Dissociative Disorders

The main symptom cluster for Dissociative Disorders includes a disruption in consciousness, memory, identity, or perception. In other words, one of these areas is not working correctly and is causing significant distress within the individual.

Please remember that the definitions and criteria for diagnoses are constantly evolving and changing (the DSM-IV has been revised several times and is in revision right now). Therefore you will find that not all professionals will agree all the time in regards to certain diagnoses. Thus, we would like to repeat and stress again that it is most important how much YOU are bothered by certain issues, feelings, behaviours and reactions and how much YOU perceive that these interfere in your life. This is where the personal, open and honest discussion with your individual psychologist will be so important and crucial in order to help you to find a way forward in YOUR life (irrespective of diagnosis or not).

Dissociative Amnesia

The primary symptoms are memory gaps related to traumatic or stressful events which are too extreme to be accounted for by normal forgetting. Dissociative amnesia, unlike other types of amnesia, does not result from other medical trauma, such as a blow to the head. The predominant disturbance is one or more episodes of inability to recall important personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature, that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

Dissociative Fugue

An individual with dissociative fugue suddenly and unexpectedly takes physical leave of his/her surroundings and sets off on a journey of some kind. These journeys can last hours, or even several days or months. Individuals experiencing a dissociative fugue have travelled over thousands of miles. An individual in a fugue state is unaware of or confused about his/her identity, and in some cases will assume a new identity (although this is the exception). Dissociative Fugue, formerly Psychogenic Fugue,- is a sudden, unplanned excursion away from one’s planned itinerary, accompanied by either memory loss or confusion about, loss of, or assumption of a new identity.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

The primary characteristic of this disorder is the existence of more than one distinct identity or personality within the same individual. The identities will ‘take control’ of the person at different times, with important information about the other identities out of conscious awareness.

Depersonalisation Disorder

This disorder is characterized by feelings of unreality, that your body does not belong to you, or that you are constantly in a dreamlike state. A person suffering from Depersonalization Disorder experiences subjective symptoms of unreality that make him or her uneasy and anxious. “Subjective” is a word that refers to the thoughts and perceptions inside an individual’s mind, as distinct from the objects of those thoughts and perceptions outside the mind. Because depersonalization is a subjective experience, many people who have chronic or recurrent episodes of depersonalization are afraid others will not understand if they try to describe what they are feeling, or will think they are “crazy.” As a result, Depersonalization Disorder may be under-diagnosed because the symptom of depersonalization are underreported.