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Dissociative Disorders In Children and Adolescents

Dissociative Disorders In Children and Adolescents

According to the DSM-V, dissociative disorders are mental disorders that happen when people experience disconnection in their thoughts, minds, surroundings, actions, and reality. The DSM-V is the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) by the American Psychiatric Association. It began to take effect in May 2013.

More often than not, traumatic experiences cause children and teens to experience a dissociative disorder. Such things are in the most recent version of DSM-V.

Symptoms of Dissociative Disorders

Your child or teen should undergo an evaluation for Dissociative Disorders when they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulties in remembering how traumatic certain events are.
  • Daydreaming in unhealthy doses.
  • Constantly forgetting things while realizing one should do what s/he promised to do.
  • Excessive fear of things that may not happen (due to the distorted perception).
  • Unable to cope with emotional stressors.
  • At some points, children and teens can experience suicidal thoughts.

Causes for Dissociative Disorders

Children and teens who live in chaotic, abusive or dysfunctional family conditions are more likely to experience dissociative disorders. More precisely, these things can be the causes:

  • Frequent gaslighting or any emotional manipulation.
  • Forced to be the families’ caretakers at an early age.
  • Any forms of long-term physical and sexual abuse, including physical torture.
  • Having to face the problems by themselves while being isolated from their peers.
  • Stresses from war and other natural disasters.

Diagnoses for Dissociative Disorders

A psychiatrist uses the following two types of examination when diagnosing your children or teens with Dissociative Disorders:

  • Physical exams: Asking in-depth questions, reviewing symptoms and personal histories of your children.
  • Psychiatric exams: Asking your children questions about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The exams also involve discussion with you or other family members to retain more helpful pieces of information.

The psychiatrist will then match the exam results with the DSM-V criteria on dissociative disorders.

Risk factors For Other Issues

Children and teens experiencing dissociative disorders are more prone to be at risk for the following issues:

  • Sleep disorders (including nightmares and insomnia).
  • Alcoholism and drug use disorders.
  • Depression and anxieties.
  • (Chronic) Post-traumatic stress disorders.
  • Dysfunction on sexual organs.
  • Self-harm and mutilation.

Others Who Can Help

Mental health professionals can help in treating Dissociative Disorders:

  • Medication: Your child’s psychiatrist may prescribe anti-depressants or similar medicines for alleviating anxiety problems.
  • Psychotherapy: Talk therapy and psychosocial therapy are two types of psychotherapy that psychiatrists can use while cooperating with psychologists. Some psychologists can also use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, or other similar methods.

You can also seek help from your children's school counselor, local mental health authorities, and support groups in your community.