The breakdown of one's perception of his/her memories, surroundings, or identity is classified as a dissociative disorder. These disorders arise when a person is trying to avoid stress or anxiety and when their way of dealing with life problems has been threatened (Carson,p.280). A situation may have been too difficult for their normal coping mechanism. Many times, dissociative disorders are triggered from abuse or severe trauma, the person dissociates themselves from a situation or experience too traumatic to integrate with his conscious self. There are four main dissociative disorders: dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, dissociative identity disorder (previously called multiple personality disorder), and depersonalization disorder.
Dissociative amnesia is the memory loss of personal information resulting from a traumatic event in one's life. There are four prominent types of this disorder including localized, selective, generalized, and continuous. When a person experiences localized amnesia, a period of time following a traumatic event is lost in the person's memory.
With selective amnesia, one may remember parts of the traumatic event but not all. When a person loses their whole life history, it is called generalized amnesia. Continuous amnesia occurs when a person can only remember experiences beyond one point. (Carson,p.280-281) Dissociative amnesia does not result from any medical trauma.
When a person suffers from amnesia and suddenly leaves their surroundings, this is considered dissociative fugue. This journey can last hours, days or even years. Instead of just losing the memory or psychologically avoiding the trauma, a person fleas the situation. It is possible for a person to travel far and set up an entire new life without remembering previous events, they have successfully escaped the traumatic situation. Many times, a person may have no memory of what happened during the fugue when they regain their original memory.
What was previously known as...