Dissociative Disorders In The DSM-5 

Dissociative disorders and terms related to dissociative disorders have started to gain traction in recent years. However, there is still a lack of awareness surrounding dissociative disorders and the terms related to these disorders. The DSM or diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders is used by professionals to classify or diagnose mental disorders, and in the DSM-5, there is a category dedicated specifically to dissociative disorders. So, you might wonder, what falls under the category of dissociative disorders in the DSM? What is it like to live with a dissociative disorder? 


What are the types of dissociative disorders?


Types Of Dissociative Disorders In The DSM-5

Here are the different dissociative disorders featured in the DSM-5 and a brief overview of what each diagnosis entails:

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). This is a diagnosis characterized by two or more differing and distinct identities. Each identity within a system will have different behaviors, ways of thinking, and personalities. DID was formerly referred to as “multiple personality disorder.” Symptoms seen in DID must not be better attributed to other reasonings and/or conditions. 
  • Dissociative Amnesia. This is a diagnosis characterized by the inability to recall information about oneself or one’s life. Dissociative amnesia can show up in various ways. Most commonly, someone with dissociative amnesia will struggle to remember a specific time period or a specific event. In other cases, however, someone with dissociative amnesia may be unable to recall specific parts of an event or, in rare cases, they might experience a complete loss of memory of their life history and identity. 
  • Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder. This is a diagnosis characterized by persistent, recurring experiences of depersonalization or derealization. The American Psychological Association or APA dictionary defines derealization as “a state characterized by a diminished feeling of reality” and depersonalization as “a state of mind in which the self appears unreal. Individuals feel estranged from themselves and usually from the external world, and thoughts and experiences have a distant, dreamlike character.”
  • Other Specified Dissociative Disorder. This is a diagnosis used when someone has symptoms related to dissociative disorders that cause significant distress or that impact their daily functioning but does not meet the full criteria for another dissociative disorder listed in the DSM.
  • Unspecified Dissociative Disorder. This is a diagnosis that is typically used when a provider knows that there are symptoms of a dissociative disorder present but does not have adequate information to diagnose another dissociative disorder. An example of where this would be used is in a hospital setting where a provider isn’t able to gather enough information to provide another diagnosis.
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Diagnosis And Management 

The exact prevalence of dissociative disorders is unknown, but it is said to range from around 0.5% of the population to 2% of the population. To receive a diagnosis of a dissociative disorder or any other mental health condition, one must see a licensed medical provider such as a psychiatrist who is qualified to diagnose mental health disorders and conditions. Various types of psychotherapy are used to treat dissociative disorders. If you have a mental health condition of any kind or believe that you might, it is vital to reach out to a medical or mental health provider who can help. 

Find Support 

Whether you are seeking support for symptoms of a mental health condition, life stressors, interpersonal relationships, trauma, grief and loss, or anything else it’s on your mind, a therapist or counselor can help. There are a variety of ways to find a therapist. You can ask your doctor for a referral, contact your insurance company to see who they cover, search the web, or use a website like Mind Diagnostics that can help you find a provider who is licensed to practice and work with you. Simply type in your zip code, and you will see a range of providers with various specialties. Regardless of how you find support, you deserve to get the help that you need, so don’t hesitate to reach out. 

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