FEELING UNREAL: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of the Self (2nd edition)

24 January, 2023

A substantially revised and expanded edition of an important work in psychology (February 2024, Oxford University Press)

Feelings of depersonalization-derealization, or a sense of detachment from one’s normal sense of self, are not uncommon. People often describe being outside of themselves, or watching themselves as if in a movie, during “unreal” circumstances such as a car crash or other trauma. This is the mind’s normal dissociative reaction at work. This protective system can go awry, however, and can be triggered by ongoing, lower-level stresses, childhood neglect, or certain drugs. Despite its prevalence, depersonalization is often misunderstood and is understudied compared to other conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

First published in 2006 by Oxford University Press, Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of the Self was the first book of its kind to delve into the mysterious phenomenon of Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder (DDD). This fully revised and updated edition describes extensive new findings on the origins of DDD, the brain science supporting the diagnosis, and cutting-edge treatment approaches. DDD is examined from medical and psychiatric perspectives, but as the authors reveal, it also emerges in literary, philosophical and spiritual investigations. Feeling Unreal thoroughly explores these different aspects in a fascinating and essential resource that is clear and accessible to medical professionals and general readers alike. Physicians, mental health professionals, families, and those who have experienced DDD themselves will find with this book trustworthy and cutting-edge information on DDD, on its history and treatment, and on its place in literature and philosophy as well as in
contemporary society.

Daphne Simeon M.D. has practiced psychiatry for over 30 years. Internationally recognized as a leading expert in depersonalization, she has published extensively in the field and is a contributor to the DSM-5 and DSM-5-TR. She has evaluated and treated many people with the disorder in research protocols and in clinical practice.

Jeffrey Abugel has been an editor and writer for more than 30 years, researching depersonalization and its relationship to philosophy and literature since experiencing it firsthand for more than a decade. He is a member of the American Medical Writers’ Association and founder of the nonprofit Inititative for Depersonalization Studies.