Dissociation is one way our minds cope with too much stress, especially during traumatic events, during which it is the brain’s natural response to something overwhelmingly out of your control. Dissociation related to mental health issues can describe a number of alterations in psychological processes that change the way a person experiences day-to-day life. In essence, it describes a disconnection or lack of connection between things usually associated with one another, ultimately resulting in discontinuities of experiences or conscious awareness.
Many people who experience dissociation describe feeling disconnected from themselves (their thoughts, feelings, memories, behaviors, perceptions) or the world around them in ways that affect their functioning. Experiencing dissociation regularly and severely enough to impact your daily life may be evidence of a dissociative disorder or be a symptom of another mental health condition. Dissociative symptoms and disorders often stem from a combination of biological and environmental factors, and are typically correlated with survival of complex trauma over time.
Contrary to popular belief, dissociative symptoms and dissociative disorders are moderately common, with some studies putting the prevalence at approximately 10% of the general population.*
If you have more questions about dissociation, or think that you may be experiencing these phenomena, Well Psychotherapy can help.
*International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation