Dissociation Disorders Treatment
The term dissociation describes a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment from physical and emotional experience.
The major characteristic of all dissociative phenomena involves a detachment from reality, rather than a loss of reality, as in psychosis.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (known in the past as Multiple Personality Disorder-MPD) and other Dissociative Disorders are now understood to be fairly common effects of severe trauma in early childhood. The most common cause is extreme, repeated physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse.
Symptoms include memory loss (amnesia) at certain time periods, events and people; depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and attempts; a sense of being detached from yourself; a perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal; a blurred sense of identity; significant problems in your relationships.
Trauma and DID
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a trauma-related mental illness. PTSD is closely related to Dissociative Disorders. In fact, most people with a Dissociative Disorder also have PTSD. Research also shows that people with trauma disorders have more serious medical illnesses, substance use and self-harming behaviours.
When Is Dissociation Helpful?
During a traumatic experience dissociation can help a person tolerate what might otherwise be too difficult to bear. In situations like these, a person may dissociate the memory of the place, circumstances, or feelings about of the overwhelming event, mentally escaping from the fear, pain, and horror. This may make it difficult to later remember the details of the experience, as reported by many disaster and accident survivors.
Trauma therapists now do have a better understanding of dissociation than they did ten years ago, but it is still a controversial subject in the field of mental health, because it is routinely equated with Disscociative Identity Disorder.
As a result of this, it is sometimes possible to miss the more subtle presentations and it is important to start to understand dissociation as we would any other mental phenomenon. It is important to understand that much of our dissociativeness is adaptive. For example, if a system of dissociative defences enables a child to survive physically and psychologically then we have to be careful about encouraging the patient to take down those walls.
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (one of our main modalities here at Khiron House) takes the approach that the past is helpful only to the extent that it helps to heal rather than re-open old wounds.
At Khiron House
During our dissociation disorder treatment we see all aspects of dissociation as part of the experience of trauma.
An unfinished biological response to a previously stressful, or threatening, incident leaves a residual disturbance in the body, specifically in the sympathetic nervous system.
This fails to reset and does not return to a state of balance. The resulting dysregulation causes the body to be over-responsive to the next threat and over time this can build into a total failure of the biology to metabolise threat.
Treatment modalities are Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, with its strong emphasis on early attachment and developmental issues, is ideally suited to treating the effects of early trauma which is associated with dissociative disorder and dissociation in general.
Call us on 020 3668 1606 to learn more about our Dissociation Disorder treatment.