Welcome to our Dissociative Disorders topic center. The Dissociative disorders are a family of disorders that are united by the fact that they all involve the process of dissociation. Dissociation is a mental process involving changes in normal memory and attention that lead to changes in the availability and accessibility of memory. Under normal conditions people are able to recall most everything they experience. By contrast, dissociative people may be unable to recall memories for events that they experienced while dissociated.
Dissociation is thought to be a relatively common mental process engaged in by many people, not all of whom have a mental disorder. Very mild forms of dissociation are quite common, and are probably behind the experience of ‘spacing out’ temporarily. Another relatively common experience of dissociation is found in states of ‘depersonalization’ where one has the sensation of being detached from ones mental processes as though one were alien in one’s own skin.
More severe and pathological forms of dissociation often occur as reactions to very stressful events such as war, death, abuse and other forms of trauma. Dissociative Amnesia involves a loss of memory for personal information associated with traumatic events. In the condition known as a Fugue state, a person literally becomes confused about who they are, and travels to a different city where he or she might assume a new identity (...
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