- Also known as DSM-IV-TR.
- Formerly called "psychogenic amnesia."
- Defined when "normally well-integrated functions of memory, identity, perception, or consciousness are separated (dissociated)" 1
- Associated with trauma in the past & recent, or internal conflict
- "Continuity of the patient's memory is disrupted" 2
- Dissociative amnesia results from direct damage to the structural brain, causing head injury, physical trauma or disease. Such disorder include repressed memory.
- Person with such disorder would be in memory loss that is beyond the normal forgetfulness that we know of; instead it is serious, creating gaps in memory for long periods of time.
- A person with dissociative amnesia would not recall memories as it is deeply buried within person's mind, but the memories still do exist
- Not able to form new long term memories.
- Not be able to retrieve their stored memories, which would lead to onset of amnesia.
- Would lose autobiographical memory and personal identity
- Could lose basic knowledge to influence skills such as reading and writing though they would not have problems learning new information
- Almost always is an anterograde, having "no memory of events after the injury." 3
- Would lose "memory for a period or periods of time in the patient's life" 4
- Some patients with emotional distress. Degree of emotional upset is "in direct proportion to the importance of what has been forgotten, or the consequences of forgetting" 5
- Mild Depression
- The primary cause of dissociative amnesia is related to the traumatic experiences that the patient "has either survived or witnessed" 6
- Traumatic experiences could be such as financial problems, death of a parent or spouse, serious crimes, physical abuse during childhood, natural disasters, or extreme internal conflicts. 7
- Some personality types and character traits: according to a group of researchers in the United States, "persons diagnosed with dissociative disorders have much higher scores for immature psychological defenses than normal subjects." 8
- Psychoanalysis: using dream analysis, interpretation, and other psychoanalytic methods that could help the patient to retrieve lost memories. Sometimes, patients would be placed in " threatening situations where they are overwhelmed with intense emotion" 9
- Medications: There are no specific therapeutic agents that could prevent or cure dissociative amnesia itself now. However, antidepressants or other medications are given to treat symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia related to symptoms of dissociative amnesia.
- Psychotherapy: It is a relaxation technique, which help most patients to "recover their memories completely." 10 In this safe and relaxed evniorment, patients gradually regain memories. However, when memories are not sponaneously recovered, "hypnosis or sodium amytal (a drug that induces a semi-hypnotic state) may be used to help recover them." 11
- As it is a main branch of amnesia, dissociative amnesia is related to the following:
- Post-traumatic amnesia, which is caused by head injury that is either anterograde, retrograde, or mixed type.
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Ischemia 12
- Encephalitis 13
- Dissociative fugue 14
- Dissociative identity disorder
- Depersonalization disorder
1. Dissociative amnesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Dissociative-amnesia.html
2. Dissociative amnesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Dissociative-amnesia.html
3. Frey, R. (n.d.). Dissociative amnesia. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3405700128.html
4. Dissociative amnesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Dissociative-amnesia.html
5. Dissociative amnesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Dissociative-amnesia.html
6. Frey, R. (n.d.). Dissociative amnesia. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3405700128.html
7. Dissociative amnesia ( fugue). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.psychnet-uk.com/dsm_iv/dissociative_amnesia.htm
8. Dissociative amnesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Dissociative-amnesia.html
9. Dissociative amnesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychogenic_amnesia 10. Dissociative amnesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychogenic_amnesia
11. Dissociative amnesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Dissociative-amnesia.html
12. Dissociative amnesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/d/dissociative_amnesia/intro.htm
13. Dissociative amnesia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/d/dissociative_amnesia/intro.htm
14. Miller, J. (2009, December 30). Dissociative disorders. Retrieved from http://www.athealth.com/Consumer/disorders/Dissociative.html
15. Dissociative amnesia related to pregnancy. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.gjpsy.uni-goettingen.de/gjp-article-tharoor3-dissociative-amnesia.pdf.
16. Dissociative amnesia . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23Pum-7-pyM
17. Dissociative amnesia . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.straightdope.com/images/art/2004/040416.gif
18. Dissociative amnesia . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://i.ehow.com/images/a04/av/3j/identify-dissociative-fugue-800X800.jpg