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Dissociative Amnesia

(Also Known As: Psychogenic Amnesia, Retrograde Amnesia, Dissociative Disorder, Identity Disorder)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Dissociative Amnesia?

Dissociative amnesia is a condition where there is a pervasive memory loss involving personal information which does not result from medical trauma, such as traumatic blow on the head, but rather due to a disturbance on recalling personal information caused by traumatic and stressful experience that is too extensive to be explained by a simple case of forgetfulness. 1

Classified in the DSM-IV-TR, dissociative amnesia is considered to be a dissociative disorder categorically belonging to mental disorders that manifest disintegration of memory, perception, identity and consciousness. 2

The following are the different subtypes of Dissociative Amnesia:

  • Generalized Amnesia
    • This involves an amnesia that involves forgetting the entire life of the person.
  • Selective Amnesia
    • This involves recalling only a few portions of the past events that took place only within a defined period of time.
  • Systematized Amnesia
    • This involves a memory loss on specific information, such as an inability to recall memories about a single member of the family only.
  • Continuous Amnesia
    • This involves a memory loss of past events that begin from a specific period in the past that is continuous to the present time.
  • Dissociative Fugue
    • This involves a rare disorder concerning memory loss where the person become confused of their identity and often assumes a different identity that may last for a few hours, days, or months.

Dissociative amnesia is often associated with depression, post traumatic disorders, and anxiety disorders. Formerly known as psychogenic amnesia the condition is characterized with an abnormal function in their ability to recall past events without known structural brain damage or even any neurobiological etiology.

Dissociative amnesia is often characterized by memory loss, loss of consciousness and awareness, identity and even perception. This type of mental illness can often result in a disrupted general functioning of a person that may affect their family, work, social life, and relationships with others.

Could You Have Dissociative Amnesia?

Dissociative Amnesia Topics

Related Conditions

Depersonalization Disorder – automation, derealization, dissociation, out of body experience
Dissociative Identity Disorder – two distinct personalities, memory loss, depersonalization, depression
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Nightmares, Insomnia, Sexual Abuse, Irritation, Social Impairment, Problems with Memory and Concentration, Intrusive Memories, Hyper-Vigilance