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Walking in Another Personís Shoes: Dissociative fugues

Seeking help for mental health issues can seem overwhelming. Sovereign Health Group Mental Health Services is here to make the process easier with its progressive center for mental health services and treatment models.

It would be hard for most people to imagine disconnecting from their reality for an extended period of time, feeling unable to remember what happened in the interim. However, that is what happens to individuals who struggle with dissociative fugue states. These episodes can last hours, weeks or longer. As Leonora Thuna, a playwright who has researched and written on dissociative fugues, explains, “You never lose your memory. It’s always there. It just falls out of the file cabinet.”

Individuals struggling with dissociative fugues often adopt an entirely new identity, which they truly believe to be their own. It is common for someone living in a dissociative fugue to travel away from his or her home, job and family. In these cases, the individual typically takes a new identity and is able to start a new life without any recollection of the one left behind. It is difficult to diagnose if an individual is in a dissociative fugue, but a diagnosis can be made retroactively if the signs of amnesia and identity loss are significant. Dissociative fugue is a condition, not a disorder, though recurring fugue states often indicate dissociative identity disorder (DID), which is classified as a mental health disorder.

“Sybil,” the 1973 book by Flora Rheta Schreiber, chronicles the life of a young woman with DID, then called multiple personality disorder. In the text, the titular character often travels and leads distinct lives as each of her sixteen personalities, reconnecting with her mental health therapist to uncover a tormented history of child abuse and other triggers. She adopts the identities of “both women and men, each with a different personality, speech pattern and even personal appearance.” Though the validity of Schreiber’s groundbreaking account based on the real life story of a psychiatric patient has been brought into question in recent years, the fact remains that individuals can struggle with dissociative fugues and/or DID. For instance, a 57-year-old lawyer, husband and father in New York suddenly disappeared in 2006. He was found months later living in a homeless shelter in Chicago under a different name, without any recollection of his previous life. His wife believed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the Vietnam War and the 9/11 World Trade Center attack contributed to her husband’s dissociative fugue.

If you or a loved one is struggling with dissociative fugue states or DIDFree Reprint Articles, help is available. Contact Sovereign Health Group Mental Health Services helpline at 866-954-0529 to speak with a professional today and find out more about mental health services available in your area.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Peter Guilorry is associated with Sovereign Mental Health Services for many years. Sovereign Mental Health Services provides mental health services in California.



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