Inspirational Quotes

"I have learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

--Maya Angelou

"Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and be vibrantly alive in repose."

--Gandhi

Dissociative Amnesia

This disorder involves a reversible memory impairment in which memories of personal experience cannot be retrieved in a verbal form (or, if temporarily retrieved, cannot be wholly retained in consciousness).

Symptoms include:

  • The predominant disturbance is one or more episodes of inability to recall important personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature, that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

  • The disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of Dissociative Identity Disorder, Dissociative Fugue, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, or Somatization Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a neurological or other general medical condition (e.g., Amnestic Disorder Due to Head Trauma).

  • The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

    Associated Features

    Some individuals with Dissociative Amnesia report depressive symptoms, anxiety, depersonalization, trance states, analgesia, and spontaneous age regression. They may provide approximate inaccurate answers to questions (e.g., "2 plus 2 equals 5") as in Ganser syndrome. Other problems that sometimes accompany this disorder include sexual dysfunction, impairment in work and interpersonal relationships, self-mutilation, aggressive impulses, and suicidal impulses and acts. Individuals with Dissociative Amnesia may also have symptoms that meet criteria for Conversion Disorder, a Mood Disorder, a Substance-Related Disorder, or a Personality Disorder.

    Individuals with Dissociative Amnesia often display high hypnotizability as measured by standardized testing.

      Prevalence

      In recent years, there has been an increase in reported cases of Dissociative Amnesia that involves previously forgotten early childhood traumas. This increase has been subject to very different interpretations. Some believe that the greater awareness of the diagnosis among mental health professionals has resulted in the identification of cases that were previously undiagnosed. In contrast, others believe that the syndrome has been overdiagnosed in individuals who are highly suggestible.

        Course

        Dissociative Amnesia can present in any age group, from young children to adults. The main manifestation in most individuals is a retrospective gap in memory. The reported duration of the events for which there is amnesia may be minutes to years.

        Some individuals with chronic amnesia may gradually begin to recall dissociated memories. Other individuals may develop a chronic form of amnesia.

          Diagnostic criteria summarized from:

          American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.



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