What Is Dissociative Disorders, and How to Identify

What Is Dissociative Disorders, and How to Identify

The Dissociative disorders, also known as disorder of conversion, is a mental disorder in which the person suffers from a psychological imbalance, there are changes in consciousness, memory, identity, emotion, perception of the environment, control of movement and behavior.

Thus, the person with this disorder can experience different types of signs and symptoms of psychological origin, that appear alone or in combination, without any physical disease that could be the case. The main ones are:

  • Temporary amnesia, either from specific events or a period of the past, called amnesia dissociative anesthetic;
  • The loss or alteration of the movements of parts of the body, called dissociative disorders of movement;
  • Slowing of movements and reflexes, or the inability to move, similar to a swoon or a state of catatonia, called stupor dissociative;
  • The loss of awarenessof who you are or where you are;
  • Movements similar to an epileptic seizure, called the seizure dissociative anesthetic;
  • Tingling or loss of sensationin one or more locations of the body, such as mouth, tongue, arms, hands or legs, called anesthesia dissociative anesthetic;
  • A state of extreme confusion mental;
  • Multiple identities or personalities, that is the dissociative identity disorder. In some cultures or religions, can be called a state of possession. If you want to know more about this specific type of dissociative disorders, check out Dissociative Identity Disorder.


It is common that patients with dissociative disorders exhibit behavior changes, such as a sudden reaction high, or unbalanced, for this reason, this disorder is also known as hysteria or hysterical reaction.

Generally, the dissociative disorders usually manifest itself or be exacerbated after traumatic events or of great stress, and usually arise abruptly. The episodes may arise from time to time or become frequent, depending on each case. It is also more common in women than in men.

The treatment of dissociative disorders should be guided by a psychiatrist and may include the use of drugs anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants to relieve the symptoms, making it very important to conduct psychotherapy.

How to confirm

During the crises of dissociative disorders, you can believe that it is a physical illness, so it is common that the first contact of these patients with the doctor in the emergency room.


The doctor identifies the presence of this syndrome to search intensely to changes in the clinical assessment and in exams, but nothing physical or organic that explain the framework is to be found.

The confirmation of the dissociative disorders is made by the psychiatrist, who will assess the symptoms presented in crisis and the existence of psychological conflicts that may be triggering or exacerbating the disease. This physician should also assess the presence of anxiety, depression, somatization, schizophrenia or other mental disorders that worsen or confuse with the dissociative disorders.

How is it treated

The main form of treatment of dissociative disorders is the conduct of psychotherapy with a psychologist, to help the patient develop strategies to deal with stress. Sessions are maintained until the psychologist finds that the patient is able to manage their emotions and relationships in a safe way.


It is also recommended that a follow-up with the psychiatrist, who will assess the evolution of the disease and may prescribe medication to relieve the symptoms, such as antidepressants, such as Sertraline, antipsychotics, such as Tiaprida or anxiolytics, such as Diazepam, if necessary.

What Is Dissociative Disorders, and How to Identify 1