Dissociative Disorders are those psychological disorders characterized by a person’s tendency to dissociate, or “check out” mentally. Of course, we all dissociate in small ways, such as when read something and then don’t remember what we just read, or when we drive somewhere without remembering getting there. While this level of dissociation is normal, the frequency and intensity of dissociation is much higher in that group of disorders. Conditions such as Multiple Personality Disorder, now called Dissociative Identity Disorder, are real. The ability of the brain to dissociate is a coping mechanism, a way of blocking out or sectioning off certain information to attend to other information. When someone has a dissociative disorder, they have a need to block out such an overwhelming amount of information that dissociation is their primary coping skill in life. People who have undergone severe trauma have a higher likelihood of dissociative disorders.
…characterized by a person’s tendency to “check out” mentally
In everyday life, a common place to see problematic dissociation (although not at the level of being a disorder) is in rage and domestic violence. Sometimes people become so angry that they are physiologically and/or psychologically overwhelmed, and the mind dissociates. This creates a situation where the angry person “blacks out” or does not remember what occurred. In another example, people experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety might say or do something they don’t remember.
…a common place to see problematic dissociation is in rage and domestic violence.
Therapy can be effective when dissociation is problematic, such as in the anger example, and when there is an actual dissociative disorder. In therapy, we help clients learn to handle the stress or anger (or other trigger) without actually blocking information from consciousness.
We are located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942. Call us for information on how to deal with dissociative disorders.