Pathophysiology: Dissociation is a psychophysiologic process that alters a person's thoughts, feelings, or actions so that, for a time, certain information is not associated or integrated with other information as it normally is. This process, which manifests along a continuum of severity, produces a range of clinical and behavioral phenomena involving alterations in memory and identity. In extreme cases, the process gives rise to a set of psychiatric syndromes known as dissociative disorders. Not all abused children develop a dissociation disorder; however, studies have shown that abused children demonstrate more dissociation than nonabused children do. The previous entity of dissociative fugue has been incorporated into dissociative amnesia and is no longer a separate diagnosis.
Symptoms: Signs and symptoms of dissociative disorders include: Memory loss (amnesia) Mental health problems (depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts) A perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal A blurred sense of identity Significant stress or problems in your relationships, work or other important areas of your life