Types of Dissociative Disorders

  • Dissociative identity disorder
  • Dissociative Amnesia
  • Depersonalization/derealization disorder
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    Dissociative Disorders are a classification of chronic or severe dissociation that is often involuntary, and potentially lead to struggles in maintaining certain mental functioning. Disruptions of identity, perception, memory, behaviour and sense of self are often defining characteristics of a dissociative disorder.

    Dissociation is a disconnection between a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of who they are. Dissociation is a spectrum, and a normal process that everyone has experienced. Examples of mild, common dissociation include daydreaming, highway hypnosis or “getting lost” in a book or movie, all of which involve “losing touch” with awareness of one’s immediate surroundings.

    During a traumatic experience such as an accident, disaster or crime victimization, dissociation can help a person tolerate what might otherwise be too difficult to bear. In situations like these, a person may dissociate the memory of the place, circumstances or feelings about of the overwhelming event, mentally escaping from the fear, pain and horror. This may make it difficult to later remember the details of the experience, as reported by many disaster and accident survivors.

    Dissociative Identity Disorders are not:

  • due to the direct effects of drug or alcohol use, i.e. not due to blackouts or behaviour during alcohol intoxication
  • due to a medical condition such as a seizure disorder
  • a child having imaginary friends
  • not a symptom of psychosis or schizophrenia

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