Dissociative Amnesia: Update from the DSM 5 Text Revision

The classical form of DA is Generalized DA (GDA) where the individual loses major aspects of autobiographical memory, and may include loss of awareness of personal identity. This may also present as the Dissociative Fugue (DF) Subtype where the individual engages in purposeful travel or bewildered wandering. Recent studies have helped differentiate this form of DA from a developmental type of DA where the individual has autobiographical memory disturbances that correlate directly with the extent of childhood adverse experiences (ACEs), particularly sexual abuse, physical abuse or both. Other studies have helped differentiate typologies of DA in DID and in DA itself. Recent population studies of traumatized adolescents suggest that DA in individuals with the Dissociative Subtype of PTSD more fully characterizes these patients, compared to models utilizing only symptoms of depersonalization/derealization. This talk will review current data on phenomenology, clinical course, neurobiology and treatment issues. I will address questions about the relationship of both DA presentations to DID, and directions for further study.

This session was originally presented as a live conference session in May 2020.

Target Audience


Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to:

  • Describe the classical and developmental forms of Dissociative Amnesia
  • Differentiate models of the neurobiology of Dissociative Amnesia based on clinical and experimental studies
  • Identify the patterns of Dissociative Amnesia in Dissociative Identity Disorder compared to those in individuals with Dissociative Amnesia without Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Anticipate suicidal behavior in individuals with Dissociative Amnesia Describe the clinical course of the classical form of Dissociative Amnesia
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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Presenter:  Richard Loewenstein, MD
Presenter Bio: Richard J. Loewenstein M.D. is founder and Medical Director of The Trauma Disorders Program, Sheppard Pratt Health Systems, Baltimore, MD, ranked by U.S. News and World Report as among America’s 10 top psychiatric facilities. He is ranked among America’s top 1 % of psychiatrists. He is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Founded in 1992, the Sheppard Pratt Trauma Disorders Program includes a 22-bed inpatient unit; an outpatient program; a fellowship program; research, consultation and teaching components. He is the author of numerous papers and book chapters on dissociation, dissociative and trauma disorders. He is among the authors of all editions of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation Guidelines for the Treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults. He has authored standard chapters on diagnosis and treatment of dissociative disorders, including all of the most recent editions of the American Psychiatric Association textbook, Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders, and Sadock and Sadock’s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. He is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation; Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. He was an advisor to the APA DSM 5 Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum, Posttraumatic, and Dissociative Disorders Work Group. He is Section Editor, Dissociative Disorders, DSM-5 Text Revision He is co-investigator and senior advisor to the longitudinal Treatment of Patients with Dissociative Disorders (TOPDD) Study.



Available Credit

  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.


ISSTD Member cost:
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"Your Price" above reflects your final price based on your membership status and career level. 

  • ISSTD defines a student as those enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree or certification in the mental health field and who have an interest in trauma and dissociation. 
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