Dissociative disorders are the brains way of a coping with a situation or incident too upsetting for the conscious mind to process. A person with a dissociative disorder escapes reality in involuntary and pathological ways. There are several types of dissociative disorders (dissociative amnesia, dissociative identity disorder, dissociative fugue and depersonalization disorder), all of which are thought to be caused by experiencing a trauma or abuse.
Symptoms common to dissociative disorders include selective amnesia (of a specific time, person or event), depersonalization (a feeling of being detached from yourself), an indistinct or distorted sense of identity, and derealization (a feeling that something is off and the world and people around you are unreal). Individuals suffering from dissociative disorders often experience other mental health problems, like depression and anxiety. A mental health professional can help a person with a dissociative disorder to learn new ways of coping.