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Dissociative Amnesia

Dissociative amnesia is a specific form of amnesia caused by trauma or acute stress that causes you to be unable to remember key personal information.

According to WebMD, this can mean that you experience blackouts in memory that cover from a few minutes up to a few years in time.

The best way to handle the situation? Psychotherapy that helps you to work through the causative trauma and other experiences that may have caused the disorder. If you’d like assistance finding a mental health treatment center that can help you to work through the stress and trauma that is blocking your memory, contact us today.

Physiological vs. Psychological Causes of Amnesia

If you are unable to remember all or part of your recent or distant past, then you may have amnesia. When the problem is caused by a psychological trauma and not a physical trauma, then the problem is called dissociative amnesia.

Memories Commonly Lost to Dissociative Amnesia

When your memory loss is caused by a psychological trauma, the information you forget is often personal and autobiographical. For example, you may forget:

  • Who you are
  • Where you went
  • Whom you spoke to
  • What you did, thought, or felt during a specific event or situation
  • Information about the inciting trauma

However, even though you cannot recall the information blocked out by amnesia, your behavior and impulses may still be influenced by it.

Retrieving Memories

When you have dissociative amnesia, you may be able to retrieve lost memories through hypnosis or interviews conducted under the influence of certain medications. Even when those methods are productive, psychotherapy is still necessary to work through the original inciting trauma.

Victims of Dissociative Amnesia

Who is dissociative amnesia most likely to affect? Those who have been traumatized by:

  • An accident
  • War
  • A natural disaster
  • Childhood sexual abuse

False Memories and Memory Retrieval

The tricky thing about recovering memories lost to dissociative amnesia is that unless you have a witness who can verify your experience, you may falsely believe that you have spontaneously recovered true memories. This is a concern for both patients and doctors, because doctors who specialize in the treatment of dissociative amnesia must be careful to avoid saying or doing anything during memory retrieval sessions that may create a false memory.

Dissociative Amnesia Treatment Options

According to Merck Manual, some of the most effective treatments and therapies for dissociative amnesia include:

  • Personal therapy. Building a relationship with a trusted therapist can help you to open up about what happened leading up to the inciting trauma.
  • Cognitive therapy. Working to change dysfunctional behaviors can be helpful for those who are experiencing problems in interpersonal relationships due to the amnesia.
  • Medication. No medication can help the effects of dissociative amnesia, but if you experience depression or anxiety as a result of the disorder, then medication may be helpful.
  • Family therapy. Everyone in the family is affected by your dissociative amnesia, and all of you can work together to make your treatment as effective as possible.
  • Hypnosis. These sessions may be successful in helping you to recall lost memories.
  • Alternative therapies. A wide range of non-talk therapies can help you to get to nonverbal places inside that are potently emotional and may be the key to unlocking lost memories.

The goal of dissociative amnesia treatment is to manage any problematic behavior caused by the memory loss first and then work toward recovering memory and helping you to work through the psychologically traumatic experience that caused the issue in the first place.

If you’re ready to take the steps necessary to get your life back, contact us at the phone number listed above and speak to one of our counselors about how and where you can get started. One phone call is all it takes.