How many types of Dissociation do you know?

Dissociation takes many different forms, some effect everyday life or affect people every now and then, and other forms of dissociation can lead to distress and/or problems in everyday life. If these other forms of dissociative experiences happen several times – or once, but for an extended period of time – then they become problematic (pathological).

Dissociation can be seen as a spectrum, or more recently tends to be categorized as Normal/Normative, or Pathological Dissociation (i.e., the diagnosable/problematic kind).

How many types of Dissociation do you know? Which are types of normal Dissociation? Which are types of problematic Dissociation?

Types of Normal Dissociation
– Day dreaming
– Spacing out (briefly)
– Absorption (e.g., in a book)
– Highway hypnosis (expected travel with gaps in memory)

Types of Pathological Dissociation
– Numbing (emotional and/or physical) – a symptom of PTSD, Depression and others
Freeze Response – a symptom of PTSD and DID and others, common during trauma
– Out of Body Experiences (form of Depersonalization) – common during trauma, sometimes happens during near-death experiences, may also happen in BPD, and DID
– ‘Wall staring’ (spacing out, common in Depression)
– Trance states (e.g., Dissociative Trance Disorder in the ICD-10 manual, can happen in other disorders)
– Maladaptive day dreaming*
Derealization (either you/the world doesn’t feel real) – a separate diagnosis but also a symptom of BPD, Dissociative PTSD, and DID
Depersonalization (part of all of you doesn’t seem like you) – also symptom of BPD, Dissociative PTSD, and DID
Amnesia (without a physical cause) -a separate diagnosis but also a symptom of PTSD and DID
Fugue states (unexpected travel, sometimes with loss of or change in identity)
– Identity alterations/switching – a symptom of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and OSDD
– Catatonia (can be present in Schizophrenia)
Pseudo Seizures/Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures – dissociative reactions to stressors
Dissociative movement or sensation problems – also known as Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder (FND), or Conversion Disorder
* not currently a diagnosis

Problematic types of dissociation are recognized as mental health problems – and can be either a Dissociative Disorder or a common symptom/experience involved in another kind of mental health problem, such as depression.
Can you think of any which are missing? Leave a comment if you can.

Related Links

6 thoughts on “How many types of Dissociation do you know?

  1. Pingback: Small Steps of Progress on my Journey with Dissociative Identity Disorder | Trauma and Dissociation

  2. Pingback: How many types of Dissociation do you know? | The Life Of Von

  3. Your blog seems to treat people like broken machines, and medical categories as though they are real things, rather than very imperfect social constructs. Also it’s a bit pathologising, rather than normalising the experience. Just an observation.


    • Really? I don’t see people as broken or machines. I do post a lot on research, and find diagnosis gives a framework which can help people understand experiences, but not everyone is going to be comfortable with. Even what is viewed as ‘diagnosable’ does not necessarily mean it is problematic or somethin to be prevented/fixed. Responses to trauma are adaptive, and can be very helpful or bring skills that aren’t otherwise developed. Everyone has a different and unique way of being regardless or whether or not they have a trauma history. Normalizing can be tricky because it can either be helpful or invalidating/minimizing. Mostly I aim for a mix of personal experiences and thoughts on moving forward, and research/diagnostic stuff.


  4. Pingback: Dissociative and Dissociative Identity Disorder humor | Trauma and Dissociation

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