Dissociative DisorderIntroductionDissociative disorder refers to a condition that involves breakdowns or disruptions of awareness, memory, identity or perception. Dissociative disorders occur when individuals have constant and repeated incidents of dissociation. They normally lead to distress, and internal confusions that interferes with school, work, home and social life. The five DSM-IV dissociative disorders are depersonalization disorder, dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, dissociative disorder not otherwise specified and dissociative identity disorder. According to Haddock (2001) the disorders are dissociative because they are marked by disruption or dissociation of an individual’s basic aspects of consciousness, for instance one’s personal history and personal identity.
Severe forms of dissociation occur as a result of traumatic experiences like childhood abuse, criminal attacks or involvement natural disasters. Individuals with acute stress disorder, conversion disorder, somatization disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder might develop dissociative symptoms. Traumatic memories are not integrated or processed in the same manner as usual memories but are rather split off or dissociated and might reinstate consciousness without giving a warning. The affected individual is usually not able to edit or control these memories and as time goes by, traumatic and the normal memories might coexist as analogous without being blended or combined.
In severe cases diverse sets of dissociative memories might make individuals to develop detached personality states of these memories resulting to a disorder called dissociative identity disorder. Dissociation and dissociative disorderDissociation is a term that describes the lack of connection amid things that are normally associated with one another. Dissociation permits the mind to compartmentalize or separate certain thoughts or memories from normal consciousness. Dissociated experiences are not incorporated into the normal self sense, and this leads to discontinuity in awareness.
In extreme types of dissociation, disconnection takes place in the normally incorporated functions of memory, consciousness, perception or identity. For instance, a person might think about an occurrence that was extremely upsetting but lack the feeling about it. Dissociation can affect the subjectivity of a person and transform the ordinary feelings, actions and thoughts. These transformed emotions or thoughts make the affected individual undertake an act that she or he is not aware of. For instance, a person may abruptly develop a feeling of unbearable sadness without any clear reason for this feeling and then this feeling disappear in the same way it emerged or a person may find herself or himself doing a thing that she or he don’t usually do and find it hard to stop these actions (Putnam, 1997). Five core dissociative symptomsDepersonalizationDepersonalization is the alteration of one’s experience of self or perception and person feels disconnected from his of her usual self.
Depersonalization also manifests itself through a feeling that the self is unreal or strange, feeling as if one is in dream or feeling as if one were a robot. DerializationDerialization refers to the alteration in experience or perception of the external world.
It normally involves a sense of loss of awareness of one’s interpersonal or physical environment. People with this symptom may view the people they know as strangers.