What is dissociation?
Dissociation is an interruption in the integration of consciousness, identity, memory, or experience of one's environment.
What are the types of dissociation?
The experience of dissociation typically falls into one of two major categories:
What causes dissociation?
What is a dissociative disorder?
A dissociative disorder is a mental health condition in which significant dissociation is the primary feature (as opposed to being a symptom of another mental health condition such as BPD, anxiety, or PTSD).
DPDR is characterized by recurrent episodes of derealisation and/or depersonalization that are not due to another mental health or medical condition.
Dissociative amnesia causes the individual to forget their name, identity, or major life events.
DID is a severe dissociative disorder caused by early childhood trauma, in which trauma prevents the normal integration of consciousness/personality, resulting in multiple personalities/states of consciousness. These separate states of consciousness are called "alters". The group of alters as a whole is referred to as a "system". Find out more here.
OSDD is diagnosed when an individual's symptoms are significant enough to cause impairment but do not fully meet the criteria of another dissociative disorder, such as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Find out more here.
Dissociation occurs on a broad spectrum, and, though it is very common in its mildest forms, it can be difficult to understand its more severe forms, particularly if you have never experienced it yourself. Check out this video by Kati Morton, LMFT to learn more about dissociation.
In this video by Kati Morton, LMFT find out more about trauma therapy, dissociation, and how to get help if you experience dissociative symptoms as a result of trauma.
Talking therapy can help process trauma that may be triggering dissociation.
It is important to note that if you are seeking treatment for DID or OSDD it is important to find a therapist with training and experience with these highly complex disorders.
EMDR was developed for processing traumatic memories specifically. However, this treatment should be adjusted for someone with a dissociative disorder and should be used only with a therapist who is experienced in treating dissociative disorders.
There is no medication that treats dissociation specifically, but those with dissociation may take medication to treat related symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.
If the individual is severely impaired, unable to function, or a danger to themselves, inpatient or residential treatment may be recommended.
What is it actually like to live with DID? How do so many people with DID (or OSDD-1) function on a daily basis? How do trauma symptoms affect people with DID? Check out this video by Multiplicity & Me to learn more.
People with DID are dangerous. Contrary to popular depictions of DID (such as in the film Split), people with DID are not likely to be dangerous or violent.
If someone has DID, it will be obvious. DID is a sophisticated coping mechanism the brain employs to survive traumatic events, and it would not be advantageous for survival for someone's DID to be readily apparent. As such, the symptoms of DID are typically rather "hidden" and not obvious to others.
DID doesn't really exist; people are faking it. There are some professionals who still doubt the existence of DID and theorize that people with DID are pretending or are suffering from histrionic personality disorder. However, with modern technology, research has uncovered evidence that supports that the experiences of people with dissociative identity disorder are genuine. For more information, click here.
People with DID are actually experiencing demonic possession. There is evidence that DID is a legitimate neuro-psychological condition. Though DID used to be considered an extremely rare disorder, it is now estimated that between 1-3% of the population experiences dissociative identity disorder (DID), making DID more common than schizophrenia. If someone is worried that they are experiencing demonic influence, the more likely explanation is that they are suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dissociative identity disorder, or another mental health condition.
Multiplicity&Me is a YouTube channel dedicated to education and awareness of dissociative identity disorder. Jess and her alters share their life as a DID system and provide hope for all those in recovery from trauma and dissociation.
"We recognize that God reaches us in many different ways. We share grace and love while searching for understanding and compassion to those that have been affected by child abuse."
Licensed therapist Kati Morton is an active online advocate for mental health. Check out her video resources on dissociation.
DissociaDID is a YouTube channel dedicated to erasing the stigma of dissociative identity disorder. Chloe and her alters educate their audience about living with DID and give hope to many living with the same condition.
If you experience dissociative symptoms as the result of trauma, this book provides the complete guide to why dissociation occurs and how to recover.
The Complex Trauma and Dissociation Clinic offers YouTube videos on topics of DID, OSDD, and complex trauma.
This collection of essays by Carolyn Spring provides first-hand experience of living with chronic dissociation and a ten-year long journey toward recovery.
This book by Dolores Mosquera explores how to work with the dissociative experience of hearing voices-- how to listen to then, validate them, and work as a team.
A survivor of trauma and DID herself, Carolyn Spring now spreads awareness of working with dissociated parts and training for therapists.