Dissociative disorders are mental disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity. People with dissociative disorders escape reality in ways in which are involuntary and unhealthy and cause problems with functioning in lifestyle.
Dissociative disorders usually develop as a reaction to trauma and help keep difficult memories cornered . Symptoms — starting from amnesia to alternate identities — depend partially on the sort of dissociation you've got . Times of stress can temporarily worsen symptoms, making them more obvious.
Treatment for dissociative disorders may include talk therapy (psychotherapy) and drugs . Although treating dissociative disorders can be difficult, many people learn new ways of coping and lead healthy, productive lives.
Signs and symptoms depend upon the sort of dissociative disorders you've got , but may include:
Ø Memory loss (amnesia) of certain time periods, events, people and personal information
Ø A sense of being detached from yourself and your emotions
Ø A perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal
Ø A blurred sense of identity
Ø Significant stress or problems in your relationships, work or other important areas of your life
Ø Inability to cope well with emotional or professional stress
Ø Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors
There are three major dissociative disorders defined within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association:
Dissociative amnesia - The main symptom is memory loss that's more severe than normal forgetfulness and that can't be explained by a medical condition. You can't recall information about yourself or events and other people in your life, especially from a traumatic time. Dissociative amnesia are often specific to events during a certain time, like intense combat, or more rarely, can involve complete loss of memory about yourself. It may sometimes involve travel or confused wandering faraway from your life (dissociative fugue). An episode of amnesia usually occurs suddenly and should last minutes, hours, or rarely, months or years.
Dissociative identity disorder - Formerly referred to as split personality disorder, this disorder is characterized by "switching" to alternate identities. You may feel the presence of two or more people talking or living inside your head, and you'll feel as if you're possessed by other identities. Each identity may have a singular name, personal history and characteristics, including obvious differences in voice, gender, mannerisms and even such physical qualities because the need for eyeglasses. There are also differences in how familiar each identity is with the others. People with dissociative identity disorder typically even have dissociative amnesia and sometimes have dissociative fugue.
Depersonalization-derealization disorder - This involves an ongoing or episodic sense of detachment or being outside yourself — observing your actions, feelings, thoughts and self from a distance as if watching a movie (depersonalization). Other people and things around you'll feel detached and foggy or dreamlike, time could also be bogged down or sped up, and therefore the world could seem unreal (derealization). You may experience depersonalization, derealization or both. Symptoms, which may be profoundly distressing, may last only a couple of moments or come and re-evaluate a few years.
When to see a doctor
Some people with dissociative disorders present during a crisis with traumatic flashbacks that are overwhelming or related to unsafe behavior. People with these symptoms should be seen in an emergency room.
If you or a beloved has less urgent symptoms which will indicate a dissociation , call your doctor.
Dissociative disorders usually develop as how to deal with trauma. The disorders most frequently form in children subjected to long-term physical, sexual or emotional abuse or, less often, a home environment that's frightening or highly unpredictable. The stress of war or natural disasters can also cause dissociative disorders.
Personal identity is still forming during childhood. So a toddler is more able than an adult to step outside of him or herself and observe trauma as if it's happening to a special person. A child who learns to dissociate so as to endure a traumatic experience may use this coping mechanism in response to stressful situations throughout life.
People who experience long-term physical, sexual or emotional abuse during childhood are at greatest risk of developing dissociative disorders.
Children and adults who experience other traumatic events, like war, natural disasters, kidnapping, torture, or extended, traumatic, early-life medical procedures, also may develop these conditions.
Children who are physically, emotionally or sexually abused are at increased risk of developing psychological state disorders, like dissociative disorders. If stress or other personal issues are affecting the way you treat your child, seek help.
Ø Talk to a trusted person such as a friend, your doctor or a leader in your faith community.
Ø Ask for help locating resources such as parenting support groups and family therapists.
Ø Look for churches and community education programs that offer parenting classes that also may help you learn a healthier parenting style. If your child has been abused or has experienced another traumatic event, see a doctor immediately. Your doctor can refer you to a psychological state professional who can help your child recover and adopt healthy coping skills.
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