Have you ever awakened during the night and, just for moment, been uncertain about where you were or even who you were?<br />
Dissociative Orders<br />Profound disruptions in consciousness, memory, sense of identity or perception.<br />May have significant periods of amnesia, finding oneself in a new city with no memory of their past life or feel as if the mind and body were in two different places.<br />Usually a response to overwhelming psychic pain, e.g. when abuse victims mentally separate themselves from the situation by experiencing themselves and their feelings as outside their bodies. <br />
Dissociative amnesia<br />2-7% of the general population <br />Studies have shown that the extent of trauma is correlated with the development of amnesia.<br />Sudden loss of memory that does not stem from medical conditions or other mental disorders.<br />Localised (only a specific period of time) OR generalised (memory of the person’s entire life).<br />E.g. A 29-year-old female experienced the onset of dissociative amnesia during an academic trip to China. She was found in a hotel bathroom unconscious, with no signs of structural or neurologic abnormalities or alcohol or chemical consumption. The woman was sent home but could not remember her name, address, family, or any facts about her home life. The amnesia persisted for nearly 10 months, until the feeling of blood on the woman's fingers triggered the recollection of events from the night of onset of dissociative amnesia, and, subsequently, other facts and events. The woman finally remembered having witnessed a murder that night in China. She recalled being unable to help the victim out of fear for her own safety. She came to remember other aspects of her life; however, some memories remain unretrievable. <br />
Dissociative Fugue<br />0.2% of the general population<br />Individual suddenly leaves home and travels to a new location where he or she has no memory of his or her previous life.<br />Usually, the fugue lasts for a few days; occasionally, it may last months, with a few extreme cases noted. <br />Often, they have suffered from some post-traumatic stress, as in the case of a 35-year-old businessman who disappeared more than 2 years after narrowly escaping from the World Trade Centre attack in 2001, leaving behind his wife and children. The man was missing for more than 6 months when an anonymous tip helped police in Virginia identify him. <br />
Depersonalisation Disorder<br />2.4% of the general population<br />Persistent or recurrent experiences of feeling detached, as if one is an outside observer of one's mental processes or body. <br />Generally leads to observable distress in the affected individual.<br />A 19-year-old college student suffered from sleep deprivation at the onset of depersonalization disorder. The young man experienced increased anxiety as he struggled to meet his responsibilities as a scholarship-dependent student athlete. Teammates expressed concern about his apparent distress to their coach who arranged for the young man to speak with a therapist. The young man described feeling as though he were observing the interactions of others as if it were a film. The young man's anxiety was determined to contribute to severe sleep deprivation, which triggered episodes of depersonalization. <br />
Dissociative Identity Disorder<br />1-3% of the general population<br />Previously known as multiple personality disorder<br />At least two separate but coexisting personalities, each with different traits, behaviours, memories and emotions.<br />Usually, ONE host personality (primary identity) and one or more alters (alternative personalities that appear from time to time).<br />Switching (process of changing into or between alters) often seems to occur in response to anxiety brought on by thoughts or memories of previous traumatic experiences.<br />Distinct brain patterns, handedness, allergic reactions, colour blindness<br />
Case Study: Elizabeth Carlson<br />Carlson, suffering from depression, sought help from psychiatrist Dr. Diane Humenansky.<br />Carlson asked to read Sybil and The Three Faces of Eve, think about scenes of childhood abuse, was hypnotised and given “guided imagery” to awaken buried memories.<br />Carlson reported vivid memories of sexual abuse by 50 relatives, satanic rituals, cannibalism, etc. Also identified several alters.<br />Carlson gradually realised she had never been abused and the alters were the result of strong suggestions. <br />Sued Humenansky and won $2.5 million<br />
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