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Dissociation

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Updated August 31, 2011

Definition:

A psychological process involving alterations in identity or sense of self.

These alterations in sense of self can include:

  • a sense that the world or the self is "unreal" (derealization and depersonalization)
  • loss of memory (amnesia)
  • forgetting one's identity and/or assuming a new one (fugue)
  • fragmentation of identity into more than one unique personality (dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder)

Dissociation is most often triggered by trauma or other severe stress.

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