Dissociative Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Types, Risks, And Therapy Treatment

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Dissociative disorder is a mental health problem wherein the person experiences disconnection between himself and his thoughts, surroundings, memories, identity and even his actions. This disorder enables the person to have this involuntary escape from the reality that can cause complications in his everyday functionality.

The illness is common to people who experienced traumatic incidents in their younger years. Common symptoms include amnesia and having alternate identities. The indicators will depend on the nature of the dissociative disorder a person is undergoing. Whenever the person experiences stress, symptoms are observable.

Treatment of the said disorder includes therapy and medication, although medicating a person with dissociative disorder is not recommendable for all. Overcoming the illness is a hard and long journey that is why people with the stated disorder find ways to cope, if still possible.

Symptoms Of Dissociative Disorder

Dissociative Disorder includes the following symptoms:

  • There is a loss of memory or amnesia. It occurs on specific events, personal information and even people the person knows.
  • Self-detachment (personal and emotional)
  • Distorted perception of other people and things around them
  • Inaccurate identity perception
  • Problems with work, personal relationships, and other relevant aspects
  • Having a hard time coping with difficulties related to emotions
  • Suicidal tendencies, anxiety, and depression – which also happens to be mental health illnesses, as well

Three Major Dissociative Disorders

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Dissociative Amnesia. A significant memory loss identifies this disorder that even medical professionals cannot explain. There are events and people that the person cannot recall because of the said condition. This memory loss can last for a minute, hours or even months.

Dissociative Identity Disorder. This disorder happens when a person has that identity-switching episode. The person is experiencing the phenomenon wherein there are two or more persons inside his or her head. Each identity has its name, personality, and history.

Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder.  This disorder manifests when the person is experiencing an episode wherein he detaches from himself and does his self-assessment from afar. It happens for a few moments which occurs many times in a year.

Causes Of Dissociative Disorder

Dissociative Disorder occurs as a person’s manner to escape from a traumatic event. This trauma can be both sexual and physical. The said abuse may have happened in the past or recently. Also, other traumatic experiences that may lead to the development of such disorder are unhealthy home environment and war.

Risk Factors For Dissociative Disorder

People who experience long-term abuse or severe trauma (like war, torture, kidnapping and painful medical procedures) have a higher risk of developing the disorder.

Complications Of Dissociative Disorder

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The difficulties associated with dissociative disorder include:

  • Self-destruction
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sleeping disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Seizures
  • Problems with personal relationships

Suicidal Thoughts

If the person is having thoughts of harming himself or someone else, it is best to call a medical institution and the legal authorities right away.

Here are some things that you need to know about suicide:

  • “Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 34 in the United States. – Marnie Masten, MS, LPCC, LSW
  • “The signs that someone might be severely depressed to the point of considering suicide can vary depending on the person.” – Katelyn Arvin, LPC
  • “The time has long since passed to consider suicide a public health priority and put all our resources to bear on helping people when they need it the most.” – David Covington, LPC, MBA

When To See A Doctor

When a person undergoes flashbacks on a traumatic experience, thinks about suicide and self-harm, and manifests an unruly and harmful behavior, he or she needs medical and mental health attention right away.

Coping Mechanisms And Treatment For Dissociative Disorder

Talk to a medical professional, a family member, friend or your church leader (if you’re religious) about your traumatic experience. Ask for related resources that can help you out with Dissociative Disorder like support groups and therapy programs like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program.

Look for community education centers and church programs that can help address your condition. See a medical and mental health professional immediately. Don’t wait for it to get worse. It is best to get into early intervention before it’s too late.