What Is Dissociation?

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

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Author Alexandra Katehakis wrote in her book titled, “Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence” explained dissociation as this: The problem with checking out so thoroughly is that it can leave us feeling dead inside…the process of repair demands a re-association with the body, a commitment to dive into the body and feel today what we couldn’t feel yesterday because it was too dangerous.”

Dissociation, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), is defined as “problems with memory, identity, emotion, perception, behavior, and sense of self.” Often when people experience dissociation, they experience a period of disconnect from themselves and/or the world around them. In a sense, they “check out” – it may seem like they’re daydreaming, lost in a book or movie, and more. Dissociation often kicks in to help a person get through a very traumatic event, such as being the victim of a crime or enduring a natural disaster. A review study conducted by researchers from Germany described the experience of trauma and dissociation as “Freeze-Flight-Fight-Fright-Flag-Faint”, referring to the 6-step process of fragments in which a person responds to an upsetting event until they get to dissociation.

If prolonged, dissociation could develop into one of the following mental illnesses:

  • Dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder) – when a person experiences two or more identity states with ongoing memory gaps about everyday events, personal information, and/or past traumatic events. Ultimately, those with this disorder experience significant distress in aspects of daily life.
  • Dissociative amnesia – linked to overwhelming stress, a person with this disorder does have memories but they are buried so deeply within a person’s mind they cannot easily be recalled. Some memories might resurface or might be triggered by other people, places, or events.
  • Depersonalization/derealization disorder – consists of persistent feelings of being detached from one’s body or mental processes, often feeling as though one is an outside observer to one’s life or body.

If you’re experiencing signs of dissociation, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today. If you’ve gone through a traumatic event, it’s always important to seek therapy so that you can healthily move forward with your life. Trauma can certainly cause a lot of distress if not dealt with in a healthy way afterward; don’t wait any longer to see the help you need today.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

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