Dissociative disorders are conditions that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity or perception. People with dissociative disorders utilize dissociation, a defense mechanism, pathologically and involuntarily. Dissociative disorders are thought to be primarily caused by psychological trauma. DSM-V describes five dissociative disorders:
– depersonalization/dereallzation disorder, which involves periods of detachment from self or surrounding which may be experienced as “unreal” (lacking in control of or “outside of” self) while retaining awareness that this is only a feeling and not a reality.
– Dissociative amnesia, which involves a noticeable impairment of recall resulting from emotional trauma.
– Dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder), which involves the alternation of two or more distinct personality states with impaired recall among personality states.
– Unspecified dissociative disorder and other specified dissociative disorder, which are used for forms of pathological dissociation that do not fully meet the criteria of any of the other dissociative disorders.