Dissociative Disorders

If you or a family member or friend is struggling, there is help. NAMI is there to provide you with support for you and your family and information about community resources.

Find out if there is a NAMI program or support group near you. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org if you have any questions about dissociative disorders or finding support and resources.

Helping Yourself

Self-care is a must. It provides a sense of grounding. Here are some tips:

  • Keep a journal. Journaling is one way to help improve awareness. It can include writing or artwork from any part of the dissociated self.
  • Mindfulness. Techniques that use the senses to guide yourself back to the present are useful you are in the throes of a flashback, feeling “out-of-body”, or recalling memories that are too painful to cope with. These can include things like touching a piece of fabric, sniffing something with a strong scent, or focusing on breathing slowly and deeply.
  • Letting alters emerge. In DID, planning for separate identities to come out in a safe place and time allows them to have experiences you may have been denied in an abusive childhood.

If you live with a mental health condition, learn more about managing your mental health and finding the support you need.

Helping a Family Member or Friend

As with any mental illness, the caring support of loved ones cannot be underestimated. Specifically for individuals with a traumatic past, encouragement and support of friends and family is very important. NAMI offers several resources, including the Peer-to-Peer education program and NAMI Connection support groups.

The Sidran Institute is one of the biggest trauma education and advocacy organizations in the country, and has many resources available.

The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation seeks to advance clinical, scientific, and societal understanding about the prevalence and consequences of chronic trauma and dissociation. They offer a wealth of information and resources on the topic.