Dissociation and Dissociative Disorder

What is dissociation?

Many people may experience dissociation (dissociate) during their life.

If you dissociate, you may feel disconnected from yourself and the world around you. For example, you may feel detached from your body or feel as though the world around you is unreal. Remember, everyone’s experience of dissociation is different. 

Dissociation is one way the mind copes with too much stress, such as during a traumatic event.

There are also common, everyday experiences of dissociation that you may have. Examples of this are when you become so absorbed in a book or film that you lose awareness of your surroundings. Or when you drive a familiar route and arrive at your destination without any memory of how you got there.

Experiences of dissociation can last for a short time (hours or days) or for much longer (weeks or months). 

Dissociation may be something that you experience for a short time while something traumatic is happening. But you also may have learned to dissociate as a way of coping with stressful experiences. This may be something that you’ve done since you were young.