Have you ever felt some sort of a disconnect and missing continuity in your thoughts and identity? These are characteristics of dissociative disorders. But what are dissociative disorders and why are they controversial? How do you know if you have one and are they treatable? These questions can be answered through fully understanding the types, symptoms, and management of these disorders. There are identifiable traits and ways to manage symptoms, and understanding that is vital to being able to seek professional help.

What Are Dissociative Disorders?

Dissociative disorders are mental health conditions that are identifiable by a noted disconnect and lack of consistency. This lack of consistency can occur between thoughts, surroundings, memories, even actions and identity. Such disorders cause people to involuntarily escape reality, creating a good deal of disruption in their day-to-day lives. Dissociative disorders often develop as a response to some sort of a trauma. They seem to be the body’s defense mechanism against unwanted memories.

Understanding the true meaning of what dissociative disorders are and why they are controversial could be beneficial to those who experience these breaks in reality for them to seek professional help to manage the disorder, and experience less day-to-day interruption.

Symptoms of Dissociative Disorders

Normally, most people have symptoms of dissociative disorders regularly. However, it does interfere with their day-to-day lives. For example, most people tend to daydream when they are distracted or even when they are bored. That is their way of escaping reality in that moment, and disconnecting from the world around them. However, what makes dissociative disorders differ is the severity to which these dissociative states manifest. Some symptoms of possible dissociative disorders are:

  • Memory loss pertaining to certain people, times, memories, or information
  • Inability to cope with stress
  • Distorted view of yourself and those around you
  • Detachment from self and emotions
  • Skewed sense of identity
  • Mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts

These symptoms vary, depending upon the type of dissociative disorder you are experiencing. 

Types of Dissociative Disorders

The American Psychological Association published the DSM-5 which categorizes dissociative disorders into three different types. These three types are: dissociative amnesia, dissociative identity disorder, and depersonalization disorder. All three of these cause the symptom of dissociation, however each affects the afflicted person differently. By learning and understanding these three types you can learn what dissociative disorders are and why they are so controversial.

Dissociative Amnesia

Everyone has moments of forgetfulness, however the main symptom of this form of dissociative disorder is a forgetfulness that is excessively more severe than normal. This forgetfulness, or amnesia, has no medical diagnosis. The amnesia generally surrounds people and information usually at a point in life where a traumatic event occurred. However, amnesia can also rarely cause someone to forget basically all of the information about themselves that they have known their entire lives. 

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is the disorder formerly known as multiple personality disorder. This form of dissociative disorder can cause someone to have multiple, individual, personalities that can be switched from one to another. When these switches occur, the personality that is in control takes hold of behaviors. They may act completely differently than they normally would. These different identities can be aware of one another, and generally speaking, they can each have their own personality, gender, and even age, that differs from the person who is experiencing DID. 

Depersonalization Disorder

This form of dissociative disorder is characterized by two traits: depersonalization and derealization. Depersonalization is when someone feels an ongoing episode of feeling as though they are detached from their physical body. Derealization is an ongoing episode of being detached from your actual reality. So in simpler terms, this is a long term detachment from yourself and your reality. 

What Makes Dissociative Disorders Controversial?

What makes dissociative disorders so controversial can be evident in people’s thought processes. There are competing theories over what actually causes dissociative disorders like DID. Is it trauma or is it fantasy, a means to get out of the reality in which a person is actually living. The mind’s reaction to trauma can be complex, and oftentimes can be very difficult to understand.

When someone undergoes  physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, it is only natural to want to forget that time. However, is this dissociation a reaction to trauma, or is it a fantasy land? Often, the fantasy land is a result of traumas. So answering what dissociative disorders are and why they are controversial can lead to some more unanswered questions. But the fact remains, these disorders are treatable. Through therapies and professional help quality of life can significantly improve, and life can return to a more normal state.

Get Treatment for Dissociative Disorders in Knoxville, TN

These disorders are treatable. There is help. There is no need to just suffer through them alone and hope they get better. If you or a loved one are suffering with dissociative disorders, Discovery Place can help. We have on staff professionals who can help to manage the symptoms and help you to gain healthy skills to assist you in living a normal life. Contact us today and begin your journey to a better life.


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