What is Dissociative Amnesia? Causes Treatment and More
Dissociative amnesia is one of the few dissociative disorders that often occur in trauma and severe stress situations. In the case of dissociative amnesia, the person is separated from his or her existing memory. And suffers abnormal memory loss, which significantly affects their lives. This is different from forgetfulness and usually occurs in situations of intense stress or a traumatic state that affects one’s consciousness. People with dissociative amnesia may forget a certain part of their lives or more. However, when they treat dissociative amnesia patient’s memories can be recalled.
What are the causes of dissociative amnesia?
As we mentioned before, stressful or traumatic causes are usually the causes of dissociative amnesia. However, these reasons may arise in situations such as war, natural disaster or observing a painful life event. Personal traumas such as rape, physical or sexual harassment, loss of a loved one can also be the reason for this dissociative amnesia.
Physical conditions such as memory loss, brain trauma, infection, illness, stroke, brain damage due to drug or alcohol use may also be the cause of dissociative amnesia. In such cases, the extent of memory loss varies according to the physical damage present in the brain.
What are the symptoms of dissociative amnesia?
The key to dissociative amnesia is not to forget at home or forget the name of someone you’ve met once or twice. Symptoms can go as far as forgetting one’s own name, home or address, traumatic events, or even a large part of his life. A person with dissociative amnesia may not remember friends, family members or friends they meet in social life.
Diagnosis of dissociative amnesia is often not easy. Because it cannot provide concrete evidence of the patient’s condition, which may make the diagnosis difficult. Often, the person having the problem is unaware of both the presence of memory loss and the repressed past experiences that cause it. Diagnosis occurs when people around the patient tell the patient’s memories. In cases of severe dissociative amnesia, there is a possibility of others noticing the disease. Although the person is unaware, and this makes it possible to make the diagnosis. In conclusion, the most important symptom in dissociative amnesia is characterized by the inability to remember autobiographical information (inability to remember past experiences, for example, not knowing the home where the patient has spent his childhood).
How is Dissociative Amnesia Treated?
The main objective of dissociative amnesia treatment is to alleviate the symptoms, to ensure that the client and the people around him / her are safe and to help the person recall his / her lost memories. The treatment then aims to help the person safely express and process painful memories, develop new coping and life skills, restore functioning and develop relationships. The best treatment approach depends on the individual and the severity of his symptoms. Main purpose is to deal with the traumatic events that the person cannot cope. And to learn develop coping skills for this purpose.
The treatment approach of dissociative amnesia varies according to the individual, type of amnesia and severity of symptoms. The treatment comprises a combination of the following methods:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
In psychotherapy, the main purpose is to break the thinking patterns that cause harm to the person. Existing damaging thinking patterns change one’s perception of events and cause him / her to deal with traumatic memories. If the person can cope with the distorted thinking patterns he / she will regain old functionality in daily life.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing):
Dissociative amnesia for eliminating trauma-induced memory loss. EMDR aims to eliminate the negative body sensations that the person feels in the face of these traumas.
Combined with the above mentioned psychotherapy methods, drug therapy can provide more positive results in people with dissociative disorders. People have used antidepressant or anti – anxiety drugs for dissociative disorders.
How Successful Is Treatment in Dissociative Amnesia?
In patients with dissociative amnesia, the loss of memories can resolve with appropriate treatment methods. It is necessary to treat any dissociative amnesia problem as soon as possible. In addition, it’s important to treat other problems such as depression, anxiety and substance dependence due to memory loss.