power of their own brains to minimize symptoms of chronic health conditions like dissociative disorders. Our program is affordable, educational, and empowering. If you are interested in hearing more, please join us for our free info call.


  1. Center, K. C. (2022, November 28). How to cope with depersonalization disorder and take control of your life. Kentucky Counseling Center.
  2. Website, N. (2023, August 18). Dissociative disorders.,lifeless%22%20or%20%22foggy%22
  3. Clinic, C. (2023, December 14). How to cope with depersonalization. Cleveland Clinic.,left%20untreated%2C%E2%80%9D%20says%20Dr.


re-origin Team