What Is Dissociative Disorder?

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By adam
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  • 1. Hunter, E.C.M, M. Sierra and A.S. David. The Epidemiology of Depersonalization and Derealization: A Systematic Review. Social Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2004 Jan;39(1):9-18. doi: 10.1007/s00127-004-0701-4.
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Dissociative disorder is a mental health condition characterized by a disconnect between a person’s identity, memory, thoughts, actions and surroundings. There are three classifications for the disorder: dissociative amnesia, dissociative identity disorder and depersonalization-derealization disorder.

Anyone of any age can experience this condition, but women are diagnosed more frequently than men. Up to 75% of the population experiences an episode at some point in life; however, only 2% meet the complete criteria for a chronic condition.1Hunter, E.C.M, M. Sierra and A.S. David. The Epidemiology of Depersonalization and Derealization: A Systematic Review. Social Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2004 Jan;39(1):9-18. doi: 10.1007/s00127-004-0701-4.

1. What Causes Dissociative Disorder?

The disorder develops most frequently as the result of severe and, often, persistent trauma. The stress of ongoing war or a natural disaster can bring about the condition, as can sexual, emotional and physical abuse. It is sometimes seen in children who come from home environments that are exceptionally unpredictable or frightening.

Dissociative disorder most often arises in childhood because children are still in the stages of developing their identities. As such, it is easier for them to alter their perspectives so that it seems the trauma is happening to someone other than themselves. When children develop this coping mechanism, they may carry it with them into adulthood.

Dissociative Disorder

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