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Loss of the sense of the reality of people or objects in one's environment.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a sense of change or unreality in one’s environment that appears in certain mental illnesses (for example, schizophrenia, cyclothymia, epilepsy).

While experiencing derealization, the outside world is perceived as foreign, artificial, changed, and sometimes distant, vague, and dreamlike. Time seems too fast, or else it seems to have stopped. Unfamiliar surroundings seem to have been seen before and, conversely, familiar situations and places seem strange, as though seen for the first time. Derealization is often accompanied by melancholy, fear, and confusion; it is often combined with depersonalization. It is treated by eliminating the primary illness.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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(20) In the context of an analysis of the way in which 'Frederic exists in a permanently derealised state which maintains the "real" Madame Arnoux as an image', Diana Knight has suggested that Frederic's 'total self-investment in an unknown image turns him into an artist' and, more specifically, that his tendency to hallucinate is both positive and creative (Flaubert's Characters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp.