In Chapter 7, we will discuss dissociative disorders, including their clinical presentation, diagnostic criteria, epidemiology, comorbidity, etiology, and treatment options. Our discussion will include depersonalization/derealization, dissociative amnesia, and dissociative identity disorder. Be sure you refer Chapters 1-3 for explanations of key terms (Chapter 1), an overview of the various models to explain psychopathology (Chapter 2), and descriptions of the various therapies (Chapter 3).
- 7.1 Depersonalization/derealization disorder
- 7.2 Dissociative amnesia
- 7.3 Dissociative identity disorder
Chapter Learning Outcomes
- Describe the dissociative disorders and their symptoms.
- Describe the epidemiology of dissociative disorders.
- Indicate which disorders are commonly comorbid with dissociative disorders.
- Describe the etiology of dissociative disorders.
- Describe treatment options for dissociative disorders.
Dissociative disorders are a group of disorders categorized by symptoms of disruption in consciousness, memory, identity, emotion, perception, motor control, or behavior (APA, 2013). These symptoms are likely to appear following a significant stressor or years of ongoing stress (i.e. abuse; Maldonadao & Spiegel, 2014). Occasionally, one may experience temporary dissociative symptoms due to lack of sleep or ingestion of a substance, however, these would not qualify as a dissociative disorder due to the lack of impairment in functioning. Furthermore, individuals with acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experience dissociative symptoms, such as amnesia, flashbacks, depersonalization and/or derealization; however, because of the identifiable stressor (and lack of additional symptoms listed below), they meet diagnostic criteria for a stress disorder as opposed to a dissociative disorder.
There are 3 main types of dissociative disorders that will be described in the next three sections: Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder, Dissociative Amnesia, and Dissociative Identity Disorder.