Dissociative Disorders are disorders affecting a person's awareness, identity, memory, or consciousness. Dissociation is a change that can alter a person’s sense of identity or self. In dissociative disorders, events that would be linked in normal memory are separated from one another. Normal parts of life may include mild dissociative disorders. For example, it’s normal for one to get lost in thought, or forget the details of a conversation. Dissociative disorders, however, involve severe changes in a person’s mental state, and may cause large gaps in memory.
There are three types of dissociative disorders: dissociative identity disorder, dissociative amnesia, and depersonalized/derealization disorder. Trauma (such as abuse or violence, whether recent or in the past) is a risk factor for these disorders. People suffering from dissociative identity disorder or dissociative amnesia can be at an increased risk for suicide.
Several different types of treatments are available for dissociative disorders. There is no standard treatment, and treatment is tailored to each person. Treatment should always be guided by a mental health care provider who understands the events and stresses the patient has endured. These treatments are comprised of psychotherapy, hypnosis, and medications to relieve symptoms.