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Dissociative disorders


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Dissociative disorders

  1. 1. Dissociative Disorders: Altered ConsciousnessDissociative disorders involve a break, or dissociation, in consciousness, memory, or aperson’s sense of identity. This split is easier to understand when thinking about howpeoples sometimes drive somewhere and then wonder how they got there-they don’tremember the trip itself at all. This sort of automatic pilot driving happens when theroute is familiar and frequently traveled.Types of dissociative disordersDissociative Amnesia: Who Am I?One cannot remember personal information such as ones own name or specificpersonal events. This memory loss is usually associated with a stressful or emotionallytraumatic experience, such as childhood abuse and cannot be explained by simpleforgetfulness. It can be a loss of memory for only small segment of time, or it caninvolve a total loss of ones past personal memories. For example, a soldier might beable to remember being in combat but cannot remember witnessing a friend get killed,or a person might forget his/her entire life. These memories usually resurfaces,sometimes quickly, and sometimes after a long delayDissociative Fugue: Who Am I And How Did I Get Here?It occurs when a person suddenly travels away from home and afterward’s cannotremember the trip or even personal information such as identity. The person maybecome confused about identity, sometimes even taking on a whole new identity in thenew place. Such disorder usually takes place after an emotional trauma and is morecommon in times of disasters or wars.Dissociative Identity Disorder: How Many Am I?Disorder occurring when a person seems to have two or more distinct personalitieswithin one body.There may be a core personality, who usually knows nothing about the otherspersonality and is the one who experience blackouts or losses of memory and times.For example, Core personality experiencing the unsettling moments of awakening in anunfamiliar place or sometimes peoples call the person by another name.First it was reported as clinical disorder, many believe that cases of so-called spirit ordemon possession were possibly people with this disorder.Freudian psychoanalysts believe that multiple personalities come about as a way ofcoping with extreme stress, usually in the early childhood. Many people who have been
  2. 2. diagnosed as multiples are the women with a history of childhood sexual or physicalabuse.After several publications it become well known to the public and become fad disorderof the late twentieth disorder.Some psychological professionals believe that dissociative identity disorders areactually a misdiagnosis of borderline personality disorder or some other form of anxietydisorder.Causes of Dissociative disordersPsychoanalytic theory, of course, sees the repression of threatening or unacceptablethoughts and behavior at the heart of all disorders, and the dissociative disorders inparticular seems to have a large element of repression in them.Dissociation in Freudian theory is a defense mechanism and is associated withemotional or physical trauma.Cognitive and behavioral explanations for dissociative disorders are connected: theperson may feel guilt, shame or anxiety when thinking about disturbing experiences orthoughts and stat avoiding thoughts about them. This thought avoidance is negativelyreinforced by the reduction of the anxiety and the unpleasant feelings and eventually willbecome a habit of “not thinking about” these things. This is similar to what many peopledo when faced with something unpleasant. They think about something else. In doingthat, they are deliberately not thinking about what is happening to them at the momentand the experience of pain is decreased. People with dissociative disorder may simplybe better at doing this sort of “not thinking” than other people are.Researchers have found that people with depersonalization disorder (disorder in whicha person feels detached and disconnected from themselves their bodies and theirsurroundings) have lower brain activity in the areas responsible for their sense of bodyawareness than do people without dissociative disorder.Mood Disorders: The Effect of AffectMood disorders are disturbance in emotions and are also referred to as effectivedisorders. Although the range of human emotions runs from deep, intense sadness anddespair to extreme happiness and elation, under normal circumstances peoples stay inbetween those extremes-neither too sad nor too happy but content.There are two relatively mild mood disorders, although their mildness does not meanthat people suffering from these disorders do not need help.
  3. 3. Dysthmia: a moderate depression that last for two years or more and is typically areaction to some external stressor.Cyclothymia: disorder that consists of mood swings from moderate depression tohypomania and last two years or more.Major depressionSevere depression that comes on suddenly and seems to have no external cause.Major depression would fall at thee far extreme of sadness. People suffering from themajor depression are depressed for most of everyday, take little or no pleasure in anyactivity, feel tired etc.Bipolar disordersMajor depression is sometimes referred to as a unipolar disorder because emotionalproblem exists at only one end or pole of emotional range. When a person suffers fromsevere mood swings that go all the way from severe depression to manic episodes, thatperson is said to suffer from bipolar disorder, meaning that emotions cycle between thetwo poles of possible emotions. There is no external cause for the extreme ups anddowns of the bipolar person. The depressive phase of bipolar person areindistinguishable from major depression but give way to manic episodes that may lastfrom a few weeks to a few months. In these manic episodes, the person is extremelyhappy or euphoric. Restlessness, irritability, an ability to sit still or remain inactive andseemingly unlimited energy are also common. The persons may seems silly to othersand can become aggressive when not allowed to carry out the grand plans that areoften he hallmark of manic phase. Speech may be rapid and jump from one topic toanother. Oddly, people in the manic state are often very creative until their lack oforganization renders their attempts at being creative useless.That sounds almost like a description of an overactive child- cant sit still, cantconcentrate- are they related? The answer to this question is actually part of an ongoingcontroversy. The symptoms of bipolar disorder include irrational thinking and othermanic symptoms.Causes of mood disorderExplanations of depression and other mood disorders include psychoanalytic, learning,biological and genetic theories. Psychoanalytic theories see depression as anger turnedinward on the person. This anger, originally aimed at parents or other authority figureswho are too threatening to receive the expressions of anger directly, gets repressed bythe child and late is displaced to the self in the form of self-blame and self-hate.
  4. 4. Learning theories link depression to learned helplessness whereas social cognitivetheorists point to distortions of thinking such as blowing negatives events out ofproportions and minimizing positive, good events.Biological explanations of mood disorders focus on the effects of brain chemicals suchas serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, drug used to treat depression and maniatypically affects the level of these three neurotransmitters, either alone or incombination.Genes may also play a part in mood disorders. The fact that the more severe mooddisorders are not a reaction to some outside source of stress or anxiety but rather thanseem to come from within the persons own body , together with the tendency of mooddisorder to appear in genetically related individuals at a higher rate, suggests ratherstrongly that inheritance may play a significant part in these disorders .