Dissociation is a mental disorder that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between your identity, thoughts, memories, surroundings and actions. This process state causes you to feel disconnected and detached from yourself and the world around you. Dissociation can be triggered by trauma which can develop as a coping mechanism, for example you may have experienced a stressful traumatic event which has caused you to feel numb, with no emotional connection or feelings about the situation. Dissociative disorder involve feeling disconnected from the world and/ or yourself for an ongoing duration.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Feeling disconnected from yourself.
  • Feeling disconnected from your surroundings.
  • Feeling emotionally detached from your experiences.
  • Feeling emotionally numb.
  • Feeling cut off from your emotions.
  • Feeling the world is distorted or unreal.
  • Difficulty handling intense emotions.
  • Difficulty knowing how you are feelings. 
  • Hearing voices. 
  • Having out-of-body experiences.

Causes of Dissociative disorders

Dissociative disorder can develop as a defence mechanism to help cope with difficult experiences and reduce stress caused by overwhelming traumatic events. Research has shown that the most common causes is past trauma such as childhood abuse. If you were abused as a child you may have disconnected yourself from this experience to help cope with what was happening, you would have developed a coping device which has stayed with you and continued even after the abuse.

Dissociative disorders

Dissociative disorders can causes ongoing stress, which can have a noticeable impact on your mental wellbeing and daily functioning, making everyday life seem like a challenge. Below are 3 common dissociative disorders;

Depersonalisation- derealisation disorder – Feeling as though your thoughts, feelings and emotions are an out of body experience which does not resonate with you. The feeling that the world is unreal and its as if you are watching a movie.

Dissociative amnesia – Not remembering essential personal states, events or memories. Having a lack of awareness and knowledge off where you are and how you got there.

Dissociate identity – The existence of two or more identities but with one person, which can also be known as multiple personality disorder. Different personalities may apply control over your behaviour during different times, days and circumstance within your lifestyle.

How Therapy can help

Therapy will provide you with a safe space to speak about how you are feeling and work through trauma which may have led in the development of your dissociative disorder.Your therapist will help you re-connect with your thoughts, feelings and memories to help you understand who you are and your reality. Your therapist will also help you throughout your treatment process develop coping mechanisms in supporting you mange yourself and the world around you. Speaking to your GP should be the first point of cognate with can then refer you to a specialist.

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