Dissociative disorders are disorders primarily characterized by dissociation, which is a wide range of alterations to consciousness, experienced as mild detachment from the environment to extreme detachment from the self.
Dissociation is a response to stress. It is a symptom of PTSD and result of traumas.
Dissociative states can be produced by:
- Intense emotional/physiological experiences (childbirth, drugs, etc.)
- Drug ingestion
- Religious experiences
- Flow states - an autopilot of doing a typical repetitive job
- Zoned out in front of the TV
Dissociation occurs on a continuum - normal, everyday vs. altered dissociative states vs. dissociative disorders
- Split in your attention
- May lack insight into dissociation if severe
- Disorders involve major disruptions to functioning, are considered abnormalities or pathologies
- Severity of dissociative experience is not the only consideration whether you have a dissociative disorder
If dissociation gets into way of life, it is either a dissociative disorder or a symptom of another disorder.
Dissociation is quite common - related to hypnotizability.
Examples of natural hypnosis include:
- Blanking out during a conversation
- Drove home on “autopilot”
Dissociation of this sort is normal from time to time, but may still be stress-related.
Dissociation itself is well-documented and not controversial, in contrast to the dissociative disorders, which are controversial.