CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Dissociative disorders usually develop as a way to cope with trauma. The disorders most often form in children subjected to chronic physical, sexual or emotional abuse or, less frequently, a home environment that is otherwise frightening or highly unpredictable.
Personal identity is still forming during childhood, so a child is more able than is an adult to step outside of himself or herself and observe trauma as though it's happening to a different person. A child who learns to dissociate in order to endure an extended period of his or her youth may use this coping mechanism in response to stressful situations throughout life.
Though it's rare, adults may develop dissociative disorders in response to severe trauma.
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