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Teen Dissociative Disorder Treatment

Teen Dissociative Disorder Treatment


Teen Dissociative Disorder is a condition in which the brain shuts down in certain ways, in order to distance itself from a severe traumatic event or experience.  In order to detach from the emotional pain of the event, the brain puts up defenses, such as sudden memory loss or even alternate identities.  These coping mechanisms help the brain to separate from the event enough to function in everyday life and responsibilities.


Teen Dissociative Disorder Treatment | Paradigm Malibu


What It Looks Like


Teen Dissociative Disorder can differ in each case, and according to the triggering event.  The individual symptoms revolve around the teen’s brain finding ways to separate from that event, in order to cope.  Some of the symptoms commonly experienced include, but are not limited to:


  • Mood Swings
  • Flashbacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia


Different Types of Dissociative Disorder


Dissociative Amnesia Disorder

This subtype is characterized by teens having difficulty remembering events or experiences related to a past traumatic experience.  The mind blocks these conscious memories, as a way of defending itself from any pain or distress they may cause.  Teens will often still have memories that aren’t connected to the traumatic event, but occurred at a similar time.


Dissociative Fugue Disorder

This subtype is characterized by teens feeling extremely disconnected from their normal surroundings, such as where they are and why they’re there.  These periods of confused disconnect can last from hours to years, and in some cases, may result in the teens coming up with different personalities during these times.


Dissociative Identity Disorder

This subtype is characterized by a teen having two or more personalities present at once, and was once called “Multiple Personality Disorder.”  The personalities are called “alters” and may exhibit extreme differences, including gender, age, and background.


Depersonalization Disorder

This subtype is characterized by teens experiencing a sense of detachment from their own lives, as if they’re living in a dream-like state.  Teens may also experience Depression and Anxiety.



Some experiences that may serve as initial triggering events for Dissociative Disorder include, but are not limited to:


  • Childhood abuse
  • War/combat
  • Witnessing or suffering violent acts
  • Witnessing or suffering acts of crime
  • Painful medical procedures


Teen Dissociative Disorder Treatment


Teen Dissociative Disorder Treatment involves a number of different approaches within the scope of Talk Therapy, and often, medication will be prescribed as well.


Talk Therapy

Because Dissociative Disorder stems from a traumatic event that the brain is trying to avoid, therapists work with teens to carefully begin addressing both the event, and its effects, in an environment that feels safe, and in a manner which feels manageable.  Therapists gradually work with teens to help them to be able to function again in their daily lives by re-engaging with their responsibilities and relationships.  Therapists also teach teens healthy coping mechanisms and alternative behaviors to relieve stress, as well as creating an overall healthier attitude and sense of self.



The medications prescribed for teens with Dissociative Disorder differ, according to the teen’s symptoms.  If the teen is experiencing high anxiety or Depression, medications will be given accordingly, in order to help abate those symptoms and provide the teen with enough relief that they can then more successfully engage in their treatment.




Is it necessary for a teenager to dig up painful memories, in order to recover?


When a teen has Dissociative Disorder, they’re already suffering from the painful memories, despite their mental detachment from them.  In this sense, treatment doesn’t ask a teen to address something that they’ve already put past them, but rather, address something that they’re currently struggling with, though the symptoms present are indirect.