5 Things You Should Know About Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders are the process of distancing yourself from your thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity. If you’re looking to further understand the complicated facets of dissociative disorders, here are five things you should know.

Dissociative disorders are mental health conditions that are characterized by involuntary escape from reality as a result of a traumatic experience. Here is what you need to know about this diagnosis.

1. What are Dissociative Disorders?

Dissociative disorders are understood to be effects of severe traumatic experiences, usually endured in childhood, including repeated sexual, physical and emotional abuse. In an effort to cope with extreme negative feelings and pain, individuals experience a lack of connection to their thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of identity. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there are three types of dissociative disorders.

2. What is “Dissociative Amnesia?”

One type is called Dissociative Amnesia and describes an individual who has difficulty remembering important information about themselves. An episode of this feeling can come on very suddenly and can last anywhere from minutes to years.

3. What is “Depersonalization Disorder?”

Depersonalization is another type of dissociative disorder and includes those who have perpetuating feelings of disconnection from thoughts, actions, sensations and emotions—almost as though they are watching their life happen in a movie. The average age of onset for this particular diagnosis is 16.

4. What is “Dissociative Identity Disorder?”

Dissociative Identity Disorder is the third type of diagnosis in this category. Previously labeled “multiple personality disorder,” it describes individuals who fluctuate between different personalities or identities. These personalities might even have different names, mannerisms or voices and can create a lapse in memory for the individual experiencing them.

5. What Treatment Options are Available?

A long term treatment plan can be beneficial to those experiencing a dissociative disorder. Typically these processes include a form of therapy, rather than medication. Ultimately, it’s important to seek the help of a mental health professional if you or someone you know exhibits signs of this condition. They will be able to get you the help and support you need.