ABC Medical Center > Dissociative disorders

What is Dissociative disorders?

21:56 - 4 May , 2021


These are mental conditions in which there is no contact with reality, where balance and consistency between behaviors, thoughts, memories, and personality are affected, often endangering the physical integrity of those who suffer from this disconnection, making it difficult for them to continue with their daily activities normally.

Dissociative disorders are the result of a kind of defense mechanism that hides traumatic events, forgetting them or creating an alternate identity. Each person can develop them differently and with less or greater intensity.

In most cases, it arises in children who have been physically and emotionally abused for a long time, have lived through wars, or have been victims of accidents or natural disasters.

There are three types of dissociative disorders:

  • Dissociative amnesic episodes:
    Whose main characteristic is the selective loss of memory about traumatic events.
  • Dissociative identity or multiple personality:
    Its main feature is based on the creation of two or more alternative identities, whose presence is felt in the mind and that express themselves and coexist, taking control of the patient at times. They also frequently suffer from dissociative amnesia.
  • Depersonalization-derealization:
    The main symptom lies in disconnecting from oneself (depersonalization), becoming a spectator of one’s own life, while derealization is a feeling of unreality in situations, which can be very distressing.

Signs and symptoms Dissociative disorders

The symptoms vary depending on the type of dissociative disorders suffered, but the most common consist of:

  • Selective amnesic episodes of traumatic events, people, or aspects of themselves that they want to forget.
  • Mental confusion.
  • Lack of contact with reality.
  • Emotional and professional stress, as well as the inability to deal with it.
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
  • Confused identity.
  • Distorted perception of things and people.
  • Problems in personal, social, and work relationships.
  • Feeling of being separated from oneself.

Potential risks:

Dissociative disorders can trigger:

  • Drug addiction and alcoholism.
  • Injure or mutilate yourself.
  • Seizures.
  • Sexual problems
  • Insomnia and sleepwalking.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Personality disorders.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Suicide.

Diagnosis and treatment Dissociative disorders

Once the doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, you will have a physical examination that will include a psychiatric evaluation. They will also perform blood tests, an electroencephalogram, MRI, and computed tomography.

Treatment will depend on the type of dissociative disorder you have, but generally includes medication to control symptoms and psychological therapy, so that a mental health specialist can help you understand the cause of your disorder and how to deal with it.

At the Neurological Center, a select group of highly trained and certified doctors in the various neurological specialties are ready to assist you with the quality and warmth that characterizes us.

Nervous system specialties

  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Spine surgery
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Neurophysiology
  • Neuro-rehabilitation
  • Neuro-pathology
  • Interventional neuro-radiology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Neuro-otology
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Neuroimaging


  • Aguilar JE. Del trastorno al estado disociativo: Control de las crisis mediante la Cultura. Revista del Hospital Psiquiátrico de La Habana. 2014;11(3):.
  • Palacios L, Heinze G. Trastorno por estrés postraumático: Una revisión del tema (Primera Parte). Salud Mental. 2002;25(3):19-26.
  • Robles GR, Garibay RSE, Páez AF. Evaluación de trastornos disociativos en población psiquiátrica mexicana: prevalencia, comorbilidad y características psicométricas de la Escala de Experiencias Disociativas. Salud Mental. 2006;29(2):38-43.
  • Rascón ML, Caraveo J, Valencia M. Trastornos emocionales, físicos y psiquiátricos en los familiares de pacientes con esquizofrenia en México. Rev Invest Clin. 2010;62(6):509-515.

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