Overview

Dissociative disorders are mental disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity. People with dissociative disorders escape reality in ways that are involuntary and unhealthy and cause problems with functioning in everyday life.

Dissociative disorders usually develop as a reaction to trauma and help keep difficult memories at bay. Symptoms — ranging from amnesia to alternate identities — depend in part on the type of dissociative disorder you have. Times of stress can temporarily worsen symptoms, making them more obvious.

Treatment for dissociative disorders may include talk therapy (psychotherapy) and medication. Although treating dissociative disorders can be difficult, many people learn new ways of coping and lead healthy, productive lives.

Aug. 03, 2017
References
  1. Dissociative disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Oct. 11, 2016.
  2. Dissociative disorders. National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Dissociative-Disorders. Accessed Oct. 11, 2016.
  3. Dissociative disorders. American Psychiatric Association. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/dissociative-disorders/what-are-dissociative-disorders. Accessed Oct. 11, 2016.
  4. Dissociative disorders. Merck Manuals Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/dissociative-disorders/overview-of-dissociative-disorders. Accessed Oct. 11, 2016.
  5. Palmer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 30, 2016.