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Dissociation is a disconnection between a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of who they are. Dissociation most often occurs in a state of under-arousal. Dissociation is a way the body copes with overwhelming thoughts, feelings, or memories by shutting down, “numbing out,” or disconnecting completely from your surroundings.

Dissociation symptoms exist on a continuum that ranges from very subtle to extreme. They include:

  • Disengagement (i.e., not paying attention or “spacing out”)
  • Emotional numbing.
  • Memory disturbances (e.g., gaps in memory)
  • Depersonalization (feeling outside of your body or as if your body does not belong to you)
  • Derealisation (feeling as though things around you are not real or are distorted)
  • Identity dissociation (e.g., feeling like a different person from yourself)