New type of PTSD marked by Dissociation

According to new research conducted at the National Centre for PTSD based in Boston University’s School of Medicine, there could be a subtype of PTSD that has symptoms of dissociation at the core of its debilitating effect.

Symptoms of dissociation can include the feelings that an individual’s surroundings are an illusion or unfamiliar, this is known as de-realisation, additionally, symptoms may include the feeling that an individual’s own body doesn’t feel like theirs or particularly unreal this is known as de-personalization.

Post traumatic stress disorder is usually marked by symptoms of hyperarousal, emotional avoidance, memory problems and insomnia. The research was intended to get a better understanding of PTSD and its effects on both the suffer and their intimate partners. 492 volunteers diagnosed with PTSD with causes ranging from natural disasters, warfare, combat and child physical or sexual abuse.

The researchers uncovered that individuals who had been subject to severe sexual abuse were significantly more likely to experience dissociation symptoms. These findings are particularly significant as it highlights that a new distinct subtype of PTSD with dissociative symptoms could be added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This could have a positive impact on both diagnosing and treating the individuals suffering from such symptoms in the aftermath of a traumatic event or experience.

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