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Flashcards in Dissociative Disorders Deck (23):

Hallmarks of dissociative disorders

Disruption of who you are
Interruption of identity without awareness that it's happening
Person isn't consciously aware of what he/she is doing


Depersonalization/derealization disorder

Persistent, recurrent episodes of depersonalization, derealization, or both
Person is aware of what is real and what isn't



Feeling of not being yourself for a period of time
"Observer" of self (out of body)



Feeling of the world not being real
Dreamlike state


Epidemiology of depersonalization/derealization disorder

Episodes are common (about half of people have them at one point or another), but disorder is rare
Sex: equal in male and female
Age of onset: adolescence (time of development of coping mechanisms)
Often associated with PTSD


Dissociative amnesia

Inability to recall important personal information, usually of a traumatic nature (similar to repression)
Not due to brain injury


Localized amnesia

Forgetting the trauma itself


Selective amnesia

Forgetting the details of the trauma


Generalized amnesia

Forgetting anything before the trauma took place


Systematized amnesia

Forgetting a specific piece of information (ex- having a brother)


Continuous amnesia

Forgetting things before and after the trauma


Dissociative fugue

Forgetting who you are, moving to a new place, and taking on a new identity


Epidemiology of dissociative amnesia

Sex: females 2:1
Age of onset: anytime (consistent with trauma)
Course: usually sudden onset, can last minutes to decades, often reversible


Dissociative identity disorder

2 or more distinct personality states ("timeshare" body- many different people inhabit)
When 1 identity has control, the others don't know what's happening
Gaps in recall of everyday events/traumas


Personalities in dissociative identity disorder

Main personality is host
Secondary personalities are alters
# of alters can range from 2 to hundreds (average is 15)
Alters have ranges in age, gender, and abilities


Epidemiology of dissociative identity disorder

Drastic increase in number of cases since release of movie Sybil in 1973
Rates uneven across countries/clinicians (90% of cases are diagnosed by 10% of clinicians)
Sex: equal


Typical presentation of dissociative identity disorder

Vague psychological complaints
History of abuse (often child sexual abuse)
Suicide attempts and/or self-mutilation
History of multiple therapists and diagnoses


Psychodynamic perspective on dissociative identity disorder

Repression of trauma
Other personalities develop to cope


Iatrogenic perspective on dissociative identity disorder

DID is developed in treatment
Suggestibility: trauma is suggested and didn't actually happen
Reinforcement: people want to please therapist by confirming his/her diagnosis
Role play: therapist teases apart "personalities"


Belief that dissociative identity disorder is factitious

People fake having multiple personalities
Minority of psychologists believe this


Treatments for dissociative identity disorder

Address underlying trauma
Remove gain of attention
Personality integration: adapt host to take on roles of alters (limited success)
Coping skills training: reduce underlying stress and impairment (ex- journaling between personalities to reduce gaps in memory)


Identity disturbance due to prolonged and intense coercive persuasion

Struggling with identity as a result of brainwashing


Dissociative trance

Losing oneself in a trance
If part of religious ceremony or meditation, then not a disorder