A dissociative disorder is a defense mechanism in which one's identity, memories, ideas, feelings, or perceptions are separated from conscious awareness. They can't be recalled or experienced voluntarily. The following are considered types of dissociative disorders:
trance and possession disorders
dissociative motor disorders
dissociative anesthesia and sensory loss
mixed dissociative (conversion) disorders
Each of these types of disorders has specific ways in which the symptoms of dissociation are shown. However, they all share the use of separation of emotions or behavior from the person's conscious thoughts.
What is going on in the body?
After a traumatic event, dissociation enables a person to numb his or her current feelings. It causes a temporary but drastic experience of feeling separate from one's self, not exisiting, or being in an unreal world. It can cause a dreamlike state.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
A dissociative disorder is thought to be the result of a person's defending against some form of trauma. Overwhelming stress usually causes dissociative disorders. The stress may be caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, accident, or disaster. It may be also caused by a person experiencing inner conflict. The mind is forced to separate unacceptable information and feelings from conscious thought. Dissociative disorders are often found among children who have experienced sexual abuse.