Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Dissociative Amnesia

  • Margaret MoultEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1120

Synonyms

Functional amnesia; Psychogenic amnesia

Definition

Dissociative amnesia is the pervasive loss of ones’ autobiographical memory, which is too extensive to be explained by normal forgetting. Unlike other types of amnesia, dissociative amnesia does not result from trauma to the head. Rather, this type of amnesia is most commonly associated with dissociative states or dissociative personality disorder, though it does not occur exclusively during disturbances due to these disorders.

The most striking aspect of dissociative amnesia is an inability to recount autobiographical information such as ones’ name, age, and background. Often, a person suffering from dissociative amnesia is unable to recount traumatic events. In dissociative amnesia, the amnesia is isolated to retrograde amnesia, with regard to specific events of the past. However, procedural, semantic, and prospective memory remain intact.

Historical Background

The first documented cases of dissociative amnesia occur during...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Botzung, A., Denkova, E., & Manning, L. (2007). Psychogenic memory deficits associated with functional cerebral changes: An fMRI study. Neurocase, 13, 378–384.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Joseph, R. (1999). The neurology of traumatic “dissociative” amnesia: Commentary and literature review. Child Abuse & Neglect, 23, 715–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Mcnally, R. J. (2007). Dispelling confusion about traumatic dissociative amnesia. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 82, 1083–1087.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Pope, H. G., Oliva, P. S., Hudson, J. I., Bodkin, J. A., & Gruber, A. J. (1999). Attitudes toward DSM-IV dissociative disorders diagnoses among board-certified American psychiatrists. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 321–323.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Pope, H. G., Poliakoff, M. B., Parker, M. P., Boynes, M., & Hudson, J. I. (2007). Is dissociative amnesia a culture-bound syndrome? Findings from a survey of historical literature. Psychological Medicine, 37, 225–233.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Weninger, G., Lange, C., Sachasse, U., & Irle, E. (2008). Amygdala and hippocampal volumes and cognition in adult survivors of childhood abuse with dissociative disorders. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 118, 281–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Olin Neuropsychiatry Research CenterInstitute of LivingHartfordUSA