What is Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified? (+9 Modes of treatment)

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Page last updated: 10/11/2022

This detailed article will be explaining what Dissociative Disorder not otherwise specified or DDNOS is and the various symptoms that it presents with. Furthermore, we will also be discussing the different types of treatments which are available for this problem.

What is Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified?

 Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified is basically Dissociative Disorder in which all the diagnostic symptoms may not be present. DDNOS is no longer used as a term in DSM which is the diagnostic manual for mental health conditions.

Therefore, those who have been diagnosed with Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified before are classified into other types of dissociative disorders, such as the dissociative identity disorder, depersonalization disorder, unspecified dissociative disorder, etc.

Symptoms of Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified or DDNOS is not a separate disorder according to DSM anymore. However, some of the symptoms that you may experience dissociative disorders of any sort are:

Problems in memory

If you are having a dissociative disorder of any type, you might also have problems in your memory. You might find yourself forgetting the names of people you have met immediately or even the details of certain events.

Dissociative disorders of any sort can definitely interfere with your learning skills and you may find that it becomes more and more difficult to complete any specific task. This can even further affect your performance at work or school.

Feeling emotionally detached often

Another common symptom of dissociation is that you may feel that you don’t have any feelings at all. This is often called numbness. You may feel that you experience neither joy nor sadness at things which happen around you.

Episodes of depersonalization

Depersonalization is another common symptom which is experienced in dissociative disorders. In fact, depersonalization is termed as a separate disorder if the person is experiencing mainly only these symptoms.

If you are experiencing depersonalization, you may feel that you are being detached from your body and may feel like you are viewing your life as an audience member. This can be a scary feeling, but often comes and goes depending on your stress levels.

Feelings of anxiety

Having constant anxiety is another symptom that is associated with dissociative disorders. Anxiety can enhance the effects of the other symptoms of dissociation, which can further lead to an increase in anxiety levels. Therefore, it can be a vicious cycle.

Anxiety can present itself in many ways, including excessive sweating, palpitations and even trembling. It can also present mentally as constant rumination over a particular thought or increase in fear of something in specific.

Problems in self-identity

Problems in self-identity are also present in dissociative disorders. You might feel that your sense of identity can change all of a sudden. You might also feel that alter-personalities take over your life and speak for you.

Treatments for Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

If you have been diagnosed with Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified in the past, you might be re-categorized into one of the several other dissociative disorders mentioned by the latest version of DSM.

For most dissociative disorders, the treatment plans are pretty similar. In the following list, we have outlined the different modes of treatment which are available, along with several coping strategies which you can use on a daily basis.

Medications like antidepressants

While medications are often not prescribed for the actual treatment of dissociative disorders, they can still help in calming the anxiety. For this, antidepressants are often prescribed by psychiatrists.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also be of great help for anyone who has been diagnosed with a dissociative disorder. In this form of therapy, you may be taught new cognitive and behavioral strategies to reframe your thought processes so that they are positive and constructive.

Other than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and even Cognitive Therapy can be helpful. Talk therapy with a licensed and trusted mental health professional can help you in many areas of your life.

Psychoeducation about dissociative disorders

Learning about dissociative disorders and understanding more about them can also be a great coping strategy. Many times, the anxiety is caused since you might not know what you are dealing with. When you know more about it, the more control you enjoy.

Creating a mental first-aid kit

You can also create a mental first-aid kit which you can use in times of immense anxiety. To make sure that you don’t forget, you can write down your strategies in a ‘cheat-sheet’ or simply use a visual cue to guide you.

In this first-aid kit, you can include strategies like deep breathing exercises, telling a joke or watching some comedy videos, walking barefoot on grass, or even playing with your pet for some time.

Improving self-awareness

Your bodily senses also play a huge role in your mindset and your anxiety levels. Sometimes, a certain sense can be overwhelmed in a particular situation and engaging another one can bring your anxiety levels down.

For instance, if you feel that your sense of smell is too overwhelmed by an aroma in a certain room you can simply go to another room or go outside where you can feel the warm sun on your face. This change in stimuli can help in bringing down your anxiety levels.

Constructive self-talk

It is also important to be more aware of your dissociative symptoms and understand your alter-personalities. Rather than being afraid of them, start challenging them and understanding why they are there in the first place. Better self-awareness can also give you more control.

This self-talk is different from the usual affirmations and cues that people often use to get themselves pumped up before a performance. Here, it refers to literally talking to the voices of your alter-personalities to challenge and understand them at the same time.

Using relaxation techniques

Using relaxation techniques can also help you in bringing your anxiety levels down. Relaxation techniques can include deep breathing or even progressive muscle relaxation techniques and others like body scanning.

Relaxation techniques involving deep breathing help in bringing a better balance between the O2 and the CO2 levels in the blood which can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for bringing down anxiety levels.

Scheduling and daily planning

Another activity which can help you in coping with any type of dissociative disorder is scheduling. When you schedule your daily activities for the entire day using clues and cues, you will find more structure and less time to overthink and fret.

In scheduling, don’t just think about the big tasks like your job and that new home project, but even small ones just taking your medications, brushing your teeth, folding the laundry, etc. since these are more vital and can help in guiding you throughout the day.

Finding a support system

You can also create a support system of trusted friends and loved ones around you to help you cope with your dissociative disorder. This support system can help you practice your coping skills in your mental first-aid kit when you feel too overwhelmed.

If you are finding it hard to create a support system for yourself, you can also join a support group where you not only get emotional support but also have access to plenty of resources. These support groups can be found in physical locations as well as online.

Conclusion

This detailed article has explained what Dissociative Disorder not otherwise specified or DDNOS is and the various symptoms that it presents with. Furthermore, we have also discussed the different types of treatments which are available for this problem.

If you like this article, please post your comments and questions in the space below.

Citations

https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17010025
https://www.msdmanuals.com/en-in/professional/psychiatric-disorders/dissociative-disorders/depersonalization-derealization-disorder
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/dissociation-and-dissociative-disorders
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4440432/
https://tjpipstsb.org/article.asp?issn=2455-8559;year=2021;volume=7;issue=2;spage=109;epage=113;aulast=Bhowmick;type=3
https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/science-choice/202102/what-is-the-dissociative-mind
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/eri/2011/404538/
https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/dissociative-disorders/
https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4615-2403-8_15