This lesson will focus on dissociative disorders by covering:
Dissociative disorders are any kind of disorder that involves the disruption or loss of a person's mental functioning or their mental identity. These disorders occur in only about 2% to 3% of the population. This often comes from dissociation, which is a defense mechanism that a person has as a way of protecting themselves from psychological harm. It is often involuntary, and can be damaging to person as a result.
Dissociation protects a person's sense of self from being harmed by removing it from any kind of traumatic or harmful situations, like being molested as a child. The person then dissociates or they distance themselves from that traumatic event. This results in pulling away from their own identity and even forgetting about who they are.
Dissociative amnesia is where a person loses either part or all of their memory, particularly memory that relates to who they are as a person. This type of amnesia is not caused by a physical injury, but rather results from some kind of damaging event or emotional trauma that a person might have experienced.
If a person is molested, they might block that memory or they disassociated themselves from it. This can also result in a loss of other types of memory as well. The person might lose significant portions of their childhood as a result of this traumatic event.
Dissociative identity disorder is the most extreme and rarest type of dissociative disorders. It occurs, according to some estimates, within one 100th to 1% of the population, and is also called multiple personality disorder. A person with this disorder has more than one different distinct personality that displays themselves at different times. The personalities will have completely different traits and abilities. Oftentimes, a person won’t have memory or knowledge of their other personalities.
This disorder is thought to occur because of any kind of emotionally stressful situation or traumatic events. There is some debate amongst psychologists as to whether dissociative identity disorder is a real thing, and if there actually has been a case in the past of this disorder. This is an area of psychology that's a little bit gray, and is up for debate right now. However, it is still important to recognize this as a disorder that people claim to be true.
The most famous case of a dissociative identity disorder is Sybil. A woman named Shirley Ardell Mason is a psychological patient that was reported to have developed 16 different personalities as a result of severe sexual abuse as a child from her mother. A book that was written about her and two movies were made based on her own story. However, several psychologists have challenged her claim to having these kinds of distinct identities. They believe instead that she was extremely suggestible, and that her psychologist took advantage of her to gain fame himself.
Treatment of all of these different types of dissociative disorders involves creating a safe and comfortable therapeutic environment. This involves building a strong therapeutic alliance for a relationship between the patient and the therapist. It also involves reintegration and recovery of the lost elements of their selves, either their memories or their personalities. Understanding and accepting the trauma that causes these things to occur can often help in the re-integration of these parts of their minds.
Dissociative disorders involved the disruption or loss of a person’s mental functioning or mental identity. They are rare, and usually the result of a traumatic event. Dissociative amnesia is when a person loses part or all of their memory, usually relating to who they are as a person. Dissociative Identity Disorder is when a person develops one or more distinct personalities. Treatment involves reintegration and recovery of lost elements of self as well as understanding and accepting the trauma that caused the disorder.
Source: This work is adapted from Sophia Author Erick Taggart
A dissociative disorder where a person loses part or all of their memory, particularly relating to who they are.
A dissociative disorder where a person has more than one different, distinct personalities that display at different times; a.k.a. Multiple Personality Disorder.