The Dissociative Disorders are characterized by causing a disconnection between thoughts, identity, consciousness and memory. It is like a way to involuntarily escape from reality. This strange disorder affects people of all ages and races, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
- 1 What are dissociative disorders?
- 2 Related Disorders
- 3 What type of events or experiences are likely to cause symptoms of dissociation?
- 4 Signs and symptoms of Dissociative Disorder
- 5 Types of Dissociative Disorders
- 6 Diagnosis of Dissociative Disorder
- 7 Dissociative Disorder Treatment
What are dissociative disorders?
Dissociation is a defense or reaction mechanism to stressful or traumatic situations. Whether severe isolated trauma or repeated trauma, these can lead to a person developing a Dissociative Disorder.
This type of mental illness is considered a rare occurrence, but recent research indicates that some dissociative symptoms are as common as anxiety and depression, and that individuals with dissociative disorders (particularly dissociative identity disorder and depersonalization disorder) are not frequently diagnosed for many years, which delays effective treatment.
He estimates that up to 2% of people may experience some type of Dissociative Disorder, although more women than men tend to be diagnosed. It has been observed that almost half of adults in the United States experience at least one episode of depersonalization or derealization in their lives, although only 2% within this group satisfy the full criteria of chronic episodes.
In fact, People who suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder frequently seek treatment for many other problems such as depression, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, alcohol or drug abuse, outbursts of temper, and even hearing voices or psychotic symptoms. People with dissociation often also seek treatment for different and varied medical problems, including headaches, unexplained pains and memory problems. Many people have symptoms that have gone unnoticed or untreated, simply because they were unable to identify their problem, or the right questions about their symptoms were not asked. Because dissociative symptoms are often hidden, it is important to consult a mental health professional who is familiar with the latest advances in the ability to diagnose dissociative disorders by using appropriate diagnostic tests.
What kind of events or experiences are likely to cause symptoms of dissociation?
There are several types of trauma that can trigger a Dissociative Disorder. They can be traumas that have occurred within the home, whether emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Other types of traumas include natural disasters, such as earthquakes, political traumas such as the Holocausts, hostage situations, wars, random acts of violence (such as the Oklahoma City bombing and Columbine shootings), or the pain we feel after the Death of a family member or loved one. Dissociation is a universal reaction to overwhelming trauma and recent research indicates that manifestations of dissociation occur in a very similar way throughout the world.
Signs and symptoms of Dissociative Disorder
The symptoms of a Dissociative Disorder have already been seen to develop in response to a traumatic event, to keep those memories under control. Stressful situations can make symptoms worse and cause problems with functioning in daily activities. However, the symptoms that a person experiences will depend on the type of Dissociative Disorder that a person has.
Symptoms and signs of dissociative disorders include:
- Significant memory loss of specific times, people and events.
- Extracorporeal experiences, as if feeling like the person was watching a movie of themselves.
- Mental health problemssuch as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts
- Feeling detached from your emotions, or emotional numbness
- Lack of a sense of self identity
The symptoms of Dissociative Disorders depend on the type of disorder that has been diagnosed.
Types of Dissociative Disorders
There are three types of Dissociative Disorders defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM):
The main symptom is the difficulty remembering important information about oneself. Dissociative amnesia may surround a particular event, such as combat or abuse, or more rarely, information about identity and life history. The onset of an amnesic episode is usually sudden, and an episode can last for minutes, hours, days, or, rarely, months or years. There is no average age onset, and a person may experience several episodes throughout his life.
Depersonalization Disorder implies permanent feelings of extrapolation of actions, feelings, thoughts and sensations as if they were watching a movie (depersonalization). Sometimes other people may feel like people and things in the world around them are unreal (derealization). A person may experience depersonalization, derealization or both. Symptoms may last only a matter of moments or sometimes return over the years. The average age of onset in these cases is 16 years, although episodes of depersonalization can begin at any time in mid-childhood. Generally 20% of people with this disorder begin to experience these episodes after 20 years.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
Formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, this disorder is characterized by the alternation between multiple identities. A person may feel like one or more voices are trying to take control in their head. Often, these identities can have unique names, characteristics, gestures and voices. People with TID will experience memory gaps in all day events, personal data and trauma. The onset of the entire disorder can occur at any age, but it is more likely to occur in people who have suffered severe trauma, ongoing before the age of 5 years. Women are more likely to be diagnosed, since they most often present with acute acute dissociative symptoms. Men are more likely to deny the symptoms and history of trauma, and usually exhibit more violent behavior, rather than amnesia or fleeing states. This can lead to a false diagnosis.
Diagnosis of Dissociative Disorder
Doctors diagnose Dissociative Disorders based on a review of symptoms and personal history. A doctor can perform tests to rule out physical conditions that can cause symptoms such as memory loss and a sense of unreality (for example, head injury, brain injuries or tumors, sleep deprivation or intoxication). If physical causes are ruled out, the mental health specialist is often consulted to make an assessment..
Many of the characteristics of Dissociative Disorders can be influenced by a person's cultural background. In the case of Dissociative Identity Disorder and Dissociative Amnesia, patients may have unexplained seizures, not epileptic, paralysis or loss of sensation. In places where cultural beliefs are more mystical, fragmented identities of a person who has TID can take the form of spirits, deities, demons or animals. Intercultural contact can also influence the characteristics of other identities. For example, a person in India exposed to Western culture may present with an "alter" who only speaks English. In cultures with highly restrictive social conditions, amnesia is often triggered by severe psychological stress such as conflict caused by oppression. Finally, voluntarily induced depersonalization states may be part of the meditation practices that prevail in many religions and cultures, and should not be diagnosed as a disorder.
Dissociative Disorder Treatment
Treatment for Dissociative Disorders often involves psychotherapy and medication. Although the search for an effective treatment plan can be difficult, many people are able to lead a healthy and productive life.
Dissociative disorders are managed through such therapies, including:
- Psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (TCD).
- Desensitization and reprocessing of eye movement (EMDR).
- Medications such as antidepressants can treat the symptoms of related conditions.
- Depression test
- Goldberg depression test
- Self-knowledge test
- how do others see you?
- Sensitivity test (PAS)
- Character test