Depersonalisation disorder: clinical features of 204 cases

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Background Depersonalisation disorder is a poorly understood and underresearched syndrome. Aims To carry out a large and comprehensive clinical and psychopathological survey of a series of patients who made contact with a research clinic. Method A total of 204 consecutive eligible referrals were included: 124 had a full psychiatric examination using items of the Present State Examination to define depersonalisation/derealisation and 80 had either a telephone interview (n=22) or filled out a number of self-report questionnaires. Cases assessed were diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria. Results The mean age of onset was 22.8 years: early onset was associated with greater severity. There was a slight male preponderance. The disorder tended to be chronic and persistent. Seventy-one per cent met DSM-IV criteria for primary depersonalisation disorder. Depersonalisation symptom scores correlated with both anxiety and depression and a past history of these disorders was commonly reported. Dissociative amnesia was not prominent. Conclusions Depersonalisation disorder is a recognisable clinical entity but appears to have significant comorbidity with anxiety and depression. Research into its aetiology and treatment is warranted. Declaration of interest None
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)428-433
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberMAY
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2003

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