Dissociation can happen in several different ways, which are described here:
Dissociative Amnesia: People with dissociate amnesia find themselves missing memories related to the trauma, including the time when the event happened, specific details of the event, or events immediately after the trauma itself. Sometimes, after a traumatic event, people experience complete amnesia, where they cannot remember anything about the event at all.
Dissociative Fugue State: This is an altered state where patients find themselves unable to remember anything about their past, and as a result, complete confusion over their personal identity. To cope, those in a fugue state form new identities, which can last from just a few hours to several years. When the fugue state ends, people remember their old experiences and original identity. However, the consequences of this change can cause shame, guilt, confusion and depression as they grapple with both the trauma itself and the fugue state they were in.
Dissociative Identity Disorder: In this disorder, people form alternative personalities, called “alters,” in response to traumatic experiences and stressors. These alters protect the authentic self from painful thoughts and emotions and are very distinct: they can be a different sex, age, race, and nationality from the authentic self, and often have characteristics and habits that vary greatly from that of the original individual. Those with identity disorder may or may not be aware of when their alters appear, which can lead to intense disorientation, and often anxiety, insomnia, depression, compulsive behavior and hallucinations.
Depersonalization Disorder: People with depersonalization disorder feel detached from their physical body and their sense of self. Often, this makes people feel as though they are watching themselves in a movie, having an out-of-body experience or simply dreaming. This sensation is distressing and frightening and can cause anxiety, panic and depression.