Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders and Therapy

12 - Mar - 2022

If you are struggling, does your experience include not being able to remember things, feeling uncertain, noticing that you have a reduced response to things that ought to feel more painful? Does your experience make sense through the words disconnected, removed or outside of yourself, others or the wider world? Do you think of yourself as though you are or could be a different person or people depending upon the situation or do you experience another presence or presense? Maybe you experience life as if through a haze or mist and or can find yourself somewhere not knowing why you are there or how you got there? And thinking back to before you had this experience were you stressed?

The overall experience and severity of dissociation and dissociative disorders varies from person to person however the above capture a number of commonly shared feelings, sensations and thoughts. 

Prior to dissociation is usually an experience of extreme stress and so it is a natural and healthy coping mechanism or response, usually passing once the cause of the stress recedes. The experience of dissociating can be such that sufferers can be left puzzled, confused, shocked, shaken, embarrassed, ashamed or feeling stuck, in other words dissociation as an experience can in itself be a source of stress and anxiety.

In addition, in situations where the initial source of the stress remains and where there are other concerns for example difficulty sleeping, feeling depressed, suicidal thoughts, phobias, extreme trauma, the experiences of dissociation may become almost routine or debilitating. Given that the effects can be extremely distressing and that prolonged stress is known to lead to further complications it is important to know that help is available. 

It is also important to seek immediate help if you think you or others may be at risk of further harm. Sources of immediate help include your nearest A&E, or by calling the NHS on 111 or the Samaritans on 116 123.

Unlike Complex Post Traumatic Stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (CPTSD and PTSD) there is not a definition that includes a period of time or duration for the experiencing of symptoms so if you are concerned then seek professional help.