PSYC496AV Lecture Notes - General Idea, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Depersonalization
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dissociative amnesia: when a person is unable to recall important personal information, usually
after some stressful episode. The information is not permanently lost, but it cannot be retrieved during
the episode of amnesia.
rarely, the amnesia is for only selected events during a circumscribed period of distress, is
continuous from a traumatic event to the present, or is total, covering the person’s entire life.
The person’s behaviour during the period of amnesia is otherwise unremarkable, except that the
memory loss may bring some disorientation and purposeless wandering.
The amnesic episode may last several hours or as long as several years. It usually disappears as
suddenly as it came on, with complex recovery and only a small change of recurrence.
In degenerative brain diseases, memory fails more slowly over time, is not linked to life stress, and is
accompanied by other cognitive deficits, such as the inability to learn new information. Memory loss
following a brain injury caused by some trauma (eg an automobile accident) or substance abuse can
be easily linked to the trauma or the substance being abused.
Memory loss is more extensive in dissociative fugue than in dissociative amnesia. The person not
only becomes totall amnesic but suddenly leaves home and work and assumes a new identity.
Sometimes the person takes a new name, a new home, a new job, and even a new set of personality
More often, the fugue is of briefer duration. It consists for the most part of limited, but apparently
purposeful, travel, during which social contacts are minimal or absent.
Fugues typically occur after a person has experienced some sever stress, such as marital quarrels,
personal rejection, financial or occupational difficulties, war service, or a natural disaster. Recovery,
although it takes varying amounts of time is usually complete and the individual does not recollect
what took place during the flight from his or her usual haunts.
depersonalization disorder: unlike other dissociative disorders, involves no disturbance of
memory. In a depersonalization episde, which is typically triggered by stress, individuals rather
suddenly lose their sense of self. They have unusual sensory experiences, i.e. their limbs may seem
drastically changed in size or their voices may sounds strange to them.
They may have the impression that they are outside their bodies, viewing themselves from a
distance. Sometimes they feel mechanical, as though they and others are robots, or they move as
though in a world that has lost its reality.
Depersonalization episodes are associated with traumatic life events in general or specific events
involving sexual abuse.
The most common reaction was a sense of derealisation, with statements such as “I feel as if i am
floating away from reality”
Desomatization was also reported; “my body does not feel like it belongs”. Other symptoms; worries
about feeling isolated from people.
DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER:
Dissociative identity disorder: requires that a person have at least two separate ego states, or
alters – different modes of being and feeling and acting that exist independently of ach other and that
come forth and are in control at different times. There is usually one primary personality.
Gaps in memory occur in all cases and are produced because at least one alter has no contact with