Dissociative Disorders

What is dissociative disorder?

There is a disruption (alteration) or change in the integrity of a person’s memory, identity, consciousness, or perception of the environment without a medically demonstrable cause. Forgetting, fantasizing, dreaming are dissociative experiences we experience in daily life. Dissociation often occurs as an answer to trauma. If such experiences lead to impairment in one’s social and professional functionality, they need to be treated.

What is Dissociation?

Dissociation is a mental process that causes a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memory, and sense of identity. Dissociation seems to fall on a continuum of severity.

The dissociated part of the person, his memory, his cognition, or his emotions are separated from the whole and the conscious mind cannot reach it. Mild dissociations are common in everyday life. However, in dissociative disorders, dissociation is quite high and intense.

Dissociative Disorders Symtoms

dissociative disorders  symtoms
Dissociative Disorders Symtoms


Multiple Personality Disorder
Dissociative Amnesia
Dissociative Fugue
Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder

Dissociative Amnesia

It is often a situation of inability to remember important personal information or important personal events after a stressful or traumatic experience. Information has not been completely lost but is sometimes unavailable for a short time and sometimes for many years. This gap in memory is too large to be explained by everyday ordinary forgetfulness. Dissociative fugue is the subspecies of dissociative amnesia; memory loss is more intense here. The person may also have a sudden trip, a new home, a new identity, and a new life.


  • Having gaps in your life where you can’t remember anything that happened.
  • Not being able to remember information about yourself or about things that happened in your life.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)

There are times when we do not feel like ourselves in our daily lives. So we behave in ways we cannot reconcile with ourselves. This is a normal condition and is more than a matter of personality. Dissociative identity disorder however refers to the fact that the person has at least two separate personalities (alters), one of them comes forward at certain times and takes control and has independent ways of thinking and existence. Often personalities are unaware of each other, so gaps occur in memory with the change of personalities taking control.

The presence of more than one self in dissociative identity disorder is a long-term (chronic) condition and severely disrupts the individual’s life and social life. Therefore, loss of self or memory gaps after a substance or drug use does not imply a multiple personality diagnosis.

Symptoms are:

  • Feeling your identity shift and change.
  • Speaking in a different voice or voices.
  • Using a different name or names.
  • Switching between different parts of your personality.
  • Feel as if you are losing control to “someone else”.
  • Experiencing different parts of your identity at different times.
  • Acting like different people, including children.
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Depersonalization and Derealization Disorder

Depersonalization (self-alienation) is a situation where a person’s perception of his/her self changes in a destructive way, separated from his/her mental processes or body as if in a dream. Since there is no memory loss in contrast to other dissociative disorders, it is discussed that DSM 4 is involved in dissociative disorders, but the spontaneous separation of the person, the experience of seeing body parts such as arms and legs differently or experiencing different parts of the body or looking out of the body are included in the classification in DSM 5.


Feeling as though you are watching yourself in a film or looking at yourself from the outside.

Feeling as if you are just observing your emotions.

Disconnection of parts of your body or your emotions.

Feeling as if you are floating away.

Feeling unsure of the boundaries between yourself and other people.


It is seen that people usually apply for treatment years after symptoms. Secondary psychiatric disorders (depression, substance abuse, etc.) are observed in untreated people. Treatment also relieves symptoms with individual psychotherapy. If necessary, medication and hospitalization may be required.

Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Patric Johnson

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Currently studying psychology and researching cognitive behavioral therapy. Also have studied comprative literature,interested in gender studies,.

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