Causes of Dissociative Disorders

Depersonalisation/derealisation disorder often develops in individuals who have experienced severe stress, including the following:

  • Being emotionally abused or neglected during childhood;
  • Being physically abused;
  • Witnessing domestic violence;
  • Having had a severely impaired or mentally ill parent; and
  • Having had a loved one die unexpectedly.

Symptoms can be triggered by severe stress (for example, due to relationships, finances, or work), depression, anxiety, or use of illegal or recreational drugs.

However, in 25 to 50% of cases, stresses are relatively minor or cannot be identified.

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