JCCC Honors Journal


Dissociation is a disorder in which people separate themselves from the thoughts associated with traumatic events they have experienced. People can experience dissociative symptoms across the entire developmental lifespan. Traumatic events that produce high levels of PTSD symptomatology can also contribute to the development of a dissociative disorder, especially if the individual experiences dissociative symptoms during the traumatic event. However, high levels of dissociative symptoms has more of an influence on the development of PTSD than PTSD does on the development of dissociative symptoms. Trauma is strongly correlated with the development of dissociative symptoms. A dissociative subtype of PTSD was added to the DSM-V and is expected to account for 10% of all PTSD cases. The chances of developing a dissociative disorder increase if an individual experienced early childhood abuse and neglect. Studies of the elderly who have experienced dissociative symptoms suggest that the passage of time may act as a buffer and a means by which the severity of dissociative symptoms are lessened. Using an individualized approach by gathering specific information from people who suffer from dissociation informs caregivers as to whether confronting trauma directly through journaling or speaking expressively about their trauma is appropriate.