Dissociative Disorders


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Dissociation is one way in which the mind copes with too much stress, for example during a traumatic event. You may dissociate even if you do not have a dissociative disorder because it may be a symptom of another mental health condition.

It usually describes the experience where you feel disconnected in some way from the world around you or from yourself.

For many people, dissociation is a natural response to trauma that they cannot control. It may be a response to a single traumatic event or ongoing trauma.

Types of dissociative disorders

Dissociative disorders include:

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Depersonalisation and derealisation disorder
  • Dissociative amnesia
  • Other specified dissociative disorder
  • Unspecified dissociative disorder


Dissociative Amnesia

Someone with Dissociative Amnesia will have gaps in their lives where they cannot remember information about themselves or events.

They may also be unable to remember important information about who they are, their life history or specific events. They could also forget a talent or skill learned.

These memory gaps are much more serious than normal forgetfulness and are not the result of another medical condition. Some people with Dissociative Amnesia find themselves in strange places without knowing how they got there. They may have travelled there on purpose or wandered there in a confused state. These blank periods can last for minutes, hours or days. In rare cases, they can last for months or years.

Other Specified Dissociative Disorder

To experience dissociative symptoms that do not fit into any other diagnosis. The person giving you the diagnosis will explain why your symptoms do not fit into any other diagnosis.

Unspecified Dissociative Disorder

Having dissociative symptoms that don't fit any other diagnosis but the person giving you the diagnosis hasn't explained why or doesn't have enough information to make a full diagnosis (for example in an emergency).