Psychopathology and Counseling-COUN 646
December 4, 2014
Dissociative disorders have many variations. They are mainly characterized by an interruption of how a person sees their conscious life, what they remember, how they handle emotions, their behavior, and their perception. Typically the disorder arises as a reaction to a traumatic event with confusion and embarrassment being a common factor. Both acute stress disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder contain aspects of dissociative disorder and treatment for this can take on many different roles. Due to the feeling of being “outside” one’s ...view middle of the document...
This disorder is usually a result of trauma. Because of the trauma, those who experience the symptoms will try to hide it. Extreme stress can also bring about this disorder since the body is trying to cope with the burden of what happened or what is currently going on. Acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder can also have dissociative symptoms (APA, 2013) to include amnesia, flashbacks, a feeling of being numb to emotions or reality, and detachment.
Some sub-categories of dissociative disorder are identity disorder, amnesia, and depersonalization/derealization disorder (APA, 2103). Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is similar to multiple personality disorder in the idea of having two or more personalities within one person with recurrent bouts of amnesia. Some describe it as the person affected is possessed. Everyday events are easily forgotten, personal information is forgotten, and memories that are needed to function in everyday life are also forgotten. Due to this loss of what seems to others as easily remembered, the person experiencing this is easily distraught and can become distressed in social and work settings, and when speaking to others the loss of what information should be easily accessible can be devastating. The development of two or more personalities can be due to a trauma or extreme stress with the mind forming the extra persona in the attempt to compartmentalize what happened. This disorder can be hard to diagnose since those who have it do not necessarily show symptoms or behaviors that can easily be seen.
The biggest identifier of this disorder is the person reporting feeling like they are observing themselves and are detached from what they are personally doing or thinking. There may be voices or background noise within their own memories or thoughts, and they cannot be stopped. Strong emotions and uncontrolled speech or babbling may also occur that is also uncontrollable and extremely puzzling to the person. The feeling of being in a different body is common and those who are very petite can feel huge and muscular or like a small child and vice versa. While in this alternate body, actions and emotions do not feel normal or like their own reactions, and the person experiencing it does not feel they have control over them. The switching of personalities can be very subtle, or the person may have violent, seizure like effects when it happens.
With DID, there is also amnesia. This can take place on three different levels. One being gaps in memory of personal life events or periods at different times during their lives. Another is about forgetting things they depend on to function every day such as how to drive, how to use equipment, and what has happened recently. The third is when they forget physically doing something. Examples would be finding themselves cleaning, or finding something they have drawn or written without a memory of doing so. It can even go one step...