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Depersonalisation disorder: clinical features of 204 cases

  • Dawn Baker (a1), Elaine Hunter (a1), Emma Lawrence (a1), Nicholas Medford (a1), Maxine Patel (a1), Carl Senior (a1), Mauricio Sierra (a1), Michelle V. Lambert (a1), Mary L. Phillips (a2) and Anthony S. David (a2)...

Abstract

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.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Anthony David, Section of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Box 68, Institute of Psychiatry, DeCrespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 0138; fax: +44 (0)20 7848 0572; e-mail: a.david@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Depersonalisation disorder: clinical features of 204 cases

  • Dawn Baker (a1), Elaine Hunter (a1), Emma Lawrence (a1), Nicholas Medford (a1), Maxine Patel (a1), Carl Senior (a1), Mauricio Sierra (a1), Michelle V. Lambert (a1), Mary L. Phillips (a2) and Anthony S. David (a2)...

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