In our modern society, mental health has become a big subject for debate. The issues of mental health awareness has been ingrained in political and social movements that attempt to change the way society looks at mental health. Around the world dissociative disorder is well known and well documented disorder that many people suffer from. Dissociative disorder affects People from all socioeconomic backgrounds, age groups and racial, ethnic. Dissociative disorder is described as a mental disorder that involves experiencing a disconnection and lack of cohesion between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity. This disorder causes patients to involuntarily escape from their realm of reality in ways that can be damaging and unhealthy to their mind, body, and functioning lives. The three main types of dissociative disorders are dissociative identity disorder, dissociative amnesia, and depersonalization or derealization disorder.
The common symptoms of dissociative disorder are loss of memory or amnesia of certain events, people or places, a sense or feeling of being detached or unaware of your feelings and emotions, the patients sense of reality is distorted, a blurred sense of identity, significant stress or problems in your relationships, work or other important areas of your life, inability to cope well with emotional or professional stress, and the acquirement of other mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. Dissociative disorder, as well as most types of this disorder, tend to get worse during times of stress, causing the issue to get worse the longer one has the disorder. The major and common causes and the common patients are children who were frequently exposed to sexual or emotional abuse and a home environment that is daunting, intimidating or highly unpredictable. Another common way to acquire this disorder is from the stress of war and or natural disasters. These causes make it so that people like veterans, first responders, drug addicts, and sex workers most commonly acquire this disorder. Research has shown that dissociative disorder is mostly acquired as a way to coper from a tragic event. The most common treatment for dissociative disorder are talk therapy, physcotherapy, and medication such as antidepressants and anti anxiety medications. Most of these medications and treatments aren’t successful in completely curing this disorder. To combat this, most people eventually develop strategies to cope and live with this disorder such as learning more about the disorder and preparing and organizing for emergency events.
The first type of dissociative disorder I will discuss is dissociative identity disorder. This form of dissociative disorder is characterized by having at least two distinct personality states that frequently appear or are enduring. Those affected by this disorder have very complex and unique personalities that make it difficult for the person to function in their day to day life. A person who is affected by this dissociative identity disorder is commonly affected by the other two types—dissociative amnesia and depersonalization or derealization disorder. There is no way to test for dissociative disorder to a certain degree but tests such as imaging and blood tests can help rule out other diseases and make a more accurate diagnosis. The main goal in treating this disorder is to relieve symptoms to make sure that the patient is able to live a healthy and somewhat normal life. The main treatments used in this disorder Cognitive behavioral therapy, Eye Movement desensitization and reprocessing, Dialectic-behavior therapy, Family therapy, and Meditation and relaxation techniques. All of these therapy strategies and techniques can be used to alleviate symptoms and develop strategies to live a somewhat normal life with this disorder.
The next type of dissociative disorder is dissociative amnesia disorder. Dissociative amnesia occurs when a person blocks and tries to forget out certain information or memories that are associated with a stressful or traumatic event, leaving them with the inability to remember important personal information, events, or people. The extent to which each patient forgets information differs with each patient; the extent of forgetting information can range from forgetting small details and information or forgetting large periods of one’s life. As a result of this each person with this disorder requires a different treatment and strategies to cope with this disorder. The other symptoms and causes of this disease are similar to that of regular dissociative disorders. Unlike the other disorders, dissociative amnesia disorder is more common in women. The treatments for this disorder are also similar to that of dissociative identity disorder and regular dissociative disorder. Episodes of this disorder can extremely vary in length from short periods of minutes and seconds to long periods of months and years.
The third kind of dissociative disorder is depersonalization or derealization disorder. Depersonalization or derealization disorder entails an ongoing or episodic sense of detachment from yourself and a sense of being outside one’s self. This causes a patient to feel as if they are observing their own actions, thoughts, feelings, and ideas of themselves from a distance, like watching a movie or seeing themselves from someone else’s eyes. The amount of time an episode of this disorder can last extremely varies in length from short periods of minutes, seconds, and hours to longer periods of months, years, and multiple years. Ways that doctors and psychologists can determine if one has this disorder is if they show common signs: having persistent or recurrent episodes of depersonalization, derealization, or both, knowing that their unreal experiences are not real, and their symptoms cause significant distress or significantly impair social or occupational functioning. The symptoms and treatments are very similar to the other two types of dissociative disorder as well as the types of therapy and strategies of coping and treatment. The most common drugs prescribed to treat this issue are lamotrigine, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications.