The Trauma-Stressor and Dissociative Disorders Project

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Welcome to, the wiki branch of the Trauma and Dissociation Project. This website contains a wealth of information about mental disorders caused by trauma. All information is clearly referenced, academic journals and books are cited throughout.


Dissociative disorders

This site offers accurate and up to date information on the Dissociative Disorders (DD), including: dissociative identity disorder (DID), dissociative amnesia (DA), Depersonalization Disorder/Derealization (DPD), other specified dissociative disorder (OSDD), (formerly dissociative disorder not otherwise specified - DDNOS, and other specified dissociative disorders. [1]:155-159

Trauma and Stressor-related disorders

The Trauma and Stressor-related disorders are also included: Reactive attachment disorder (RADOriginally the only attachment disorder listed in the [[DSM]]. A stressor-related disorder, disinhibited social engagement disorder was originally a subtype of RAD.), Disinhibited social engagement disorder, Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Acute stress disorder (ASD), Adjustment disorders, Other Specified Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorder and Unspecified Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorder. [1]:141-153




DSM-5 Category: Dissociative Disorders

The DSM-5, was released May, 2013 and the DSM-5 committees have settled on the following categories:

  • Dissociative identity disorder (DID)
  • Dissociative amnesia (DA), with or without dissociative fuguepsychogenic fugueA temporary loss of personal identity due to trauma, reclassified as Dissociative Amnesia within the DSM-5. Dissociative amnesia includes dissociative fugue as a subtype, since fugue is a rare disorder that always involves amnesia, but does not always include confused wandering or loss of personality identity. <ref name=DSMIV/> <ref name=DSM5Deskref/> <ref name=Spiegel2013/>Dissociative amnesia (DA) was previously called psychogenic amnesia is a form of temporary amnesia that presents often in traumatic situations; for example in car accidents or victim or witness of a violent crime. Dissociative Amnesia is described in the DSM as a disorder that causes significant distress or impairment in functioning, such as when a person cannot remember significant events that happened to them. <ref> (DF)
  • Depersonalization/Derealization disorder
  • Other specified dissociative disorder (OSDD, formerly Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified)
  • Unspecified dissociative disorder (UDD)

DSM-5 Category: Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders

The Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders are:

Note: Complex posttraumatic stress disorder is not named in the DSM-5 but is in the draft version of the ICD-11 manual.

Table of contents

The Mask of dissociative identity disorder. The mask represents the normal face that traumatized individuals present to the world; behind the mask are the parts of the personality who struggle with one another. The demons represent the shame and issues that can occur; the lightning strikes the attacks against the self. The train carries the healed toward paradise while the unhealed looks on, stuck in their nightmare setting. Art by: Jeffsong
  • Category:Healing
  • History: dissociative identity disorder
  • Host: alter in executive controlThe alter that has control of an individual at that moment has executive control, and the alter most often in executive control is commonly called the host alter. <ref name=Boon2011/>{{Rp|27}}
  • Integration to unificationAlso known as final fusion. See 'integration'.Integration (state of unification) occurs in the minds of all individuals and is a process rather than an end product. "If integration is impaired, the result is chaos, rigidity, or both. Chaos and rigidity can then be seen as the red flags of blocked integration and impaired development of the mind." <ref name=Siegel2012/>{{Rp|9}} The natural process of the mind is to link differential parts (distinct modes of information processing) into a functional and unified self. No child has unified personality when born, in fact, they need years of sufficient nurturing for the parts of their personality to integrate. (see multiple) <ref name=Siegel2012/>{{Rp|394}} "Integration is more like making a fruit salad than like making a smoothie: It requires that elements retain their individual uniqueness while simultaneously linking to other components of the system. The key is balance of differentiation and linkage." <ref name=Siegel2012/>{{Rp|199}} Integration is the normal process that occurs in early childhood, but if interrupted by trauma and disorganized attachment, the child may not be able to integrate, resulting in a dissociative disorder. <ref name=Howell2011/>{{Rp|143}} As an adult, when therapy is sought out, an individual who has unresolved trauma and lacks integration, can finally get the help needed to process the trauma memories, which needs to be done prior, and to finally [integrate the alters making up the ersonality into one unified self. <ref name=Noricks2011/>{{Rp|141-144}} (a unified sense of selfNormal sense of self is experienced as alterations in consciousness, but the sense of self remains stable and consistent. In individuals with a Dissociative disorder the sense of self alternates and is inconsistent across time and experience. <ref name=Dell2009/>{{Rp|160}} There is no unified sense of self.)
  • International classification of diseases (ICD-10)
  • International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation
  • Memory: understanding unprocessed trauma memory
  • Other Diagnoses: BPD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia
  • Personality and Self
  • Polyfragmented: Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • PTSD and Complex PTSD
  • Ritual abuse
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seizures: psychogenic non-epileptic seizuresCommon in those with dissociative identity disorder. A non-epileptic seizure is psychogenic rather than epileptic. Symptoms of pseudoseizures include "side-to-side shaking of the head, bilateral asynchronous movements (eg, bicycling), weeping, stuttering, and arching of the back." These pseudoseizures can be "predicted by preserved awareness, eye flutter, and episodes affected by bystanders (intensified or alleviated). <ref name=Medscape/> {{See also| Pseudoseizures}}, PNESCommon in those with dissociative identity disorder. A non-epileptic seizure is psychogenic rather than epileptic. Symptoms of pseudoseizures include "side-to-side shaking of the head, bilateral asynchronous movements (eg, bicycling), weeping, stuttering, and arching of the back." These pseudoseizures can be "predicted by preserved awareness, eye flutter, and episodes affected by bystanders (intensified or alleviated). <ref name=Medscape/> {{See also| Pseudoseizures}}
  • Self harm
  • Structural dissociation Apparently Normal Parts (ANPs) and Emotional Parts (EPs)
  • Terminology for Trauma and Dissociative Disorders
  • Therapist
  • Trauma
  • Trauma and Stressor-related disorders
  • Unified sense of self also known as Fusion
  • Videos: trauma and dissociation
  • All Pages
  • Top Ten popular pages

Peer to peer tips for Dissociative Identity Disorder

Child abuse and the Trauma and Dissociation Project


Child abusers, especially pedophiles, and go to great lengths to hide the emotional, physical and sexual abuse they enact upon children, but the fact remains that child abuse is common, and is truly a hideous and hidden epidemic of the human culture. Individuals who are, or were abused, suffer from shame, and often blame themselves for the abuse they suffered at the hands of a caregiver. The abusive parent or abusive caregiver which a child must depend on to live is essential to a child's survival, and cannot be easily discarded. [2]:7-19 The existence of amnesia due to child abuse is both highly desirable and strongly denied by child abusers, who hope their victims will lack the ability to recall their childhood suffering or will not speak about it. The inability to recall aspects of major traumatic events is a diagnostic symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and traumatic amnesia, particularly for child abuse experiences. Having no conscious memory of child sexual abuse is a common occurrence, particularly among incest survivors. [3]:1173 Traumatic amnesia was first documented in soldiers by Dr Charles Myers, during World War I.

The movies and books about 'Sybil' did show public that amnesia plays a significant role in those who have dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder), but at the same time spread the misconception that a person can have more than one personality rather than a single, fragmented personality. Jennifer Freyd's "Betrayal Trauma Theory" suggests that dissociative amnesia is an adaptive response to childhood abuse. [2]:225 A child mistreated by their caregiver(s) must find a way to survive, and dissociative amnesia allows this by allowing a child to maintain an attachment with their caretaker/caregiver. [2]:9 Child abuse leads to an insecure attachmentThe communication of emotion between an infant and their primary caregiver(s) is essential to shaping the developing mind. "Emotion serves as a central organizing process within the brain. In this way, an individual's abilities to organize emotions - a product in part, of early attachment relationships directly shapes the ability of the mind to integrate experience and to adapt to future stressors." <ref name=Siegel/>{{Rp|9}} Interruption in the attachment pattern of young children with their caretaker(s) has been shown to be a primary precursor to Dissociative Disorder pathology. (see etiology) <ref name=Medscape/> <ref name=HauntedSelf/>{{Rp|85}} <ref name=Howell2011/>{{Rp|97}} when a child has no one to turn to.

In researching attachment, trauma and dissociation, it was found that any form of early insecure attachment to the primary caregiver, particularly disorganized attachment, increases the likelihood of a child having dissociative reactions to later trauma, creating a pathway to trauma-related disorders including dissociative identity disorder. [4]:17 Disorganized attachment is characterized by a child's lack of a coherent organized behavioral strategy for dealing with stressful situations, and occurs most commonly in situations of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. [2]:66 Severe neglect can also lead to unresolved trauma. [2]:67Pathological dissociation is a complex psychophysiologicalPsychophysiology refers to "the science which studies the physiology of psychic functions through the brain-body-interrelationships of the living organism in conjunction with the environment" <ref name=Mangina1983/>{{Rp|22}} Psychophysiology is concerned with measuring of psychological responses in order to understand behavior, including activities such as reactions to stress, sleep, memory, learning, perception or any activities that psychologists are inclined to study. <ref name=Andreassi2010/>{{Rp|Preface}} This includes measuring heart rate, biofeedback, neuroimaging, such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potential (ERP) approaches to studying the brain and body, including the nervous system, memory, neurotransmitters, motor functions (movement) and brain wave activity for example.<ref name=Andreassi2010/> process that changes the accessibility of memory and knowledge, integration of behavior, and states. Dissociative identity disorder is the ultimate example of how overwhelming life events that occur very early in childhood can affect the human mind, and how dissociative mechanisms can provide temporary adaptive protection from child abuse. [2]:225 Psychological trauma occurs from a series of severely distressing events such as constant child abuse and/or neglect. [5]

Edit this site

We encourage those with knowledge of the trauma-stressor and dissociative disorders to join with us in creating an accurate and helpful information based site. Simply make an account and review our editor guidelines. All information is to be referenced to expert information except our section on peer to peer tips. See the bottom of the table of contents at the bottom of this page for the peer section.

New Editor Information

Related projects

Dissociative Identity is a peer written site, reviewed by health care professionals that presents up to date information on all aspects of dissociative identity disorder. In addition to this branch of the Trauma and Dissociation Project, we strongly encourage all mental health professionals and students to join the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISST-D) and/or the Society for Traumatic Stress Studies for access to reliable research, education, certification and more. These are also the organizations to contact for people looking for a qualified mental health provider. The ISST-D is responsible for the professional publication titled: Journal of Trauma and Dissociation. The ISTSS equivalent is the Journal of Traumatic Stress, which focuses more on Complex PTSD and PTSD than Dissociative Disorders.


Transitory has donated the time and knowledge to create this work space. Thank you Transitory!


  1. ^ a b Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Chu, James A. (2011). Rebuilding shattered lives treating complex PTSD and dissociative disorders. ISBN 9781118093146. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons
  3. ^ Williams, LM. Recall of childhood trauma: a prospective study of women's memories of child sexual abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, volume 62, issue 6, page 1167-1176. (doi:10.1037//0022-006X.63.3.343)
  4. ^ Liotti, Giovanni. Trauma, Dissociation, and Disorganized Attachment: Three Strands of a Single Braid. Psychotherapy: Theory, research, practice, training, volume 41, issue 4, page 472-486. (doi:10.1037/0033-3204.41.4.472)
  5. ^ Siegel, Daniel J. (2012). The developing mind : how relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. ISBN 146250390X. New York: Guilford Press