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Dissociative Amnesia

Dissociative Amnesia involves the occurrence of one or more episodes where a person is unable to recall important personal information or events. These memory gaps usually have to do with events that were traumatic and stressful, or that involved the individual acting in aggressive ways (eg. self-mutilation, violent outbursts, or suicide attempts). These memory gaps are also too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

Different types of Dissociative Amnesia have been described:

Localized amnesia is the inability to recall any events that occurred during a specific period of time. This usually involves the first few hours after a profoundly disturbing event, such as witnessing a terror attack.

Selective amnesia is the inability to recall certain major details of events that occurred during a specific period of time. For example, a soldier may only recall some parts of a combat experience.

Generalized amnesia is the inability to recall any details of one's entire life.

Continuous amnesia is the inability to recall any events that occurred after a specific time and up to the present.

Systematized amnesia is the inability to recall memories having to do with certain categories of events, such as all memories relating to one's family or to a particular person.

A separate diagnosis of Dissociative Amnesia should not be made if these memory lapses occur exclusively during the course of Dissociative Identity Disorder, Dissociative Fugue, PTSD, Acute Stress Disorder, Somatization Disorder, or Dementia, or if they are the direct cause of another general medical condition or the effects of a substance.

Furthermore, a diagnosis of Dissociative Amnesia should only be made if these memory lapses cause significant distress or impair a person's ability to function in their life roles.

 

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Dissociation

Dissociative Fugue