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Dissociative Disorders Controversy Essay

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Updated: Jun 22nd, 2021

Dissociative disorders include several mental illnesses that one can experience. American Psychiatric Association defines dissociative disorders as a variety of issues connected to the mental functioning of a person (“What are dissociative disorders?”, n.d.). These disorders include symptoms such as issues with “memory, identity, emotion, perception, behavior, and sense of self” (“What are dissociative disorders?”, n.d., para 1). They are often associated with the previous trauma that one had experienced. Dorahy et al. (2014) state that about 1 % of the population is affected by this issue. However, there are controversies regarding the illness, as some people do not believe that it represents a real state of a person. Regardless of the discussions that surround dissociative disorders, it is essential to value patients’ mental health and provide them with a proper treatment plan.

The main controversy that surrounds the diagnosis is the disbelief that many people have. They are questioning whether the symptoms that people are experiencing are real or fake. The problem of whether the disease is a trend that people follow for various reasons arises. Dorahy et al. (2014) found empirical evidence that the disorder exists. The authors state that the one possible cause of the controversies is the fact that it is a complicated issue. Thus, the understanding of it requires in-depth research that many people may dismiss. Some people argue that the premise of the disease being caused by childhood trauma is not substantial as there is no way to prove that the memory of abuse is truthful. The controversy can be described as “causality which pertains to repressed memories” (“Contemplating the controversies of dissociative identity disorder”, 2013, para 4). It can be argued that some people may pretend to have childhood trauma, and say that they do not remember the exact event that had caused it. Alternatively, it is possible that some people may make up such an event that never existed for a variety of reasons. This possibility has caused many disputes regarding the diagnostics of dissociative disorders.

The lack of empirical studies regarding dissociative disorders allows these controversies to continue. Reinders et al. (2016) state that there is a number of people that pretend to have symptoms of this disease, which is what leads to the controversy in the first place. However, their research has proven that there are differences in brain activity of the test subjects without a dissociative disorder and those who were diagnosed with it. Thus, the disease does exist although some people may try to fake its symptoms.

The controversies regarding the causes of dissociative disorders and whether these illnesses exist have not been dismissed entirely. However, professionals are questioning other aspects of the issue. Noel (2016) states that the controversy exists regarding the treatment plan for dissociative disorders as well. All in all, it is essential to understand that the issues regarding the diagnosis should not impact the provision of help to those who experience the symptoms. One of the aspects that Noel (2016) has found during the research of treatment plans is that social support contributed to the recovery of patients. Thus, doubting whether the symptoms one experiences are real or fake can have harmful effects on a patient’s recovery. Overall, the controversies regarding dissociative disorders should not influence the treatment that patients should receive.


(2013). Web.

Dorahy, M. J., Brand, B. L., Şar, V., Krüger, C., Stavropoulos, P., Martínez-Taboas, A., … Middleton, M. (2014). Dissociative identity disorder: An empirical overview. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48(5), 402-417. Web.

Noel, H. (2016). Web.

Reinders, A. A., Willemsen, A.T., Vissia, E.M., Vos, H.P., den Boer, J.A., & Nijenhuis, E.R. (2016). The psychobiology of authentic and simulated dissociative personality states: The full Monty. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 204(6), 445-457. Web.

(n.d.). Web.

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