Dissociation is a mental process where a person disconnects from their thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity. Dissociative disorders include dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, depersonalisation disorder and dissociative identity disorder.
People who experience a traumatic event will often have some degree of dissociation during the event itself or in the following hours, days or weeks. For example, the event seems ‘unreal’ or the person feels detached from what’s going on around them as if watching the events on television. In most cases, the dissociation resolves without the need for treatment.
Some people, however, develop a dissociative disorder that requires treatment. Dissociative disorders are controversial and complex problems that need specific diagnosis, treatment and support. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have a dissociative disorder, it is important to seek professional help.