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What is Dissociation?

Dissociation is a kind of disconnection. You may feel disconnected from your physical surroundings, emotions, memories, or even your sense of self.

Dissociation is experienced on a spectrum from common everyday dissociative experiences like highway hypnosis or daydreaming to severe forms that can come from intense and often traumatic experiences. Unhealthy forms of dissociation that cause significant distress and impairment are known as dissociative disorders. These disorders often disrupt a person’s awareness, consciousness, and memory.

The DSM-5-TR breaks Dissociative Disorders into these main diagnostic categories:

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
  • Dissociative Amnesia
  • Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder (DPDR)
  • Other Specified Dissociative Disorder (OSDD)
  • Unspecified Dissociative Disorder

Check out the dissociative dictionary if you’d like to learn more about terms commonly used in the dissociative community.

While exploring this site and other dissociative content, remember that the latest information and theories can change. Try not to view it as conflicting information but as an evolving understanding. Listening to multiple sources (pun intended) is essential to get the whole picture.

The first video below is an introduction to Dissociative Amnesia, DPDR, and DID by a mental health professional. The second covers OSDD and non-DID presentations of systemhood by a system with lived experience.

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