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Dissociative Disorders: Social Factors

Dissociation is a response to trauma that can be acute (e.g., in response to rape) or chronic. The latter develops as a form of self-protection from long-term, inescapable trauma such as childhood maltreatment, sexual trafficking, repeated combat exposure, or political torture. The phenomena of dissociation include amnesia, identity disturbances, somatization, altered states of consciousness, and depersonalization/derealization.

Research shows that the dissociative disorders are strongly linked to trauma and overwhelming stress. For example, individuals with dissociative identity disorder (DID) have the highest rates of repeated early childhood trauma and maltreatment compared with other clinical groups. Depersonalization/derealization disorder is associated with emotional abuse and related stresses, such as growing up with a severely mentally ill parent. Exacerbation of symptoms in individuals with dissociative disorders is associated with financial, ...

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