What is dissociation?

Jump to


Dissociation is when the mind separates itself from an event or the environment as a way to cope with a situation. Usually dissociation happens during overwhelming or traumatic events. Some examples are physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect during childhood.

Dissociation responses vary by individual. But some common dissociation experiences include:

  • Feelings of "standing outside" oneself or "watching from a distance" during a traumatic event.
  • Developing significant personality changes and problems with mental processes.
  • Incomplete or lack of memory of traumatic events.
  • Appearing to have no sense of emotion regarding traumatic events.

Professional counseling is needed for dissociation that does not resolve on its own or is causing issues with behavior or mental health. Medicines may also be used as part of treatment.

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.