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Understand disorders such as amnesia, escape, and multiple personalities

Understand disorders such as amnesia, escape, and multiple personalities

Usually we do not realize it, but dissociative disorders are part of our daily lives. Some of them are best known to movie characters, such as dissociative identity disorder, popularly called multiple personality. Others are more common, but more difficult to identify, such as depersonalization. "The essential characteristic of dissociative disorders is a disturbance in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity or environmental perception" (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - DSM-IV-TR).

Dissociative Amnesia

It is characterized by forgetfulness of important facts, in general, situations of traumatic or stressful nature. Marked more by the fragmentation of the personality than by the formation of multiple personalities. The most serious cases of this amnesia may involve the whole life of the subject, who usually present themselves to the police or hospitals seeking help without knowing their identity.

Dissociative Escape

Marked by a sudden and unexplained journey away from home. In general it also presents memory gaps and mental confusion. Such trips can last for days or months and some cases may cross several borders. There may be a formation of a new personality that works where it arrives. The subject does not intentionally create these personalities and is generally unaware of them.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

There are two or more personalities who take turns in controlling the subject. In general, there are significant memory gaps. The different personalities can even present different somatizations. For example, one has an allergy and the other does not. In addition, they may present different age and gender than the original personality. "The trauma does not create these personalities intentionally and is not generally aware of them."

Depersonalization Disorder

"trauma is an experience too strong, too fast or too early in our lives and difficult to process for the brain "

There is a sense of detachment and estrangement from oneself. Individuals with this picture often say they have the feeling that they are not living reality despite knowing that they are living reality. It is as if they were part of a movie, they lived dreaming of a dream without autonomy. They often say that there is something between them and reality almost like a cloud, a glass, some invisible barrier. There may be a sense of sensory anesthesia and a sense of loss of control, including speech.

It takes a lot of effort to pay attention, so working and studying can be very stressful. Frequently, patients report that they have all heard that these symptoms were of low blood pressure and weakness despite their physical health.

Because their symptoms are difficult to describe, patients fear being "crazy." "Derealization may also be present, being experienced as a feeling that the world is strange or unreal. Individuals may perceive an unusual change in size or shape of objects (macropsia or micropsy), and people may appear strange or mechanical (DSM-IV-TR, 2008, page 507).

Symptoms of depersonalization and derealization may also be associated with symptoms of depression, depressive symptoms, obsessive rumination, somatic concerns, and a disturbance of the sense of time. occur in panic attacks, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Treatment

By my clinical practice and studies, Dissociative Disorders are caused by psychological trauma. Whereas trauma is too strong, too fast, or too early in our lives, and difficult to process for the brain. Unprocessed experiences are like a "sore" in the brain, which impedes its integrated functioning.

I often use the internet as a metaphor. Imagine that your brain has all the information available on the internet today. You can access all available material on the planet, but suddenly something happens and you lose part of the access, which can generate amnesia, or follow commands without knowing why. In more serious cases, part of the content may take on a life of its own and compete with other contents of your brain to have space, which would be dissociative identity disorder.

The Somatic Experience, Brainspotting and EMDR (desensitization and reprocessing by movements have been shown to be effective techniques for processing and integrating information. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and impairment of quality of life, psychiatric help may be important until the traumas are processed and the individual regains the integrity of their identity, memory, consciousness, and perception.


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