Dissociative Personality Disorder, Depression and Addiction

Dissociative Personality Disorder, Depression and AddictionDissociation is a psychological term that describes detachment from reality, as opposed to a complete break from reality in psychosis. Dissociation occurs on a continuum: at the lighter end is experiences such as daydreaming; further along the continuum are altered states of consciousness that occur with psychoactive substances like LSD; at the heavier end of the continuum are dissociative disorders which qualify as mental illness.

Types of Dissociative Disorders

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, there are five types of dissociative disorders, including the following examples:

  • Dissociative amnesia usually involves the inability to remember a stressful or traumatic event
  • Dissociative fugue means a patient may experience confusion about her identity and may assume a new one
  • Dissociative identity disorder involves two or more distinct identities that alternately dominate someone’s thoughts and behaviors. This issue was formerly known as multiple personality disorder.
  • Depersonalization disorder keeps a patient in touch with reality but detaches him from himself and others. Patients often describe the sensation as floating outside their bodies and observing life as through a window or dream.
  • Dissociative disorder not otherwise specified is a catch-all term for any dissociative experience that lacks the criteria for any of the other categories

All of these problems are quite serious and demand professional treatment.

The Relationship between Dissociation and Other Mental Health Issues

People with dissociative disorders display a high incidence of other types of mental health issues. Depression, substance abuse and addiction occur at significantly higher rates among persons with dissociative disorders. It is often difficult to determine which problems caused the other, but both depression and substance abuse probably contribute to dissociative disorder. Dissociation is thought to be a defense mechanism to cope with psychological trauma. Similarly, many people abuse a substance to self-medicate emotional or psychological pain.

Some psychoactive drugs can induce a state of dissociation, although this state is generally temporary and does not qualify as a dissociative disorder. It is unlikely that drug use by itself will cause a dissociative disorder, but someone may trigger the disorder if she uses drugs and has additional risk factors for dissociation. Drugs that may induce a dissociative state include the following examples:

  • Alcohol
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Ketamine
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Psilocybin

Get help today if you abuse any of these substances, have depression and also struggle with symptoms of DID.

Treatment for Addiction, Depression and Dissociation

A person with a dissociative personality disorder is likely to suffer from co-occurring disorders such as addiction and depression. Integrated treatment can help patients with these conditions to address the issues that led to their diagnoses. This enables patients to cope with the effects of their experiences without drug use. If you would like help finding treatment, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today.