Demystifying Dissociation

Dissociation, pronounced ‘diss-o-sea-ae-shun’, is arguably one of the more misunderstood psychological phenomena out there.

Typically, it tends to be defined as the experience of feeling disconnected from yourself and/or the world around you, and it seems to sit along a spectrum from ‘normal’ to ‘severe’.

Most people will experience a form of dissociation at some point in their lives. This will likely be a fleeting experience that isn’t of any cause for concern, which may be induced by high emotional arousal, substances or even spiritual states. Arguably, daydreaming is even a type of dissociative experience, where a person temporarily disconnects from their present environment and loses track of time and place. Have you ever drifted off mid-conversation and missed what’s been said, or found yourself unable to recall the route you’ve just driven?

For some people however, dissociation can be a frequent occurrence which is pervasive, distressing and impairing.

Whilst dissociation is not a mental health condition in and of itself – rather a symptom or experience that can vary considerably from person-to-person, it tends to be associated with a number of serious mental health conditions and needs. For example, childhood abuse, ‘multiple personality disorder’, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis. Research suggests that trauma typically lies at its roots.

5 key types of dissociation include:

  • feeling like the world around you in unreal – things and people seem surreal, foggy, robotic or lifeless
  • feeling like you are floating outside your body or observing yourself from the outside
  • feeling like you are being pulled away from the present moment into reliving a past trauma as if it is happening again
  • being unable to remember important information about yourself, your life, or an event
  • switching between multiple and different identities and personalities, who may all speak and act differently

To find out more about Dissociation and the treatments that are available, visit our information page:

https://www.thefitzroviaclinic…

To enquire about an assessment or treatment for Dissociation, please contact us at hello@thefitzroviaclinic.com

Article written by Dr Emily Smyth, Clinical Psychologist