A person shared their experience with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociation on a website called The Mighty. Here is an excerpt from their story:

“Dissociation takes many forms, but for me, it means I am never truly “present”. There is always a part of my brain that is shut down. Some days, this means I have no concept of time.  I will function on autopilot for hours or even days at a time, and nobody else is aware I am not thinking or feeling anything.”

Symptoms of PTSD often range from flashbacks, anxiety, insomnia, and unwanted thoughts to loss of pleasure in activities and dissociation. Dissociation is defined by Mental Health America as “a mental process that causes a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memory, and sense of identity. Mild forms of these may include daydreaming or “getting lost” in an activity, while more severe forms can lead to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder. If you experience dissociation at times, you may feel as though you are watching yourself in a movie; Mental Health America states that approximately 1/3 of people experience this.

Dissociation is the brain’s most direct defense for protecting you from a traumatic experience. Certain traumatic experiences in which escape is not possible may lead a person to experience dissociation as an internal way of escaping. There are two main subtypes of dissociation:

  • Depersonalization: feeling an “out of body” experience, as though watching oneself from above
  • Derealization: feeling as though the world “isn’t real”, and that you are in a dream

Previous research has shown that individuals with both PTSD and symptoms of dissociation have often experience repeated traumatization before developing PTSD, have other psychiatric disorders as well, have increased functional impairment, and experience increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors. If you’ve been struggling with PTSD and dissociation, recovery is possible and it’s important that you seek out a reputable treatment program. Treatment may involve medication to help you clear your mind, therapy to help you work through your issues as well as individual and group therapy activities to assist you in developing tools towards overcoming symptoms of PTSD and dissociation.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.

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