Dissociative Disorder

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Health Assured team

24 February 2022

Dissociative disorder is a psychological condition that can be unhealthy and demanding during daily life.

Employers have a legal duty to support anyone with a mental health illness. By building healthier workplaces, you can decrease triggers that may worsen their condition.

Failing to support employees leads to legal claims, costly penalties, and business damage–which are hard to recover from.

Read all about dissociative disorder, what causes it, and legal rights for employees suffering in the workplace.

What is dissociative disorder?

Dissociative disorder is a mental health condition that involves disconnecting from oneself or surroundings. For example, some people will detach from their emotions; or feel the world around them isn’t real.

It’s very common for people to experience detachment after extreme events, like trauma or abuse.

Conditions differ depending on individual experiences. And episodes can last for short spells or for months, even years.

What are different types of dissociative disorder?

There are several types of dissociative disorder, but most can be categorised into three types:

  1. Depersonalisation-derealisation disorder.
  2. Dissociative amnesia.
  3. Dissociative identity disorder (DID).

Depersonalisation-derealisation disorder

This term covers mild or acute dissociative disorders. It can be broken into two versions, but people can experience both together.

Depersonalisation is when an individual observes their actions, feelings, and thoughts–but from an outside perspective. And derealisation is when a person believes their surroundings aren’t real.

Dissociative amnesia

This relates to when a person finds it extremely hard to remember personal information, like their identity or experiences.

These memory gaps are much more significant than normal forgetfulness. Some people might experience losing their bearings or completely forgetting who they are.

Dissociative identity disorder

This involves a person being uncertain about their own personal identity and information.

It’s also associated with multiple personality disorder; which involves someone presenting different identities through voices, behaviours, and personas.

Other types of conditions

People with dissociative disorder may also experience additional conditions like:

What are the symptoms of the dissociative disorder?

There are so many different symptoms for dissociative disorder. For example:

  • Feeling disconnected (from oneself and surroundings).
  • Forgetting people, places, and information.
  • Having zero or multiple identities.
  • Feeling little to no physical pain.

Causes of dissociative disorder

There isn’t clear what specifically causes dissociative disorder.

Some people may have gone through physical or mental trauma, which leads to distress and anxiety. They may also have suffered from physical, sexual, or emotional abuse during their childhood.

In some cases, people with PTSD experience dissociation, especially if they’ve gone through extreme trauma, like wars.

Whenever people face a trigger, disconnection becomes a coping mechanism. The problem lies when the environment is no longer traumatic, but the person believes they are still living within it.

Legal rights for employees with mental health conditions

The Equality Act (2010) outlines a legal duty of care for all employees.

The act states you must safeguard their health, safety, and welfare during work–including their mental state.

Dissociative disorder is a mental health illness. And if conditions meet, it can legally be considered as a disability.

It is unlawful to discriminate against someone with medical conditions. If you don’t provide reasonable adjustments or additional support, you could face legal claims and costly penalties.

How to deal with dissociative disorder in the workplace

Employers might face numerous situations whilst dealing with mental health issues. In the end, remember to apply a moral duty as well as your legal one.

With the right support, you can safeguard employees with health conditions–and protect moral and wellbeing.

Here’s how to deal with dissociative disorders in the workplace:

Provide medical referrals

If an employee mentions they’re suffering from dissociative disorder, offer them medical support. Through referrals, doctors can undertake assessments and provide a thorough diagnosis.

Medical professionals can offer all sorts of support; from medication (like anti-depressants) to counselling (like cognitive behavioural therapy or CBD).

Provide reasonable adjustments

The best way to provide support to those with health conditions, is through reasonable adjustments.

Common workplace adjustments include:

  • Flexible working hours.
  • Additional time to complete tasks.
  • Remote working.
  • Raising awareness on health conditions.

Provide counselling and therapy groups

A proven way to reduce workplace stress is through having conversations. Talking is especially useful for people with mental health illnesses.

From workplace counsellors to specialised therapists, you can provide significant help through these practices.

You can even offer emotional intelligence training through employee assistance programmes. These allow managers to understand how to support their teams. And help employees  manage their personal condition and work-life balance.

Get expert advice on dissociative disorder with Health Assured

Managing mental health issues like dissociative disorder can be complicated. But in the end, your legal obligation is to care, not provide a cure.

If you neglect employees with medical conditions, you could face discrimination claims–leading to tribunal hearings and business damages.

Health Assured offers expert advice on dissociative disorder and other mental health issues. Our teams offer specialised knowledge on employee wellbeing whilst considering your business needs.

We also provide a 24/7 helpline, that’s open 365 days a year–helping you care for your staff all year round. Arrange a call back from an expert today on 0800 206 2534.

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