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Dissociative Disorders Mental Health Treatment Center Orange County California

Dissociative disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by disruptions or breakdowns in the normal integration of consciousness, identity, memory, and awareness. These disorders often involve a disconnection or separation from one’s thoughts, feelings, memories, or identity, leading to a range of symptoms that affect a person’s sense of self and reality.

There are several types of dissociative disorders, including:

  1. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, DID involves the presence of two or more distinct identity states that control an individual’s behavior, consciousness, and memory. Each identity, often referred to as an “alter,” may have its own unique characteristics, memories, and behaviors.

  2. Dissociative Amnesia: This involves the inability to recall important personal information, usually related to traumatic or stressful events, that goes beyond ordinary forgetfulness. Memory gaps may be partial or complete.

  3. Depersonalization-Derealization Disorder: Depersonalization is the feeling of being detached from one’s own body, thoughts, or sensations, leading to a sense of unreality or detachment. Derealization is the perception that the external world is unreal or distorted. Individuals with this disorder may experience both depersonalization and derealization.

The development of dissociative disorders is often linked to experiences of trauma, particularly in childhood, such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Dissociation can be seen as a coping mechanism to deal with overwhelming or traumatic experiences.


People with dissociative disorders experience an involuntary disconnect with reality, usually in response to psychological trauma or memories of past traumatic events. Some of the ways they escape reality is through selective amnesia, developing alters (or alternative identities), losing identity, and other coping mechanisms.

Studies show that more than 70% of people experience one or more episodes of a dissociative disorder, but only 2% of the U.S population experience persistent dissociative disorders.

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT

Symptoms of Dissociative Disorders

  • Amnesia, or memory loss, of past traumatic events and their details
  • Lacking a sense of identity, or a complete loss of personal identity
  • Out of body experiences, feeling disconnected from body
  • Emotional detachment, detachment from emotional self

Other symptoms may include suicidal ideation, self-mutilation, and self-harm. Dissociative disorders may create challenges in social settings, an inability to cope with stress, and other health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Types of Dissociative Disorders

The 3 main types of dissociative disorders are:

Dissociative Amnesia

This disorder causes short term or long term memory loss about a particular event, or one’s own history or identity.

  • Localized Amnesia symptoms include losing memories about a period of time.
  • Selective Amnesia symptoms include not remembering certain details about certain events
  • Generalized Amnesia symptoms include a complete loss of identity or life history
Dissociative Identity Disorder

This disorder is identified by switching between two or more alternative personalities, each having its own identity, including mannerisms, preferences, memories, and often individual names.

  • Memory loss symptoms include distinctly different sets of memories (or gaps in memory) between the personalities
  • Other symptoms include suicidal ideation and attempts, self-harm and self-mutilation
Depersonalization / Derealization Disorder

This disorder is identified by a feeling of detachment from one’s own body, mind and self. They feel depersonalized from their identity. When they feel detached from other people around them and their surroundings it’s called derealization

  • Depersonalization symptoms include being an outside observer of oneself, watching one’s own actions and behaviors from a distance
  • Derealization symptoms include a sense of unreality, with a loss of perception of time, space and surroundings

Causes of Dissociative Disorders

  • A severe trauma or past traumatic event
  • Long-term abuse or violence
  • Inability to cope with life’s events, especially during childhood
  • Brain injuries and brain tumors
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Substance abuse
  • Highly restricted social and cultural environments

Treatment of Dissociative Disorders

Treatment for dissociative disorders typically involves psychotherapy, with a focus on helping individuals integrate their dissociated aspects, process traumatic memories, and develop coping strategies. The therapeutic approach often includes trauma-focused therapies, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Medications may be prescribed to manage specific symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, that often accompany dissociative disorders. Successful treatment often requires a collaborative and supportive therapeutic relationship over an extended period. Although there are no medications that can cure dissociative disorders, antidepressants are sometimes prescribed for treating associated symptoms.

Various formats of therapy have been shown to be effective in treating dissociative disorders including:


Opinions are varied regarding hypnosis as a treatment, however it still remains an effective diagnosis as well as a treatment of dissociative disorders. Hypnosis can aid diagnosis by facilitating switching between personalities and in treatment by helping to reintegrate the personalities.


Conventional talk therapy has been shown to be the most effective treatment for dissociative disorders by helping patients reprocess past traumatic experiences in a supportive safe space, and then helping them to reintegrate their identities.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses on negative thought patterns that are related to the patient’s dissociative disorders, and by replacing them with realistic, or positive thoughts and beliefs.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy helps dissociative disorder patients to learn how to manage overwhelming emotions by using techniques such as mindfulness practices and emotion regulation.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Specialists using EMDR therapy stimulate a dissociative disorder patient’s traumatic thoughts at the same time as physical actions such as focusing on eye movements. This process can help alleviate stress caused by painful thoughts and memories while helping the patients reprocess them.

Does Insurance Cover Dissociative Disorder Treatment?

Typically, yes. Insurance coverage for Dissociative Disorder treatment can vary depending on the individual’s insurance plan, the specific services needed, and the severity of the condition. Dissociative Disorders involve disruptions or gaps in the normal integration of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception.

Here are some considerations regarding insurance coverage for Dissociative Disorder treatment:

  1. Type of Insurance Plan:

    • Different types of insurance plans, such as private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, may have varying levels of coverage for Dissociative Disorder treatment.
  2. In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Providers:

    • Insurance plans typically have a network of preferred providers. In-network providers are often covered at a higher rate than out-of-network providers.
  3. Verification of Benefits:

    • It’s important to contact the insurance provider to verify specific coverage details for Dissociative Disorder treatment. This includes checking copayments, deductibles, and any out-of-pocket expenses.
  4. Medical Necessity:

    • Insurance coverage is often tied to the medical necessity of the treatment. A healthcare professional may need to provide documentation demonstrating the necessity of specific treatments or therapies for Dissociative Disorders.
  5. Preauthorization:

    • Some insurance plans may require preauthorization or approval before certain treatments or therapies are covered. Understanding and following the preauthorization process, if required, is essential.
  6. Coverage Limits:

    • Insurance plans may have limits on the number of therapy sessions, the duration of coverage, or the types of treatments covered for Dissociative Disorders.
  7. Parity Laws:

    • Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) in the United States may apply to ensure that coverage for mental health conditions, including Dissociative Disorders, is comparable to medical and surgical coverage.
  8. Individual Plan Details:

    • Each insurance plan is unique, and coverage details can vary widely. Understanding the specific terms and conditions of the individual’s insurance plan is crucial.

Individuals seeking treatment for Dissociative Disorders should work closely with mental health professionals and the insurance company to navigate the coverage process. Treatment facilities and healthcare providers often have staff members who can assist in verifying benefits and understanding the insurance coverage available.

Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At California Prime Recovery, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to California Prime Recovery today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-208-2390

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