People who have Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS) will have symptoms that are described as a dissociative disorder, however, the mix and severity of symptoms do not totally fit any of the four other specific dissociative disorders:
- Depersonalisation disorder
- Dissociative fugue
- Dissociative amnesia
- Dissociative identity disorder (DID)
In other words this disorder includes a dissociative symptom such as a disruption in usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity or perception but the symptoms do not meet the criteria for any specific dissociative disorder.
Symptoms can include the following:
- Derealisation which is not accompanied by depersonalisation
- Similar symptoms to Dissociative Identity Disorder but these fail to meet the full criteria for DID.
- Dissociation that arises in people who have experienced such events as brainwashing, thought reform or indoctrination while in captivation.
- Single or repeated disturbances in the state of identity, memory or consciousness. This can result in dissociative trance disorder which involves a narrowing of awareness of immediate surroundings.
- Loss of consciousness or coma which is not attributed to an injury or to a general medical condition.
- The giving of approximate answers to questions. An example of this is that 3 plus 3 equals 7.
The causes of DDNOS are thought to be the same as those of other dissociative disorders. Patients commonly report childhood abuse, neglect, severe illness or traumatic event. Study shows that most people who have this condition have experienced a history of trauma or abuse during childhood. However, suffering abuse doe not mean you will suffer a dissociative disorder, there seems to be a predisposition to dissociation in those who do develop a disorder.
Self diagnosis is often inaccurate, if you feel you may be suffering a dissociative disorder, speaking to your GP about any symptoms will help you come to an accurate diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis is made you may be referred to NHS treatment in your local area (if this is available), you may be offered therapy through voluntary organisations, or you may wish to seek private help.
Treatment will often include talking therapies to help the sufferer come to terms with any past trauma.
Reconnecting experience with emotion and identity is very important and therapy can help, it may take time and a good relationship with your therapist is essential.
Medication may be offered if you are experiencing depression, anxiety or psychotic symptoms, however there is no medication specifically for dissociation and the most effective treatment is psychological.
Art therapy and other creative therapies can really be of benefit to dissociative disorder sufferers as they can help them come to terms with and ‘reconnect’ with emotions and feelings.