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Open Access What is it Like to Be Disconnected from the Body?: A Phenomenological Account of Disembodiment in Depersonalization/ Derealization Disorder

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So long as I maintain the ordinary modes of experience such as walking or eating, the body appears to me as something inseparable from myself. Through and with the body I act in the world, and through and from the body I perceive the world. However, this is not the case in the pathological condition known as depersonalization/ derealization disorder (DD). People with DD frequently claim that their self is disconnected from the body and their bodily actions feel like those of a robot. This symptom raises an important question about the paradigm of the embodied self, which is whether the union of body and self is contingent or not. In this paper, I describe the split between the self and body experienced in DD, then compare it with experiences of the full-body illusion, in which the self is perceived to be located out of the physical body. Through this comparison, it is made clear that the self in DD is not totally disembodied even though the basic sense of self has gone through a qualitative change.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Liberal Arts, Tokai University, 4-1-1 Kitakaname, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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