There are a few ways that you can cope and even treat depersonalization.
“Therapy can often help treat depersonalization, as it helps identify what specifically triggers a dissociative state and how you can stay grounded,” says Dr. Albers. “And a professional can also walk you through what you’re experiencing and provide additional coping tips.”
Talking through your feelings can also help you process them, keeping you from detaching from them. And therapy can also help you address and process any trauma that may be the root cause, Dr. Albers adds, saying, “This may include understanding how the trauma led to this coping response and new, healthy coping responses.”
Stop all drug and alcohol use
Recreational drugs and alcohol can trigger feelings of depersonalization so any usage of those should stop, says Dr. Albers. “They alter the brain neurochemistry and invoke changes in perceptual reality,” she says. If you need help quitting, see your healthcare provider, who can recommend resources and treatments that are right for you.
Staying connected with the environment around you can help you stay present and in the moment. Some examples include:
- Touching the ground.
- Holding an object or interacting with something concrete.
- Listening to sounds around you.
- Listening to music.
- Singing or humming to distract your mind.
- Smelling something pleasant.
- Something tactile like wrapping yourself in a blanket.
Additional actions that can help you inhabit your body — like clapping, blinking or clenching your fist — can also help you feel connected. “Using your five senses is key to being present and grounded,” says Dr. Albers. “And listening to music can help to calm down your system and physiological responses.”
“Breathing exercises help calm your physiological response to stress and your flight or fight mechanism, which may be what flips the switch to dissociation,” notes Dr. Albers. One helpful breathing pattern she suggests is to breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds and breathe out for six seconds.
Practicing meditation and mindfulness
is another way to stay present and aware of your own body. “These techniques can teach you how to observe physical and emotional sensations calmly and safely,” says Dr. Albers.