Dissociation vs Depersonalization: Difference and Comparison

At times you may have felt disconnected from your surrounding and hence unable to cope with yourself and the surrounding.

Daydreaming, feeling low, no patience to connect or talk with someone are the common factors affecting Dissociation and Depersonalization.

You are just in that situation unknowingly. And such situations are divided into Disassociation and Depersonalization, which we are going to discuss. They are interrelated yet different than each other.

Key Takeaways

  1. Dissociation involves a disconnect from reality, while depersonalization is a specific form of dissociation characterized by detachment from oneself.
  2. Dissociation can manifest as memory loss, identity confusion, or altered perceptions, while depersonalization primarily affects one’s sense of self.
  3. Depersonalization may be experienced as a symptom of various mental health disorders, while dissociation can occur in response to trauma or stress.

Dissociation vs Depersonalization

Dissociation refers to a disconnection between a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is a common coping mechanism that occurs in response to overwhelming stress or trauma. Depersonalization is a feeling of detachment or estrangement from one’s self. It can be a symptom of dissociation.

Dissociation vs Depersonalization

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Dissociation is a wider branch of Disorder that creates problems in a person’s life to cope with its surrounding. They try to avoid everyone, they are not interested in other talks, can not connect with their talks, etc.

Mostly they feel low or sad without any reason and later if this stays for a longer time then it might create other health issues. Generally, Dissociation is not that severe but with time it can lead to the next stage if not cured.

On the other hand, Depersonalization is the feeling of detachment from one’s life. The person feels low and bad about their self like they are not good enough for the world, questions their appearance, etc.

Generally, such kind of situation is created after trauma, especially in their childhood. It is a sub-branch of Depersonalization and is way more severe than Dissociation.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonDissociationDepersonalization
Social ViewDissociation is the feeling where the person is set apart from the existing society. The person may have social alienation but still misses their self.
SymptomsWhen a person feels the sense of Dissociation, and that time they feel lost, lose memory quickly, a particular situation might traumatize them a lot, fear, etc. An individual can trigger Depersonalization if they don’t feel confident to bring themselves out, also if the mind feels numb, etc.
Time Dissociation goes away with time. It takes time to come out of Depersonalization.
SeriousnessDissociation vanishes easily, therefore it is not that severe. Depersonalization severely affects the mind and body.
ImpactDissociation leaves a lot of physical impact like fatigue, binge drinking, stress, nervousness, etc. Depression, Anxiety, Stress, etc are the severe impacts left by Depersonalization.

What is Dissociation?

Dissociation refers to a situation where a person starts losing touch with the things he/she is surrounded with.

Such thing is only caused because of childhood trauma or any sort of trauma which include abusive language by other, sexual assault, physical violence, etc.

Such kinds of situations are very sensitive and hence leave a brutal mark in the minds of the victim. In such a situation, trust becomes a great question to deal with.

The person likes to be anti-social, would be hard to trust someone, and if he/she sees any similar kind of situation again then it might create a more negative impact on the minds.

We can say that Dissociation is the main parent branch and under this parent branch the sub-divided branches include Dissociative Identity, Dissociative Amnesia, Derealization, etc.

And the sub-branches are the cases that have more severe and sensitive impacts. Under dissociation the person might feel fatigued, smoking and drinking will become their things, etc.

Dissociation is a term that has been originated from the Latin term ‘dissociationem’ meaning ‘a separation’. Dissociation is cured with time, but if it stays for a longer period then it passes to a specific case.


What is Depersonalization?

So, Depersonalization is the opposite term of the French term ‘depersonaisation’ meaning ‘loss to personal identity’. By the meaning, we can already make out that in such a situation the person loses their self-confidence or identity.

And, as you know losing oneself is very hard to revive their feelings and emotions again. When a person feels a sense of losing their self then it is termed to be depersonalized.

And in a depersonalized situation, the person pretends to be good outside but inside he/she is fighting each day with their self.

If the person is unable to love themselves then how could they allow themselves to love others and care about them? Since Depersonalization is a serious disorder, therefore medication and therapy are highly suggested to them.

Meditation is also the best solution for them. And in such a situation family and friends’ support is highly efficient to process the situation at a faster rate.

Depersonalization is the result of trauma, anxiety, depression, etc. The trauma might be physical as well as mental.

The victim feels low and would question themself and would think they are worthless, and hence good for nothing. Depersonalization is a sub-brach of Dissociation, which is more critical and severe.


Main Differences Between Dissociation and Depersonalization

  1. During the phase of Dissociation, the people don’t feel cooperative about their surroundings and their people. On the other hand, in Depersonalization people may have doubts about themself.
  2. When a person starts losing memory, daydreams, traumatizes when they hear about the traumatic incident. On the other hand, Depersonalization carries various symptoms like the person losing confidence, the mind feeling numbness, etc.
  3. Dissociation might be cured sooner. On the other hand, comparatively, Depersonalization takes time to cure.
  4. According to the research, Dissociation is not that dangerous. On the other hand, the severeness of Depersonalization increases gradually.
  5. Dissociation sets many impacts on the person like drinking, smoking, stress, anxiety, etc. On the other hand, severe attacks like anxiety, depression are the usual impacts of Depersonalization.
Difference Between Dissociation and Depersonalization
  1. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/appi.ajp.158.7.1027
  2. https://journals.lww.com/jonmd/fulltext/1998/09000/the_detection_and_measurement_of_depersonalization.4.aspx

Last Updated : 20 July, 2023

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