Dissociative Features Of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Essay

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With the publishing of the DSM-5 in 2013, a dissociative subtype was added to the description of post-traumatic stress disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This subtype describes clients with prominent dissociative symptoms. These symptoms entail an individual experiencing “out of body” sensations after traumatic events. These feelings may occur as the brain’s defense mechanism against stressors. By distancing their conscious thoughts and emotions from their actions and behaviors, clients with PTSD may escape or avoid, however briefly, re-experiencing similar stressors again. Many people may not even remember any aspect of these dissociative episodes due to the extreme separation (Duckworth, 2012). Andrew Moskowitz (2004) discusses a variety of studies that have linked dissociative symptoms with increased violent activity in otherwise non-violent individuals, especially if they had previously experienced life-threatening trauma. This evidence has been used in legal trials as a defense for people being tried for violent crimes. It can be argued that, as they were significantly affected by their previous trauma and were not acting consciously, individuals who have committed a violent crime while in a dissociative state should not be considered guilty. Moskowitz also explains that people suffering with PTSD or another dissociative disorder are likely to experience this out of body phenomenon if they are faced with what they believe is a life threatening situation.…

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