What is Dissociation?

Dissociation is defined as the mental process where by an individual can be disconnected from their thoughts, feelings, memories, actions, or sense of identity.

Dissociation can be severe without indicating a problem of any kind.  An example of this would be if an individual experiences a traumatic event, they will often have some degree of disconnection during the event itself or within the following hours, days or weeks after the event.

In some people, they can develop a dissociate disorder which requires treatment. Dissociate disorders are controversial and complex problems which need specific diagnosis, treatment and support.  If you are concerned about someone you know, it is important to seek professional help.

There are four main types of dissociation disorders:

  • Dissociative Amnesia

This is when a person can’t remember the details of a traumatic or stressful event, although they do realize they are experiencing memory loss.  Dissociative Amnesia can also be known as psychogenic amnesia.  In this type of amnesia it can last from a few days to one or more years.

  • Dissociative Fugue

This is when a person suddenly, and without any warning, can’t remember who they are and has no memory of their past.  They don’t realize they are experiencing memory loss and my invent a new identity. Typically, a person travels from – sometimes over thousands of kilometers – while in fugue, which may last between hours and months.

  • Depersonalisation Disorder

Depersonalisation disorder is characterized by felling detached from one’s life, thoughts and feelings.  People with this disorder say they feel distant and emotionally unconnected to themselves, as they are watching a character in a boring movie.

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is the most controversial of the dissociation disorders within the mental health profession.  It has previously been called multiple personality disorder, which is the most severe kind of dissociation disorder.

This condition involves the coexistence of two or more personality states within the same person.  While the different personality states influences the person’s behavior, the person is usually not aware of these personality states and experiences them as memory lapses.

AmandaAmanda Ogden is from Sydney Australia, and has spent the past 13 years working within the welfare industry in both administration and case management assisting people with mental health issues, mild intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, drug & alcohol, homelessness gain employment.  She also loves travelling, creating jewellery, music, friends and family.


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