Evaluating the Impact of Dissociation in Psychiatric Disorders

Ionuţ Dragoş RĂDULESCU, Alexandru Bogdan CIUBARA, Codrina MORARU, Stefan Lucian BURLEA, Anamaria CIUBARĂ


Introduction: Dissociative symptoms are present in a various number of psychiatric disorders and are viewed as a major risk factor for suicidal and self-destructive behavior. Dissociation is defined in DSM-5 as a “disruption of and/or discontinuity in the normal integration of consciousness, memory, identity, emotion, perception, body representation, motor control, and behavior”. Assessing dissociation within different categories of mental disorders can be used to predict symptom severity and nonresponse to psychotherapeutic treatments. The most important tool in this process is the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES). The purpose of the current study is to extend the understanding of dissociation in Psychiatric Disorders.

Material and methods: The current study used PubMed and Cochrane databases to identify relevant articles that refer to the subject of dissociation in Psychiatric Disorders.

Results and Discussions: Dissociation and dissociative disorders have been at the root of continuous controversy in psychiatric and psychology communities. The general confusion comes from the reduced conceptual distinction between dissociation as a symptom, process, deficit and psychological defense. At the high end of the DES score we find dissociative disorders, but closely followed by posttraumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder and conversion disorder with eating disorders, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders at midrange and the lowest scoring DES psychiatric disorder is found in bipolar disorders. Early intervention, based on these scores, show major improvement in maladaptive functionality, suicidal and self-destructive behavior, coupled with a reduction in total treatment cost.

Conclusions: There is a significant benefit in careful assessment of dissociative symptoms for the entire spectrum of mental disorders. There is a major need to raise awareness in all mental health facilities, of the value that this has in the current clinical setting.


Dissociation; Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES); Psychiatric Disorders;

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