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Q. What is your understanding of dissociated states? Are they the same as depersonalization or derealization? And what about amnesia? I'm confused!

A. These labels can be tricky. I understand depersonalization to describe a sense of being detached from one's body, sometimes referred to as an "out-of-body" experience. Derealization, on the other hand, describes a perception or sense that the world is not real or appears to the individual as being foggy or far away.

Amnesia is a label for a brain's failure to recall significant personal information that is so extensive it cannot be blamed on ordinary forgetfulness. There can also be micro-amnesias where the discussion engaged in is not remembered, or the content of a meaningful conversation is forgotten from one second to the next.

Some think that dissociated states do not represent fully-mature personalities. Instead, they may represent a disjointed sense of identity. You may want to look up these topics on the internet as a great deal of information is finding its way into that medium.