In Psychological Disorders Part 2, Anxiety and Stress-Related Disorder were discussed. They are the most known and common disorders but they are not the only ones. There are many fewer known disorders. This article will discuss Dissociative and Somatic Symptom Disorders.
Such disorders include an interruption to consciousness which includes aspects like memory. Dissociative Amnesia involves a temporary loss of memory which can be caused due to some psychological trauma. This disorder should not be confused with forgetfulness. People with this disorder escape reality in ways that disrupt their daily life. Some symptoms of this are memory loss, being detached from yourself and your emotions, blurred sense of identity, inability to cope with emotions, and other mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
Dissociative Identity Disorder used to be known as multiple personality disorder. The person suffering from this disorder has multiple personalities and these personalities control the person’s behaviour. This can cause memory loss and delusions. Each personality has its own story, identity, history, traits, hobbies. Symptoms of this disorder are anxiety, delusions, disorientation, depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and memory loss. Example of this disorder can be seen in the movie “Split”.
Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder involves a person feeling disconnected from their own body because of which they feel an involuntary disconnect from their memories, consciousness, and emotions. The person suffering from this feels disconnected from their environment. Although this can be a sign of other conditions like brain diseases, dementia, schizophrenia, seizure disorders. Symptoms include feeling as if you are observing your body from outside, panic, and being robot-like.
Somatic Symptom Disorder
These disorders were earlier known as somatoform disorders. The special thing about these disorders is that they involve a notable physical symptom that does not have a diagnosable physical cause. Somatic Symptom Disorder involves someone having a big focus on physical symptoms like weakness or pain which causes the person excessive distress and problems in normal functioning. The person then has continuous thoughts and feelings related to the physical symptom. The physical symptom may or may not be diagnosable as a medical condition but the person believes they are sick and are surely not faking it.
Illness Anxiety Disorder involves having an excessive fear of serious medical illnesses. A person suffering from this disorder pays extra caution about their health. They are easily alarmed by anything that can be diagnosed as some medical illness, for example, a headache can make them worry about having a brain tumor. Symptoms can include finding no assurance from doctor visits and negative results, repeatedly checking for signs of illness, avoiding people or going outside to not take any risks, and frequently searching the internet for symptoms about possible illnesses.
Conversion Disorder is when a person has blindness, paralysis, or other neurological symptoms that cannot be explained by any medical explanation. This can occur because of a psychological conflict. Symptoms include the inability to speak and numbness.
Factitious Disorder is a disorder wherein a person deceives others by appearing sick or by purposely causing injury or sickness to self. People with this disorder know they are causing the symptoms but they do not understand why. Symptoms can include extensive knowledge of medical diseases, vague and inconsistent symptoms, eagerness to have frequent tests, arguing with doctors, conditions that get worse for no reason, and conditions that do not respond in an expected manner. This disorder is very challenging to identify.
These are rarer disorders than anxiety and depression and so less heard of. It is important to note that only in the case of Factitious disorder are the patients faking the illness. These disorders are usually difficult to diagnose and can only be treated by extensive therapy.
Note: this is just Part 3 of the Psychological Disorders series.