Dissociative disorders are characterized by an involuntary escape from reality characterized by a disconnection between thoughts, identity, consciousness and memory.
Dissociative disorders usually develop as a way of dealing with trauma. They most often form in children exposed to long-term physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Natural disasters and combat can also cause dissociative disorders.
Symptoms and signs of dissociative disorders include:
The symptoms of dissociative disorders depend on the type of disorder that has been diagnosed. There are three types of dissociative disorders defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM):
While dissociative identity disorder was previously referred to as multiple personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder is not a personality disorder. Instead, dissociative identity disorder is categorized as a dissociative disorder. Dissociative disorders involve loss of contact with oneself and usually begin in childhood, while personality disorders are characterized by a fixed pattern of personality traits that inhibit a person’s ability to live a normal, stable life.
People with dissociative identity disorder are no more violent than the general population. While the idea of dissociative identity disorder violent alters has frequently been the premise of horror movies, it is not supported by what is known about dissociative identity disorder. There is no link between increased criminal activity and dissociative identity disorder. The false belief that people with dissociative identity disorder are violent is dangerous as it causes unnecessary fear, further stigmatizing and isolating people who have a serious mental illness.
Dissociative disorders are managed through various therapies including:
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