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Dissociative identity disorder is a specific type of dissociation unique to that disorder. People who are not diagnosably DID can still experience forms of dissociation. Dissociation can happen as a passing experience or a constant experience, which can be extremely uncomfortable and in some cases, dangerous. Dissociation is a departure from the self, identity of the self, surroundings, and even a sense of reality. In a sort of psychological limbo, the dissociated state takes the present mind out of the present and essentially puts it somewhere else. Dissociation is a coping mechanism of the traumatized brain as a way to “check out” when flashbacks or intrusive thoughts start to take place. Severe dissociation in the form of DID is the absolute avoidance of revisiting the traumatizing episode(s).

Drugs like ketamine, dextromethorphan, and others are labeled ‘dissociatives’ due to their ability to induce a dissociated state. Substance abuse is a common coping mechanism for dealing with trauma. When dissociative drugs are introduced, it can worsen the dissociative tendencies of the traumatized brain.


Pink Floyd might have sung the song of depersonalization most articulately with “Comfortably Numb”: “You are only coming through in waves/ Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying…I can’t explain you would not understand/ This is not how I am/ I have become comfortably numb”. Depersonalization is a state of feeling different from the normal self. Most people will experience slight versions of depersonalization when they use terms like “I don’t feel right” and they don’t feel comfortable in their own body. In trauma recovery, depersonalization feels like a complete separation of personal space, what many would describe as “comfortably numb”. Severe experiences of depersonalization find people having a hard time connecting to reality, not knowing what is real, not real, or who they are.


Derealization is a form of distraction as much as it is a form of detachment or departure from the self. Dissociative episodes in which someone suddenly stares into space and becomes unresponsive is derealization. Detached from reality, they enter a different place in their head, which could seem like hours to them. Derealization can lead to a “zombie” like feeling of going through life unaware and unawake.


Simply defined, feeling detached means not feeling attached. Specifically, detachment in the trauma mind includes not being attached to basic knowledge and memory. Instead of easily recalling times, places, details, and emotions, there is a challenging difficulty. The feeling can be unsettling as someone feels detached from their own mind, unable to access their own memories.

If you are struggling with dissociation, it could be the result of untreated trauma or drug addiction. There is help available. Don’t give up hope. The Guest House in Ocala, Florida welcomes you precisely where you are, in need of understanding, compassionate, concierge-style residential care for trauma, addiction, and related disorders. Call us today for information on life at the estate and our treatment programs.